Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

02 Nov 2017

Deshaun Watson Tears ACL

As first reported by NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Deshaun Watson suffered a torn ACL on a non-contact drill in practice today, ending one of the best stories of the 2017 NFL season and one of the most exciting rookie campaigns on record. This sucks.

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 02 Nov 2017

68 comments, Last at 08 Nov 2017, 4:35am by Mr Shush


by InTheBoilerRoom :: Thu, 11/02/2017 - 5:22pm

This whole season sucks. So many injuries to great players.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Thu, 11/02/2017 - 5:27pm

Jesus. They're cursed.

\I think the Astros absorbed their luck

by Dave Bernreuther :: Thu, 11/02/2017 - 5:27pm

And here we thought today's QB tragedy was Andrew Luck continuing to not play...

by Aaron Schatz :: Thu, 11/02/2017 - 5:32pm

Just to summarize the XP I posted at the same time Vince did (and then deleted): NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO. AAAARRRRGGGHHHH.

by Vincent Verhei :: Thu, 11/02/2017 - 5:42pm

Should have left that one up. Made the point much more succinctly.

by vrao81 :: Thu, 11/02/2017 - 5:33pm

Wow that sucks! Who wins the Afc south now?

by Mr Shush :: Thu, 11/02/2017 - 5:41pm

Jacksonville by a country mile.

by Shylo :: Thu, 11/02/2017 - 8:25pm

No excuse not to be Tennessee, I think.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Fri, 11/03/2017 - 10:15am

Yea, it's not like the Titans are world-beaters, but they're at least competent and already have a road win over Jacksonville in their pocket (a very convincing road win, at that).

by PaddyPat :: Thu, 11/02/2017 - 5:43pm

This is horrifying news. I don't even know what to say. After the Week 3 coming out party against the Pats, I was so impressed with Watson that I have been quietly circling the Texans as a team to be feared for the foreseeable feature and was not even remotely surprised that they pushed the Seahawks to the brink last week. What an absolutely miserable conclusion to his season...

by Tundrapaddy :: Thu, 11/02/2017 - 5:44pm

Obviously, the smart thing for Houston to do, in efforts to save a solid chance at the playoffs, is to sign Kaepernick.

Quick, someone call Bob McNair and let him know.

by Dave Bernreuther :: Thu, 11/02/2017 - 6:12pm

Don't be ridiculous. Matt McGloin is far better. He has Playoff Experience.

Oh. Wait.

by LionInAZ :: Mon, 11/06/2017 - 11:08pm

TJ Yates has playoff experience too. Came close to beating the Ravens in a divisional (I think) round.

by Mr Shush :: Fri, 11/03/2017 - 8:59am

The Texans would have no shot at the playoffs with Kaepernick, given the injuries on defense. Recent Texans teams might have been a competent quarterback away, but this one was being carried by Watson.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 11/02/2017 - 5:45pm

Yeah, I was a wild-eyed optimist, and thought Luck being ruled out for the season was the extent of today's awful injury news. At least Luck got a large chunk of the money from his 2nd contract before the major injuries started.

by Richie :: Thu, 11/02/2017 - 5:46pm

Does it seem like non-contact injuries are up recently?

by jtr :: Fri, 11/03/2017 - 9:06am

I was thinking the same thing. I think it's related to PED usage. Steroids make your muscles stronger but not your ligaments and tendons, so it makes sense that players using those drugs (which I personally suspect is the majority of the league) would have more ligament and tendon issues. It's like putting a bigger engine in your car without upgrading the transmission--sometimes it will work fine, but you're at risk for a catastrophic failure.

Here's a study in body builders that found that anabolic steroid users were about 3.5x more likely than non users to rupture a tendon

by Joshua Northey :: Fri, 11/03/2017 - 10:34am

I mean ot the extent there is PED use (I am sure there is quite a bit) I am sure that doesn't help. But generally the athletes are just stronger and stronger, and bigger and bigger. Taller guys with longer limbs putting more torque on their joints.

You don't need PEDs for that to create a lot more injuries because certain part so the body do not hypertrophy in the same way say muscles can.

I find it funny so many are shocked when players who are described as next level explosive athletes get injuries. Where do you think that explosiveness comes from? Their fucking tissues. And how do you think the tissues handle that? Not well.

It is like a bunch of drivers running around at the red line all the time. Some of them are going to blow a gasket or worse.

If you don't like it is you could add weight/speed/height limits.

by turbohappy :: Fri, 11/03/2017 - 12:38pm

Yeah I think regardless of how you get there, if you are superhuman you end up more at risk for catastrophic injuries. I always think of Bo Jackson's injury which doctors initially thought was impossible.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Thu, 11/02/2017 - 6:14pm

On another site, someone had the idea that there should be an end-of-season all-DL team, and a comparison about its chances to win the SB vs the other teams.

That team has an impressive QB depth chart (Rodgers-Luck-Watson) and a pretty good DE.

by Raiderjoe :: Thu, 11/02/2017 - 6:16pm

Has David Johnson and Cook at RB. .Yanda , j. Peters on line. Some tothers here and there. J

by Richie :: Thu, 11/02/2017 - 6:18pm

Even if you locked the all-DL team in right now, I think it's the best team in the league. And it's sure to have more members by January.

by Not Jimmy :: Fri, 11/03/2017 - 8:36am

OBJ and Minitron.

- Anything is possible when you have no idea what you are talking about.

by Theo :: Thu, 11/02/2017 - 6:29pm


by Perfundle :: Thu, 11/02/2017 - 6:59pm

Yeah, that's only for baseball. Should be IR.

by serutan :: Thu, 11/02/2017 - 6:59pm

Disabled list. That's more or less the baseball equivalent of injured reserve.
Was wr

by The Ninjalectual :: Thu, 11/02/2017 - 7:48pm

Yes, but for someone who doesn't follow baseball, that was very confusing. I got the gist that he meant IR from context, but he might as well have typed GH or WF or DL, they all have about as much meaning

by Travis :: Thu, 11/02/2017 - 6:49pm

Might have missed someone, but ...

QB: Aaron Rodgers (backups Andrew Luck, Deshaun Watson)
RB: David Johnson (backups Darwin Cook, Spencer Ware)
WR1: Odell Beckham Jr.
WR2: Allen Robinson (backup Brandon Marshall)
Slot WR: Julian Edelman (backup Quincy Enunwa)
TE: Greg Olsen (backup Tyler Eifert)
LT: Joe Thomas (backup Jason Peters)
LG: Mike Iupati (might return)
C: Matt Slauson
RG: Marshal Yanda
RT: Zach Strief

DE: J.J. Watt
DE: Cliff Avril
DT: Hloti Ngata
DT: Sharrif Floyd (backups Nick Fairley, Dominique Easley)
OLB: Whitney Mercilus
OLB: Tamba Hali (backup Shea McClellin)
MLB: Jerrell Freeman
CB: Jason Verrett
CB: DeAngelo Hall
SS: Quintin Demps
FS: Eric Berry (backup Malik Hooker)

K: Sebastian Janikowski
P: Jake Schum

KR/PR: Darren Sproles
Gunner: Dwayne Harris

by serutan :: Thu, 11/02/2017 - 6:57pm

That would be a serious SB contender.
Was wr

by Mr Shush :: Fri, 11/03/2017 - 9:02am

Prohibitive favourite, I would say.

by turbohappy :: Fri, 11/03/2017 - 12:42pm

Definitely. Where are they even weak? I think their secondary might be the only group that isn't otherworldly, just good.

by acr :: Fri, 11/03/2017 - 6:03am

That team would win a lot of games, if healthy

by SandyRiver :: Fri, 11/03/2017 - 8:03am

Hightower deserves a spot, at least as backup.

by Travis :: Fri, 11/03/2017 - 8:58am

Hightower will make the team as soon as the Patriots officially place him on injured reserve.

by Anon Ymous :: Fri, 11/03/2017 - 10:24am

High will swap with McClellin when he gets activated. :)

by Raiderjoe :: Thu, 11/02/2017 - 6:15pm

Su kz. This injury and Dalvin Cook injury especially stink

by Will Allen :: Thu, 11/02/2017 - 6:26pm

Yet more evidence of the useless nature of win projections as something more evidence or skill based than playing roulette.

by justanothersteve :: Thu, 11/02/2017 - 6:30pm

F***. F***. F***itty f*** f***.

by serutan :: Thu, 11/02/2017 - 6:48pm

Quite simply, that sucks toads. Hopefully he can make a full recovery.
Was wr

by Theo :: Thu, 11/02/2017 - 6:51pm

Damn the NFL is going through a tough time. Hope is here Watson will recover.

by James-London :: Thu, 11/02/2017 - 7:08pm

What a shitty season

Phil Simms is a Cretin.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 11/02/2017 - 7:27pm

I'm probably suffering from recency bias, but it is as bad as I can remember.

by serutan :: Thu, 11/02/2017 - 7:34pm

With the same disclaimer, the last 3-4 years have all seemed to be pretty bad.
Was wr

by Will Allen :: Thu, 11/02/2017 - 8:16pm

I wouldn't go that far. The rise of Seattle, the rise of the Denver D, combined with P. Manning trying to squeeze one more year on moxy alone, Rodgers' excellence, and other stuff have been a lot of fun. Ive been bored with the nature of the Patriots' offensive excellence, but I do think it is fascinating to watch Darth Hoodie prevail over other elite professionals by having a better organized mind. This year just sucks, however, especially with regard to young stars getting hurt.

by serutan :: Fri, 11/03/2017 - 12:19am

Sorry, I was only speaking from an injury perspective. Agree with you about the rest.
Was wr

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 11/03/2017 - 8:20am

It was interesting to watch whether Manning could Kirk Gibson his way to a second title.

For less baseball-savvy posters: https://youtu.be/N4nwMDZYXTI?t=6m19s

by James-London :: Thu, 11/02/2017 - 8:01pm

Agreed. I've been watching regularly since 2002 and I can't think of a season like this one.

There's also this from a recent Kevin Clark article on The Ringer:
"There’s anecdotal evidence that injuries are wrecking the NFL. The league has already lost one of its top quarterbacks (Aaron Rodgers), wideouts (Odell Beckham Jr.), and running backs (David Johnson) to lengthy absences, but that could just be a grim coincidence. Leaguewide, though, the problem stretches deeper. A study from Harvard found that, on a per-regular-season-game basis, from 2009 to 2015 there were around six injuries a game in the NFL—and there were almost seven injuries per game in 2015, over an injury more per game than in 2009, though changes in how players are reported to be injured makes strict comparisons hard. But the study also concluded that there are 3.4 times as many injuries in an NFL game than the combined rates of the other major American sports. Maybe it’s as simple as this: As Tom Brady once said, the injury rate in the NFL is 100 percent. "

Full article here:

Phil Simms is a Cretin.

by DavidL :: Thu, 11/02/2017 - 10:38pm

I might be repeating something that's already in the article, but it comes down to the fact that human beings, even the extraordinary specimens that make it to the NFL, aren't meant to do the things football requires a player to do. It's Testing To Destruction: The Sport.

by Richie :: Fri, 11/03/2017 - 12:57pm

It's not really surprising that the NFL has higher injury rates than other sports. No other sports have anywhere near the kind of contact the NFL has.

by PatsFan :: Thu, 11/02/2017 - 7:30pm

Wow. That really sucks :(

by Bisquick :: Thu, 11/02/2017 - 8:08pm

The saddest thing about this is that it happened... during practice. Ugh.

Here's hoping the surgeons can fix him better than new. After the Seahawks game I have to say, Deshaun Watson is one hell of a player and I'm positive we haven't seen the last of him.

'Til next year.

by Richie :: Fri, 11/03/2017 - 12:58pm

Apparently he had the same injury on his other knee in college. Apparently that didn't slow him down, so hopefully this one won't either.

by Bryan Knowles :: Thu, 11/02/2017 - 8:19pm

Breaking: Our hearts.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Fri, 11/03/2017 - 3:35am

I wonder if the limited practice times are actually partially a cause of these sorts of things.

I'm a runner and I've been increasing my miles recently and going through some aches and pains, particularly in and around my right knee. The last few days that's completely disappeared because the aches and pains were actually due to muscles needing time to adjust and adapt and supporting muscles around them to grow.

Football players spend a lot of time in the weights room which is an unnatural way to get faster and stronger and targets certain muscles but doesn't necessarily get the supporting ones that they'll use when playing.

by barf :: Fri, 11/03/2017 - 9:40am

Terrible news. He's entertaining as hell to watch and seems like a good dude. Hopefully he will return at full strength to terrorize the rest of the league next year.

by bigpoppapump :: Fri, 11/03/2017 - 10:01am

McGloin signed to back up Savage.

HT deserve to lose.

by Mr Shush :: Wed, 11/08/2017 - 4:35am

They would lose whoever they signed. If Watson was out for two or three weeks, Kaepernick might make all the difference. As is, the season's done with or without him.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Fri, 11/03/2017 - 10:16am

I know it's been said in this thread 147 times, but this season is awful.

From a quarterback perspective alone, we've lost Watson, Rodgers, and Luck. This weekend, projected starters include Brett Hundley, Drew Stanton, Matt Moore, Tom Savage, Ryan Mallett, freakin Brock Osweiler. Seriously, how many terrible former Texans starters can we take!? And the spectre of Ryan Fitzpatrick is looming over the horizon!

Can we fast forward to 2018, please?

by Mike B. In Va :: Fri, 11/03/2017 - 10:17am

That's some quality clipboard holders right there!

Wait, you mean they're going to be the games? Well, I've got some lawn work to do...

by Richie :: Fri, 11/03/2017 - 1:01pm

I think Jay Cutler is starting instead of Moore on Sunday. But your point still stands.

by Mike B. In Va :: Fri, 11/03/2017 - 10:15am

Damn. We all lose when exciting players go down. :(

by MilkmanDanimal :: Fri, 11/03/2017 - 11:36am

Awful news for football fans everywhere, even worse news for theoretical pizza sales.

by jtr :: Fri, 11/03/2017 - 11:49am

Watson was in the top five this year in Pizzas Ordered Above Replacement (POAR). Rodgers, Luck, and Watson had been the only players propping up pizza orders for the markets of their otherwise mediocre-to-lousy teams.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Fri, 11/03/2017 - 11:55am

+1 to both of you.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Fri, 11/03/2017 - 12:22pm

Colin Kaepernick? Only eats calzones.

by Sixknots :: Fri, 11/03/2017 - 2:04pm

I too am shocked at the unusually high number of star players that have been injured this year. It really hurts the fan experience.

Also, it must play hell with a predictive metric like DVOA.

by BJR :: Fri, 11/03/2017 - 3:04pm

The volume of injuries this year is most likely down to randomness, but it feels as though the NFL has reached breaking point. Not only does it result in garbage matchups (you couldn't pay me enough to sit through Indianapolis at Houston this Sunday), but I am thoroughly fed up of watching players being carted off with limbs dangling off as though they had been in a car crash.

by morganja :: Fri, 11/03/2017 - 4:16pm

It seems that if the NFL owners hate Kap as much as they clearly do, their best revenge would be to start him during the Year of the Broken Players.