Week 10 is in the books! And oh, what an interesting week it was. The top stories were concussions ... and Ben Roethlisberger.
It didn't take long for the injury to Roethlisberger's right (throwing) shoulder to create a media firestorm, even as the details of the injury remained unknown. The potential loss of the oft-injured but rarely absent Steelers quarterback raised the anxiety level among Steelers fans and fantasy owners.
Now we know that Roethlisberger suffered an SC sprain, but the consequences, as far as how much time he might miss, remain uncertain. ESPN's Josina Anderson cites a source saying the Steelers staff is being told, "It doesn't look like you're going to have Ben this week. We're looking at next week as a possibility as of right now." For further details on Roethlisberger's injury, click here.
The injury gets its own header since it left the biggest mark on the NFL as a whole this week. Three starting quarterbacks and a star running back all suffered concussions on Sunday (along with others who aren't included here), and their status for Week 11 is in jeopardy. In fact, one of the four -- Bills running back Fred Jackson -- has already been ruled out for this week given that the team plays on Thursday night.
Eagles quarterback Michael Vick does not appear likely to play in Week 11 after suffering a concussion this past weekend. On Monday, coach Andy Reid told reporters that Vick was "foggy" after the game and resting at home. Fogginess is a specific symptom that appears to be associated with a more prolonged recovery, so Reid's use of that particular term is interesting. While the Eagles have not yet ruled Vick out, he has quite a ways to go to be eligible to play.
In San Francisco, quarterback Alex Smith suffered a concussion on a quarterback sneak. According to CSNBayArea.com, Smith stayed in the game for six more plays, despite experiencing blurry vision. When Smith reported the blurred vision on the sideline, the team held him out for the remainder of the game. Smith, like all other NFL players who sustain a concussion, will have to follow the league protocol before he can return to play. Since the 49ers do not play until Monday night, there is a possibility he could be available. We will monitor his progress throughout the week.
In the Sunday night game, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler also suffered a concussion late in the first half. He remained in the game until halftime when the decision was made to remove him. As is standard for the league following any significant injury, a review was conducted to evaluate how Cutler's injury was handled. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the league confirmed that the situation was handled properly. Cutler's status remains in question for next Monday night's game.
The spotlight shining on concussions in the NFL has prompted increased discussion following these types of injuries to high-profile players, which certainly has to be viewed as a positive. It is still a work in progress and issues such as using qualifiers ("mild" or "significant") to describe concussion and the players' role in reporting symptoms remain. While the NFLPA has issued a call for more "concussion specialists," there are other more complex challenges that persist when it comes to the recognition, evaluation and management of concussions.
Rounding out Week 10 ...
Jeremy Maclin, WR, Philadelphia Eagles, (back): Maclin got flipped up in the air and made an awkward landing, which looked scary when it happened. He did leave the field for tests but ultimately returned to the game. On Monday, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Maclin suffered a lower back strain. Maclin was still "pretty sore" Monday, according to Eagles coach Andy Reid, and his status for Sunday is uncertain.
Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, New York Giants, (neck): Bradshaw has been playing through pain in his foot, but this week it appears the neck issue he encountered early in the season has resurfaced. He is set to undergo further testing during the team's bye.
Much more to come on these players and all the others dealing with injuries after Thursday practice is complete. On Friday, there will be an update on the status of players who might be in the conversation as your fantasy football trade deadline approaches.