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Good News for Aaron Jones, Baker Mayfield

NFL Week 10 – The NFL retained last season’s relaxed injured reserve rules for 2021, meaning that any player who is placed on injured reserve after the final roster cutdown day is eligible to return to practice after missing three weeks. As a result, we will continue to distinguish between players who will be placed on injured reserve (IR) and players who will likely miss the entire remainder of the season (Season).

Packers Halfback Aaron Jones—Knee
Packers Edge Rusher Whitney Mercilus—Bicep (Season?)

Most outlets are reporting that the knee injury which forced Aaron Jones out of Sunday’s game against the Seahawks is an MCL sprain, which usually means at least a three-week absence for a halfback. Ian Rapoport provided a more optimistic viewpoint on Twitter after the player’s MRI revealed a mild (i.e., low-grade) MCL sprain, but that is probably remains a touch optimistic: 90% of MCL injuries to halfbacks cause an absence of at least two games, so a one-game absence is very unlikely, and 75% of players who suffer them miss at least three games. Fortunately, the Packers have their bye in Week 13, so Jones has a very strong chance to return in Week 14 against the Bears. Until then, AJ Dillon will be the primary ballcarrier.

Edge rusher Whitney Mercilus injured his biceps, which is almost always terrible news. Over 90% of biceps tears are season-ending injuries, regardless of position. Mercilus is a recent acquisition after his release from the Texans, and he recorded his first sack in a Packers uniform against the Seahawks, but he is probably now done for the year.

Linebacker Rashan Gary injured his elbow, but reports suggest that the injury was a hyperextension with no significant injury to either the bone or ligaments.

Football Team Defensive End Chase Young—Knee (Season)

Early reports indicate that the Washington Football Team “fears” star defensive end Chase Young tore his ACL against the Chiefs. This fear is usually well-founded; the Lachman test used for on-field ACL diagnosis is one of the most accurate diagnostic procedures in professional sport. It is almost (but not entirely) unheard of for an ACL tear to be misdiagnosed, and MRI scans are usually scheduled to check for additional damage rather than to confirm the diagnosis. Even without those results, it is very likely that Young’s sophomore professional season is over. This late in the year, he faces a race to be healthy in time for the start of next season, and he is almost certain to miss a significant portion of the team’s offseason program. Young had a relatively meager 1.5 sacks this season after a 7.5-sack rookie campaign, but he remained a key player on Washington’s front: Young had played at least 74% of defensive snaps in every game prior to Sunday’s injury.

Tight end Ricky Seals-Jones injured his hip and also left the game early. Only 25% of hip injuries to tight ends cause missed time, and most of the players who miss time return after one or two games.

Raiders Fullback Alec Ingold—Knee (Season)

Alec Ingold also tore his ACL on Sunday, and he will also miss the rest of the season. Ingold is one of the few remaining dedicated fullbacks and a Raiders team captain. As with Young, he has a chance to return in time for opening day 2022, but he is likely to miss a portion of the team’s offseason program while he rehabilitates his injury.


The following players left their respective games with concussion symptoms and enter the league protocol:

  • Browns receiver Anthony Schwartz
  • Browns cornerback A.J. Green
  • Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert
  • Lions safety Tracy Walker

Based on our current data, a growing majority of players now miss at least one game following a diagnosed concussion, but around 80% return within two weeks.

Other Injuries

Broncos linebacker Baron Browning left Sunday’s game with a back injury and safety P.J. Locke injured his leg. No further update is yet available for either player.

Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield left Sunday’s game with a knee injury, but head coach Kevin Stefanski stated after the game that the injury was a contusion (effectively a nasty bruise) and Mayfield could have returned against the Patriots had the score not been so lopsided. He expects to have Mayfield available against the Lions in Week 11. Defensive back Troy Hill was taken to hospital as a precaution after injuring his neck and did not fly back to Cleveland with the team last night. However, he was discharged after being diagnosed with a neck sprain and has been cleared to fly back today. Only around 30% of neck injuries cause missed time, and only the most worrisome cause absences of more than two games; Hill appears to have avoided anything that severe, so he should be back on the field by the start of December.

Buccaneers defensive tackle Vita Vea suffered a very minor MCL sprain and bone bruise against Washington, but he may be able to play through the injury with a knee brace. Even if he cannot, any absence is likely to be relatively brief, certainly by the standards of MCL injuries.

Cardinals backup quarterback Colt McCoy, who has started the past two games in the absence of Kyler Murray, injured his pectoral against the Panthers and did not return. Usually, pectoral injuries in our database are terrible news, as over half are season-ending and 75% cause a multiple-game absence. However, most pectoral injuries are strains and tears caused by blocking and tackling; McCoy’s appears to be some form of contusion or mild strain, which is likely to be considerably less severe. Such injuries are so rare for quarterbacks that we do not have enough data to project recovery times specific to that position. The team hopes to have Kyler Murray back for Week 11, so McCoy may not have started anyway; if neither can play, former Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback and Grey Cup winner Chris Streveler is next in line.

Chiefs cornerback Charvarius Ward left Sunday night’s game with a stomach illness, but he is not expected to miss further time.

Cowboys receiver CeeDee Lamb suffered an arm contusion against the Falcons, but his absence from most of the second half was likely as much a result of the score as the injury itself. He should be fine for Week 11 and beyond.

Falcons safety Jaylinn Hawkins and tight end Hayden Hurst both left Sunday’s game with injuries, but no further news is available for either player.

Jets cornerback Brandin Echols left Sunday’s game with a thigh injury. Most thigh injuries to cornerbacks do not cause missed time, and around 80% of players who suffer them are back within two weeks.

Lions offensive lineman Matt Nelson injured his ankle and edge rusher Trey Flowers injured his knee, but no further details are available for either player. Defensive back Jerry Jacobs injured his groin; around half of groin injuries to defensive backs cause at least one missed game, but only 25% cause an absence of more than two weeks.

Saints halfback Ty Montgomery dislocated his pinky finger against the Titans and left the game early. Most fracture/dislocations of fingers do not cause missed games, even the type of open wound dislocation that Montgomery suffered.

Seahawks tackle Duane Brown strained his groin against the Packers. Just under half of groin injuries to offensive linemen cause at least a one-game absence, but only one in four causes an absence of more than that.

Steelers edge rusher T.J. Watt is considered week-to-week with unspecified hip and knee injuries, with reports suggesting that he will miss some time. MRI scans showed no significant injury, so it may simply be a case of pain tolerance and workload for the team’s star pass-rusher. Joe Haden hurt his foot but is considered day-to-day. Guard Kevin Dotson suffered a high-ankle sprain. Around 85% of high-ankle sprains to offensive linemen cause at least one missed game, and around 50% cause a multiple-game absence. Fellow guard Trai Turner also injured his ankle against the Lions, but his exact injury has not yet been disclosed.

Titans edge rusher Bud Dupree left Tennessee’s victory over the Saints with an abdominal injury, but only around one in four abdominal injuries to linebackers cause even a one-game absence.

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