Week 8 Injury Impact: Robert Griffin's knee is 'fine,' QB will practice this week
Here's the latest on Sunday's most prominent injuries.
Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington Redskins (knee): Griffin was seen holding his left knee in the fourth quarter of Washington's loss to the Denver Broncos, but he was walking around on the sideline after an examination, and said after the game that he could have gone back in if needed. Not that Griffin or backup Kirk Cousins did much to help as the game wound down -- Washington's last four drives ended in interceptions -- but it's undoubtedly a relief to fans that RGIII will be good to go this Sunday against the San Diego Chargers. On Monday, head coach Mike Shanahan said that after talking to team doctors, he was able to proclaim that Griffin's knee was sore, but fine.
Jimmy Graham, TE, New Orleans Saints (foot): Graham was dealing with plantar fasciitis all week and was a gametime decision against the Bills on Sunday. Head coach Sean Payton made a wise decision, as Graham caught three passes on just 18 snaps for two touchdowns in New Orleans' win.
“I think from a pain standpoint, my understanding is it can begin to diminish,” Payton said of Graham's injury on Monday. “I know this – we’re not gonna sit here week to week discussing it. But I think it’s something he’ll be able to manage.” The Saints face the Jets on Sunday, and Rex Ryan's defense will still be smarting from what Andy Dalton and Marvin Jones did to it last Sunday.
Mike Williams, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (hamstring): More bad news for the Bucs, as the hamstring injury Williams has been dealing with over the last few weeks became a full-blown torn muscle, ending his 2013 season. Tampa Bay signed Williams to a six-year, $40.25 contract that is actually fairly inexpensive in 2014 ($1.2 million in base salary, plus a $1 million roster bonus). In the meantime, Tampa Bay's disaster of an offense will rely even more on Vincent Jackson as Mike Glennon tries to figure it out.
Brandon Gibson, WR, Miami Dolphins (knee): Gibson was carted off the field after scoring a touchdown against the New England Patriots on Sunday, and he tore his left pateller tendon, ending his season. It's tough news for Gibson, who was on pace for a career year in his first season with the Dolphins after four years with the St. Louis Rams.
Sebastian Vollmer, RT, New England Patriots (leg): Vollmer suffered a broken right leg against the Dolphins, and though it could be a season-ending injury, Bill Belichick said nothing about it in Monday's press conference. The Patriots could try to work through the regular season without him and hope he'll be available for the playoffs. Vollmer played in 100 percent of New England's offensive snaps before the injury, allowing two quarterback sacks, one QB hit, and 12 hurries, per Pro Football Focus. Marcus Cannon will replace Vollmer in the short term.
Roddy White, WR, Atlanta Falcons (ankle, hamstring): Falcons head coach Mike Smith said on Monday that White is still working through the injuries that limited him most of this season and finally prevented him from playing Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. Atlanta is going through a lost season that could lead to some changes in 2014, including White's status with the team. He'll be 32 next year, and he's due $5 million in base salary. Not good math for a team in need of roster overhaul at several positions. Atlanta has two very tough defensive matchups upcoming in the Carolina Panthers and Seattle Seahawks.
Matt Schaub, QB, Houston Texans (ankle): Speaking of teams with lost seasons, the Texans have announced that quarterback Case Keenum will start Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts. Former starter Matt Schaub, limited by an ankle injury, watched Keenum perform surprisingly well against the Kansas City Chiefs' excellent defense two Sundays ago. There were reports that Schaub may have ligament damage in his injured ankle, but Monday comments from head coach Gary Kubiak and Schaub himself revealed the real issue -- Keenum's performance forced the issue.
Matt’s fine," Kubiak said. "Matt’s fine and it’s just the decision I made based on what I saw take place last week with Case and him taking advantage of an opportunity and I want to see him move forward. He’s got to improve. He’s definitely got to go and improve. With this team we’re playing, our football team’s got to improve around him. Like I said, a decision for this week.”
"It’s obviously very disappointing for me after all we’ve been through here and all we’ve accomplished and done," Schaub said. "But I’m part of the reason we’re in this situation as a football team. It’s his decision. He’s the head coach. As a player and a competitor, I don’t like it. I want to be out there.”
Michael Vick, QB, Philadelphia Eagles (hamstring): Vick reaggravated his hamstring against the GIants -- he "felt a pop" as he put it, and completed just six of nine passes with an interception before he was lost for the day. On Monday, Eagles head coach Chip Kelly didn't sound terribly positive that Vick could return for the Oakland Raiders game on Sunday. To avoid starting rookie Matt Barkley against the Raiders, Kelly may be left hoping that backup Nick Foles can recover from his head injuries and pass the concussion protocol in time.
DeMarco Murray, RB, Dallas Cowboys (knee): Murray missed his second straight game on Sunday with a sprained MCL, though team owner Jerry Jones said that Murray "could have gone" against the Detroit Lions. We're generally wary when Jones tries to play doctor, though Murray had limited participation in practice last week, and we'll have to see if he improves enough to go against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. The Cowboys are also hoping that defensive end DeMarcus Ware will be solid enough in his return from a quadriceps injury to return for that game.
Percy Harvin, WR, Seattle Seahawks (hip): Though Harvin saw limited time in practice this last week for the first time this season as he looks to come back fully from a hip injury suffered on the first day of training camp, he will not be active against the Rams for Monday Night Football. The Seahawks gave a first-round pick to the Minnesota Vikings for Harvin's services and game him a rather large contract, so they're being careful. “He did fine," Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said of Harvin's gradual return. "He looked great when we were working him, and then we needed to rest him and make sure that he could handle the workload. He’s a hard charger, he’s not going to sit back, and when he goes, he goes. We have to make sure that we manage that really well. We’re totally pleased with how he’s worked to get back, and as soon as we could do it we will, but when it’s right.”