NFL preseason Week 3 injury list: Romo, Watson, Peerman, more

Romo's injury unlike any of his previous back issues (1:51)

ESPN medical analyst Dr. Mark Adickes explains the injury Tony Romo suffered Thursday against the Seahawks and how important it is for Romo to be completely healed before he returns to the field. (1:51)

The third week of the preseason is the most active point of the NFL summer, for reasons based equally in tradition and practicality. Most starters play the first half, if not more, and even the protected superstars who typically sit out preseason games play a few series.

So it should be no surprise that the resulting injury list is longer and more populated by recognizable names. Let's run through them -- knowing that the regular season begins in 11 days.

QB Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys

Injury: Compression fracture of the L1 vertebra

Prognosis: The Cowboys did not put a timetable on Romo's return, but the recovery range for this injury is six to 10 weeks. That not only puts a significant portion of Romo's season in jeopardy, but at age 36, it calls into question whether the team can rely on him as a full-time starter moving forward. In the past six years, Romo has broken his collarbone three times and has had three separate back injuries. The Cowboys must now focus on their post-Romo era, whether it is with promising rookie Dak Prescott or someone else.

TE Benjamin Watson, Baltimore Ravens

Injury: Torn right Achilles tendon

Prognosis: Watson will miss the season, leaving the Ravens without a player they had hoped to make a key part of their passing offense. Watson turns 36 in December and faces a long road back to the field. If this is it for him, he will have established a legacy of durability (four missed games in the past seven seasons) and grace as one of the NFL's most elegant public representatives.

RB Branden Oliver, San Diego Chargers

Injury: Right Achilles

Prognosis: The Chargers have not made a formal announcement, but Oliver would miss the season if they determine the injury is a full tear. Video from the Chargers' game at the Minnesota Vikings showed a grotesque popping action. His loss would eliminate a third of the Chargers' expected three-man running back rotation, one that includes Melvin Gordon and Danny Woodhead.

RB Cedric Peerman, Cincinnati Bengals

Injury: Fractured left forearm

Prognosis: The Bengals didn't have a definitive timetable as of early Sunday evening, but this is a serious injury that required immediate stabilization with an air cast. It's safe to say Peerman is out indefinitely. Already, the Bengals had seen cornerback Adam Jones (calf) and receiver A.J. Green (knee) sidelined in their prime-time game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Green's injury is not believed to be serious, and Jones was standing on the sideline in street clothes throughout the game.

S Keanu Neal, Atlanta Falcons

Injury: Right knee

Prognosis: The injury, while not specified in detail by the Falcons, is not serious but will require surgery. Neal, a first-round draft pick who was set for a significant role early this season, will miss three to four weeks. He almost certainly won't be back for the Sept. 11 season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Falcons are concerned enough about the injury that they signed veteran Dashon Goldson on Sunday.

OG Jack Mewhort, Indianapolis Colts

Injury: Left knee

Prognosis: Initial fears were that Mewhort tore his ACL in Saturday's game against Philadelphia. But Colts owner Jim Irsay tweeted Sunday that Mewhort will miss two to four weeks and won't need surgery. If that's the case, Mewhort will resume his role as the Colts' left guard at some point next month.

RB Kenneth Dixon, Baltimore Ravens

Injury: Torn left MCL

Prognosis: Dixon, a rookie fourth-round draft pick, will miss approximately four weeks.

WR Brandon Marshall, New York Jets

Injury: Sore hip

Prognosis: Marshall didn't play this week because of the soreness. Jets coach Todd Bowles said the injury isn't serious, but it's one worth filing away as the season approaches. Marshall had hip surgery three times between 2010 and 2013. It's a health issue he has managed well over time, having played in at least 13 games in all 10 of his NFL seasons, but it is still not easy.