Injury Watch: Bills' RB depth takes shot as Jackson, Spiller go down
Here are the injuries we're monitoring after Sunday's Week 7 action.
C.J. Spiller, RB, Buffalo Bills (collarbone)/Fred Jackson, RB, Buffalo Bills (groin): The Bills moved to 4-3 with their 17-16 comeback win over the Vikings on Sunday, but they paid a heavy price as their two primary running backs will miss serious time. Spiller suffered a broken collarbone at the end of a long run, and unless there's a fairly miraculous turnaround, he'll most likely be out for the rest of the season. He's set to undergo surgery Monday. If so, the injury couldn't have come at a worse time -- Spiller is in a contract year (he has a $2,196,663 player option in 2015), and he had gained just 287 yards on 67 carries this season.
Jackson was hit in the second quarter and carted off with a groin injury, and speculation (Jackson's own) has him out for about a month. The hope is that he can return by Week 10 without surgery, but that's all speculation at this point. In the interim, Bryce Brown and Anthony Dixon will take the reps in Buffalo's backfield.
Jason Verrett, CB, San Diego Chargers (shoulder)/Brandon Flowers, CB, San Diego Chargers (concussion): The short week leading into Thursday Night Football could not possibly come at a worse time for the Chargers, who likely will be without their two best cornerbacks when they face Peyton Manning and the Broncos three days from now. Flowers suffered a concussion as he tried to tackle Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles in Sunday's 23-20 loss, and the way the NFL's concussion protocol works (not to mention the obvious concern for Flowers' health, we hope), there's a pretty slim chance he goes.
Verrett, who's been a major addition as a rookie, missed the Chiefs game with a shoulder injury, and initial reports already have him out for the Broncos game. Manning, fresh off his slicing and dicing of the 49ers defense in a historic performance, could really go off on Thursday.
Reggie Bush, RB, Detroit Lions (ankle): Bush, who missed Detroit's Week 6 win over the Vikings with an ankle injury, had just nine touches against the Saints in Detroit's fabulous comeback win. Head coach Jim Caldwell confirmed after the New Orleans game that the ankle is still an issue, which is why Joique Bell shouldered the load.
"I think you saw a few times he was still kind of nursing his injury just a little bit," Caldwell said. "It bothered him a couple times, but he gutted it out and kept working through it. In there toward the end it was the package more so than anything else."
The Lions face the Falcons in London next Sunday, and perhaps an abbreviated practice schedule will give Bush a better shot at a more comprehensive recovery. The Lions then have a bye, and will play the Dolphins on Nov. 9.
Pierre Thomas, RB, New Orleans Saints (shoulder): Thomas left the Lions game with a shoulder issue, which complicates an already murky positional group for Sean Payton's offense. Mark Ingram returned from time missed with a broken hand, but he wasn't terribly effective against Detroit's defense. Payton may turn more to Travaris Cadet, especially if Thomas misses any serious time.
Brian Orakpo, OLB, Washington Redskins (pectoral): It's bad enough that the Redskins' quarterback situation is in complete freefall, with head coach Jay Gruden benching Kirk Cousins in favor of backup Colt McCoy in Sunday's game against the Titans. Now, the news comes out that Orakpo, a major part of Washington's defense, may have suffered a partially torn right pectoral muscle. He'll have an MRI Monday. Orakpo has been working through other injuries this season, and this would be a major setback. Orakpo injured his right pectoral muscle in the 2011 season and re-injured it in '12, missing 14 games in that season.
Tharold Simon, CB, Seattle Seahawks (ankle): The hits just keep on coming to Seattle's injury-plagued defense, already without starting cornerback Byron Maxwell due to a calf strain. The Seahawks just got Simon, a highly-regarded rookie, back from the torn meniscus he suffered in September, only to see him sprain an ankle in Sunday's loss to the Rams. Pete Carroll will hope to get Maxwell back in time for next Sunday's game against the Panthers.
Trent Richardson, RB, Indianapolis Colts (hamstring): Richardson went down with a hamstring injury in the third quarter of Indy's win over the Bengals, which is a shame, as he was just starting to look remotely like the back the Colts traded a first-round pick for in 2013. Richardson ran 14 times for 77 yards and caught four passes for 41 yards. Ahmad Bradshaw will be the main man as long as Richardson is out (Richardson said that hamstring injury was a "little tweak, nothing big"), which, be perfectly honest, is what most observers would prefer.
Kyle Fuller, CB, Chicago Bears (hand/hip): Fuller, who was on pace for a Defensive Rookie of the Year award, suffered a broken hand and a hip pointer in Chicago's loss to the Dolphins. If he's out for any serious time, it's obviously a big problem for a Bears team that has dropped three of their last four games and are reportedly calling each other out in the locker room.
Jon Beason, LB, New York Giants (toe): Beason has had serious trouble staying healthy over the last three seasons, and he re-aggravated his existing toe injury in Sunday's loss to the Cowboys. Beason originally was injured in Week 2 against the Cardinals, and was out until Week 6's loss to the Eagles.
Peter Konz, C, Atlanta Falcons (knee): Last one who's able to start for Atlanta's offensive line, turn out the lights. An injury wave that has already taken several starters out for serious time hit Konz in Sunday's loss to the Ravens. He was carted off with a knee injury in the game and replaced by James Stone. Left guard Justin Blalock, right tackle Lamar Holmes and center Joe Hawley were all hurt in Week 4's loss to the Vikings, and Konz was Hawley's replacement.
“That’s not an excuse," head coach Mike Smith said after the Vikings game (Atlanta had just four offensive linemen on the active roster after all those injuries, and had to put tight end Levine Toilolo in at right tackle). "Guys are going to get injured. That happens in every football game. That happens throughout the NFL every week. You have to have the next man up mentality. You cannot concern yourself with injures.”
Well, sure, but how much is too much?