Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

16 Oct 2017

Injury Aftermath: Week 6

by Andrew Potter and Zach Binney

Thanks to staff writer Zach Binney's analysis of NFL injury data, we are now able to provide more detailed injury return (number of games missed) and recovery (number of weeks limited in practices or games) estimates based on historical data for select injuries. These estimates also consider the position of the injured player. Details of our methodology are available here.

Packers Quarterback Aaron Rodgers -- Shoulder (IR)

Aaron Rodgers became the latest of the league's great players to be ruled out for the rest of the season when he suffered a fractured clavicle on his throwing shoulder early in Sunday's divisional clash against the Minnesota Vikings. Under pressure from blitzing linebacker Anthony Barr, Rodgers rolled right and threw a pass just as Barr arrived, with the Vikings defender landing on top of Rodgers as they hit the ground. Since 2007 we have data on eight broken clavicles afflicting six different quarterbacks (Matt Leinart and Tony Romo each suffered two). Only Tony Romo in 2015 (suffered in Week 2, returned after eight weeks) and Rodgers himself in 2013 (suffered in Week 9, returned after seven weeks) returned the same season, but both of those suffered injuries on their non-throwing (left) sides. Rodgers' injury is on the right (throwing) side. This is the only time you'll ever see this written, but the best comparison for Rodgers might be Matt Leinart. The lefty quarterback suffered two left-side collarbone fractures, in Week 5 of 2007 and Week 12 of 2011, and both kept him out the rest of the season. 2015 fifth-round pick Brett Hundley, who was No. 4 on our Top 25 Prospects list this offseason, will start in Rodgers' absence. Practice squad quarterback Joe Callahan has been promoted to the active roster to back up Hundley.

Elsewhere on offense, guard Lane Taylor was carted off the field with what has been variously described as a knee and/or ankle injury. Coupled with the description of Taylor's leg being rolled onto, the most likely outcome is a high ankle sprain. This almost always means missed games -- only about 15 percent of offensive linemen have managed to avoid missing games with these injuries, and half miss four or more weeks. Typical recovery times for linemen -- i.e., back to full strength and a normal workload -- range from two to eight weeks. Taylor's knee and ankle will be scanned by MRI today, with a knee sprain -- or indeed, no significant damage -- also possible outcomes.

Fellow lineman David Bakhtiari suffered a hamstring injury. About half of offensive linemen with hamstring injuries don't miss a game, while 25 percent miss three or more games. With Bakhtiari's injury being an aggravation, he is more likely than usual to be among the half who miss at least one week.

Finally, cornerback Quinten Rollins suffered an Achilles injury and has been placed on injured reserve. His season is over.

Lions Receiver Golden Tate -- Shoulder

Ian Rapoport reports that Golden Tate is expected to miss "a few weeks" due to the shoulder injury he suffered against the Saints. Tate is scheduled for an MRI scan today to determine the extent of the damage, sustained while he was being tackled by cornerback Ken Crawley after a third-quarter reception. Shoulder injuries historically have been pretty minor for receivers, with only about 25 percent causing them to miss any games. Alas, it seems Tate's injury was relatively severe, and he's going to fall into this unfortunate group. About 10 percent cause major missed time (four or more games). Offensive tackle Greg Robinson, who was removed from Sunday's game and later returned, eventually left for good with an ankle injury, while fellow offensive tackle Ricky Wagner also missed plays with an injured ankle. Ankle sprains are variable for offensive linemen -- about 40 percent miss no games, 25 percent miss one or two games, and the rest miss major time. The team hopes that the bye will mean neither misses any further game time, but both will also have MRI scans today.

Buccaneers Quarterback Jameis Winston -- Shoulder

Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston suffered a low-grade acromioclavicular joint sprain on his throwing shoulder against the Cardinals. Reports after the game indicated that he would have been able to return if Ryan Fitzpatrick had been knocked out of the game, but with Fitzpatrick performing capably in relief Winston was held out for his own well-being. The team hopes to have him available for the visit to Buffalo in Week 7, but that will be determined by both Winston's pain tolerance and how the sprained shoulder responds in practice this week. We have records of 16 quarterback shoulder sprains (mostly AC joint sprains) since 2007. About two-thirds of these injuries did not result in any games missed, and based on current reports it seems likely Winston falls into this group. Typical recovery times are one to four weeks. With usual practice squad/third quarterback Ryan Griffin on injured reserve due to a shoulder injury of his own, the Buccaneers may work out free-agent quarterbacks this week in case insurance is required behind Fitzpatrick.

Broncos Quarterback Trevor Siemian -- Shoulder

Trevor Siemian became the third quarterback of the day to be knocked out of a game with an injured shoulder when he left in the second half of Sunday Night Football. Siemian's injury is believed to be an AC joint sprain on his left (non-throwing) shoulder, similar to the one he suffered last season. Though Siemian played through last year's injury, the four weeks following the Grade III sprain were four of his worst six games of the year. With Paxton Lynch also currently injured, Brock Osweiler is in line to start against the Chargers if Siemian is unable to play.

Receiver Emmanuel Sanders left Sunday's game with a sprained ankle. Ankle sprains are a bit worse for receivers than other positions. Nearly 70 percent cause players to miss games, and about 25 percent result in four or more games missed. Head coach Vance Joseph has confirmed that Sanders will miss at least Week 7's game against the Chargers, and may be absent for longer. Typical recovery times for receivers are between two and five weeks.

Tackle Menelik Watson suffered a recurrence of a nagging calf problem. Calf injuries aren't typically too severe for offensive linemen -- only about a third result in any games missed -- but the recurrent nature of the issue does raise some concerns. About 20 percent of injuries cause players to miss four or more games, but most players are back to full strength within four weeks.

Kick returner Isaiah McKenzie suffered an ankle injury, and will have an MRI scan taken today. No word is yet available on McKenzie.


The following players were removed from their respective games with concussion symptoms and enter the league protocol:

  • Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill
  • Chiefs halfback Charcandrick West
  • Dolphins center Mike Pouncey
  • Lions safety Glover Quin
  • Packers offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga
  • Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly
  • Ravens receiver Breshad Perriman
  • Ravens tight end Maxx Williams
  • Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr

Other Injuries

49ers defensive end Arik Armstead suffered a hand injury against Washington, with no details yet public on the injury's severity. As the 49ers are a West Coast team, any news will likely come later in the day.

Bears special teamers Sherrick McManis and Benny Cunningham both left with hamstring injuries and will have scans on those injuries today. McManis' injury sounds like the more severe of the pair, but no update is yet public for either.

Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson missed the second half of the team's victory over the Buccaneers when his existing quad injury tightened up. Quad injuries historically haven't been too bad for defensive backs. Only 30 percent of players with these injuries miss a game, and only 10 percent miss more than a month. Most are back to full strength in just a week or two. Defensive tackle Xavier Williams left the game with a knee injury, with an MRI scan scheduled to determine the injury's severity.

Chargers defensive tackle Corey Liuget left Sunday's game with a back injury, but the injury is believed to be minor.

Giants linebacker Calvin Munson left Sunday Night's upset win in Denver with a quad injury. The undrafted rookie will have a scan on the injured thigh today, with no update yet public.

Jaguars halfback Leonard Fournette suffered a minor ankle sprain and did not return to the game. He was, however, cleared to do so, but the coaching staff did not put him back in. Half of ankle sprains in running backs cause them to miss any games, but it seems likely Fournette falls into the other half. He will have tests on the ankle early this week, but is not expected to miss any further game time and should be back to full strength within a couple of weeks.

Panthers backup halfback Fozzy Whittaker suffered an ankle injury on Thursday night, and was spotted after the game on crutches with his foot in a protective boot. His injury is believed to be a high ankle sprain, which would typically keep him out for around two to four weeks.

Redskins defensive lineman Jonathan Allen suffered a Lisfranc foot sprain and will miss around a month. Cornerback Bashaud Breeland injured his hamstring. Hamstring injuries tend to be an issue for defensive backs, with about a third of injuries resulting in no missed games, a third in one or two absences, and the remaining third longer. Typical recovery times are between one and four weeks. Backup safety Stefan McClure left the game with a "knee/ankle" injury, which as with Lane Taylor typically means a high ankle sprain or related injury.

Steelers offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert aggravated his existing hamstring strain against the Chiefs, and will have an MRI scan on the injury today.

Texans offensive tackle Chris Clark suffered a calf strain, but expects to play in Week 7. As noted above, calf injuries aren't typically too severe for offensive linemen -- only about a third result in any games missed. Linebacker Dylan Cole injured his hamstring, and will have an MRI scan today.

In one final piece of long-awaited good news, Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has been cleared to return to practice following his horriffic knee injury of two summers ago. He now begins a three-week window in which he must be activated off the Reserve (Physically Unable to Perform) list, or to be placed on season-ending injured reserve.

Posted by: Andrew Potter on 16 Oct 2017

5 comments, Last at 18 Oct 2017, 7:00pm by Pen


by jtr :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 5:13pm

Steelers ILB Vince Williams injured a hip in the second half and wasn't able to return. As always with Pittsburgh, injury details are scarce until their Tuesday press conference.

by drillz :: Mon, 10/16/2017 - 8:40pm

This is the only time you'll ever see this written, but the best comparison for Rodgers might be Matt Leinart. Lol, hilarious

by Jerry :: Tue, 10/17/2017 - 3:43am

"Half of ankle sprains in running backs cause them to miss any games, but it seems likely Fournette falls into the other half."

And the usual praise for putting all of this together. Zach's recovery data is a nice addition.

by Mike B. In Va :: Tue, 10/17/2017 - 1:00pm

Indeed. A hand for Zach!