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Seth Perlman/Associated Press

For the St. Louis Rams, injury made an already-awful late-October Sunday take a turn for the worse when veteran left tackle Jake Long's season likely ended due to a torn ACL.

According to Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio, the Rams "(believed Long) tore the same ACL that was torn last season" during a Week 8 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs, adding that a Sunday night MRI later confirmed the diagnosis. The news almost certainly means that the former 2008 No. 1 draft pick will land on injured reserve for the fourth season in a row.

When it comes to injuries, some guys run out of luck.

Literally.

More often than not, ACL tears do not involve full-speed contact to the lower leg. Rather, they frequently stem from a minimal or non-contact perfect storm of lower body positioning, weight distribution and unfortunate timing.

NFL Week 8 Injury Notebook

By on October 25, 2014

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Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Disaster struck the Buffalo Bills on Sunday when almost incomprehensibly bad luck sent running backs Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller to the locker room within minutes of each other due to serious injuries.

Those watching the Bills' Week 7 matchup against the Minnesota Vikings saw Jackson fall to the ground awkwardly toward the end of the first quarter due to a tackle. Replay showed him come down with his right leg seemingly limp underneath him. He then immediately grabbed near his inner thigh and walked off the field extremely slowly.

Shortly thereafter, an official Bills announcement of a groin injury—one declaring Jackson out for the game—came via the team's Twitter account.

Following Jackson's injury, Spiller briefly provided Bills fans with a sigh of relief by churning out a 52-yard run down the left sideline. However, at the end of the play, a defender tripped him up, causing him to land hard on his left shoulder. After he left on a cart, the Bills tweeted that the young running back would not return to the game—a mere 33 minutes after declaring Jackson done for the day.

NFL Week 7 Injury Notebook

By on October 18, 2014

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USA Today

The NFL world stood still for roughly 30 seconds last week during Sunday Night Football when New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz sobbed as he left the field on a cart. News of his patellar tendon tear followed on the broadcast shortly thereafter.

The season-ending injury clearly overwhelmed the 27-year-old as he left the field, providing a heartbreaking look at a passionate athlete facing the end of his 2014 campaign. Both teammates and opponents alike offered their support in an emotional moment of football brotherhood, one falling short of only the scene following a severe neck injury.

Regrettably, Cruz's injury represented just one of numerous season-ending blows that took place last Sunday. Elsewhere, New England Patriots running back Stevan Ridley and linebacker Jerod Mayo, Miami Dolphins running back Knowshon Moreno and New York Jets cornerback Dee Milliner will all watch the rest of this season from the sidelines.

That said, rarely do NFL fans see the kind of raw, painful and sobering emotions Cruz displayed Sunday night, and everyone who watched surely hopes for nothing but a complete recovery. According to NFL Network's Albert Breer, the wideout underwent surgery to repair the tendon later in the week.

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Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

New York Jets cornerback Dee Milliner's injury-plagued 2014 NFL season likely came to a close on Sunday due to an Achilles tendon tear.

Milliner went down early on Sunday during a Denver Broncos field-goal attempt, and New York Daily News' Seth Walder later tweeted the Jets ruled him out for the game. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, citing a source, later added the team believes the cornerback tore his Achilles.

Unfortunately, those watching the game could predict such an outcome, as Milliner's mechanism of injury mirrored that of many other Achilles tears in weeks and seasons prior.

 

The Anatomy

The Achilles tendon connects the bulky calf muscles to the back of the heel. When the muscles contract, they pull up on the Achilles tendon, which, in turn, pulls on the heel.

NFL Week 6 Injury Notebook

By on October 11, 2014

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Rick Osentoski/Associated Press

While Week 4 offered the NFL a relative break from injuries in terms of both quantity and severity, Week 5 regrettably picked up right where the league left off earlier in September.

Last Sunday saw 2014's first show-stopping, terrifying neck injury in the form of Buffalo Bills cornerback Ron Brooks. Those watching saw Brooks come down with all of his weight on the top of his head, a scary injury known as an axial load mechanism and one that places extreme stress on the cervical spine. Thankfully, according to ESPN.com's Mike Rodak, the defender "walked out of the hospital" earlier this week.

In Nashville, Tennessee Titans safety Bernard Pollard's season ended due to a torn right Achilles tendon. For my thoughts on the apparent sharp increase in the rate of Achilles tendon injuries in recent years—or, perhaps, the lack thereof—check out the opening slide of Week 4's injury notebook.

Elsewhere, several big fantasy football names suffered aggravations of previously existing injuries, including Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson and Cincinnati Bengals wideout A.J. Green.

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Ben Margot/Associated Press

For the past 10 years, I've been keeping track of injuries in baseball. Using a proprietary database, the difference in how teams manage injuries has often led to insights. Some teams are good at keeping their players healthy; some aren't. Some teams take injuries seriously; some just shrug and say it's part of the game. Some are consistent; some aren't.

In 2014, there's some clear insights to be gained. There are only two ways to win in baseball: collect talent and keep it on the field. Only a few teams were able to do both or, in the absence of that ability, to work around it with depth, payroll or in some cases, dumb luck. 

Here are 10 insights and a chart to show you the difference in injuries we saw in 2014:

NFL Week 5 Injury Notebook

By on October 4, 2014

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Jim Mone/Associated Press

After a rough start to the season, Week 4 seemingly gave the NFL a relative break on the injury front. Elsewhere, bye weeks are continuing to offer hurting players an extra week of rest and recovery.

Nevertheless, while the injury train slowed last Sunday, it did not stop.

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater left his first professional start on a cart, while Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson played decoy against the New York Jets—much to the horror of fantasy owners everywhere.

Will Megatron repeat last week, or will he return to form? What about Carson Palmer's nerve problem? Is Brandon Marshall ready to go?

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Tony Ding/Associated Press

The video is tough to watch. Shane Morris staggers after taking a direct hit to his helmet. He collapses, reaching for his teammate to keep him upright. Immediately, his teammates begin waving to the sidelines. Instead of an athletic trainer, Morris, a QB for Michigan, is met by Brady Hoke, the head coach. 

Morris was sent back into the game moments later, despite appearing woozy and blinking slowly. Hoke was close enough to notice this, and he sent Morris back out anyway. Hoke's job is not to diagnose, but he appeared unaware of the issue even as late as Monday. That speaks to a systemic failure of communication, top to bottom.

When Morris finally came off the field, he was met by Hoke, a position coach and walked into a group of players. It's unclear if a doctor saw him at this point, but it appears that Morris is speaking to Paul Schmidt, the longtime head athletic trainer at Michigan, in a brief shot. 

Less than a minute later, after the replacement's helmet came off, Morris was put back into the game. Schmidt is seen again and pats Morris on the back as he goes back into the game. While it is impossible to know what Schmidt saw or evaluated, he had only a minute to do so. That is not enough time for even a cursory concussion evaluation, nor even time to treat his ankle. 

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Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

Nothing went right for the Oakland Raiders on Sunday, and quarterback Derek Carr's ankle and knee injuries added insult to injury—or injury to insult, as the case may be.

Midway through his team's 38-14 loss, Carr went down awkwardly. Those watching saw him hobble off the field in obvious pain, favoring his left leg. CSN Bay Area's Fallon Smith later tweeted that the quarterback himself said he suffered a high-ankle sprain and a medial collateral ligament (MCL) sprain.

What's next for the struggling Raiders? To help answer that question, let's look at the best- and worst-case scenarios for their young quarterback and his injury combination, starting first with an overview of the sprains themselves.

 

High-Ankle Sprain Overview