Monday Injury Rounds: Week 17

Making rounds on this week's injuries with followup on long term injury concerns

NOTE: This column is a living document. I'll be updating as needed after team press conferences, imaging reports, Monday Night Football injuries, etc. Major changes to the content will be noted in red. I'll also be retweeting any key pieces of news and my own reaction and analysis, so make sure you're following @JeneBramel and checking my timeline on Twitter throughout the week.

Scroll to the bottom of this article for a quick look table of the week's most pressing injury situations and a review of the skill position players on injured reserve / PUP / NFI.


Week 17 came as quickly as ever this season. While this will be the last weekly inseason Injury Rounds, I'll have injury coverage on our Injury Blog page throughout the offseason. Headlining that coverage will be a regularly updated table with player injuries and expected recovery time, followed by short updates with more context when news breaks. I'll also post separate single features on critical injuries and rehab stories over the next few months. 

I'll also remain active on Twitter and Periscope after the regular season ends. Make sure you're following me there if you're interested in offseason discussion. And thanks to everyone for reading this season. I hope you found the features and Periscope sessions helpful. As always, I appreciate any feedback and suggestions to improve our injury coverage.

Unfortunately, Week 16 was not quiet. Derek Carr's injury will greatly impact the AFC playoffs, but there were many other injuries that will affect the offseason.

Derek Carr | Fibula fracture w/ high ankle sprain | 4+ Months | 2017 Return

Marcus Mariota | Fibula fracture w/ high ankle sprain | 4+ Months | 2017 Return

Both Carr and Mariota suffered the same mechanism of injury and the severity of their injuries are similar. While being tackled, each quarterback had his foot forcefully rotated away from his lower leg. This is the mechanism for a high ankle injury. There are varying grades of high ankle injuries, which involve, at minimum, stretching of a tough membranous ligament between the two lower leg bones. Unfortunately, both Carr and Mariota had enough force applied to the joint to cause a full tear of this ligament and a break in the outside bone of the leg. This injury also often involves tearing of the ligaments on the inside of the ankle.

In short, both quarterbacks have broken leg bones, multiple ligament tears, and an unstable ankle joint and will need surgery.

Though we've seen players return within eight weeks -- Terrell Owens and Donovan McNabb attempted to return for playoff games -- this is an injury that sometimes requires 4+ months of rehab if both bone and ligament repairs are necessary. If there are no ligament repairs around the ankle, rehab and recovery could be less than three months. Thankfully, both players should be able to recover to pre-injury form next year. That includes Mariota, the more mobile quarterback and running threat of the pair. There's an outside shot one or both players will start camp on the PUP list, but it's unlikely.