NFL Injury Update Week 1: A Team-by-Team Injury Rundown

Bleacher ReportSenior Writer ISeptember 12, 2011

NFL Injury Update Week 1: A Team-by-Team Injury Rundown

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    More so than in any of the other professional sports, injuries are a way of life in the National Football League. So it's no huge surprise that aches and pains have made the biggest headlines thus far in 2011.

    The league has already lost several of its biggest stars and we're not even all the way through Week 1's slate of games. If this first week of pigskin contests—not to mention the preseason—is any indication, backups across the NFL should stay loose and limber because it's only a matter of time before they see the grassy midway.

    The Indianapolis Colts' season seems like it's already on life support thanks to the three neck surgeries endured by all-world quarterback Peyton Manning. The Houston Texans made that abundantly clear while walloping Indy 34-7 despite the absence of its own primary weapon, running back Arian Foster, who missed the opener with a sore hammy.

    And those guys were out of commission before the first coin toss on Sunday.

    Once the hostilities started, other teams saw key components drop like flies. The St. Louis Rams lost what felt like their entire starting offense, the Carolina Panthers saw the oft-injured Jon Beason come up lame and the Cincinnati Bengals' quarterback situation got a bit more interesting when rookie Andy Dalton left his NFL debut.

    But those were the only competitors bitten by the injury bugaboo, read on for a team-by-team update of all the bumps and bruises slowing down the NFL.

Arizona Cardinals

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    Update: LaRod Stephens-Howling (hand)

    The Arizona Cardinals were one of the squads that saw a key piece go down before the regular season kicked off when rookie running back Ryan Williams was lost for the year with a torn patella tendon in his knee.

    Additionally, safety Adrian Wilson was having some issues with his biceps that threatened to sideline him in Week 1.

    Fortunately, Wilson played in the Cardinals 28-21 victory over the Carolina Panthers and appeared to escape further damage to the hotspot.

    Backup running back LaRod Stephens-Howling left the game with a hand contusion, but the Cards have Chester Taylor in house in case LSH can't go next week.

Atlanta Falcons

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    Update: No significant injuries

Baltimore Ravens

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    Update: CB Chris Carr (thigh), CB Jimmy Smith (sprained ankle)

    Pictured above are your biggest Week 1 winners to date—Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and quarterback Joe Flacco.

    Edgar Allen Poe's favorite team slaughtered their hated rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers, by the jagged score of 35-7.

    In the process, Flacco shredded the vaunted Steel Curtain for 224 yards and three touchdowns through the air while the Baltimore D turned Pittsburgh over seven times and sacked Ben Roethlisberger four times.

    The loss of starting cornerback Jimmy Smith to a sprained ankle in the first quarter isn't good news nor was the exit of fellow cornerback Chris Carr. But neither absence seemed to bother the Ravens too much on Sunday.

Buffalo Bills

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    Update: CB Terrence McGee (hamstring)

    The Buffalo Bills ran roughshod over the Kansas City Chiefs in their 2011 season opener, handing the Chefs their worst season-opening loss in franchise history in the form of a 41-7 shellacking.

    Ryan Fitzpatrick, Stevie Johnson and Fred Jackson all played starring roles in the romp that had most of the Buffalo locker room feeling good.

    The lone exception may have been starting cornerback Terrence McGee, who left the game with a hamstring injury in the first quarter and never returned.

Carolina Panthers

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    Update: LB Jon Beason (Achilles)

    The Carolina Panthers took many positives away from their season opening loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

    They were in the game right to the finish and came painfully close to tying the game in the closing seconds. Most importantly, No. 1 draft pick Cam Newton made his debut at quarterback and had himself quite a day.

    The Heisman Trophy winner from Auburn threw for over 400 yards and registered the first two passing touchdowns of his career in the losing effort. He showed good chemistry with wide receiver Steve Smith and hit a variety of targets.

    Unfortunately, the Panthers may have lost more than just one game as their holy terror at linebacker, Jon Beason, had to be carted off the field after crumpling to the ground untouched. He'd been nursing an Achilles tendon issue, and it appears to have gotten more serious.

Chicago Bears

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    Update: RB Marion Barber (calf), RG Lance Louis (ankle), WR Roy Williams (groin)

    All was not peaches and cream for the Chicago Bears after they served notice to the NFC with a 30-12 suffocation of the Atlanta Falcons.

    Sure, quarterback Jay Cutler enjoyed a smashing break from the gates as did Matt Forte and Lance Briggs' balky knee survived the game.


    Backup running back Marion Barber didn't even play against Atlanta due to a lingering calf injury. Meanwhile, starting right guard Lance Louis and wide receiver Roy Williams both started the game but couldn't finish it. Louis went down with an ankle injury while Williams suffered one to his groin.

Cincinnati Bengals

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    Update: QB Andy Dalton (wrist)

    The Cincinnati Bengals dodged two bullets on Sunday. The first one whizzed by when the Bungles were able to scratch their way back and steal a win from the Cleveland Browns, 27-17.

    Cinci had squandered an early lead and were trailing the Browns entering the fourth quarter but scored 14 unanswered points to secure the victory.

    The second bullet passed when X-rays of rookie quarterback Andy Dalton's wrist were negative. The first-year starter got dinged up on the Bengals' final play of the first half and didn't see the field for the rest of the game.

    Fortunately, the encouraging results of his examination mean he might be back on it in Week 2.

Cleveland Browns

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    Update: No significant injuries

Dallas Cowboys

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    Update: In progress

    The Dallas Cowboys have the late game against the New York Jets, and there's nothing to report from the action quite yet, though wide receiver Dez Bryant is looking uncomfortable on the sidelines despite a blinding start to the game.

Denver Broncos

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    Update: Monday night game

Detroit Lions

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    Update: No significant injuries

Green Bay Packers

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    Update: CB Tramon Williams (shoulder)

    The defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers started their 2011-12 NFL season in style by stopping the New Orleans Saints at the goal line on Thursday night to preserve a 42-34 win.

    As a nice bonus, the Pack only saw cornerback Tramon Williams come down with a substantial dent when he left the game with what's being termed a "bruised" shoulder.

    Other than that, all Green Bay personnel should be no worse for the wear in Week 2.

Houston Texans

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    Update: LB Brian Cushing (knee), RB Arian Foster (hamstring), WR Kevin Walter (shoulder), RB Derrick Ward (ankle)

    Although running back Arian Foster is getting all the injury pub for the Houston Texans, the defense will surely feel the loss of lineback Brian Cushing as well.

    Granted, it didn't seem to miss him while holding the Indianapolis Colts to only a touchdown in Houston's 34-7 Week 1 win, but we all know what's going down in Indy.

    Now, the Texans have more injuries to worry about.

    Foster's backup, Derrick Ward, left the game with an ankle injury and wide receiver Kevin Walter broke his shoulder, allegedly costing him 10-12 weeks. That's quite a price to pay for a thoroughly impressive opener.

Indianapolis Colts

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    Update: LB Gary Brackett (shoulder), WR Anthony Gonzalez (hamstring), Peyton Manning (neck), Mike Newton (CB), LB Ernie Sims (knee)

    The hits just keep on coming for the Indianapolis Colts.

    Not only did Indy get rolled by the Houston Texans by the unmerciful score of 34-7, but their fans also have to be getting mighty tired of seeing shots of quarterback Peyton Manning in street clothes.

    Now, they've gotta get used to a whole new set of players joining Manning and wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez (hamstring) on the MASH unit.

    Linebackers Gary Bracket (sprained shoulder) and Ernie Sims (sore knee) left Sunday's game early as did cornerback Mike Newton.

    The Colts are up a creek regardless if Manning misses extensive time—and it looks like he will—but losing more able bodies certainly won't help the situation.

Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Update: CB Derek Cox (ribs), TE Marcedes Lewis (calf)

    The Jacksonville Jaguars emerged as victors from a ragged, 16-14 affair with the Tennessee Titans. With the help of a lockout and holdout, the Jags were able to stifle the lightning quick Chris Johnson as the Titan running back was unable to get things going with his legs.

    Although it took a final interception of Titan quarterback Matt Hasselbeck to finally put the W on ice, Jacksonville will take the 1-0 start.

    Especially because it came with relatively little cost to the team's health.

    Tight end Marcedes Lewis came out of the game with a calf injury, and cornerback Derek Cox departed with a rib problem, but neither bugaboo sounds catastrophic.

Kansas City Chiefs

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    Update: SS Eric Berry (knee)

    If the Baltimore Ravens are Week 1's biggest winners, then the Kansas City Chiefs might be its biggest losers.

    Not only did KC get stomped on at home by the usually hapless Buffalo Bills by the score of 41-7, but the Chiefs also may have lost their talented strong safety Eric Berry for an extended period of time.

    Berry went down in the first quarter with a knee injury that the team is now saying could be "serious." Only time will tell for sure, but that obviously doesn't sound good.

Miami Dolphins

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    Update: Monday night game

Minnesota Vikings

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    Update: No significant injuries

New England Patriots

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    Update: Monday night game

New Orleans Saints

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    Update: WR Marques Colston (collarbone)

    Somewhere in that mass of Green Bay Packer humanity is New Orleans Saints wide receiver Marques Colston.

    To add insult to injury, Colston suffered a broken collarbone in the Saints season-opening 42-34 loss to the Pack on Thursday night.

    New Orleans figures to be with out quarterback Drew Brees' primary target for at least four weeks and probably longer.

New York Giants

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    Update: No significant injuries

    Remember, these are NEW injuries (for the most part). I'm well aware the New York Giants have lost a slew of critical pieces, but they were all before Sunday's loss to the Washington Redskins.

New York Jets

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    Update: In progress

Oakland Raiders

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    Update: Monday night game

Philadelphia Eagles

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    Update: No significant injuries

Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Update: LB James Harrison (knee)

    Earlier, I said the Kansas City Chiefs were Week 1's biggest loser thanks to the blowout they suffered at the hands of the Buffalo Bills.

    Now that I think about it, the Pittsburgh Steelers might be able to wrest that title away from KC—not only did the Steelers get crushed by the Baltimore Ravens 35-7, but they also may have lost heart or soul of their defense.

    While safety Troy Polamalu can rightfully claim to be the most valuable player on the Steel Curtain, Harrison ranks a close second. Which made the sight of the little big man limping off the field a little unsettling for Pittsburgh fans.

    The status of his knee remains up in the air, but one thing is for sure: it ain't good.

San Diego Chargers

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    Update: DL Luis Castillo (leg), K Nate Kaeding (knee), RB Mike Tolbert (knee)

    On paper, the San Diego Chargers won their season opener versus the Minnesota Vikings by the final tally of 24-17. Quarterback Phillip Rivers and company got on track after a rocky start, ultimately getting the 2011 season off on the right foot.

    At least that's the way in looks on the surface.

    Peel back the first layer and you'll find a trio of serious issues. Defensive lineman Luis Castillo and place kicker Nate Kaeding could both be lost for the year after absorbing leg and knee injuries, respectively.

    Meanwhile, running back Mike Tolbert was enjoying a career day before leaving with a knee injury of his own.

    Luckily for Rivers and SD, Tolbert's malady seems to be the most trivial.

Seattle Seahawks

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    Update: RB Michael Robinson (sprained ankle)

    Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks couldn't continue their mastery of the San Francisco 49ers.

    Whether it was new Niner head coach Jim Harbaugh channeling his ownership of Carroll from their Pac-10 days at Stanford and USC or simply the law of averages, Seattle dropped its opener to SF by the score of 33-17.

    The goods news for the Seahawks is the trashing was strictly metaphorical. Only backup running back (and ex-Niner) Michael Robinson came up hurt, leaving the game with a high ankle sprain that might cost him considerable time.

San Francisco 49ers

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    Update: No significant injuries

    Though it bears mentioning that wide receiver Michael Crabtree was complaining about severe pain in his surgically repaired foot after the San Francisco 49ers' 33-17 win over the Seattle Seahawks.

St. Louis Rams

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    Update: WR Danny Amendola (elbow), QB Sam Bradford (finger), RB Steven Jackson (quad), RT Jason Smith (sprained ankle)

    For the third time, I'm rethinking my nomination for "Week 1's Biggest Loser." So far, the Kansas City Chiefs and Pittsburgh Steelers have made compelling arguments, but the St. Louis Rams might actually take the cow pie.

    Like the Chiefs and Steelers, the Rams ate a loss in their opener when they dropped the contest to the Philadelphia Eagles, 31-13. And like the Chiefs and Steelers, the Rams got hammered on the injury front.

    However, unlike Kansas City and Pittsburgh, St. Louis may be moving forward without several crucial cogs in their machinery. Their No. 1 wide receiver Danny Amendola, No. 1 running back Steven Jackson and No. 1 quarterback Sam Bradford all went down with severe physical ailments.

    Amendola dislocated his elbow, Jackson strained his quadriceps (at a minimum) and Bradford might have nerve damage in the index finger on his throwing hand.

    If even a fraction of that is true, yikes...

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Update: No significant injuries

    Josh Freeman momentarily left the game with cramps, but returned shortly thereafter.


Tennessee Titans

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    Update: DL William Hayes (shoulder), WR Damian Williams (hamstring)

    I've already mentioned that the Tennessee Titans got squat from running back Chris Johnson in their 16-14 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

    That's enough bad news for Titan fans and, luckily for them, that's really all they got.

    True, starting defensive lineman William Hayes left the game with a shoulder injury as did backup wide receiver Damian Williams, but Hayes injury didn't look too horrible while Williams isn't exactly an All-Pro caliber player at this juncture.

Washington Redskins

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    Update: No significant injuries