Photo Courtesy of the NFL
We’re only a few weeks into the 2015-16 NFL season, and already there are a plethora of long and short-term injuries to key players on popular teams.
Not only do these injuries hurt, or in some cases, cripple their teams, the NFL itself is also adversely affected. After all, not all football fans are hardcore and will watch every game if they don’t think their team is capable of making the playoffs. Injuries that severely hamper their team’s chances of making it out of the regular season this early could be a turnoff to fair weather fans.
The Dallas Cowboys are arguably the team suffering from injuries the most in the first two weeks. In Week 1, their star wide receiver, Dez Bryant, went down with a broken foot early in the second half. A week later, the team’s quarterback, Tony Romo sustained a broken collarbone in a game against the Philadelphia Eagles. Bryant will miss at least six weeks with the potential for a couple more. Romo will be out longer, as he won’t be eligible to return until Week 11 since he was put on the injured reserve list. The combination of losing not only its best wide receiver, but also its best quarterback, will severely hamper the team’s playoff hopes.
The Green Bay Packers will be without their best wide receiver, Jordy Nelson for the season due to a torn ACL he suffered in the preseason. Talk about bad luck.
Fortunately for the Pack, they’re still rolling along this season, starting with a 3-0 record. They have arguably the best quarterback in the league in Aaron Rodgers and one of the top-five running backs Eddie Lacy to boot, which softens the blow of losing Nelson.
The Pittsburgh Steelers received mixed news on the injury that their star quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger sustained in last Sunday’s game against the St. Louis Rams. The bad news is that Roethlisberger has an MCL sprain and bone bruise in his knee and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks. The good news is that the injury could have been a lot worse. If Roethlisberger hurt his ACL, he could’ve missed the rest of the season like Nelson.
New York Jets quarterback, Geno Smith suffered a broken jaw before the season when he was punched by his former teammate, IK Enemkpali. Smith has been cleared to play, but for now it looks like he lost the starting job to quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Wide receiver, DeSean Jackson missed most of Week 1 as well as the following two weeks after sustaining a hamstring injury in the Washington Redskins first game. Despite Jackson being the best receiver on the team, the Redskins will likely need more than Jackson’s return to get their season back on track after starting the season 1-2.
The same can be said for the mediocre Jacksonville Jaguars when tight end, Julius Thomas returns from his hand injury in a couple more weeks. The Jaguars have started the season 1-2 as well. Thomas hasn’t played yet this season.
The New York Giants will be happy with the likely return of wide receiver, Victor Cruz this upcoming week after his calf injury sidelined him for the first three games. Quarterback, Eli Manning will get one of his favorite targets back, and Cruz will form a formidable wide receiver tandem with Odell Beckham Jr. Unfortunately for Big Blue, they still don’t know when or if defensive end, Jason Pierre-Paul will play for them this season. Pierre-Paul had to have his right index finger amputated after a fireworks accident at his home.
A lot of stars in the NFL have already been injured and most of them will miss extensive time, and it’s only Week 3. The injury bug around the league could have a negative effect on ratings, as fans who may have tuned in to watch a Steelers-Cowboys game to see Roethlisberger versus Romo for example may lose interest. Hopefully for the sake of the fans, the NFL, teams, the players themselves and fantasy football players, the injured NFLers get well soon and the injuries to star players slow down.