The six-week win streak is over, but a 23-11-1 winning record for the season remains. Admittedly, the injury mismatches this week are less prominent than usual, but good teams find a way to win despite injuries and that is what the Packers and 49ers have done. At least our feature game was true to form with some healthier defenses and an injury-riddled Cowboys offensive line giving up six sacks and six tackles for loss, leading to an easy under in a season of overs.
Here are the top 10 injury concerns coming out of NFL Sunday.
1) Odell Beckham, Jr – Because of the limited video, there’s no way to be sure of the Beckham injury. There were also different injury reports. Some cited the ankle and others the knee. In-game frame by frame video analysis leads us to believe that he may have sustained a significant ACL injury. Major media insiders also remain worried, but the Browns have reported only that they can’t yet determine the extent of the injury and await imaging. In my 17 years as a NFL team physician, I always knew based on a physical exam if the ACL was torn. An MRI merely confirmed the diagnosis. So let’s hope Beckham can dodge this injury bullet given the uncertainty.
2) Chris Carson – The running back was the intended target on the Budda Baker interception and D.K. Metcalf chase down. The TV broadcast followed the ball, so there was not clear video of Carson’s foot injury. He stayed on the sideline with an apparent midfoot injury that is likely a Lisfranc sprain. The severity is yet to be determined. It appears to be a milder variety but even that can mean a multi-week absence.
3) Kenyan Drake – The Cardinals running back was carted off late in the game with an ankle injury. The crowd at the line of scrimmage had hidden his body from view, so we were able to see very little. The visual of the cart and the “towel over his head” makes the injury seem grim, but we should never judge an injury based on reaction rather than the mechanism of injury. We still await further details.
4) Deebo Samuel – The 49ers WR has finally gotten fully healthy from a fifth offseason metatarsal fracture surgery, but now he has suffered a late game hamstring strain while running. He will end up missing at least the next game versus the rival Seahawks and likely more, but look for a late November return.
5) Jeff Wilson, Jr – The 49ers running back suffered what appears to be a high left ankle sprain as he scored his third TD of the day. The team is already down Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman, so losing Wilson further depletes the team’s offense. Jerick McKinnon is still not 100% from his two-year knee injury, so it looks like JaMycal Hasty time in San Francisco.
6) Andy Dalton – The Cowboys back up QB suffered a concussion after a slide. The late hit and blow to the head were egregious enough to warrant ejection. Expect fine and/or suspension to come. As brutal as it looked, the severity of the hit will not determine when he can return. Symptoms make that call. In all likelihood, Dalton misses next week versus the Eagles, but that is not a guarantee yet.
7) Diontae Johnson – The Steelers WR had just returned from a back injury when he had to leave late in the game with an ankle injury. According to video, this does not appear to be severe. His foot is trapped and forced into plantarflexion, but this is not the dreaded high ankle sprain. Expect some soreness and a capsular sprain. Post-game, Johnson called it a bruise. He may miss some practice time, but I expect him to be available as his undefeated team takes on the Ravens next week.
8) Landon Collins – Even with two wins, Washington is only a half game behind the Eagles in the NFC East. Washington also holds the tiebreaker. If they do go on to win the NFC East, they will do so without their star safety. The club ruled him out with ankle injury. Based on the video, Collins suffered a season-ending Achilles tendon tear and will need surgery.
9) Bengals O-line – Jonah Williams left with a neck injury, and Trey Hopkins suffered a concussion. Offensive linemen seem to be the most injured position group this season, and now the Bengals are down two key starters. The question is for how long.
10) Phillip Lindsay – The Broncos RB was off to a great start yesterday. He was the lead ball carrier when he took a hit to the side of the head just before halftime. He was ruled out for the rest of the game. He has a chance to return next week, but in the meantime, the team likely turns back to Melvin Gordon as the No. 1 RB.
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