The 50 Most Unfortunate Injuries of the 2011 NFL Regular Season
When you play the violent game of football, injuries simply happen—there's nothing you can do about it.
Over the course of the 2011 NFL season, we saw a quite a few injuries—possibly because of the shortened season due to the lockout.
All injuries are unfortunate, but they happen—it's a part of the game.
In that spirit, here are the 50 most unfortunate injuries of the 2011 NFL regular season.
This one's an obvious one—Peyton Manning's injury resulted in a pathetic 2-14 record for the Indianapolis Colts.
Manning was sidelined for the entire 2011 season due to a neck injury, and now, his future in Indy is unclear as the Colts have the No. 1 pick in next year's draft and will likely select Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.
Rashard Mendenhall's season came to an end at the worst possible time—Week 17 of the season with his team preparing to make a run for yet another Super Bowl appearance.
Mendenhall's season is done, as he tore his ACL.
Joey Porter is the heart and soul of the Arizona Cardinals defense.
Arizona lost their stud linebacker in early November, as he was forced to undergo knee surgery.
Fred Jackson is the Buffalo Bills top offensive weapon, and without him, their offense isn't all that great.
Jackson was a legitimate MVP candidate prior to his injury in late November.
Jackson fractured his fibula, and since then, the Bills lost five of their last six games without him.
If Michael Vick didn't injure his ribs midway through the season, then the Philadelphia Eagles could have very well made the playoffs, as they went 8-8 and lost two of their three games without Vick.
Vick finished 2011 with a mediocre 84.9 quarterback rating, as he posted a quarterback rating higher than 100 in all three of his last games in 2011.
Chad Henne may have very well blew his chance of proving to the Miami Dolphins that he can be their quarterback of the future.
The Michigan product separated his left shoulder in early October and was done for the season.
Henne has yet to play a full NFL season throughout his lackluster career.
Ty Warren missed all of 2010 with the New England Patriots due to a hip injury and was cut in late July 2011.
Warren was then signed by the Denver Broncos but suffered a triceps injury without even playing a single game with Denver.
Warren is a quality defensive linemen, as he's tallied up 20.5 sacks and 374 tackles in 105 career games.
Thankfully for the Baltimore Ravens, Ray Lewis missed only four games with his toe injury, and luckily, they won all four of those games.
Lewis is the heart and soul of not only Baltimore's defense, but their entire team.
Eric Berry will likely turn into one of the NFL's elite safeties in a season or two, but he was unable to showcase his amazing talent with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2011.
In Week 1, Berry tore his ACL and was placed on injured reserve just a few days later on September 14.
Thankfully, Jake Long was able to play the most of the 2011 season, as he was placed on injured reserve on December 28 with a torn biceps muscle.
It's safe to say that Long is one of the elite left tackles in the NFL today.
Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt was tearing it up in 2011, as he caught 17 passes for 289 yards and three touchdowns.
However, with just three games into the season, Britt tore his ACL and ended his season.
The Denver Broncos could really use Knowshon Moreno right now, as they're a run-heavy offense with Tim Tebow at quarterback.
Moreno tore his ACL midway through the season, and now with Denver running the ball so much, he definitely would have racked up the yardage.
Who knows—perhaps, the Oakland Raiders could have made the playoffs with Jason Campbell instead of Carson Palmer.
Campbell went down with a broken collarbone midway through the season, as he posted an 84.2 quarterback rating while tossing six touchdowns and only four interceptions.
With Campbell down, the Raiders were forced to trade for Palmer.
This injury just happened as New Orleans Saints rookie running back Mark Ingram sprained his left toe and was placed on injured reserve on January 4.
Ingram was having a solid rookie season, as he ran for five touchdowns in 10 games and accumulated 474 yards.
Ingram is a solid ground-and-pound kind of running back, and the Saints probably could have used him in their playoff run.
Mario Williams was having an incredible season in his first year in the 3-4 outside linebacker role.
Williams played in five games, as he accumulated five sacks and 11 tackles but then was sidelined for the remainder of the season on October 12 with a torn pectoral.
Felix Jones appeared in only 12 games this season for the Dallas Cowboys, as he put up 575 yards and scored only one touchdown.
Jones missed four weeks of the season, as he suffered a high ankle sprain.
Andre Carter was having one hell of a season for the New England Patriots, as he recorded 10 sacks in the 14 games that he played in.
Carter suffered a season-ending quadriceps injury and was placed on injured reserve on December 20 following New England's victory over the Denver Broncos.
Houston Texans starting quarterback Matt Schaub suffered an injury to his lisfranc ligament, playing in only 10 games this season.
He posted an impressive 96.8 quarterback rating while throwing 15 touchdown passes.
With Schaub, the Texans were an elite offense, but without him, they're just a bunch of average Joes.
David Garrard may be a free agent right now, but he was once the starting quarterback for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Garrard suffered a back injury which then forced the Jags to release him and then ultimately start rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert—and he struggled tremendously.
Jamaal Charles averaged a whopping 6.9 yards per carry prior to going down for the season with a torn ACL.
Charles tore his ACL in the second game of the season for the Buffalo Bills, and the Kansas City Chiefs struggled greatly without his presence.
Terrell Thomas is a stud cornerback who went down with a torn ACL prior to the season even starting.
Thomas could have definitely helped out the New York Giants pass defense, as they finished at No. 29 overall in total pass defense.
DeMarco Murray was having one hell of a rookie season until it all came to a crashing end on December 13, when he was placed on injured reserve with a fractured right ankle.
Murray was averaging an incredible 5.5 yards per carry, while accumulating 897 yards and scoring two touchdowns.
Rookie running back Mikel LeShoure was not able to play in a single game for the Detroit Lions this season, as he tore his left Achilles tendon in training camp.
LeShoure has all the talent and potential in the world but never was able to showcase it in 2011.
Rookie cornerback Prince Amukamara missed the majority of the 2011 season with a broken left foot—an injury that he suffered the day that he agreed to a contract with the New York Giants.
Amukamara appeared in seven games this season for the Giants, as he recorded one interception.
Jim Leonhard has all the talent and potential in the world, but his season came to an early end, as he tore his patellar tendon after just 13 games.
Leonhard finished 2011 with 48 tackles and one interception.
Chris Cooley is one the Washington Redskins' few offensive weapons, and they lost him midway through the season, as he was placed on injured reserve in late October with a broken finger and a knee injury.
Cooley played in five games in 2011 and reeled in eight balls for 65 yards.
San Diego Chargers' defensive end Luis Castillo had an injury-plagued 2011 season, as he was ultimately placed on injured reserve in late December with a broken leg after appearing in just one game.
In that game, Castillo recorded just one tackle.
Without Jay Cutler, the Chicago Bears stood no chance with quarterbacks Caleb Hanie and Josh McCown.
Prior to breaking his right thumb, Cutler played in 10 games and threw 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Adrian Peterson may have torn his ACL and MCL late in the season, but this injury will dramatically affect his production in 2012, as these kind of injuries usually take up to a year to heal.
A.P. ran for 970 yards in 12 games this season while scoring 12 touchdowns.
The Philadelphia Eagles placed Steve Smith on injured reserve with a bone bruise back on December 12 after having an impressive first season with the Eagles.
Smith played in nine games and caught 11 passes for 124 yards and scored one touchdown.
Jon Beason is one of the best linebackers in the NFL today but was unable to play a full game in 2011.
Beason was placed on injured reserve following the Carolina Panthers first game of the season, as he tore his left Achilles.
Gerald McCoy certainly has all the talent and tools to be successful in the NFL but was unable to play a full season in 2011.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' third overall pick from 2010 was placed on injured reserve with a torn left biceps muscle.
A lot of people probably don't know who Eric Wood is—well, he's a center who's on the rise and should reach the elite level by next season.
Wood is the starting center for the Buffalo Bills but was sidelined for the entire 2011 season, due to a torn ACL back on November 15.
New England Patriots starting center Dan Koppen fractured his fibula in the very first week of the season against the Miami Dolphins.
Koppen has been to one Pro Bowl and is one of the top centers in the NFL.
Thankfully, the Patriots were able to move on without his services, as they posted an AFC best 13-3 record.
Ben Roethlisberger sprained his ankle back in Week 15 against the Cleveland Browns and was unable to play his Week 16 game against the St. Louis Rams.
Big Ben did play in the team's season finale against the Cleveland Browns, but sources indicate that he has re-aggravated the sprain with just a few more days until the team's first playoff game against the Denver Broncos.
A lot of people probably didn't even notice Marques Colston's injury, as the New Orleans Saints offense is so impressive.
Colston broke his collarbone in the very first game of the season against the Green Bay packers, but still, he found a way to reel in 73 receptions for 998 yards and six touchdowns in 2011.
Is Kevin Kolb the answer in Arizona?
Who knows—the Cardinals have yet to see him play enough.
Kolb dealt with a serious concussion all season long as he played in nine games and threw eight touchdowns and a pitiful nine interceptions.
Nick Collins was an integral part to the Green Bay Packers defense, and ever since he was placed on injured reserve with a neck injury, the team's defense has suffered as it ended the season ranking 31st.
Who knows—perhaps Collins could have changed things up a bit back there for the Packers.
Losing wide receiver Josh Morgan is a pretty big deal, as he's a solid wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers.
Morgan broke his leg in the fifth game of the season, as he reeled in 15 balls for 220 yards and a touchdown.
2011 was such a wasted season for the second-year quarterback Sam Bradford.
The St. Louis Rams starting quarterback dealt with an ankle injury all season long and played in only 10 games and was able to throw just six touchdowns compared to six interceptions.
Perhaps, 2012 will be much better for Bradford.
Sidney Rice was never really able to get things going with the Seattle Seahawks this season, as he suffered a concussion in late November.
Rice appeared in nine games in 201, as he recorded 23 receptions for a total of 484 yards and two scores.
Jahvid Best was the only true answer for the Detroit Lions rushing struggles in 2011, as he was placed on injured reserve with a concussion in late November.
Best ran for 4.6 yards per carry, while scoring a combined three touchdowns this season for the Lions.
Aside from Jay Cutler, Matt Forte is the Chicago Bears top offensive weapon.
Forte was placed on injured reserve on December 27 after spraining his MCL.
Forte played in 12 games this season for Chicago as he ran for a whopping 997 yards and accumulated 490 receiving yards and scored a combined four touchdowns.
Matt Cassel played in only nine games this season for the Kansas City Chiefs as he fractured his right hand.
Cassel was a Pro Bowler a year ago but posted a mediocre 76.6 quarterback rating in 2011 as he threw 10 touchdowns and was picked off nine times.
Matt Roth is a pretty solid pass-rusher, but in his first season as a Jacksonville Jaguar, he played in only nine games, as he tallied up 3.5 sacks.
On December 26, Roth was placed on injured reserve due to a concussion.
Shawne Merriman wasn't having the greatest season with the Buffalo Bills in 2011, but he certainly missed out on trying to resurrect his career.
Merriman played in only five games this season, as he tallied up just nine tackles and one sack before being placed on injured reserve on October 25 with an Achilles injury.
The so-called "Madden curse" does exist as Peyton Hillis dealt with a hip injury, hamstring injury and an elbow injury all season long.
Hillis played in only 10 games this season, as he averaged an embarrassing 3.7 yards per carry for the Cleveland Browns.
Jordan Shipley has the upside to be a pretty serviceable wide receiver in the NFL—but his 2011 season was cut short.
With only two games into the season, Shipley tore his ACL after reeling in four receptions for a total of 14 yards.
The New England Patriots could have really used rookie cornerback Ras-I Dowling this season.
The Virginia product was placed on injured reserve on October 29 after dealing with a chronic hip injury.
Dowling appeared in two games as he tallied up a total of three tackles.
Second-year tight Tony Moeaki was unable to play at all in 2011, as he tore his ACL prior to the NFL's Week 1.
The Kansas City Chiefs tight end tallied up 47 receptions for 556 yards and three touchdowns in his rookie season.