Injury Watch: Colts, Broncos lose several playmakers in Week 11
Here are the Week 11 injuries we're tracking after Sunday's games.
Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, Indianapolis Colts (ankle): The bad news for the Colts went far beyond their Sunday night loss to the Patriots -- early word is that Bradshaw, the team's best running back in every possible dimension, may have broken his ankle. Such an injury would almost certainly put him out for the rest of the 2014 season, and force the Colts to rely on Trent Richardson instead. Bradshaw, who has played all 16 games in a season just once in his career, is a dynamic runner, a violent blocker and an excellent receiver out of the backfield. At this point, none of those things can be said about Richardson, and it's a big backslide for Indy's already pass-heavy offense.
Dwayne Allen, TE, Indianapolis Colts (ankle): The Colts believe that Allen suffered a high ankle sprain against the Patriots. What they do not yet know is the severity of the injury. Allen could be out for several weeks or the rest of the season if it's major; or, he could dodge a bullet if it's not quite as bad. UPDATE: Allen says he's day-to-day with an ankle sprain. The Colts have Coby Fleener to take up Andrew Luck's tight end targets, but Allen is the better blocker, and with the Bradshaw injury already lingering, the Colts might be in trouble.
Julius Thomas, TE, Denver Broncos (ankle): The defending AFC champs lost several offensive stalwarts in their Sunday loss to the Rams, and we'll start with Thomas, who left the St. Louis game early and did not return. ESPN's Adam Schefter said that Thomas' ankle injury is not thought to be a high ankle sprain, which, if true, would put him back on the field earlier than later. Thomas leads the NFL with 12 receiving touchdowns, and any extended absence would be a big problem for an offense that has looked relatively mortal of late.
Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Denver Broncos (concussion): Sanders was absolutely blown up in the third quarter of the Rams game, and the Broncos immediately ruled him out with a concussion. Reports indicate that he was alert after the game concluded, and as long as he can pass the league's concussion protocol this week, he should be good to go against the Dolphins' stout defense.
Montee Ball, RB, Denver Broncos (groin): Ball had missed five games with a groin injury, and he re-injured the area early in Sunday's loss -- on the first play of the game, and later, on a quick pass. The Broncos will do further tests, but it wouldn't be a surprise if Ball's season is over.
Max Unger, C, Seattle Seahawks (ankle): The Seahawks lost defensive tackle Brandon Mebane for the season to a hamstring injury last week, and any similarly serious injury to Unger would prove to be a major hit to Seattle's already iffy offensive line. Unger is the most reliable member of that front five, and he suffered a high ankle sprain in Seattle's loss to the Chiefs. He also suffered a knee injury in the fourth quarter of that game. Unger is just back from a foot injury, and this could keep him out for a while. The 6-4 Seahawks may be running out of key players.
Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers (ribs, other): Rivers has been dealing with a hand injury, and he appeared to have a swelled-up knee in San Diego's Sunday win over the Raiders, but the real point of concern for the team may be Rivers' ribs. The quarterback is one of the toughest players in the league, and tight end Antonio Gates said after the game that Rivers has been playing with a "very severe rib injury" over the past few weeks.
Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals (knee): Fitzgerald suffered a Grade 2 MCL sprain during the Cardinals' win over the Lions but expects to play in Arizona's Week 12 game against Seattle.
Trent Williams, LT, Washington Redskins (knee, ankle): A dismal Redskins season got worse during the team's 27-7 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when Williams, one of the team's few dominant players, left the game with what appeared to be severe knee and ankle injuries. The initial diagnosis is that Williams has a sprained right MCL and a sprained ankle. Williams said after the game that he was very relieved it wasn't his ACL, which would have ended his season, but it's not yet known how much time he'll miss. Rookie Morgan Moses took Williams' place in the game.
Brandin Cooks, WR, New Orleans Saints (thumb): Cooks suffered a broken thumb against the Bengals on Sunday, and his initial timetable calls for him to miss 2-4 weeks. It's unfortunate, as the team's first-round pick was really starting to come on in Sean Payton 's offense. As he was last year, Kenny Stills will be Drew Brees' primary vertical target not named Jimmy Graham in the interim.