2017 NFL Preseason Injury Breakdown

Final analysis of the 2017 NFL Preseason Injury Breakdown. Looking at the injuries that occurred, how many service years, position, and by team.

As promised, the long awaited preseason breakdown! This article has been difficult to write due to accuracy and constant changes. As the first game of the NFL season has already been played by the time of this publication, I can say these are the final numbers. At the end of the day, the NFL is a business, players are looking for jobs, and something as simple as an injury can derail those prospects. The intended purpose of this article is to identify types of injuries, breakdowns involving teams, years played, and when the injury occurred. At the beginning of training camp, at least 2,880 players vie to make an NFL roster. Of those 2,880 players, only 1,696 reach their goal. That’s only 59% of the players that make it. This doesn’t account for all those who were unfortunate enough to be injured, cutting short their chances even before they had a shot.

As of 9/8/17, 328 players have sustained some sort of injury during the preseason that has sidelined them to either miss significant time or season ending. Of those that had sustained significant injury, 211 went to IR, 117 went to IR with an injury settlement which meant that once healthy they could sign with another team. Out of those 117, 3 players have already resigned with different teams. To understand what an injury settlement means, please check out this article.

Out of the reported injuries, the knee was the most common body area for injuries. 66 players sustained injuries which includes 29 ACL tears with a scattering of general knee injuries and meniscus, other ligament damage, or patellar tendon tears. This was followed by 31 ankle injures, 29 thigh injuries mostly consisting of hamstring strains, and 23 shoulders consisting of generalized shoulder injuries. Following up the breakdown of injuries, 21 arm injuries consisting of arm, elbow, wrist, hand, finger; 15 head injuries consisting of concussions, 13 back injuries consisting of disc issues; 12 hip injuries consisting of groins, and finally 8 lower leg injuries with mostly fractures. The remaining injuries were 32 undisclosed and 59 unknown.

Some of the teams were hit harder than others with the injury bug. Leading the way with injuries was the Colts with 17. Following close behind with 16 was the Jaguars and with 15 was the 49ers and Ravens. Tied for 14 are the Texans and Panthers. This was followed by the Giants with 13; Titans, Jets, Chargers, and Bears with 12. The teams with the least amount of injuries were the Broncos, Vikings, and Raiders with 5 and Packers with 6. As this is a Bills blog, the Bills finished with 8 players injured. Most Bills players were waived with injury settlements which meant that had they not gotten injured, they may have been cut.

During this analysis of player injuries, the highest number of injuries by position was at WR with 60. This was followed by LB at 49, CB at 40, followed up by TE at 28, and S at 26. The least hurt position was K with 0 and P with 1. Considering that the highest injuries involved positions with a wide variety of high impact movements, this is not surprising. Overall, 162 Defensive players were injured, 162 Offensive players were injured, and 4 special teams injured.

It was found that if a player was new to the league, the chances of injury were drastically higher. Out of the years of service, 100 rookies were injured, 70 2nd yr players. 58 3rd yr players, and 37 4th year players. According to ESPN, the average NFL career is about 3.3 years. Out of the 328 players injured, 265 fell in that time frame which accounted for nearly 81% of injuries.

Finally, while there is little information on when the injuries occurred, I was able to find that as the preseason wore on, injures increased. Preseason game 1 brought 19 injuries. Game 2 brought 12, Game 3 brought 24, and Game 4 brought 31. There has been talks to reduce preseason games, reducing the last 2 games alone would reduce 54 injuries or 16.7% of injuries in the preseason. Many more occurred in practice or in an unknown, but NFL setting.

Going down the rabbit hole, out of the 29 ACL tears, 11 were rookies. Looking at other injuries, no other trends stood out that was alarming; a variety of hamstring, foot, ankle, and concussions. Out of 2nd year players, 6 had ACL tears, but no one other group of injuries lead the way. Looking at 3rd year players, 4 ACL tears occurred with no other significant injuries noted. So to recap, 21 of the 29 ACL injuries were sustained by players 3 years or younger in the league. This brings up the question, are these players coming into the league not physically prepared? Are they not adapting to the increased speed of game play? What is the root cause? I do not have the answers at this time.

Finally, out of the ACL tears, the 49ers and Patriots were hit hardest with 3 players lost for the season with ACL tears. There were several other teams with 2 which included the Bears, Dolphins, Ravens, Seahawks, and Texans. For 29 tears over the course of the preseason between 32 teams, 7 teams accounted for 18 of the 29 ACL tears which comes out to 62% of the tears this preseason alone. Once again, what are the factors behind this? Coaching? Field surface? Luck? Many different factors at play.

I know that this breakdown only scratches the surface of the injuries during the preseason. I know that further analysis can be inferred from the raw data. At the end of the article, the raw data will be available for you to analyze and process at your own leisure. If there are any questions, comments, or concerns, please message me and I will get back to you. Thank you for reading and please continue to come back for further information! Future articles will consist of revisiting the Kevin Everett cervical injury 10 years ago and injury breakdown following Bills-Jets game.

NFL Training Camp Injuries 2017

Preseason Injury Breakdown Part III

Highlighting the injuries around the NFL following Preseason Week 3.

Another week of preseason football down, another week of major injuries to report! These injuries are not bumps, bruises, scrapes that an athlete would sustain over the course of playing football. These injuries continue to be severe, career altering, and out of control. If you would like to review the injuries from this preseason, please read Part I and Part II. Right now, there are 170 significant injuries that have forced players to either be injured enough to be injured/waived, miss extended time, or season ending.

Digging into this week’s preseason injuries, 23 players have been added to the IR or expected to miss extended time. Most of the injuries reported this week occurred during preseason games. ACL tears this preseason alone continue to skyrocket at an alarming rate, currently at 26 players. WR Julian Edelman (Patriots), LS Patrick Scales (Bears), WR Cameron Meredith (Bears), DE Matthew Godin (Texans) and LB Albert McClellan (Ravens) all ended their respective seasons in preseason Week 3 contest with the exception of McClellan going down in practice on Friday. McClellan and Edelman’s injuries were non-contact tears and Meredith, Scales, and Godin tore during contact plays. Special note, there have now been 2 long snappers that have gone down for the season due to ACL tears. This is concerning as long snapper is a lesser known, but vital position to every NFL club.

Other significant injuries to note are LCL/PCL tears, fibula and foot fractures, quadriceps tears, and tibial plateau fractures. The other 13 injuries consisted of undisclosed/unknown or various sprains. Once again, injuries are expected to occur, but the severity is what is most concerning. There have been studies that analyze adjusted games lost compared to win totals. Some of the least injured teams still missed the playoffs, yet teams that lose more players to injury still make the post season often and go deep frequently. Football Outsiders did a fantastic job analyzing these trends with reports going back several years. I would like to note that the adjusted games lost does not equate to specific win totals, but may indicate how crucial depth is towards overall success.

Breaking down which teams got hit the hardest by injury include: Bears & Cowboys with 3 each followed by Giants, Jets, and Patriots with 2 each. It appears the Bears have been hit the hardest, sustaining 2 ACL tears along with another player requiring wrist surgery, missing extended time. The Patriots continue to be hit hard, losing players in back to back weeks with season ending injuries. No team is immune to this, but some are clearly more fortunate than others.

Once again, the Bills for the most part escape without any season ending injuries. It was reported that both Tyrod Taylor and T.J. Yates both sustained concussions and are currently in the league’s concussion protocol. This leaves Nathan Peterman as the only healthy QB on the roster at the moment. The Bills did sign QB Keith Wenning who is familiar with OC Rick Dennison’s offense, but don’t expect him to stick around once Taylor and Yates are cleared to play. Besides the two concussions which hopefully won’t keep either out for long, the Bills continue to maintain a relatively injury free preseason. How this will translate to regular season games is anybody’s guess, but having a healthy team with depth is one step towards long term improvement.

Finally, the preseason end is near! The Bills wrap up the preseason with the Lions coming to New Era Field in a Thursday night match up. This will allow the coaching staff to address some of the problems including O-line play, penalties, and scoring. As a fan, therapist, and writer; I pray that the Bills get through this game without major injury going into the Jets game with the best roster possible. As the Jets have been touted as one of the worst teams this season, I do not expect them to roll over, especially Week 1. Expect a tough, grind it out game for the early part, with the expectation that the Bills pull away due to the increased talent on their roster. Look for Preseason Injury Breakdown Part IV coming up after the Lions game. If there are any specific injuries or players you have questions about, feel free to contact me.

Big Problem with Streater’s Big Toe

Analyzing Rod Streater’s Toe injury sustained during Preseason game 2.

As the preseason drags on, injuries continue to occur and further shape rosters ahead of cut down day on September 2nd. Some players are already assured roster spots, but others that need to still prove it or that are fringe players, every snap counts. One of these players that may still need to prove it is Rod Streater. Until last week’s game against the Eagles, Streater has had a solid camp, rebounding from a pair of foot injuries with Oakland that cost him sizable chunks of two seasons before regaining his footing with the 49ers last season. As Streater went undrafted coming out of Temple in 2012, he has had to fight every year for a roster spot. Seeing Streater go down with a toe injury in the 4th quarter certainly strikes a blow to his chances for a roster spot.

Today’s post will evaluate the possible injury Streater sustained in the Eagles game. I will also briefly assess any other injuries that occurred during the game, which was largely injury free Bills wise. Streater’s injury was by far the most notable injury to come out post game. Considering that later reports narrowed down the injury to a toe helped reduce the number of possible injuries significantly. Reports have indicated that he is not in a walking boot, not expected to miss any significant time, and is week-to-week.

Knowing the previously mentioned information, we can eliminate any fractures, dislocations, or any other possible areas of injury. While there are not any specific reports of the exact diagnosis, I can safely assume that Streater sustained a turf toe injury. A turf toe injury occurs when the big toe becomes injured, specifically hyperextended or bent back abruptly. This could occur during landing on the big toe, causing it to bend backwards and cause immediate pain. It was reported that he was dragged down to the turf following a catch in which the toe could have been caught, leading to the injury. As every other part of the body, each bone is connected to another bone via ligaments. An injury such as this could stretch out the ligaments supporting the big toe and create instability.

As a toe may seem insignificant when there are much greater injuries such as ACL tears, broken ribs, concussions; it is still vital to the overall function of the athlete. The big toe is vital to running due to this being the area that is pushing off the ground. If humans did not have a big toe, the running stance would be greatly altered. Try to walk without pushing off the big toe, very awkward in walking, nearly impossible in running. The toe also assists in balance stability during walking and standing, allowing us to stay upright compared to our four legged friends.

Having an unstable area that prevents pushing off limits the ability to run routes and sprint. Turf toe injuries can become a chronic problem if not managed correctly or if forced to return sooner than possible. Thankfully, Streater’s injury does force him to sit out, he will not miss any vital games. At this time, he would not be a candidate to be sent to IR, but would most likely be placed on the roster until he is fully ready to play. Considering he is week-to-week with a toe injury indicates that it may be a Grade II injury marked by moderate swelling, partial tearing of the structures around the toe, along with range of motion limitation and pain. To further differentiate between the severity of the injury, Grade I would be minimal swelling and bruising with some pain. Grade III would be significant swelling, total disruption of the surrounding structures of the toe, noted weakness during toe bending, and concurrent instability of the toe.

Surgery would only be indicated if there was an avulsion of the bone, any concurrent fractures, significant deformity, or failed conservative treatment, among other complications. As there are not reports that he is immediately having surgery, Streater will require rehab focusing on restoring range of motion to the toe, allowing pain and swelling to reduce. Once this has taken place, strengthening exercises will be performed, slowly loading the toe to build up strength and not cause further injury to the area. Once Streater is able to walk without any difficulty and report no exacerbation of symptoms, then he would be progressed to running, jumping, etc, eventually being cleared to return. Streater may also be fitted with a stiff soled shoe to limit extra stress on the toe during push off to reduce re-injury.

Expect Streater to miss the next 2 preseason games, at worst missing the first game in order to return to full health. As he is not considered to be more than a 3rd to 5th receiver, there are other players that can step up in the interim until Streater is ready to return. According to mock 53 man rosters, he is not on the bubble as some other players, but would benefit being healthy to ensure his spot and adequate playing time.

Other injuries to note coming out of the Eagles game, TE Jason Croom injured his ankle during the game and has since been placed on injured reserve. Also, S Trae Elston injured his hamstring, leaving towards the end of the game. There have not been any additional reports regarding Elston indicating that it is not serious. The Bills are halfway through the preseason with no major injuries. As a fan and professional, I do not recall a time when they did not suffer some type of major injury in the preseason. Looking at the past 2 preseasons under the Ryan/Whaley era, there had been 4 ACL tears in 2016, 1 in 2015 along with various other injuries including Sammy Watkins foot injury. This is a nice change of pace for the Bills and hopefully this trend continues. Most of the big name players will be out against the Ravens this Saturday, allowing those injured to continue resting and prevent new injuries from occurring. Continue to check back with new updates following the Ravens game.