With every snap comes the risk of injury in the NFL.
The NFL has taken steps to reduce the risk of injury, but unless the league turns these games into two-hand-touch affairs, players will inevitably get hurt. The athletes competing every weekend are fast, strong and competitive, and their collisions on the field are extremely violent.
Championships are won and lost based partly on which teams get hit hardest by the injury bug. Unfortunately, there were a few noteworthy injuries from the action in Week 3 that could have lasting implications.
The Oakland Raiders are one of the least talented teams in the NFL, but quarterback Terrelle Pryor has been a pleasant surprise.
Unfortunately, Pryor exited the Monday Night Football game against the Denver Broncos in the fourth quarter after getting hit hard.
After heading to the locker room for evaluations on a head injury, Pryor was announced to have suffered a concussion, as noted by Scott Bair of CSN Bay Area:
Official now. Terrelle has been formally diagnosed with a concussion. Tracy porter too. #raiders— Scott Bair (@BairCSN) September 24, 2013
If he's not able to play in Week 4 when the Raiders travel to face Washington, then Matt Flynn will likely get the nod.
Henry Melton was carted off the field on Sunday Night Football with a left knee injury.
On Monday, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported the stalwart defensive tackle had torn his ACL and would be out the rest of his season, via Melton's agent, Jordan Woy:
Henry Melton's agent, @JordanWoy, tweeted Henry Melton did indeed tear his ACL Sun night, ending the Bears DL's season— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) September 23, 2013
This injury is a huge blow to Chicago's defense. Melton is one of the league's best interior defensive linemen, and the Bears will not be the same without him in the lineup.
Cameron Wake is one of the NFL's best pass-rushers, and the Miami Dolphins will have a hard time pressuring opposing quarterbacks without him.
UPDATE: by Jesse Reed at 6:54 p.m. ET on Monday, Sept. 23
Wake suffered a strained MCL and is expected to miss 2-3 weeks while he recovers, as noted by Omar Kelly of the Sun Sentinel:
Sources say a series of tests Wake underwent on Monday revealed "a mild" medial collateral ligament sprain in his left knee. The injury won't require surgery, but will likely sideline him two to three weeks.
---End of Update---
Wake left the game on Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons with a knee injury, as noted by the Miami Dolphins, and he is questionable to return:
Cameron Wake has injured his knee. His return is questionable. #ATLvsMIA— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) September 22, 2013
ESPN's James Walker also noted that Wake didn't look happy or comfortable on the sidelines:
Dolphins DE Cameron Wake is off the bike and walking around on sidelines. He doesn't look happy or comfortable. His return is questionable.— James Walker (@JamesWalkerNFL) September 22, 2013
Dolphins fans are holding their collective breath here, as losing Wake for any amount of time would be a huge challenge for this burgeoning team.
Charles Tillman is one of the NFL's best at creating turnovers, but he exited the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night.
As noted by NFL Injury News, Tillman suffered a groin injury and was held out as a precaution:
Groin injuries can be tricky and are easily aggravated. There's a good chance Tillman will be held out of practice or limited this next week while he recovers.
The Daryl Richardson experiment in St. Louis hasn't gone according to plan.
He's been hampered by a foot injury, and he reportedly aggravated the injury after two snaps in Sunday's game against the Dallas Cowboys, as noted by ESPN's Nick Wagoner:
Rams RB Daryl Richardson played two snaps before aggravating foot injury yesterday. Pead played 42, Cunningham got 22.— Nick Wagoner (@nwagoner) September 23, 2013
Through three games, Richardson has rushed for just 98 yards on 30 carries, adding another 78 yards on 10 receptions. At this point, his status for Week 4 is unknown.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will struggle to get offensive production without Vincent Jackson in the lineup.
UPDATE: by Jesse Reed at 3:30 p.m. ET on Monday, Sept. 23
After leaving the game on Sunday with injured ribs, Jackson was undergoing a "full battery of tests" on Monday, as noted by Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, who added that it was too early to tell how severe his injury is at this time:
#Bucs WR Vincent Jackson, who left Sunday with a rib injury, is undergoing a full battery of tests this morning. Too early to know severity.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 23, 2013
---End of Update---
The star receiver left the game against the New England Patriots after suffering a rib injury, as noted by Pro Football Talk on Twitter:
Vincent Jackson exits with rib injury http://t.co/MgVU4pLbYU— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) September 22, 2013
He was listed as questionable, but Michael David Smith of PFT noted in his report that the receiver wouldn't likely return to the game.
Clay Matthews is the heart and soul of Green Bay's defense, so losing him for any amount of time could be costly for the Packers.
UPDATE: by Jesse Reed at 3:10 p.m. ET on Monday, Sept. 23
After leaving the game against the Cincinnati Bengals with a hamstring injury, Matthews told reporters that he was sat for precautionary reasons and that he didn't foresee missing any time, as noted by Weston Hodkiewicz of the Green Bay Press-Gazette:
I’ll be good. I think today was more of a preventive measure than anything. I felt like I could go back out there, but we have to be smart, especially going into a bye week. I don’t see myself missing any time. We have Detroit coming back and I’ll be out there.
The Packers have a bye in Week 4, so as long as his injury isn't too severe, there's a good chance Matthews will be ready to roll for the team's next contest.
---End of Update---
Matthews left the team's game against the Cincinnati Bengals after suffering a hamstring injury, as noted by the Packers, and he was questionable to return:
Clay Matthews has a hamstring injury, not in this series. His return is questionable. #GBvsCIN— Green Bay Packers (@packers) September 22, 2013
Matthews has been an absolute terror off the edge for the Packers this year, and he'll be missed if he can't play in Week 5.
The Buffalo Bills need C.J. Spiller to stay healthy this year in order to stay competitive, but to this point in the season he's struggled to stay on the field.
UPDATE: by Jesse Reed at 3:33 p.m. ET on Monday, Sept. 23
After leaving the game on Sunday with a knee injury, Spiller told reporters his knee is a little sore but that he expects to play in Week 4, as noted by WGR550's Joe Buscaglia:
CJ Spiller says his knee is feeling a little sore but he doesn't anticipate missing this week vs Baltimore. #Bills— Joe Buscaglia (@JoeBuscaglia) September 23, 2013
---End of Update---
During the game against the New York Jets, Spiller injured his knee, and the team announced he would not be returning to action, as noted by Mike Rodak of ESPN.com:
Spiller is OUT for the remainder of the game with a knee injury, team announces.— Mike Rodak (@mikerodak) September 22, 2013
With Spiller out, veteran Fred Jackson will be pressed into duty as the team's featured back. He's capable of carrying the load, but he has battled injury concerns of his own the past few years and isn't as fast as he used to be.
One week after registering 4.5 sacks against Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers, Mario Williams barely played in the fourth quarter against the New York Jets.
After the game, it was revealed that Williams was undergoing treatment, as noted by ESPN.com's Mike Rodak, but the nature of his injury was not disclosed:
Head coach Doug Marrone told reporters that he saw trainers working on Williams but had yet to speak to the medical staff, adding that coaches were discussing using Jamaal Westerman in that role late in the game. About an hour after the game, with every locker empty except for Williams', a team spokesperson said Williams was undergoing treatment and would not have time for comment.
On Monday, head coach Doug Marrone told reporters he expected Williams to be fine for Week 4, as noted by WGR550's Joe Buscaglia:
Marrone said CJ Spiller, Mario Williams, Marcell Dareus and Stevie Johnson "should be fine" for this Sunday. #Bills— Joe Buscaglia (@JoeBuscaglia) September 23, 2013
The San Francisco 49ers feature one of the league's best defenses with Patrick Willis leading the charge.
But the All-Pro linebacker was forced out of the game against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday with a groin injury, as reported by Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee, who also notes he might be out for Week 4:
Groin pains: Patrick Willis out vs. Colts, status for Rams game also will be in doubt ... http://t.co/PvwOMtzg4L— Matt Barrows (@mattbarrows) September 22, 2013
Jim Harbaugh's 49ers have some serious challenges ahead of them—especially if Willis is out for an extended period of time.
Houston Texans wide receier Andre Johnson has had a rough start to the 2013 NFL season. After suffering a concussion in Week 2, the All-Pro receiver exited the game against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 3.
UPDATE: by Jesse Reed at 5:17 p.m. ET on Sunday, Sept. 22
X-rays on Andre Johnson's leg came back negative, and the receiver is dealing with a "shin bruise," as noted by Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle:
#Texans' Andre Johnson has shin bruise. X-rays negative, Kubiak said.— Brian T. Smith (@ChronBrianSmith) September 22, 2013
---End of Update---
Matt Zenitz of the Associated Press noted that Johnson "appears to be having a problem with his right ankle," and Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle reported the receiver wasn't on the field as he dealt with "what appears to be a sprain":
Andre Johnson appears to be having a problem with his right ankle. Came up gimpy earlier in the quarter— Matt Zenitz (@mzenitz) September 22, 2013
Johnson made an attempt to play in the third quarter but quickly returned to the sideline, where he stayed for the rest of the game.
The Green Bay Packers were already paper thin at the running back position before Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Then James Starks went down with a knee injury, as noted by ESPN's John Clayton, and he was questionable to return:
Packers could be out another running back. James Starks is questionable for his return because of knee injury. They are down to J. Franklin— John Clayton (@ClaytonESPN) September 22, 2013
Thankfully, rookie Johnathan Franklin was available, and he made his presence known quickly with a touchdown run in the third quarter. Starks did not return to action.
Miles Austin has battled injuries the past couple of seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, and he suffered another one this Sunday against the St. Louis Rams.
As noted by Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com, Austin exited the game with a hamstring injury and was questionable to return:
Miles Austin has a hamstring injury. Return is officially questionable, which means don't hold your breath.— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) September 22, 2013
If Austin's injury lingers, then rookie Terrance Williams could be pressed into duty in Week 4.
Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith is one of the toughest players in the NFL, and he showed his legendary toughness once again in Week 3.
Going deep down the field while attempting to reel in a pass from Cam Newton, Smith landed hard on his hip, as noted by NFL: AroundTheLeague:
Steve Smith down on the field in Carolina. Could be hip injury. #NYGvsCAR— NFL: AroundTheLeague (@NFL_ATL) September 22, 2013
In obvious pain, Smith was able to walk off the field under his own power, but it looked like he might not be able to return. But the indomitable receiver willed himself back onto the field, as noted by the Panthers:
Steve Smith is back on the field. #KeepPounding— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) September 22, 2013
Even if he's playing hurt, Smith is a dangerous player, but this is an injury worth keeping an eye on going forward.
The Green Bay Packers are loaded with offensive weapons, but losing a key player like tight end Jermichael Finley could be problematic.
Finley left the team's game against the Cincinnati Bengals in the first quarter with what looked like a head injury. As noted by Michael Fabiano of NFL Network, he walked off the field under his own power and headed back into the locker room to be checked out for a possible concussion, and he would not return to the game after the injury was confirmed:
Jermichael Finley walked off the field under his own power. Went to the locker room. Possible concussion.— Michael Fabiano (@Michael_Fabiano) September 22, 2013
Jermichael FInley has been ruled out for the rest of the afternoon. Concussion.— Michael Fabiano (@Michael_Fabiano) September 22, 2013
The Packers will have to be creative on offense. Finley's ability to stretch defenses vertically in the middle of the field will be sorely missed for as long as he's out.
The New York Giants were already struggling to run the ball this season before Week 3, and losing a key member of their rushing attack would be catastrophic.
Fullback Henry Hynoski left the game against the Carolina Panthers with a shoulder injury. He went back into the locker room for X-rays and is questionable to return, as noted by Dan Graziano of ESPN, and the team later announced he'd be out for the game:
Giants announce that fullback Henry Hynoski is having X rays on his shoulder and his return is questionable.— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) September 22, 2013
Hynoski is a punishing lead blocker and the team's only true battering ram. If he's not able to return, then the Giants will be hard-pressed to move the ball on the ground.