NFL Preseason Week 3: Small Injuries That Will Have Big Effect

Marcel DavisCorrespondent IAugust 20, 2013

Blaine Gabbert's thumb injury, while seemingly minor, could alter Jacksonville's long-term outlook.
Blaine Gabbert's thumb injury, while seemingly minor, could alter Jacksonville's long-term outlook.Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

While EJ Manuel, Blaine Gabbert and Victor Cruz left last week’s NFL preseason games unscathed from season-ending injuries, the impact of their seemingly minor injuries could have serious long-term implications.

With that said, let’s examine the impact of the aforementioned players’ injuries on their respective teams.

(Injuries noted by


Buffalo Bills QB EJ Manuel (Knee-Out for Preseason)

After undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery, Manuel will be out for the next two to four weeks.

Prior to injury, Manuel was doing a solid, if not spectacular, job at orchestrating the Bills’ offense thus far. In his two games of preseason action, Manuel was 26 of 33 for 199 yards and two touchdowns.

Furthermore, even though head coach Doug Marrone hasn’t ruled out Manuel as the Week 1 starter against the New England Patriots, chances are that Marrone errs on the side of caution and tags Kevin Kolb as starter.

If Manuel were healthy, he could’ve taken his lumps early on during Buffalo’s tough six-game stretch to open the season and then feasted against the eight non-playoff teams that make up the Bills’ remaining 10 games after acclimating to the NFL.

Now, with the enigmatic Kolb at the helm, any chance of Buffalo going on such a late-season run goes out the window.


Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blaine Gabbert (Thumb-Out for Preseason)

With career numbers of 3,876 passing yards, 21 touchdowns and 17 interceptions, injury was the last thing that Gabbert needed.

While Gabbert’s fractured thumb doesn’t require surgery, you have to wonder if it will linger and affect his performance going forward.

As the accompanying video states, the 2013 season was going to be make or break for Gabbert.

Now, with his injury, Jacksonville may have a hard time giving up on Gabbert in the event he struggles.

This would place Jacksonville in a state of limbo. Do they cut bait with a quarterback who—due to injury— they haven’t had an adequate chance to evaluate, or give him another chance and bypass other options?

There’s no easy answer, but a wrong decision would be franchise altering.


New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (Heel- Out for Preseason)

While Cruz's heel injury has not been deemed serious, it's the type of injury that could linger throughout the season.

With Cruz already having the pressure to live up to his massive contract, chances are that he will do everything in his power to play, even at less than 100 percent.

After saying goodbye to Ahmad Bradshaw, the Giants will be heavily dependent on Hakeem Nicks and Cruz to make plays for Eli Manning.

Since Nicks is constantly injured, the Giants offense can't afford a drop in production from the reliable Cruz.

Playing in the ultra-competitive NFC East, New York can’t afford to put itself in an early hole.

Seeing that they open the season against the offensive-minded Dallas Cowboys and Denver Broncos, with a gimpy Cruz, the Giants may find themselves in just that.


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