Monday Injury Rounds: Week 9

Making rounds on this weekend's injuries, with updates on Le'Veon Bell, Keenan Allen, Matt Forte, Steve Smith, and others

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.


le'veon bell | MCL sprain | out for season

I thought Bell likely had a multi-ligament knee injury when I first saw the first replays. Bell had a clear mechanism for an MCL sprain and I was also worried about a rotational component that would have injured his ACL, too. Though sideline exams are often accurate to diagnose ACL injuries, the Steelers sent Bell for an immediate MRI to clarify the injury. Early afternoon reports were hopeful Bell had suffered an isolated MCL sprain and could return this season.

Later reports were progressively more pessimisitic, with multiple local and national writers tweeting Bell had a "badly torn" MCL and possibly more damage that would end Bell's season. It's not clear what Bell's additional injuries are, but anything from a partial ACL tear to meniscus or cartilage damage is possible. Without knowing the precise extent of Bell's condition, it's difficult to project his timeframe and long term outlook.

More here as further details are released...

530 ET: Bell has been placed on injured reserve. There's not been any additional specific information from the Steelers about Bell's injury as yet.

keenan allen | kidney injury | week-to-week

530 ET: Mike McCoy told reporters during his Monday press conference that Allen had suffered a kidney injury and would "miss some time." What McCoy didn't say is just how severely Allen's injury may be. If Allen has a bruise without any ongoing bleeding and no laceration through the capsule of the kidney, it may be possible for him to return in 2-3 weeks. A 2008 study of 42 NFL players who had suffered a kidney contusion quoted the average return at 14 days. If Allen has any ongoing bleeding or a laceration through the capsule, his absence could be measured in months rather than weeks.

McCoy didn't say Allen had been (or still is) hospitalized or had rib fractures. Either would be a poor prognostic sign. The Chargers will be monitoring Allen closely over the next week for any evidence of ongoing bleeding in and around the kidney or blood in the urine. If he's stable through the next seven days, he could be cleared to condition and possibly for contact quickly thereafter. For now, it's too soon to accurately narrow a timetable Allen's return.

700 ET: Michael Gehlken tweeted Allen's teammates plan to visit him in the hospital tonight. This isn't a surprise. Trauma surgeons watch multiple factors -- pain, heart rate, blood pressure, blood cell counts, serial CT scans -- to ensure a solid organ injury remains stable. If there is any evidence of ongoing bleeding or new bleeding in the first 24 hours after injury, a procedure (or surgery) to stop the bleeding may be necessary. It's still unknown whether Allen has an injury that will require a longer term recovery, but the need for any hospitalization and monitoring 24 hours after injury makes a two week recovery much less likely.

matt forte | KNEE | WEEK-TO-WEEK

Television replays weren't clear on Forte's injury, but both Jay Glazer and Will Carroll are reporting what sounds like a low grade MCL injury. Though Forte's mechanism didn't appear as violent as Bell's, the same recovery concerns noted above will apply to Forte. This isn't Forte's first MCL injury. He missed the last four games of the 2011 season with a Grade 2 MCL sprain. If the reports of a low grade injury are accurate, Forte may only miss 1-2 weeks this time. Of course, don't expect the Bears to provide any meaningful information here. Forte's practice participation is likely to be our only guide.

steve smith | achilles tear | out for season

Smith's Achilles tear was the most brutal of a ridiculous run of injuries from the end of the first half through the early second half of the early afternoon Sunday games. The injury ends Smith's season and, unless he decides against his planned retirement, his career.

larry fitzgerald | ankle sprain | day-to-day

The mechanism wasn't severe, but Fitzgerald's injury looked like a low grade high ankle sprain. Fitzgerald has an extra week to recover with the Cardinals on bye in Week 9 and he commonly plays effectively through pain. Hopefully, Fitzgerald will practice and play without limitations in Week 10.

Khiry Robinson likely broke both lower leg bones and will be out for the season. Reggie Bush is believed to have torn his ACL and will be out for the season. Ryan Fitzpatrick reportedly has a significant thumb sprain on his non-throwing hand and won't return until his grip strength allows him to handle the football in the pocket.

I'll update here with any news on Keenan Allen (back spasms) (see above), Mike Evans (? abdomen/hip/hamstring), Stefon Diggs (? foot/ankle), Ladarius Green (possible high ankle mechanism, wearing boot), and Kendall Wright (MCL mechanism). None of these injuries were discussed in-depth during post-game press conferences, so I'm relying on video alone for now. Green and Wright are at highest risk of missing time.

530 ET: Wright's knee injury has been confirmed to be an MCL sprain. It's unlikely he'll be able to return this week.


john brown | hamstring strains | DAY-TO-DAY

In the end, the Cardinals decided to play it safe with Brown yesterday. Though healthy enough to dress, the Cardinals elected not to risk aggravating either of Brown's hamstring injuries in a close game and held him on the sideline. Brown will have an extra two weeks to recover through the Week 9 bye. Barring a setback, Brown should be ready to go in Week 10.

vincent jackson | knee | week-to-week

It was difficult to see an exact mechanism of injury on video last week, but there was a hyperextension of Jackson's left knee worrisome for a PCL sprain. The Buccaneers have been vague with injuries all season long, but there were reports last week Jackson would miss multiple weeks. If Jackson isn't back practicing on Wednesday, that becomes much more likely.

sammy watkins | ankle sprain | day-to-day

Watkins has now had two weeks to recover from a significant low ankle sprain and a nagging calf strain. He'll have a third week of treatment and recovery this week and may have a good chance to return to play in Week 9. More on his status after the Bills' early week press conference and practice reports.

carlos hyde | stress fracture | week-to-week

It was easy to be skeptical of the initial reports Hyde would try to play through a stress fracture in his foot. While it may have been accurate that Hyde would not have done more damage to the foot by playing through pain, there was little question the injury would limit him until allowed to heal (or fixed surgically). Now that Hyde and the Niners' medical staff have elected to let the injury heal, expect Hyde to miss multiple weeks until adequate healing has been confirmed.

tyrod taylor | mcl sprain | day-to-day

marcus mariota | mcl sprain | week-to-week

Taylor's injury occurred one week before Mariota's and the Buffalo quarterback was close to returning before the team's Week 8 bye. He's likely to play this week. Mariota has yet to practice and will have to prove he can protect himself in the pocket before he'll be allowed to return.

530 ET: The Bills told reporters Taylor was fully recovered at today's press conference. He's expected to fully practice on Wednesday. Ken Whisenhunt was equally optimistic with Mariota, telling reporters his quarterback was also expected to be a full practice particpant on Wednesday.

I'll also be watching mid-week practice reports for a possible return for Karlos Williams (concussion) and Austin Seferian-Jenkins (shoulder). There's been no indication Breshad Perriman (PCL), Victor Cruz (calf), or DeSean Jackson (hamstring) are close to returning to practice.

530 ET: DeSean Jackson recovered well over the Washington bye week. He must have been practicing effectively through the bye, as he's told reporters he expects to play this week. That assumes he can make it through another week of practices without aggravating his hamstring injury a third time. Karlos Williams is also expected back at practice this week.

I'll be updating this feature throughout the day. Footballguys Insiders will get a full update with additional fantasy perspectives on Wednesday, with analysis of the week's game-time decisions early Sunday morning. Follow me on Twitter @JeneBramel for breaking injury news and analysis throughout the week.