Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

23 Oct 2017

Injury Aftermath: Week 7

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.

Cardinals Quarterback Carson Palmer -- Arm

As if a brutally ineffective performance in London wasn't bad enough for the Cardinals, head coach Bruce Arians confirmed after the game that starting quarterback Carson Palmer suffered a broken arm and will miss approximately eight weeks. This will be the third time in his past four seasons that Palmer has missed at least one game due to injury, and the fifth time in his past seven. Despite the eight-week prognosis, our database gives some small-sample reason for optimism: Shaun Hill broke his left arm (the same as Palmer) in 2010 and also required surgery, but was back in just five weeks. Our database has no other record of a quarterback with a broken arm. Veteran backup Drew Stanton, who posted a respectable 4.2% DVOA in relief of Palmer during the 2014 season, is again expected to start during Palmer's absence.

The duration of Palmer's expected absence may have significant ramifications for other injured Cardinals players. Starting halfback David Johnson is already on injured reserve, but the team hopes to have him back around Thanksgiving. The Cardinals had also intended to use a return slot on fellow halfback T.J. Logan, who had the cast removed from his broken wrist last week. That means the Cardinals cannot place Palmer on injured reserve without having to end the season for one of these three long-term absentees.

Browns Left Tackle Joe Thomas -- Triceps (IR)

One of the most incredible ironman streaks in sports is over. Browns left tackle Joe Thomas missed his first snap in over ten seasons as a professional against Tennessee, and tests have now confirmed that he suffered a torn triceps and will require surgery. Though Adam Schefter reports that Thomas is "discussing his options," none of those options will allow for a return this season from an injury of that severity. Even a very quick three-month recovery would keep Thomas out until the middle of January, and Cleveland's final game of the season will undoubtedly be played on December 31. That's not all, however; NFL.com reports that Thomas is even considering whether to return at all. If Thomas getting injured was a surprise, his retirement would be a true shock. Second-year pro Spencer Drango took over Thomas' spot at left tackle against Tennessee, and will probably be given first shot at doing so for the rest of this year. Beyond that point, even Thomas himself isn't quite sure.

Colts Safety Malik Hooker -- Knee (IR)

Malik Hooker's promising rookie season is over, as the Colts first-round pick tore his ACL and MCL against Jacksonville. The injury will require surgery, but Hooker should be available for at least a portion of the team's offseason work and will almost certainly be ready for the start of next season. Though not a starter in Week 1, Hooker had only left the field for a single defensive snap from Week 2 until his injury in Week 7, contributing three interceptions. Week 1 starter Darius Butler is the favorite to replace him in the starting lineup.

Center Ryan Kelly left the game with a hamstring injury and did not return. The injury will be scanned by MRI, with scan results usually made public on Monday afternoon.

Dolphins Quarterback Jay Cutler -- Ribs

Jay Cutler reportedly suffered two cracked ribs against the Jets, and is expected to miss at least Miami's Thursday night game against the Baltimore Ravens. Quarterbacks have historically had more trouble coming back from rib injuries than other players. About 40 percent of rib injuries to quarterbacks cause multiple missed weeks, with 20 percent causing extended absences of four or more weeks. Typical recovery times (again, recovery means a return to usual workload and effectiveness rather than simply being back on the field) are two to six weeks. Matt Moore will start in Cutler's stead, and may have a chance to retain the starting job beyond Cutler's eventual return. To back up Moore in case Cutler cannot play, the team is expected to sign former Bears sixth-round pick David Fales.

Offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil left the game with a knee injury, but the team expects him to be fine. A scan will be taken today as a precaution. Defensive lineman Andre Branch suffered a groin injury and will likewise have an MRI scan taken today, with no update yet available for Branch.


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

  • 49ers offensive lineman Trent Brown
  • Colts cornerback Rashaan Melvin
  • Rams receiver Josh Reynolds
  • Ravens receiver Mike Wallace

Other Injuries

49ers linebacker Reuben Foster left the game with a rib injury and did not return. Kyle Shanahan stated after the game that Foster was cleared to return, but they kept him out to ensure his availability in Week 8. Our numbers concur: in contrast to quarterbacks, only about 25 percent of linebackers who suffer rib injuries miss a game. Typical recovery times are one to three weeks. Cornerback Rashard Robinson left with an abdominal injury, but that is also not believed to be serious.

Bears linebacker Roy Robertson-Harris suffered a hamstring injury on kick coverage and did not return. Robertson-Harris is a regular on Chicago's coverage teams, and also plays around 20 percent of defensive snaps.

Bengals linebacker Kevin Minter left Sunday's game with an elbow injury and was quickly downgraded to out. Although only 20 percent of elbow injuries to linebackers cause them to miss time, the few who do miss time often miss a lot of it. About half miss only a couple of weeks, but the other half are out for the rest of the year. Clearly, the scan results and news from the team will be key to assessing this injury. Receiver Cody Core left the game with a hip injury, but no news is yet public on the severity of that.

Bills cornerback E.J. Gaines left Sunday's game with a hamstring injury, and is more likely than not to miss the team's next game. Whether he misses time beyond that will probably be determined by the result of an MRI scan. Fellow defensive back Jordan Poyer suffered a knee injury on the final multi-lateral play, and no update is yet public for that.

Cardinals linebacker Karlos Dansby left Sunday's game briefly with a hand injury, but returned in the second quarter.

Chargers guard Matt Slauson left Sunday's game with a biceps injury. One report from a local radio host indicates that he may be done for the year, but it is from a relatively obscure source and we have not seen the report substantiated by anybody else. We will, of course, update this post if more news is forthcoming in either direction.

Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey is expected to miss "several weeks" with a groin strain on his kicking leg. Groin injuries are, as you might imagine, especially tough on kickers. Just over half of injuries cause kickers and punters to miss a game, and about a quarter cause them to miss major time (four-plus weeks). Typical recovery times are two to eight weeks. To Pat McAfee's undoubted disappointment, the team will sign a replacement this week.

Falcons rookie linebacker Duke Riley left Sunday's game after aggravating his existing knee injury and was replaced by Kemal Ishmael.

Giants linebacker B.J. Goodson suffered an ankle injury against the Seahawks and did not return. He was on crutches with his foot in a protective boot after the game, but no confirmed diagnosis is available. Lineman Justin Pugh suffered a back injury and did not return, while defensive end Kerry Wynn did return after hurting his knee. Safety Nat Berhe was evaluated for a concussion, but was cleared to return to the game.

Jaguars left tackle Cam Robinson suffered an ankle injury on the second offensive play of Sunday's blowout win in Indianapolis. Though Robinson was on crutches after the game with his foot in a protective boot, the preceding MRI scan showed no significant injury and he should be available as usual after the team's Week 8 bye.

Jets offensive tackle Brandon Shell suffered a neck injury against the Dolphins and did not return.

Panthers center Ryan Kalil aggravated the neck injury that had kept him out of the previous five games. The training staff will attempt to figure out how to proceed with Kalil during this week. Fellow lineman Trai Turner hurt his knee, but expects to be fine for the team's next game. Kicker Graham Gano has an unspecified injury, so the team is working out possible replacements this week in case Gano is unable to play.

Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower hurt his shoulder and defensive tackle Malcom Brown hurt his ankle against the Falcons, but no detailed injury news is ever forthcoming from the Patriots. Practice participation reports will be the only sign than anything further is amiss with either player.

Raiders cornerback David Amerson suffered a foot injury against the Chiefs on Thursday night and did not return to the game, but no diagnosis is yet public. As the Raiders have a longer than usual rest period, Amerson has a good chance to be available for the team's next game.

Rams center John Sullivan hurt his knee against the Cardinals, but the team's initial assessment is positive and he is not expected to miss any games.

Redskins offensive lineman Trent Williams was not hurt further this week, but this article details his ongoing battle to postpone knee surgery until the coming offseason. If nothing else, it serves as a painful reminder of the lengths to which NFL players will go in order to avoid missing games for their team.

Saints offensive guard Larry Warford is expected to miss several weeks with an abdominal injury, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

Seahawks running back C.J. Prosise left Sunday's game with a recurrence of his ankle injury. He has been battling this injury since Week 4, and aggravations are harder to make predictions about than new injuries. The fact that he could barely touch the field without it flaring up is bad news, though. About a quarter of ankle injuries to running backs cause them to miss more than four weeks, so another extended absence isn't out of the question for Prosise.

Steelers tight end Vance McDonald hurt his knee against the Bengals and was being evaluated after the game. Mike Tomlin usually provides injury updates at his midweek press briefing.

Titans tight end Delanie Walker suffered an ankle sprain against the Browns. No reports have indicated that this is anything other than a basic low ankle sprain, meaning Walker is expected to be available after the team's Week 8 bye.

Vikings offensive linemen Riley Reiff and Jeremiah Sirles left Sunday's win against the Ravens, but Mike Zimmer stated after the game that he did not believe either injury was anything serious.

Posted by: Andrew Potter on 23 Oct 2017

8 comments, Last at 28 Oct 2017, 7:52pm by LionInAZ


by NoraDaddy :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 12:51pm

After lasts night's game, Jason Peters and Jordan Hicks are both out for the season. Peters tore ACL/MCL, Hicks ruptured Achilles. Huge losses. It seemed that Washington O linemen were struggling all night with injuries but haven't seen any reports of anything serious.

by Andrew Potter :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 5:28pm

Ugh. There was some optimism last night that Peters was 'just' his MCL, and that his ACL was intact. Horrible, horrible blow for a terrific player. That means, incidentally, that two left tackles with NINETEEN Pro Bowls between them in the past ten seasons were lost for the year on the same weekend. The only time either didn't make a Pro Bowl in the past decade was the last time Peters missed the full season with injury (2012). Injuries suck.

by RickD :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 2:32pm

If I were Joe Thomas, I would not see anything the Browns were up to that would give me any incentive to return to play. What a waste of talent!

by Richie :: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 3:42pm

Supposedly, Thomas has previously asked not to be traded.


by LionInAZ :: Sat, 10/28/2017 - 7:52pm

All the worse. Some here have said that Andrew Luck should have fled Indy when he had the chance. Thomas is a better example. At least Indy is still a better contender than the Browns.

by PatsFan :: Wed, 10/25/2017 - 8:27pm

Boston media reporting that Hightower will miss the Chargers game and then some with his shoulder injury.

by DavidL :: Thu, 10/26/2017 - 9:07am

Now reporting that he's done for the year with a torn pectoral muscle. That is a brutal blow just as the Pats defense was finally getting somewhere.

by Andrew Potter :: Thu, 10/26/2017 - 9:19am

Yeah, the Globe reports he's done for the year. Same injury that cost Jerod Mayo most of the 2013 season.