Week 1 is in the books! And yes, unfortunately, there are injuries to report. Here's what we know so far:
Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills (knee): What a shame for Jackson, coming off a season that ended prematurely because of a broken right fibula, to be forced out in Week 1 with a serious injury to the same leg. Jackson is going to miss some time, the question now is how much. The Bills report that Jackson has a lateral collateral ligament injury and is expected to miss at least the next three weeks. The lateral collateral ligament (LCL) is one of the four primary stabilizing ligaments of the knee, reinforcing the outer (lateral) aspect of the knee joint. It is injured less frequently than its counterpart on the inner knee, the medial collateral ligament (MCL), primarily because the typical mechanism of injury for an LCL (blow to the inside of the knee) is less common. The LCL can also be injured during a hyperextension or rotational injury. This appears to have been the case with Jackson as he was actually hit on his left leg by New York Jets safety LaRon Landry, yet his right knee sustained the injury. Jackson told the Buffalo News he was immediately worried when his knee "popped." The biggest concern with these injuries is damage to any surrounding structures on the lateral and particularly the posterolateral aspect of the knee. Structures in this area which lie close to the LCL help control stability in the back corner of the knee, an area which is subject to high biomechanical forces during normal movement. Any instability can be threatening to the overall health of the knee.
Thus far reports out of Buffalo have only referenced the LCL itself. If it is an isolated sprain of minor to moderate degree, there is a good chance it can heal with restricted motion (via bracing) and rest to protect the ligament. Even minor damage to other surrounding tissues can respond well to early treatment. This explains the report that the Bills will see how Jackson responds over the next 7 to 10 days. If his knee is improving over that time and showing good stability, the chances of him returning in several weeks are encouraging. If he still has marked pain, swelling and instability, the time frame could be extended. Everyone, including Jackson and the Bills, is in a wait-and-see mode right now.
Rashad Jennings, Jacksonville Jaguars (knee): Jennings got the start on Sunday but he didn't last long. Jennings exited the game in the first half with what was later reported to be a knee injury. There have been no more specifics released as to the nature of the ailment but the Florida Times-Union reports coach Mike Mularkey said of Jennings' injury, "I don't think it's serious." Still, this opens the door for more of Maurice Jones-Drew, perhaps sooner than expected.
Daniel Thomas, Miami Dolphins (head): Thomas suffered a concussion in Sunday's game and will be monitored closely throughout the week. There has been no official word as to his status for Week 2 but it would not be surprising if he is out.
Greg Jennings, Green Bay Packers (groin): Jennings suffered a groin injury late in Sunday's game and was sore afterward, according to coach Mike McCarthy. Jennings was not in practice Tuesday during the portion that is open to the media. The concern here is that the Packers have a Thursday night game. Jennings' status should become clearer Wednesday.
Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia Eagles (hip): Maclin had a good day Sunday (96 yards, 1 TD) but it came at a price. Maclin injured his right hip, although the exact nature of the injury remains a bit unclear. ESPN's Adam Shefter reported Maclin had a hip pointer injury per coach Andy Reid. Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer referred to the injury as a hip flexor. There are differences. The hip flexor is a muscle that sits deep in the pelvis and, as the name implies, is responsible for flexing the hip as well as contributing to overall stability and power at the hip. Not only is a strain of the muscle painful, it diminishes the ability to drive the leg forward while running. A hip pointer refers to a deep bruising of the pelvis, typically not far from where several muscles attach. If the bruising impacts muscles which contribute to moving the hip, then the function of those muscles can be affected.
No matter which injury it is, the end result may not vary much. Maclin is undoubtedly sore and moving slowly as a result. He will receive treatment to reduce any associated swelling or bruising and may be limited in or even removed from practice early in the week, depending on the severity. It is too soon to say whether he will be available in Week 2, as it may well depend on his progress over the next few days. Teammate and fellow receiver Riley Cooper is still recovering from a fractured clavicle and will not be available in Week 2.
Nate Washington, Tennessee Titans (leg): Washington took a hard hit in Sunday's game and left with what the team later called a leg contusion (bruise). There was some question as to whether Washington had also suffered a head injury, but Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean later reported there was no concussion. Wyatt also said Washington should be available to play this week.
Pierre Garcon, Washington Redskins (foot): And he was off to such a great start! Garcon was forced out of Sunday's game with a foot injury, but X-rays were reported to be negative. Garcon later told Grant Paulsen of 106.7 The Fan DC he felt good and expected to play in Week 2. Coach Mike Shanahan offered an explanation which really provided no clarity as to the nature of Garcon's injury. "It's kind of like when you have turf toe but it's not the toe," Shanahan told reporters Monday. According to the Washington Post, the team will know more after Garcon tests the foot in Wednesday's practice.
Devery Henderson, New Orleans Saints (head): Henderson left in the second quarter with what was later announced to be a head injury. Presume the protocol of close evaluation and monitoring as the week progresses.
Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans (shoulder): Locker injured his left (non-throwing) arm while trying to make a tackle after throwing an interception (note to Locker: no more tackling). Reported by The Tennessean as a shoulder separation, Locker underwent an MRI on Monday. According to news reports, Locker is expected to return to practice in some capacity by midweek but likely will wear a brace. As long as he can perform the functions of quarterback, he will play. The Titans sound at this point as if they do not expect him to miss any time but as coach Mike Munchak said after Sunday's game, "We'd rather him not go in there and tackle anybody." Right.
John Skelton, Arizona Cardinals (ankle): When Skelton was carted off the field Sunday, the natural assumption was that he had a serious enough injury to force him out for multiple weeks. Maybe not. X-rays of Skelton's ankle reportedly came back negative and initial fears of a high ankle sprain were alleviated. Coach Ken Whisenhunt says Skelton's ankle sprain is of the "low" variety and he has not yet been ruled out for Week 2, according to the Cardinals' official website. It's worth reminding that even lateral ankle sprains can be problematic, making it difficult to bear weight normally, much less move around in the pocket or scramble when necessary. It seems highly unlikely Skelton will be ready to play in Week 2, but between health and performance, the quarterback situation could remain fluid in Arizona.
Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers, (ribs): Gates looked to be in pain while being evaluated on the sideline for sore ribs during Monday night's game. He even left the game briefly in the third quarter to be further examined in the locker room. Tough player that he is, Gates returned to the game, although he clearly appeared to be in some discomfort throughout the remainder of the night. His return to the game is a good early sign with regard to Week 2.
And we're keeping an eye on
Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego Chargers (shoulder): Mathews sat out Week 1 as his healing collarbone has not yet allowed him to be cleared for contact. The big question now is whether he will be available for Week 2. No word on that front yet; this is purely a matter of the doctors giving him clearance. Mathews has been maintaining his cardiovascular fitness and working in individual drills in anticipation of being ready to go as soon as he's given a green light.
Kenny Britt, WR, Tennessee Titans (knee): Britt is coming off three surgeries since last season, two on his right knee and one on his left. He was forced to sit out Week 1, serving his one-game, league-imposed suspension. Britt is expected to return to team practice Wednesday, and the Titans expect him to be available Sunday, barring a setback. It's worth remembering he was just activated from the PUP list on Aug. 28 and has had very limited work with the team. (Translation: His knees, one of which is post-ACL reconstruction, have hardly been tested.) All of this makes his being "available" very vague in terms of what type of contribution he can actually make on the field in his first appearance. Still, the threat of Britt is a nice thing for the Titans to have in their arsenal.