Bengals star wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase has a hip injury, which depending on the type of hip injury, could be season ending. The latest from Adam Schefter is that it’s a 4-6 week injury, which could land him on short-term Injured Reserve, but Schefter also noted Chase has been speaking with hip specialists.
A source tells me that Ja’Marr Chase is making a decision after consulting with two top hip surgeons about an internal issue.
If this is either a hip labrum issue or a hip impingement issue, it ends his season and requires surgery. It’s a surgery for which the proccess has gotten better, but there’s not a lot of NFL players that have had it. Ed Reed, Percy Harvin, and Cameron Brate are among the players that have had it. In other sports, it is more common.
The hope is that the correction could have Chase back and healthy down the line. The best comp might be his quarterback Joe Burrow. When he had his ACL reconstruction, it was a tough end to the season for the Bengals, but he came back better and ready to play out his career.
Let’s hope that’s the case for Burrows’ best receiver.
Where The Bengals Stand Heading Into Week 8
Most NFL power ratings had returned the Bengals back near or inside the top five. Losing Ja’Marr Chase is a big blow in the short term and could be a bigger blow for the rest of the season.
At 4-3, the Bengals are currently the 8-seed in the AFC just outside the playoff picture with a lot of games left. In Super Bowl odds, Cincinnati is and to win the AFC. The Bengals are battling the Ravens in the AFC North and currently sit at to win the division. Overall, Cincy is to make the playoffs.
More Week 8 NFL Injury News
- Will Carroll has covered injuries in sports for more than 20 years. He’s written four books, including his latest entitled “The Science of Football”. He also consults with several pro teams. He is currently the Director of Bioanalytics for Northstarr, a sports science startup company.
MATT RYAN, QB COLTS (sprained shoulder)
It was a bit of a shock that the Colts, still in the race for the AFC South, have made the decision to bench Matt Ryan in favor of Sam Ehlinger. It was also an honest move; the team is not good and looked it against the Jags and Titans despite splitting it in the last two weeks. Ryan’s contract is a big factor, but his shoulder is also problematic. He has a Grade II sprain (separation) of his AC joint, which would likely cost him up to a month, but he also came in to Indy with some known issues, including labrum problems. This isn’t uncommon, especially for a quarterback with the high mileage Ryan has. Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady have similar issues and for Ryan, they were known and seen in the physical. The Colts accepted that risk.
The plan is that Ryan is done for the season and will be released to minimize his dead cap next year. If Sam Ehlinger plays well, Ryan will finish out the season as an inactive and hope to catch on somewhere next year. (Yes, there’s no indication Ryan will retire and the shoulder should be fine well before next season.) However, while Ryan will be out and Nick Foles will be the number two, Ryan should be physically able to come back in a couple weeks. That means if Ehlinger isn’t up to the job, Ryan could finish out the season. It would be a very Frank Reich thing to do to give Ryan a showcase opportunity.
Ehlinger is an interesting one from a physical standpoint. He’s more mobile and that hasn’t been a plus in Frank Reich’s Colts offense as much as it was in Philly, despite the Carson Wentz and Nick Foles overlap. There had been speculation that Ehlinger would have some RPO packages when he took over the number two role, but that didn’t happen against the Titans. There’s simply no clear knowledge of what Ehlinger will do besides his pre-season play. If that’s the guide, he’s not scared to run and profiles like Patrick Mahomes in some senses, largely because they train together in the off-season. I’m not saying Ehlinger is as good, but that he makes some patently athletic moves that look unsual because he’s trained unusually. (If you’d like to know more about that training, I have a whole chapter on it in The Science of Football!) How that translates, aside from rushing yard props, is an unknown to me.
MAC JONES, QB PATRIOTS (high ankle sprain)
Bill Belichick and the Patriots have a reputation for gaming the injury reports and while they really don’t, things like what they did with Mac Jones are part of the reason that reputation exists. Jones had made clear progress with his high ankle sprain, but he was clearly not close to 100 percent. Enough to play? Yes. Enough to play effectively? Well, in my eyes no, given the clear limp and inability to cut hard on that ankle. I didn’t see enough on throws to have a sense of whether he had a stable base.
The issue now is whether being pushed out there, even in a small role, was enough to create a setback, or if Bailey Zappe has done enough to hold the position another week. Jones has made progress after his significant HAS, but coming back in weeks was already on the very short end of the recovery and the risk of re-injury was significant.
The interesting thing here is that Zappe has basically been Jones on-field as much as he looks like him off-field. There’s no notable changes in what Zappe can and can’t do physically or in the playbook, so there’s no real change in how the rest of the team plays or how they model out. Getting Jones back is a net-negative right now, until he shows he can play normally on that injured leg.
BREECE HALL, RB JETS (sprained ACL)
JAMES ROBINSON, RB JETS (knee soreness/post-Achilles repair)
It was a brutal misstep, plus the added weight of tacklers, that buckled the knee of Breece Hall, ending a promising rookie season. Hall has a sprained ACL that will require reconstruction, plus other associated damage inside the knee that will also be fixed. He’ll have the standard surgery soon and will miss roughly a year, though we regularly see athletes come back on both sides of the 9-12 month range.
While prevention/reduction programs can reduce overall injuries, its this kind of random but understandable injury that remains one of the bellwethers of NFL injury. It’s in the normal range now, heading to the standard 40-60 occurrences. While that could be reduced, it’s unlikely to be zero, because no amount of work can make the human knee handle what Hall’s faced on Sunday. We can fix it and return him to a career in a way we couldn’t decades ago – think Gayle Sayers – and that’s a very good thing. There’s more to come, with new techniques and trials already underway.
The Jets can only wait for Hall to heal, but in the meantime, they’re going to James Robinson, who’s just back from his late-2021 Achilles rupture and repair. More athletes are coming back better and quicker from this surgery as well, but Robinson has had some issues along the way. He’s been dealing with knee soreness over the last few weeks with the Jags, which cost him playing time. The Jets passed him through the physical, so it can’t be that serious. It bears watching, but Robinson is expected to share time with Michael Carter.
CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY, RB 49ERS (no injury)
DEEBO SAMUEL, WR 49ERS (strained hamstring)
The question I got more than any other after the Christian McCaffrey trade was “Can the 49ers keep him healthy?” That’s a tough one since we’re dealing with three things there. First, can McCaffrey stay healthy? Second, can the Niners keep a running back healthy? Finally, can McCaffrey integrate into the Niners program with a reduced risk of injury? I think the answers aren’t knowable, but there’s some indication.
The Niners haven’t been able to keep running backs healthy, but they’ve all been of a type. They’ve been low-end backs with speed tendencies. There’s a reason players like Raheem Mostert don’t get picked high or last long in the NFL. Speed is great, but hits are cumulative and there’s less resilience in this type of back. The Niners have tried to run a bunch of them out there, hoping that volume would help, but it hasn’t. McCaffrey is also a speed player, but I don’t think anyone will equate his quality with what the Niners have had.
McCaffrey has been injury-plagued over the past few seasons, which might put him in the same category of injury risk. However, most of McCaffrey’s injuries have been traumatic and varied. Those tend to be a bit more “unlucky” – one bad step, one hard hit. He hasn’t had recurrent or even related problems, which are a plus. The 49ers have a solid medical staff, and a great performance program, so I’m hopeful, though in the short term, there’s likely little effect. McCaffrey remains a risky talent, but one with a huge ceiling, especially in this offensive style.
On Deebo Samuel, his hamstring strain is pretty straightforward. They’ll work on him and the medical staff is likely to be very conservative with him. I’d expect we’ll know his status by Friday and missing him from the lineup won’t be completely offset by a more in-book McCaffrey. There have already been some big moves with the line in this game, but not having Samuel might swing things back from the current (LINE). I’ll have more details on the podcast this week, so make sure you subscribe.
EZEKIEL ELLIOTT, RB COWBOYS (sprained knee)
Ezekiel Elliott didn’t seem too concerned about his knee after the game, calling it a contusion (bruise). By Tuesday, he had a diagnosis of a sprain, though the Cowboys did not detail which ligament was sprained. The speculation centers on the MCL, which matches with the week-to-week timeline, if not the mechanism. Elliott did have a mild PCL sprain last season that he played through. Elliott’s status for this week seems to be negative, with the likelihood that the Cowboys would elect to rest him at least one game and let Troy Pollard take more of the load.
The Cowboys offense over the last few years is surprisingly resilient. Drop a QB and they’re ok. Drop a WR or two, someone steps up. The same is true at RB, where Elliott gets the big money, but Tony Pollard has been more productive. It’s been less of a role split as a time-share, though both appear to be able to take a bigger load without a drop-off. That should happen here, so I’m keeping my Cowboys yardage and points totals the same.
DK METCALF (strained knee)
DK Metcalf was riding a cart again and this time it was serious. He left the game with a knee injury and early reports were very negative. Imaging confirmed damage inside the knee, including a partial tear of the patellar tendon. For how bad this could have been, just look at JC Jackson (more on him below), who ruptured his patellar tendon in the same game. The tendon tearing is minor, with Metcalf weight bearing and even saying he wants to practice, but the Seahawks medical staff is smart to protect him from himself.
Patellar tendon strains are serious and more difficult to repair than the more common ACL sprains. Sprains are commonly reconstructed rather than repaired, and ACL reconstructions are commonly done using a piece of the patellar tendon. It’s thick and can heal itself. Almost any of the ACL returnees you’ve seen in the last decade likely had that kind of surgery and resultant issue with the patellar tendon.
However, direct tendon issues, while they can and will heal, are tougher. They have to be repaired – stitched back together with the right tension and strength. New procedures and rehab are helping, but this is still a career altering if not threatening injury. For Metcalf, the mild nature should keep the consequences minor as well. He’s helped by his otherworldly physique also; his secondary stabilizers are strong.
Without Metcalf and with Tyler Lockett nursing a strained hamstring, Geno Smith was forced to look more to Dee Eskridge and Dareke Young for snap count, though they only combined for one target. That’s not confidence inspiring, but if Smith continues to shift targets and looks to Will Dissly, there’s something there. The Seahawks have been over four of the last five weeks, including last week. At a current 45, that feels like a value with the Giants.
MIKE WILLIAMS, WR CHARGERS (high ankle sprain)
Mike Williams had a nice day going, before one move caused a problem that will keep him out for a month or more. The video shows a clear mechanism for a high ankle sprain – and yes, the turf was involved – and the Chargers confirmed it’s severe. He’ll miss four to six weeks at least, so not only is the IR possible, there’s some question about surgery. It’s more likely he’ll follow the pattern of rehabbing it for a couple weeks and seeing how it progresses, as Mac Jones did. That’s something of a guidance, though they obviously have very different functions.
Williams is a big, physical receiver, so he won’t be as bothered by this as a more precise route runner. It does leave Justin Herbert without two of his biggest threats, but the bye week should help Keenan Allen get back out there. I’d expect the Chargers to be able to adjust without Williams, keeping them a high scoring automatic over play, especially if the number drops with Williams’ absence.
JC JACKSON, CB CHARGERS (strained knee)
Someone please tell me what’s going on with the SoFi turf. While good data is very hard to come by, the short period of time that SoFi has been open makes any data a bit questionable, plus a confluence of injuries like this is unusual even for the worst surfaces. I’m not sure what, if anything, changed, or if there were events in the space, but the NFL and the teams need to figure it out. SoFi is supposed to be the NFL’s crown jewel and with two teams (meaning double the games and double the risk), this has to be a priority.
For JC Jackson, the film is tough to watch. His kneecap visibly popped over, a dislocation, but it was secondary to the patellar tendon rupturing. I spoke with a person who was on hand and he gave a lot of credit to how the medical staff handled the situation. The tendon will have to be repaired surgically, ending Jackson’s season. He has a chance to come back, but again, this is a career altering injury at best.
The Chargers’ defense will miss Jackson, even though he’s had some issues with injuries and play during his time there. The Chargers play a lot of three and four corner sets, so the depth alone is problematic. They have the bye this week, but face top competition in coming weeks, including Patrick Mahomes.
CHASE YOUNG DE COMMANDERS (sprained knee)
Chase Young feels like a forgotten man, but coming back from a mid-season ACL reconstruction, Young is on schedule and sources tell me that he’s had a good if steady rehab. He’s moving well and getting much closer to a return. Given he’s just shy of a year since surgery, this is good, though context is everything when it comes to these injuries. If the Commanders are out of it, do they risk bringing Young back or let him have another year to get back to normal.
That latter is a tough sell for a team with off-field issues, a quarterback change, and playing in a tough division. Right now, the face of the franchise is the owner, and not for the right reasons. Young should be able to come back to full strength and was proving to be a dominant force on defense, a build-around candidate. Knee injuries are unfortunate, but most come back and come back well. Young’s return would make this defense better immediately. How they do that will be key to the franchise’s future.
Quick Hits:Naturally, we get a story about how Russell Wilson was doing exercises in the plane aisle on the way to London. He is trending towards playing after missing a week with his mild hamstring strain … I’m told that even with four weeks off, D’Andre Swift isn’t a lock to play this week. His ankle is the issue, though the shoulder is problematic, and it simply hasn’t healed well enough for him to change directions without more swelling … Kyle Juszcyk broke his ring finger, kept playing, then got surgery to pin it in place on Monday. Man, the 49ers and fingers. Juszczyk will miss a week and his grip strength will determine when he’s back, both for receiving and for ball security. He could come back and block only pretty quickly… Allen Lazard will miss much of the week after a mild shoulder sprain and he could go right up to game time before a decision is made. That’s not good for the Packers offense and may have them on the phone for an addition as well … Amon-Ra St Brown did not have a concussion, but the new ataxia-and-out provision of the concussion policy held him out of last week. He’ll have to pass concussion tests this week regardless, but is expected back … Corey Davis functioned as the WR2 until an MCL sprain sidelined him. He’s unlikely to be back this week, so we’ll have to see if Elijah Moore is back in that spot for the Jets … Sterling Shepherd underwent ACL reconstruction and should be back for next season given the normal 9-12 month rehab times. The delay between injury and surgery is relatively normal and is done to give the athlete time to prep. Call it “prehab” … David Njoku will miss a month with a high ankle sprain. Harrison Bryant becomes a deep play, but the timing is interesting and could bring Njoku back at the same time as DeShaun Watson …It was very graphic when Daniel Bellinger’s eye could be seen discolored and swollen as he was coming off the field on a cart. That it’s fractured and will need to have the eye socket plated isn’t a surprise, but it’s still unclear how it happened. A “poke”? One finger breaking an orbital bone like that is Wu-Tang stuff and I don’t feel that’s likely … Evan Neal has an MCL sprain. Whether he can play depends on how quickly he adjusts to the bracing. My guess is he’ll lose mobility, which hurts the Giants offense both rushing and passing… Must read stuff from the NFLPA here. Kudos on the openness.