The Bears' defense will be without DT Henry Melton for the rest of the 2013 season. (Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Here’s a look at the most important injury information we’ve gleaned from Sunday’s games.
Henry Melton, DT, Chicago Bears (knee): The Chicago Bears were able to take their 2013 record to 3-0 after a 40-23 Sunday night win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, but they did not come out the game unscathed. Defensive tackle Henry Melton suffered a torn left ACL and will be out for the remainder of the season, the team confirmed on Monday. Melton is playing on a fully guaranteed franchise tender he signed in March, but he will go into free agency in 2014 with a relative disadvantage. It's a blow for the Chicago defense, because Melton has been a key cog as the team's primary three-technique pass disruptor. He amassed 13 sacks in his last two seasons, and made his first Pro Bowl in 2012. Melton was hurt in the fourth quarter of the game as he was blocked by Steelers guard David DeCastro, and he had to be carted off the field. Nate Collins and Stephen Paea are projected to be Melton's primary replacements.
Charles Tillman, CB, Chicago Bears (knee, groin): Tillman was questionable going into the Steelers game with a knee issue, and he left in the fourth quarter with a groin injury. On Monday, Bears head coach Marc Trestman intimated that if the game had been closer, his best cornerback could have returned.
“Charles got a little tight at the end of the game so we held him out,” Trestman said, via ESPN.com. “We’re going to be very cautious with him this week. He will probably be out on Wednesday and we’ll go through the same progression. But he just tightened up. He was in early this morning, he worked out and he got treatment. We’re optimistic that he will be ready to go on Sunday.”
Patrick Willis, ILB, San Francisco 49ers (groin): Willis is set for an MRI on Monday -- he injured his groin in the third quarter of the 49ers' 27-7 loss to the Indianapolis Colts while chasing receiver Reggie Wayne. At this time, it is estimated that Willis will miss Thursday night's game against the St. Louis Rams. This would, of course, be another big blow for a defense that will also be without end Aldon Smith for the foreseeable future as Smith prepares to enter a rehab program to deal with substance abuse issues. Willis has missed just four games in his seven-year career, and the six-time Pro Bowler is unquestionably the leader of a defense that is struggling right now.
C.J. Spiller, RB, Buffalo Bills (quadricep): Spiller missed most of the second half of the Bills' 27-20 loss to the New York Jets, but head coach Doug Marrone said Monday that he believes he'll have Spiller for Buffalo's Week 4 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens.
"It’s sore, but it shouldn’t be anything that will keep me out this week," Spiller said after the game of his injured leg. "I should be feeling better day-by-day. Just taking it slow, just a little sore right now."
Cameron Wake, DE, Miami Dolphins (knee): Wake was injured in the first quarter of the Dolphins' win over the Atlanta Falcons, and he did not return to the game. The Miami Herald is reporting that Wake has been diagnosed with a mild sprain of the MCL in his left knee, and that he could miss at least one week. The Dolphins next play the New Orleans Saints on Monday night, and through Miami's entire defensive front is playing at a high level, losing Wake would be a big disadvantage when facing Drew Brees and his cadre of receivers.
Blaine Gabbert, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars (hand): On Monday, Jags head coach Gus Bradley announced that Gabbert will start in the team's Week 4 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Gabbert had been dealing with a hand laceration since the season opener, and Chad Henne performed reasonably well (for this team, at least) while Gabbert recovered. As is generally the case, a quick hook for Jacksonville's 2011 first-round pick is a good guess.
Andre Johnson, WR, Houston Texans (shin): Johnson left the game against the Baltimore Ravens in the third quarter with a bruised shin, and head coach Gary Kubiak said on Monday that X-rays came back negative, Johnson is day-to-day, and the team will do whatever possible to get him in the game on Sunday against Seattle's league-best defense.
Vincent Jackson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (ribs):
Jackson took a shot to the ribs in Sunday's game against the Patriots, but ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that Jackson is currently day-to-day, and Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network
says that Jackson did not suffer any broken ribs. At this point, he appears to be a good play to appear in Tampa Bay's Sunday game against the Arizona Cardinals.