Recapping the Biggest Injuries from Week 13's NFL Sunday
While a handful of players did go down, show-stopping hits and stretchers did not dominate the headlines as in weeks past for the most part.
Unfortunately, despite the overall safety of the day, a few teams did lose key players on Sunday.
To get a sense of what's next for injured players like Branden Albert of the Chiefs and Christian Ponder of the Vikings, let's glance at the biggest injuries from Sunday's action.
Note: The author's review of injuries from the NFL's Thanksgiving's games can be found here.
Branden Albert, OT, Kansas City Chiefs (Knee)
Branden Albert suffered one of the most visually disturbing injuries of the day during the Chiefs' contest against the Denver Broncos.
A GIF courtesy of @gifdsports shows just how bad it looked.
The replay shows Albert spinning to his left and planting his left foot on the ground, causing his knee to hyperextend. He initially could not place any weight on his left leg and needed a motorized cart to leave the field.
Knee hyperextensions can threaten the ACL if the tibia—or shin bone—slips forward significantly relative to the femur or thigh bone. Other ligaments such as the LCL can also suffer damage.
Nevertheless, Terez A. Paylor of The Kansas City Star tweeted Monday that, according to head coach Andy Reid, Albert is in a "day-to-day" situation. It appears he avoided a catastrophic knee injury, as many feared. His recovery will depend on whatever underlying ligament damage exists, and it can range from no missed time on up.
Clint Boling, OG, Cincinnati Bengals (Knee)
Cincinnati Bengals guard Clint Boling received the most devastating diagnosis of the day.
Monday afternoon, Fox Sports Ohio's Kevin Goheen tweeted that coach Marvin Lewis announced doctors diagnosed Boling with an ACL tear.
An ACL tear ends the lineman's season. He will also surely undergo surgery to reconstruct the torn ligament.
A very unscientific survey of recent ACL recovery times comes up with an average of 10 months or so. In other words, Boling's injury may end up threatening the beginning of his 2014 season, as well.
Christian Ponder, QB, Minnesota Vikings (Concussion)
Pro Football Talk's Mike Wilkening announced Christian Ponder's concussion early Sunday afternoon after Ponder was hit in the first half against the Chicago Bears. Matt Cassel filled in, leading the Vikings to a 23-20 overtime victory.
Ponder must complete the NFL's concussion return-to-play protocol before he can return to action.
According to the policy, he needs to cognitively and physically rest until his concussion symptoms—such as any headache, nausea and confusion—are resolved.
He can then begin a series of exercise tests designed to ascertain the resolution of his concussion. Ponder must complete four tests—light activity, heavier activity, non-contact practice and full-contact practice—without his symptoms returning, and he can only complete a maximum of two steps per day.
Any recurrence of his symptoms will mandate further rest, thereby lengthening the process and his recovery.
Ponder also needs the blessing of an independent neurological consultant before taking the field again.
Darrelle Revis, CB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Chest, Shoulder)
According to Pro Football Talk's Darin Gantt, Darrelle Revis left the Buccaneers' loss to the Carolina Panthers with chest and shoulder injuries.
Details remain scarce and multiple possibilities exist.
A sternoclavicular (SC) joint injury—or a sprain of the joint where the collarbone meets the sternum or breastbone—is high on the list of what may have happened, as are a rib fracture or dislocation. An acromioclavicular (AC) joint sprain—or an injury to the junction of the collarbone and the shoulder blade—is also possible.
Revis likely underwent X-rays on Sunday. If they indicated further damage, he may also receive an MRI or CT scan in the coming days.
Joe Staley, OL, San Francisco 49ers (Knee)
ESPN.com's Bill Williamson reported on Sunday that doctors believe Joe Staley of the 49ers suffered a left MCL sprain against the St. Louis Rams. He will undergo an MRI to determine the exact extent of the damage.
The MCL—or medial collateral ligament—runs from the femur to the tibia across the inside of the knee joint. A grade-one sprain constitutes over-stretching and microscopic tearing while maintaining the overall structure of the ligament.
A grade-two sprain is a partial ligament tear, while a grade-three injury implies a complete rupture.
Grade-one sprains usually require only a week or two of rest before an athlete can return to the field. That said, grade-two sprains may need over a month, and grade-threes significantly longer.
Hopefully, Staley's sprain is of the lower-grade variety.
Brandon Weeden, QB, Cleveland Browns (Concussion)
According to Cleveland.com's Mary Kay Kabot, Brandon Weeden received his concussion diagnosis after the Browns' matchup with the Jaguars was over.
Unfortunately, concussion symptoms can make themselves known at any point after head trauma, so an after-the-fact determination does not necessarily represent any wrongdoing by Weeden or his medical team.
Like the Vikings' Christian Ponder, Weeden will enter his own concussion return-to-play protocol. If he returns to practice by Wednesday or Thursday, he could come back in time for the Browns' Dec. 8 contest against the New England Patriots.
However, the Browns medical staff surely will not jeopardize his health to get him ready for next Sunday if he does indeed require more time to recover.
Josh Cribbs, KR, Jets
Injury: Shoulder/chest, per Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News
Reed Doughty, S, Redskins
Injury: Concussion, per the Redskins' Twitter account
Anthony Fasano, TE, Chiefs
Injury: Concussion, per Chiefs insider Reid Ferrin
Trindon Holliday, WR, Broncos
Injury: Shoulder, per Chiefs insider Reid Ferrin
Jake Long, OT, Rams
Injury: Concussion, per Pro Football Talk
Delanie Walker, TE, Titans
Injury: Concussion, per ESPN's John Clayton
Dr. Dave Siebert is a resident physician at the University of Washington. Find more of his work at the Under the Knife blog.