Monday September 29th, 2014

Here are the injuries we're keeping an eye on following Sunday's NFL action.

Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Minnesota Vikings (ankle)

Bridgewater left his first NFL start in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury. He was carted off the field, but returned before the end of Minnesota's 41-28 win over the Atlanta Falcons. The initial diagnosis was an ankle sprain, but neither Bridgewater nor his coach seemed too worried about it.

"I feel pretty good," Bridgewater said after the game. "Didn’t finish the game the way I wanted to end it, but I’m feeling good right now. I’m able to stand in front of you all on my own, so I’m feeling pretty good."

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Bridgewater said that he probably could have finished the game, but "[t]he situation we were in, we were up, the defense was playing great in the 4th quarter, Christian [Ponder] was able to come into the game; Christian, he’s a great guy, always staying on top of the game. My hat’s off to him being able to come in and finish the game for us."

On Monday, head coach Mike Zimmer said that Bridgewater's MRI "came back clean," and the hope is that he'll be ready for Minnesota's Thursday night game against the Packers. If he can't go, Ponder is the starter, with Matt Cassel out for the season with a foot injury.

Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (groin)

Evans was on his way to having a very solid start for the Buccaneers in their 27-24 win over the Steelers, but he left the game in the third quarter with a groin injury that several reports have said could keep him out 2-3 weeks. Tampa Bay's bye comes in Week 7, which could mean no Evans for the Bucs' passing game until the team's Oct. 26 game against the Vikings.

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Derek Carr, QB, Oakland Raiders (ankle, knee)

The Raiders were thrashed 38-14 in London by the Dolphins, the job security of head coach Dennis Allen is very much in doubt, and to make matters worse, Carr left the game with what has been diagnosed as a sprained MCL and high-ankle sprain. Carr will be out for a while. Matt McGloin will likely replace him, and this could be a very different Raiders team after the Week 5 bye. Sadly, not in a good way.

Morris Claiborne, CB, Dallas Cowboys (knee)

It's been a bad couple of weeks for the former sixth overall pick, who recently left the team after he was informed that he was being benched. Claiborne played against the Saints on Sunday night, but not for long, and not for the rest of the season -- he tore his left patellar tendon and will be out for the rest of the season. Sterling Moore will take Claiborne's place as the primary slot cornerback.

DeAngelo Williams, RB, Carolina Panthers (ankle)

With Williams, Jonathan Stewart and Mike Tolbert all hurt, Panthers head coach Ron Rivera may be reduced to trolling the free-agent wire just to keep his rushing attack together. Williams had been dealing with hamstring issues, and now, he's week-to-week with a sprained ankle he suffered in the second quarter of Carolina's loss to the Ravens. He'll get more testing Monday and through the week, but at this point, it's a game-to-game situation. Fozzy Whittaker could be Cam Newton's main running back if he's healthy enough to practice as he recovers from a quadriceps injury.

Zach Miller, TE, Seattle Seahawks (ankle)

According to a report from FOX Sports' Ross Jones, Miller underwent a procedure on his ankle during Seattle's bye week, and will be sidelined for a significant period of time. The Seahawks have not confirmed the report, but if it's true, it's a pretty major hit for Seattle's offense. Not only is Miller a key target for quarterback Russell Wilson; he's also one of the best blocking tight ends in the league, which is of great benefit to Seattle's run-heavy attack. Luke Willson, who's more of a "big receiver" tight end, would be in line for a lot of Miller's snaps. Expect a few more passes in that case. Seattle will travel to face the Washington Redskins for Monday Night Football on Oct. 6.

Justin Blalock, OG, Atlanta Falcons (back)/Lamar Holmes, RT, Atlanta Falcons (foot)/Joe Hawley, C, Atlanta Falcons (knee)

Atlanta's usually explosive offense regressed against the Vikings on Sunday, but that's to be expected when you lose three offensive linemen in the same game. At one point, the Falcons had to put tight end Levine Toilolo in at right tackle after Holmes left the game with a foot injury, It's not known how long Atlanta will have to deal with this cluster of injuries along their line, but head coach Mike Smith certainly wasn't happy about it after the Falcons' 41-28 loss.

"We had a lot of injuries," Smith said. "It was the first time I have ever been in a game where you had [only] four offensive linemen healthy that could go in and play but that is not an excuse. Guys are going to get injured. That happens in every football game, that happens throughout the NFL every week and you have to have the next man up mentality. You cannot concern yourself with injuries. The next man up is going to come in and play."

If Toilolo is indeed the next man, he said that he'll do whatever his coaches need, though at 6-foot-8 and 265 pounds, he's a little on the light side.

"I’ve never seen that happen as far as injury-wise or something like that," Toilolo sad. "It is unfortunate that we are in that situation, but at the same time you always talk about being ready and next guy up, trying to step in without having any drop off. I just tried doing the best I could in that situation and like I said the guys around me did a great job making that as easy as it could’ve been."

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