Monday Injury Debriefing

DeMarco Murray, Matt Forte, Antonio Brown and Miles Austin all performed better than I expected yesterday. That’s an excellent sign for their effectiveness in coming weeks. Murray and Forte both got off to a tentative start, but clearly trusted their health as their games progressed and were trusted with their pre-injury workloads.

There is still confusion throughout the national and local media about how ready to return Ben Roethlisberger may be. Though his injury has been covered on a minute-to-minute basis, it’s still unclear whether Roethlisberger’s rib was broken, subluxed or dislocated and just how much activity he’d been cleared for last week. I’ve speculated on both issues over the past few weeks myself and I’m not surprised that Roethlisberger is still rehabbing the injury. Now three weeks after the injury, he may be far enough along in the healing process to throw the ball comfortably and gain clearance for contact. But it’s still too soon to buy into any report that he’s sure to play this week unless and until he practices without restrictions.


Could the Packers be without Jordy Nelson this week?
Photo by Mike Morbeck

Jordy Nelson strained a hamstring muscle yesterday. The Packers haven’t given any specifics on the injury, but it looked to be to Nelson’s right leg. Now over a month removed from his previous hamstring strain and outside the usual 7-14 day high risk period for re-aggravation, it’s too difficult to say whether this injury is related (or even to the same leg). Nelson was very frustrated when he left the field, however, and that’s often a worrisome sign. That’s just speculation, however. Nelson will likely have an MRI today and Mike McCarthy’s comments and Nelson’s practice participation will give us more information as the week progresses.

The news on Percy Harvin continues to be worrisome. He was reportedly again “not close” to returning yesterday. Harvin’s description of his injury suggested at least one high grade ligament sprain and his slow return to play has been consistent with that. Depending on location and quickness of healing, those injuries usually fit into a 3-6 week timetable. It’s looking more and more like Harvin’s multi-ligament sprain could cost him at least another week. If he’s not practicing comfortably by mid-week, we may not see him return to full form until Week 16.

Sidney Rice says he was not diagnosed with a concussion and that he’s already been cleared for next week. I find that very difficult to believe. Rice’s appearance immediately after the hit and after getting up and walking off the field certainly looked worrisome for a head injury. With Rice’s history of concussions, I think it’s unlikely that the medical staff would have cleared him so quickly – even if any immediate symptoms had resolved within minutes. I doubt we’ve heard the end of this situation this week.

The Lions are reportedly concerned about the knee injury sustained by Ryan Broyles early in yesterday’s game. Television angles showed a hit to the front and inside of the leg. That mechanism raises the possibility of ACL and/or MCL injuries, among other less severe possibilities. Broyles will have an MRI today. If it’s a relatively minor injury, we’re not likely to hear any specifics from Jim Schwartz.

Darren McFadden was reportedly close to playing this week, but the sloppy field conditions and looming Thursday night game gave the Raiders two good reasons to hold him out one more game. If McFadden gets in a full practice or two this week, he could see the same workload in his first game back that Murray did in returning from his prolonged absence.

LeSean McCoy and Michael Vick continue to experience delays as they rehab from their concussions. McCoy has yet to be cleared for strenuous exercise, but reports suggest that nearly all of his symptoms have resolved. His playing status is still difficult to define, but there are more positive signs than last week. Vick has yet to pass his ImPACT test. Specifically, he’s reportedly having difficulty with eye-tracking, which is one of the measures evaluated by the ImPACT test. It’s also something that can be specifically rehabbed by specialists. His progress will be re-evaluated this week.

Stevie Johnson has a hamstring strain and will be re-evaluated early this week. Terrell Suggs will have more tests on his injured biceps today. Though there was some optimism in the locker room, a torn biceps muscle would be another devastating tendon injury for Suggs this year. Brandon LaFell sprained his foot and will be re-evaluated today. The Panthers had no specific information on him after the game, but it’s a potentially serious injury. Cecil Shorts and Rashad Jennings have concussions and will be evaluated per protocol this week. Donald Brown has an ankle injury. Television replays weren’t conclusive on the mechanism. Julian Edelman has a foot injury and was on crutches after the game. Dustin Keller has a syndesmotic (high ankle) sprain and will likely miss multiple games. Ike Taylor may have a broken fibula. Reports are that he could miss between 2-6 weeks. If he has a fracture, it’ll be closer to six weeks, and possibly longer.

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