Last weekend's injury rampage left more than a few NFL teams scrambling for answers heading into the second half of the season. Season-ending injuries to star players can derail playoff hopes quicker than just about anything else in the league.
There were a few noteworthy injuries suffered in Week 8 too, but thankfully the tally isn't nearly as devastating as the one we saw a week ago.
Here's a look at the marquee players who were banged up this week, along with the latest updates on their statuses.
Rams running back Zac Stacy was in the midst of a breakout performance, but left the game Monday night with a sprained ankle.
Per head coach Jeff Fisher, his ankle was sprained right before the final possession:
Just after the game, Fox Sports' Mike Garafolo reported Stacy was going in for X-rays:
Zac Stacy, who left the game late, going for X-rays.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) October 29, 2013
Fisher needed Stacy late in the game, as the Rams got to the goal line in the final seconds and needed to score. Without big back Stacy, Kellen Clemens opted to throw an incomplete pass to end the game.
Stacy finished with a notable 26 carries for 134 yards.
The Seattle Seahawks were held in the check during the first half of their Monday Night Football divisional affair with the St. Louis Rams.
Seattle also lost one of its main contributors in the aerial assault led by Russell Wilson when receiver Sidney Rice left the contest with a knee injury. The Seahawks' official Twitter account quickly confirmed Rice would miss the rest of the game:
Sidney Rice has a knee injury and his return is doubtful. #SEAvsSTL— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) October 29, 2013
Rice was held without a catch before leaving the game. On the year, he had caught 15 receptions for 231 yards and three touchdowns for an offense in dire need of Percy Harvin.
With Rice sidelined, the contributions of fourth-year receiver Golden Tate are critical for Seattle's offense.
Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III was held out of the final minutes of Sunday's game against the Denver Broncos after getting hammered to the turf while throwing his second interception of the game.
UPDATE: Oct. 28 at 11:55 a.m. ET by Rob Goldberg
While the original injury looked scary, it appears as though Griffin will be just fine going forward. Mike Jones of the Washington Post quotes the quarterback after the game:
The knee feels fine. I’m not sure which D-tackle it was. I think it was Knighton, who came in and landed all 300-plus pounds of himself on my leg and I think it really just scared me. After the docs checked me, I was fine and ready to go back in the game. I talked with Mike and Kirk was out there already, and we just thought it was smart to keep me off the field and just be ready to go next week.
---End of Update---
As noted by Albert Breer of NFL.com, he was seen being looked at by trainers, who were checking out his left knee, which isn't the same as the one he injured last season:
Robert Griffin III on the trainer's table, getting his left knee checked out.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) October 27, 2013
Griffin III made an attempt to get back into the game after the Redskins picked off Payton Manning with just over four minutes remaining in regulation. However, the game was already out of hand in favor of Denver, and the Redskins weren't going to take any chances with Griffin III's health.
Despite suffering the injury, CSN Washington reports that RG3 feels, "Fine."
We'll see just how fine Griffin III is once Week 9 rolls around.
Julius Thomas has become one of the NFL's best tight ends in a short period of time, playing alongside Peyton Manning, but he was forced to leave Sunday's game in the second half against the Washington Redskins.
As noted by the Broncos on Twitter, he was listed as questionable to return to the game, but he never did make it back onto the field:
TE Julius Thomas has an ankle injury. His return is questionable. #WASvsDEN— Denver Broncos (@DenverBroncos) October 27, 2013
Mike Klis of the Denver Post pointed out that Thomas has been plagued with injuries before of a serious nature:
TE Julius Thomas has ankle injury. Return questionable. He's had serious ankle issues before. Two years worth.— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) October 27, 2013
Joan Niesen of The Denver Post reports that Thomas suffered an ankle sprain:
As far as an injury update, Fox didn't say much, but he did specify that Julius Thomas has an ankle sprain.— Joan Niesen (@JoanNiesen) October 28, 2013
Vic Lombardi of CBS4 Denver reports that Thomas will undergo an MRI on his leg, ankle and foot.
Julius Thomas will undergo an MRI on his ankle/leg/foot tomorrow. Did not see him in the locker room after the game.— Vic Lombardi (@VicLombardi) October 28, 2013
This development bears watching for fans and fantasy owners alike. If Thomas misses any time, then adjustments will need to be made by Denver and by owners in fantasy leagues across the nation.
After losing Rey Maualuga earlier in Sunday's game against the New York Jets, the Cincinnati Bengals lost another defender when safety Taylor Mays left the game with a shoulder injury.
Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer noted it was his right shoulder that was injured and relayed Mays was ruled out for the rest of the game:
Mays with right shoulder injury. Out for rest of the game— Joe Reedy (@joereedy) October 27, 2013
Mays is a backup safety for Cincinnati who makes his living as a special teams star. He has starting experience at the safety position, however, and he is a valuable player for the Bengals.
Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Rey Maualuga exited Sunday's game against the New York Jets with a head injury in the first half.
As noted by the Bengals on Twitter, he was ruled out of the rest of the game:
Bleacher Report's Dave Siebert took a look at a GIF of the hit that sent Maualuga to the sideline and noted he was clearly knocked out on the play:
GIF of Rey Maualuga being hit clearly shows he was knocked out, meaning a concussion, as team just announced. Best wishes to his recovery.— Dave Siebert, M.D. (@DaveMSiebert) October 27, 2013
Concussions are always scary, and you can be sure Cincinnati will be cautious about rushing its star linebacker back into action. Fortunately, Maualuga has tweeted that, "Everything will be OK."
Everything will be ok. Im good. Thank you all! Who Dey!— Rey Maualuga (@maualuga58) October 27, 2013
It's good to see Maualuga in good spirits after such a serious offense.
The Denver Broncos have struggled to stop opposing teams from making big plays through the air this season, and the team will have an even harder time after safety Duke Ihenacho was hurt on Sunday at home against the Washington Redskins.
As noted by NFL: AroundTheLeague, his leg was twisted awkwardly on a play in the first half. He struggled to put weight on the leg, but he was able to walk back into the locker room, as noted by ESPN's Cecil Lammey:
Broncos safety Duke Ihenacho had his leg twisted akwardly, couldn't put weight on it. Helped off the field.— NFL: AroundTheLeague (@NFL_ATL) October 27, 2013
Lindsay Jones of USA TODAY Sports reports that Ihenacho left in a walking boot.
#Broncos safety Duke Ihenacho in a walking boot leaving Mile High tonight.— Lindsay Jones (@bylindsayhjones) October 28, 2013
It's no surprise that the Redskins were able to drive down the field and score a touchdown right before halftime as soon as Ihenacho left the game. He's an invaluable member of Denver's defense, and the team will struggle to replace him if he misses much time.
One of the top offensive weapons for the Miami Dolphins is likely out for the season.
Wide receiver Brandon Gibson caught a touchdown pass on Miami's first offensive possession, but he exited the game before halftime with what is believed to be a torn patellar tendon—likely a season-ending injury, as noted by Albert Breer of NFL.com:
Dolphins WR Brandon Gibson's injury believed to be a torn patella tendon.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) October 27, 2013
Per source, the initial diagnosis for Dolphins WR Brandon Gibson is that his knee injury is likely season-ending.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) October 27, 2013
Gibson has caught 30 passes this year—three of which have gone for scores. He'll be sorely missed when Miami has the ball on offense, no matter how long he's out.
As if New England's offensive struggles weren't difficult enough to overcome already, now the Patriots have lost one of their key offensive linemen.
Vollmer went down in the first half of Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins with a nasty-looking leg injury that left him screaming on the field, as noted by Trey Wingo of ESPN's NFL Live:
You could hear the screams from Vollmer as the play was ending.. brutal— trey wingo (@wingoz) October 27, 2013
Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald reported Vollmer was carted off the field and that his injured leg was put into an inflatable bag:
Cart on the field for Vollmer, who is getting his right leg put in an inflatable bag.— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) October 27, 2013
New England's depth at the offensive line positions will certainly be tested in light of this development.
It appears Michael Vick attempted to come back from his hamstring injury before his body was ready.
UPDATE: Oct. 28 at 12:08 p.m. ET by Rob Goldberg
Vick could not stay in the game long in his return to action, and it now appears that he will be out longer.
After the game, he told Phil Sheridan of ESPN, "I felt the same feeling that I had the first time. I don't think it's as bad, but it did pop again. ... I've never had a hamstring injury this bad."
Head coach Chip Kelly stated that the quarterback is unlikely to be able to play in Week 9 either, via Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer:
Chip said on WIP that Barkley is healthy, doesn't think Vick will be ready to go for Sunday, and needs to see where Foles' status is.— Zach Berman (@ZBerm) October 28, 2013
---End of Update---
Vick left Sunday's game against the New York Giants in the second quarter and was ruled questionable to return with his hamstring injury, as noted by Eagles Insider:
Michael Vick's return is questionable w/a hamstring injury. Chris Polk's return is probable with a shoulder injury— Eagles Insider (@EaglesInsider) October 27, 2013
Vick was ineffective before getting pulled in favor of Matt Barkley. He threw a horrible interception early and fumbled the ball before leaving the field of play, and the Eagles really struggled to move the ball while he was in the game.
Detroit Lions defensive end Ezekiel Ansah is one of the NFL's most exciting rookies, but he wasn't able to finish Sunday's game against the Dallas Cowboys.
As noted by the Lions' Tim Twentyman, Ansah suffered an ankle injury in the first half and was listed as questionable to return:
Ziggy Ansah is questionable to return with an ankle injury. #DALvsDET— Tim Twentyman (@ttwentyman) October 27, 2013
After a trip to the locker room, Ansah came back to the team's sideline without a helmet and looked uncomfortable when testing his ankle, as Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reported from the stadium:
Ansah just came out of the locker room, no helmet. It would appear his day is done.— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) October 27, 2013
Ziggy trying to cut on his ankle on the sideline now. Doesn't look comfortable.— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) October 27, 2013
Ansah has already recorded three sacks and two forced fumbles for the Lions this season, and his presence will be missed on the perimeter of Detroit's defense for as long as he's out of action.
Locked in a tough battle with the Detroit Lions in Week 8, the Dallas Cowboys are finishing the game without cornerback Morris Claiborne.
Claiborne suffered a hamstring injury and was ruled questionable to return, as Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News noted:
CB Mo Claiborne has a hamstring injury. His return for the Cowboys is questionable.— Tom Orsborn (@tom_orsborn) October 27, 2013
Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News reported the cornerback on the sideline without a helmet, noting he didn't expect to see Claiborne return to action:
Looks like Cowboys CB Morris Claiborne is done for today with a hamstring injury. He's standing on the sideline with no helmet nearby.— Brandon George (@DMN_George) October 27, 2013
Claiborne is a key defender for Dallas. His ability to re-direct receivers at the line of scrimmage in man coverage, combined with his skills as a zone defender, allow the Cowboys to attack opposing offenses a number of different ways.
A rough season keeps getting worse for the Minnesota Vikings. Starting safety Jamarca Sanford had been averaging more than seven tackles per game, but came up with a groin injury against the Green Bay Packers.
Sanford was listed questionable to return at the time of the injury:
TAFOYA: Jamarca Sanford questionable to return with a groin injury. He's doing some running on the sideline now— SNF on NBC (@SNFonNBC) October 28, 2013
Minnesota entered Week 9 with the No. 29 pass defense in the NFL. To lose a starter would do nothing but hurts its odds of improving.