Injury Watch: Cardinals suffer more hits to an already vulnerable roster
Here are the injuries we're monitoring after Week 14's Sunday action.
Zach Mettenberger, QB, Tennessee Titans (shoulder): One week after spraining the AC joint in his throwing shoulder, Mettenberger was further injured with a separated joint in Tennessee's loss to the Giants, and his season is over. If that's the case, the Titans will have some interesting offseason decisions to make. If Mettenberger is the team's franchise guy based on his 59.8 completion percentage and eight touchdowns to seven interceptions, they'll go a different way at the top of the draft, and there are a lot of needs in other places.
Julius Thomas, TE, Denver Broncos (ankle): After Denver's 24-17 win over the Bills Sunday, head coach John Fox said that Thomas was ready to play if needed, but given the team's recent run-heavy approach, it didn't seem as if he was. C.J. Anderson scored three rushing touchdowns, and Peyton Manning saw his 51-game touchdown streak snapped. The move to sideline Thomas after activating him was likely precautionary for the stretch run, in which the 10-3 Broncos will try to keep pace with the Patriots for the top seed in the AFC. Thomas, who has been out the last three games with a sprained ankle, might see some time against the Chargers next week.
Antonio Cromartie, CB, Arizona Cardinals (lower leg): The hits just keep coming for a Cardinals team that ... well, "oft-injured" doesn't seem to cover it. In Arizona's close Sunday win over the Chiefs, Cromartie left the game with what general manager Steve Keim believes to be a peroneal tendon injury in Cromartie's right ankle. That's a serious upgrade from the Achilles tendon tear the injury was originally believed to be, but if that's the case, it still puts his status in doubt for Thursday's game against the Rams. And that's a problem, because Cromartie has been the team's best pass defender this season, playing at a higher level than Patrick Peterson.
Andre Ellington, RB, Arizona Cardinals (foot, hip, hernia): While defensive coordinator Todd Bowles tries to figure out how to set his reeling pass defense right without Cromartie, head coach Bruce Arians now has to deal with the fact that Ellington's season is over. The talented back was already playing with a foot injury, and he will now have surgery for a sports hernia. He was also playing with a hip pointer, so the move to place him on injured reserve seems appropriate and preventive for his future. Stepfan Taylor appears to be the next man up, but this is bad news for an Arizona offense that's already struggling as a result of quarterback Drew Stanton's inconsistency.
Reggie Wayne, WR, Indianapolis Colts (triceps): After a Colts win over the Bengals in which Wayne caught one pass on eight targets and had three drops, head coach Chuck Pagano let it slip that his veteran receiver has been playing through a torn triceps. The severity of the injury is not known, but it would explain Wayne's recent struggles to a point -- he has eight receptions for a grand total of 46 yards in Indy's last three games. It looks as if Andrew Luck will have to depend on T.Y. Hilton's playmaking ability more than ever down the stretch. On MOnday, Pagano gave no sure answer regarding whether the team would shut Wayne down for the season.
Percy Harvin, WR, New York Jets (ankle): Harvin caught his first touchdown pass of the season against the Vikings on Sunday, and proved for once to be a valuable part of a passing offense with six catches for 124 yards in an overtime loss. Unfortunately, he also left the game with a low ankle sprain, and it's not known when he'll see the field again this season -- if at all.
Torrey Smith, WR, Baltimore Ravens (knee): Smith is enjoying a good season in Gary Kubiak's offense, but he wasn't able to do much against the Dolphins on Sunday, because the knee he tweaked recently swelled up pregame. He wasn't targeted and spent his snaps acting as a decoy. Baltimore faces the Jaguars next week, so the Ravens may choose to hold Smith out in the short term. At this point, it's a sprain, and the Ravens will need Smith for the final playoff push.
Colt McCoy, QB, Washington Redskins (neck): McCoy looked completely overmatched in Washington's shutout loss to the Rams on Sunday, completing 20-of-32 passes for 199 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. He was pulled from the game for Robert Griffin III as the FedEx Field crowd was chanting "RGIII," but that probably had more to do with the neck strain he suffered (and the six sacks he took) than any belief in Griffin. It's not known whether McCoy will be able to go next week, but at this point, it hardly matters. Whoever takes the ball at that position for the Redskins will be dealing with a sub-par receiver group and horrid pass protection.