Injuries around the division continue to mount as the NFL heads into Week 4. After an awful preseason due to several significant and season-ending injuries, the New York Jets appear to be the healthiest of the bunch and are expected to get QB Zack Wilson back this week.
The New England Patriots are dealing with a significant left high-ankle sprain to QB Mac Jones that could keep him out for months. Finally, the Buffalo Bills continue to lose players including OT Tommy Doyle (ACL) and S Micah Hyde (Neck). The Dolphins are banged up as seen below but have the ability to move to 4-0 if they are victorious over the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday night.
Note: With the AFC East injury reports, not every injury on the report will have a detailed analysis. While I do want to highlight every injury, some don’t have any context. For those that do have context, there will be as much medical analysis as I can provide.
TE Cethan Carter (Concussion)
Carter has missed the last two games due to a concussion suffered in Week 1 against the Patriots. He has yet to return to practice, suggesting that this is a more severe concussion, ruling him out for Week 4. There is no telling how soon he can return until he can begin practicing, slowly ramping up his workload, and remaining symptom-free.
TE Hunter Long (Ankle)
Long continues to work through an ankle injury suffered late in practice prior to Week 2. There also has not been additional information provided. He has not practiced at all since the injury and is ruled out for Week 4.
OT Terron Armstead (Toe)
Armstead continues to work through his toe injury since he suffered in Week 1. He has played in 100 percent of snaps last week and his not practicing during the week appears to be a normal expectation at this point.
Due to the timeline, it appears as though he has a turf toe that he is working through. I don’t expect his status to change on game day or his performance to decline unless he suffers a new injury.
Despite the questionable designation, I expect him to play unless he has already been ruled out prior to the game.
DT Raekwon Davis (Knee)
Davis missed last week with a knee injury after playing in the first two games of the season. This comes following getting rolled up on in practice prior to Week 1. He practiced in full last week on Wednesday followed by limited practices Thursday and Friday suggesting that he may have aggravated the knee at some point.
The Dolphins were unable to fully practice all week except for walk-through on Tuesday and Wednesday, leaving him limited. Without the ability to truly test the knee, I would find it difficult for him to play. I am expecting that he sits out one more week.
CB Xavien Howard (Groin/Glute)
Howard played in 88 percent of snaps on Sunday despite working through a groin injury that did not appear to hinder him. He appears on the injury report with a glute designation in addition to his groin injury this week. With a glute designation, I would expect this to be more of a contusion that he could play through.
Having the ability to rest all week and playing in a cooler environment may allow him to suit up and still be effective despite a questionable designation.
S Brandon Jones (Chest)
Jones is questionable with a chest designation with limited availability in the walk-through on Tuesday and Wednesday. He did not receive an in-game injury designation which makes identifying this injury difficult.
This is not a pectoral injury as the team has previously detailed the difference between a chest and pectoral injury when S Eric Rowe dealt with the injury prior to Week 1.
WR Jaylen Waddle (Groin)
Waddle played in 74 percent of snaps Sunday, not having a clear indication when he would have injured his groin. He put up 6 receptions for 102 yards in the oppressive Miami heat that had multiple Bills players dropping like flies. Despite the designation, I expect Waddle to play after a long pregame warmup.
QB Tua Tagovailoa (Back/Ankle)
Tagovailoa officially has a back and ankle designation after a hit on Sunday that appeared to give him a concussion after he was stumbling around as seen below.
I can understand the back injury as he fell on his back, but blaming his back injury on his inability to walk after the hit is questionable at best. I can’t provide a good explanation or support what head coach Mike McDaniel said about Tua’s back being all loose. The NFLPA is investigating the matter and I am looking forward to the results.
As for the ankle injury, I’m not certain when he picked that injury up but the team was being cagey all week as to whether he would play. I expect that he will as he gives them the best shot to move to 4-0 but this will be a situation to watch in the event that he has an early exit.
WR Cedrick Wilson (Ribs/Toe)
Wilson is once again with the same designation as last week, limited all week. While he did suit up on Sunday, he only played in five snaps indicating that the team used him only when they needed to. He may face a similar situation again Thursday, limiting his usage as his ribs heal up from the original injuries sustained in Weeks 1 and 2.
T Greg Little (Finger)
Little appeared to suffer a left hand/finger injury with 2:00 left in the second quarter and then a similar issue with 15:00 in the third quarter. During the first injury, he attempted to block Von Miller before Miller blew right by him, suggesting that his finger got caught in a face mask or jersey.
During the first injury, trainers were holding a finger on the hand before the training staff began assessing on the sidelines. Following the second injury, he had his fingers buddy taped and possibly getting it re-taped. This suggests that he either jammed the finger or potentially dislocated or fractured the finger.
He was limited Monday followed by full practices Tuesday and Wednesday, and ready to play Thursday.
OL Robert Hunt (Shin)
Hunt jogged off the field in pain with 3:08 left in the second quarter after getting hit by friendly fire by Tyreek Hill. By video, he appeared to suffer a right shin contusion.
He quickly returned and during practice this week, he improved his practice participation, avoiding a gameday designation for Thursday.
S Jevon Holland (Neck)
Holland was limited Monday and practiced in full Tuesday and Wednesday with a neck designation. He did not receive an in-game injury designation Sunday.
CB Kader Kohou (Ankle)
Kohou was limited Monday and Tuesday with an ankle injury before practicing in full Wednesday.
DL Zach Sieler (Hand)
Seiler was limited Monday and Tuesday with a hand designation, practicing in full Wednesday and avoiding a game designation.
CB Christian Benford (Right-hand fracture)
Benford fractured his hand late in the second quarter, later returning with a club, playing only special teams. On Tuesday, he underwent surgery on what is assumed a broken metacarpal based on the hand designation and bandaging observed.
I expect him to return in Week 8 after the bye but could hypothetically return sooner in Week 6 with a club and play special teams.
WR Jake Kumerow (Left High-ankle sprain)
Kumerow suffered a left high ankle sprain late in the first quarter, not returning to the game. I do not expect him to return until after the bye in Week 8.
DT Jordan Phillips (Left hamstring)
Philips is set to miss his second straight game following his left hamstring injury sustained in Week 2. This was the result of Matt Milano’s pick-six with Phillips trying to keep up in case he needed to block.
He has a shot at playing next week if he gets some limited practices in, but his return timeline may point him to returning in Week 6 against Kansas City.
CB Dane Jackson (Neck)
After leaving Highmark Stadium in an ambulance on September 19, Jackson returned to practice this week, shedding the non-contact jersey Friday. He is officially questionable but he has publicly stated that he will suit up Sunday.
I do not expect him to play the whole game unless there are other injuries, but playing in a timeshare will allow him to reacclimate and keep the rest of the cornerback room fresh.
DT Ed Oliver (Right high-ankle sprain)
Oliver continues to work back from a right ankle injury sustained in the Week 1 contest against the Los Angeles Rams. Initial impressions were that this was a medial ankle sprain, but Oliver came out and said this week that he had a high-ankle sprain as seen below.
He continues to ramp up his workload in practice, limited all last week and this week with a questionable designation. Considering there is new information available that this was a high-ankle, it makes sense why he hasn’t attempted to play. This also clarifies why he was able to return to the game that Thursday due to the swelling not set in yet. However, once it did, that’s where the real injury and rehab came in.
He was limited all week and questionable for the game. The team has been getting the job done without him and I believe that another week would benefit him in the long run. If he does play, I would expect limited snaps.
S Jordan Poyer (Foot)
Poyer missed last week with a foot injury suffered in the win over the Tennessee Titans in Week 2. It is not apparent on film when the injury occurred, but he was questionable heading into Week 3 before news broke Sunday morning that he would not suit up.
He remains questionable heading into this week and with M&T Bank stadium being natural grass and factoring in the weather, footing may be an issue. While this could prevent several serious injuries such as ACLs with the foot not getting caught in the turf, this could also exacerbate any pre-existing injuries such as Poyer’s, trying to push off the foot effectively. Considering all the injuries and how Damar Hamlin and Jaquan Johnson played last week, it may be best for Poyer to rest one more week.
WR Gabe Davis (Right ankle)
Davis played nearly every snap in the Week 3 loss to the Dolphins Sunday after Jake Kumerow left with his own ankle injury. This was likely not the plan to have him play so much as he worked through the injury.
Designated as questionable, Davis publicly stated that he would play Sunday, but I don’t expect him to be productive. I would expect a second-half surge in production after he improves his health.
C Mitch Morse (Right elbow)
Morse missed last week’s game with a questionable designation following a right elbow contusion against the Titans. While the injury appeared relatively routine and he practiced last week, there very well could have other underlying issues within the elbow. He has been blocking in the NFL with his arms extended and placing a lot of stress through his elbows since 2015 and before that at Missouri.
With Morse being the lynchpin of the offensive line, his return will be welcomed as the Bills try to get the rushing game going Sunday.
TE Dawson Knox (Back/hip)
Little is known regarding his injury after he was questionable with a right foot injury heading into the game. The hope is that this is a contusion from all the hits he took Sunday. There isn’t a clear mechanism of injury from the game that gives insight into what he is dealing with.
When I do see a hip/back designation, I begin thinking of radiculopathy, essentially what sciatica is in common terms. There is often back and buttocks pain that can radiate further down the leg, but this is pure speculation on the clustering of the designation. However, this can be managed through physical therapy or chiropractics if this were the case and can be addressed through many conservative interventions.
OT Justin Murray (Foot)
Signed to the active roster Monday, Murray immediately appeared on the injury report with a foot designation. It’s possible he injured the foot in his first practice, but he also dealt with an ankle injury during the preseason with the Cardinals that led to him receiving an injury settlement.
Considering when he was signed and already dealing with an injury, it appears unlikely that he plays Sunday.
G Ryan Bates (Concussion)
Bates left in the third quarter of Sunday’s game with a concussion after also looking to struggle in the heat as most of his teammates also were. Fortunately, Bates has been ramping up well following his head injury, not practicing Wednesday before getting in a limited practice Thursday with the non-contact jersey.
He was seen going through drills and at times initiating contact which typically means that a player is in Stage 5 of the NFL concussion protocol. He was cleared after practice Friday and will play Sunday.
OT Dion Dawkins (Illness)
Dawkins missed Wednesday’s practice with a non-COVID illness that was related to the dehydration issues from Sunday’s game.
CB Cam Lewis (Forearm/knee)
Lewis continues to work through his forearm and knee designations. It’s not clear how he injured his knee but he has a chronic bone infection in his forearm, though I am not certain what he is dealing with that is limiting him from that aspect.
OT Tommy Doyle (Right ACL)
Doyle suffered a season-ending right ACL tear with 50 seconds left in the 4th quarter Sunday. He managed to play the remaining five snaps knowing that there was no one to replace him which is pretty admirable.
He has yet to undergo surgery but should within the next two weeks. Based on the timeline, he should be ready for training camp in 2023.
S Micah Hyde (Herniated Disc)
Hyde went on IR with a cervical disc herniation after missing practice all week. For more details including the anatomy, procedure, and outcomes, please check out the article I did over at Buffalo Rumblings.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
QB Mac Jones (Left high-ankle sprain)
Jones suffered a left high-ankle sprain with 1:55 left in the fourth quarter of Week 3. This was the result of the pocket collapsing around him and Baltimore DE Calais Campbell tackling him. Had Campbell not fallen on the back of the leg and the toe gets caught in the turf at the same time, then Jones wouldn’t have had the severity of the injury that he did.
Reports have gone on to state that it is a significant injury, but there is disagreement on how long his recovery will be and whether surgery will be involved. Jones has sought out a second opinion seen below.
The team is pushing to be back in 4 weeks while Jones wants a longer timeframe. Understanding that if Jones does go on IR, he is unable to practice with the team. Whether he undergoes surgery or not remains to be seen, but the surgery will not necessarily allow him to return quicker. It may allow him to perform rehab sooner and help stabilize the syndesmosis, but it will not shorten his window significantly.
He will obviously not play on Sunday, but if the injury is severe enough with instability present, then the surgery could benefit to ensure proper healing. But if he can rehab without surgery, then that cuts down on potential issues such as infection.
Looking at the schedule, the Patriots have a bye in Week 10, it may be best to put him on the shelf until then. Jones can play through the injury, but he will be incredibly immobile and have difficulty stepping into his throws, losing power and more likely to throw balls short. While the urge to win now is always there, it may be best to protect Jones and allow him to get fully healthy.
DT Lawrence Guy (Shoulder)
Guy hurt what looked to be his left shoulder on a routine play with 11:44 left in the third quarter against Baltimore. Video of the injury is not available as Guy was blocking and moving forward, appearing to fall down towards his left before the camera panned away to track the ball down the field.
The next shots were Guy on the ground followed by him walking off the field. Without video, it is hard to identify what he did. He has not practiced all week and is ruled out for Sunday.
OL Yodny Cajuste (Thumb)
Cajuste was a late addition to the injury report Thursday after not appearing on the report Wednesday. He was unable to practice Thursday or Friday, ruling him out for Sunday’s game. Had he attempted to play, he would have had difficulty in engaging his blocks, leaving him a liability to get beat on the side of the injury.
S Kyle Dugger (Right Knee)
Dugger missed last week’s game with a right knee injury suffered late in the second quarter in the Week 2 matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers. By video, I had suspected he either suffered a bone bruise or a quad strain while trying to bat a ball out of the air.
Despite the questionable designation, Dugger is going to try and play this weekend. Based on how much the knee was bothering him before, there may be a timeshare with Jabrill Peppers.
WR Jakobi Meyers (Knee)
Meyers is still working through a knee injury that is possibly related to a knee injury originally suffered in the preseason against the Las Vegas Raiders. He missed last week’s game with the injury after showing up again after a week off. He practiced all week with a limited designation, but may also benefit from one more week off before returning to the lineup.
CB Jalen Mills (Hamstring)
Mills suited up last week despite showing up with a hamstring strain last Thursday but played in a season-low 57 percent of snaps. He did not appear to require the attention of training staff from what I could tell from team beat reporters or the play-by-play, but it’s also possible he platooned the position. This could have helped him limit the re-injury risk while still being available.
S Adrian Phillips (Left ribs)
Phillips continues to be limited due to a rib injury suffered in Week 1 against the Dolphins. He was able to play in 100 percent of the snaps, indicating that he is on the mend and very likely to play Sunday.
DL Davon Godchaux (Back)
After leaving early in the second quarter with a back injury against the Steelers, Godchaux returned in Week 3 to play in 73 percent of defensive snaps, a season-high. While he is still working through the injury, I would expect he plays to help keep Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon in check.
DB Joshuah Bledsoe (Groin)
After missing the first two weeks of the season with a groin injury originally sustained on September 8, Bledsoe returned to the lineup, though only playing in 5 snaps on defense. He saw no work on special teams which suggests that he was either an injury replacement or played at the very end. Considering the status of Kyle Duggar is up in the air, Bledsoe may be active again.
LB Raekwon McMillan (Thumb)
McMillian missed last week’s game with a thumb designation after appearing on the injury report Friday prior to Week 2. While he did play 20 percent of snaps against the Steelers, the Patriots may have felt that he was ineffective and sat him the following week. After having limited practice all week, it remains to be seen if he can perform to his prior level of play from Week 1.
NEW YORK JETS
LB Quincy Williams (Left high-ankle sprain)
Williams went down with a high-ankle sprain with 4:58 left in the third quarter while tackling Joe Mixon, unable to return. While the team has not placed him on IR, he is expected to miss several weeks as he rehabs.
If he were to attempt and play through it, he would lose any explosion through the left side and would struggle with lateral mobility. He would have to be in the right position for tackles and would be a step slower in coverage.
High-ankle sprains can vary in severity, but if it is on the milder side, he could be looking to return in Week 6 or 7 and play with some level of consistency.
CB Brandin Echols (Hamstring)
Echols appeared on the injury report with a hamstring injury and was limited Wednesday and Thursday. He was able to practice in full on Friday and despite the questionable designation, it’s likely he plays Sunday.
QB Zack Wilson (Right knee bone bruise/meniscus tear)
Wilson is set to make his regular-season debut after missing the last seven weeks of football as he recovered from a preseason knee injury. Based on the mechanism, it appeared to be an ACL tear, but he managed to avoid the season-ending injury, suffering a torn meniscus that required surgery to trim and also allow a bone bruise to heal.
Once he returns, there should not be any reservations regarding his abilities and he should be able to elevate the level of the offense. If he suffers any further injury to the knee, it will likely not be due to the prior injury as the team was conservative and played the long game regarding Wilson’s future and health.
DE John Franklin Myers (Toe)
Franklin-Myers has been working through a toe injury since appearing on the injury report prior to Week 2. He has been able to play his normal level of snaps, averaging roughly 50 percent of defensive plays each week. He hasn’t been entirely productive through three games, but it’s not clear whether this is talent or injury related.
OT George Fant (Knee)
Fant was placed on injured reserve Tuesday after battling through his knee issue from the offseason that required surgery. It hasn’t appeared that he has re-injured it at any point, but it may just need some more time off to get through the season. Despite having the surgery in January, it’s possible the knee is arthritic and has become difficult to manage throughout the week.
Fortunately, Duane Brown is scheduled to come off IR after this game following suffering a shoulder injury prior to Week 1. This will be welcome news for Jets fans as they have been dealing with Max Mitchell and Conor McDermott playing in their place. Street free agents Cedric Ogbuehi and Mike Remmers have also come in for depth, but are not at the same level as the injured starters.
Top Photo Credit: The Phinsider