Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

An already tough Sunday for the Green Bay Packers took a turn for the worse when linebacker Clay Matthews left his team's matchup against the Detroit Lions with a groin injury. The official Packers Twitter account announced the injury during the game:

The linebacker spoke to ESPN's Rob Demovsky after the game concluded:

Hopefully, Matthews, who battled the injury bug quite a bit the past few years, will not miss extended time yet again this year, but his groin injury is not a good start. Until more details arise, let's take a closer look at the best- and worst-case scenarios facing the Packers star.


Relevant Anatomy

Groin injuries involve the muscles on the inside of the thigh near the pelvis. The hip adductors bring the thigh back in toward the center of the body, and the hip flexors move the thigh forward.

NFL Week 3 Injury Notebook

By on September 20, 2014

12,032 reads


Associated Press

As the NFL heads into Week 3, player health is starting to take its toll. Last Sunday offered a bona fide onslaught of serious injuries, shaking up teams across the country.

Team injury reports seem to be growing by the day.

Hidden within the seemingly limited information of those reports, fantasy owners can find quite a bit of useful information. Much of that information can inform decisions leading up to Sunday kickoffs.

In other words, there is much more to them than a "questionable" tag.

Tom Lynn/Associated Press

Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles could not avoid Week 2's nasty, injury-filled Sunday, going down with an ankle sprain early during his team's matchup with the Denver Broncos.

The official Chiefs Twitter account broke the news after he left the game, originally calling him questionable to return—and eventually out. Chiefs reporter Rachel Santschi later called the injury a sprain, citing head coach Andy Reid.

After the injury, details slowly trickled in throughout the day, but the picture remains incomplete. However, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport later tweeted that an MRI is forthcoming Monday morning—likely with more clarity.

To understand Charles' pending prognosis, let's take a closer look at the anatomy of an ankle sprain, key things to look for after one occurs and what the Chiefs star faces in the days and weeks to come.

NFL Week 2 Injury Notebook

By on September 13, 2014

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Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Morry Gash/AP Images

There are few things in sports more scary than watching a player, especially a star like Giancarlo Stanton, fall to the ground. An errant (and clearly unintentional) pitch from Mike Fiers tailed directly into Stanton's face, leaving the slugger on the ground until an ambulance came to take him away.

Joe Frisaro of MLB.com has the details in this tweet:

If this video (warning: graphic) is too much for you, this may be all you need to know: There was enough blood that the grounds crew had to come out and work on the batter's box once he was removed.

Stanton was immediately taken to an area hospital, cared for by both the Miami Marlins' medical staff and the Milwaukee Brewers' doctors, per a team source I spoke with moments after the incident. It is common practice in MLB to have the home team's doctors care for both teams' players, especially in situations like this. Team doctors do not normally travel with the club. 

AJ Mast/Associated Press

Over the course of less than 24 hours, the NFL saw three of its players go down with Achilles tendon tears, the third such injury belonging to Indianapolis Colts linebacker Robert Mathis. ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio reported the tear Monday afternoon.

Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson and defensive tackle Mike DeVito also went down with tears on Sunday, according to Dave Skretta of The Associated Press (h/t The Topeka Capital-Journal).

All three players will miss the rest of the 2014 season, but the trio also highlights a troubling trend from recent seasons: a rate of Achilles tendon injuries that seems to be increasing quite rapidly.

Or is it? Let's take a closer look.

NFL Week 1 Injury Notebook

By on September 6, 2014

18,168 reads


Getty Images

With a Seattle Seahawks 36-16 victory over the Green Bay Packers, the 2014 NFL season kicked off Thursday night. Pete Carroll's team reminded the football world why it won Super Bowl XLVIII, and both teams now look forward to Week 2.

The league's other 30 teams, however, continue to formulate game plans for Sunday and Monday night's action. To make those game plans, coaches must take into account their players' injuries and health—as do fans and fantasy owners.

That's where this slideshow comes in.

A new weekly Saturday installment for the 2014 season, this column will peruse the NFL landscape for updates and specifics on injuries for 10 key players throughout the league. 

Scott Eklund/Associated Press

Worries about the durability of the right side of the Green Bay Packers offensive lines were answered quickly in Week 1, but not positively. Bryan Bulaga left in the first half with a knee injury. Further tests indicate that he has a sprained medial collateral ligament (MCL) and will be out indefinitely, as first reported by Adam Schefter and detailed in this ESPN.com article.

There are a couple key facts here that have to be understood. First, a sprain is by definition a tearing of the fibers that make up a ligament. The term "torn" is a colloquial term while "sprain" is the precise medical term. People often mistake "torn" for "ruptured," which is a complete tearing of the ligament. In Bulaga's case, the ligament is not ruptured and may in fact only have a low-grade sprain.

I'll say it again: A sprain is a tear.

The other is that the term "indefinitely" does not mean "a long time." It means the team simply doesn't know. Even with a more significant sprain, Bulaga would not have needed surgery. The MCL is not normally surgically reattached.

Bob Leverone/Associated Press

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton continues to deal with two offseason and preseason medical issues—first, surgery for a lingering ankle injury and later a broken rib—leaving fantasy drafters and owners with a few unanswered questions.

Will he start the season? Will he play at a lower level due to the injuries? What about the rest of the year?

Two health concerns surfacing before the regular season even starts certainly does not represent an ideal scenario. However, as of now, neither merits benching the quarterback for a backup during the first week of fantasy football action—though owners are also not entirely out of the woods.

Let's take a closer look.


UPDATE: Sunday, Sept. 7, 11:30 am

Seth Wenig/Associated Press

The fact that the NFL remains an inherently violent league comes as a surprise to no one, but the recent apparent spike in neck and cervical spine injuries is hard to ignore.

Peyton Manning's recent battle with cervical spine issues remains the most prominent case of a serious neck problem in a big-name NFL athlete—as well as one of the most impressive injury comebacks in recent memory—but several other cases continued to dot the football landscape throughout the following months and years, including:

With the above list of neck injuries continuing to lengthen, several questions come to mind: Are they increasing in frequency? Why are some career-ending, while others aren't? Are they all the same?

As might be expected, the answers to these questions aren't exactly simple, and the spinal surgery field is incredibly specialized and complex—far beyond the scope of this article.