One week after losing its top offensive player, Andre Johnson, to a hamstring injury, the Houston Texans now face the prospect of significant time without their most impactful defensive player, Mario Williams. The star linebacker left Sunday's loss to Oakland with an injury that is reportedly a torn pectoral muscle. Also suffering a pectoral injury was Seattle QB Tarvaris Jackson, whose injury provided a down note on an otherwise fantastic day for the Seahawks in their big win over the Giants.
Here are the key injuries from the week so far, and their potential impact:
Mario Williams, Houston Texans (pectoral)
[Update: Williams is reportedly out for the season with a torn pectoral muscle.] Williams suffered a pectoral injury while sacking Oakland QB Jason Campbell in the first quarter of the Texans' 25-20 loss Sunday, and there are now reports that it is a muscle tear. If there is indeed a tear, the best-case scenario would be a Grade 2 injury, which involves partial tearing of the muscle and would take as few as 2-6 weeks for a full recovery. However, if there was a complete tear of the muscle (Grade 3), Williams would likely miss at least 2 months, may require surgery, and his entire season could be in jeopardy. Just as with Andre Johnson, Texans' fans will be holding their collective breaths as further word comes early this week.
Tarvaris Jackson, Seattle Seahawks (pectoral)
Jackson, who was having his best game in a Seahawks uniform so far, left Seattle's 36-25 win over the New York Giants with an injury to his right pectoral muscle. Jackson came up clutching his upper body after an 11-yard run in the third quarter and is set to have an MRI to determine the extent of the injury. Seattle has a bye in Week 6; QB Charlie Whitehurst subbed admirably and would get the nod in Week 7 at Cleveland if Jackson is not ready to go.
Addai left in the first quarter of the Colts' 28-24 loss to Kansas City with a right hamstring injury and didn't return to action. Although the extent of the injury is uncertain at this point, muscle strains can take anywhere from days to weeks for a full recovery and are prone to aggravation if not rehabbed appropriately. RB Delone Carter took over following Addai's injury and ran for 22 yards on 12 carries, with a touchdown.
Mathews, who picked up 125 yards on the ground in the Chargers' 26-24 win over Denver, left the game briefly in the first half after hurting his right calf, then aggravated the injury late in the game. Mathews was seen leaving the locker room on crutches and wearing a walking boot. As with any lower extremity muscle strain, once the initial healing has taken place it is essential the leg is fully strengthened in order to reduce the likelihood that the injury will reoccur or have an adverse effect on future performances. The Chargers' Week 6 bye couldn't come at a better time, as fellow RB Mike Tolbert also left the game with a concussion (see below).
Mike Tolbert, San Diego Chargers (concussion)
Tolbert left the first half of San Diego's thriller against the Broncos with a concussion and did not return. The Chargers running back will have to pass a neurological examination by team doctors prior to being cleared to practice or return to game action, but he should have ample time to recover given that San Diego has a bye in Week 6.
Buffalo Head Coach Chan Gailey has already stated Jones will be out "a while" after being carted off the field in the first quarter of the Bills' victory over Philadelphia with a left ankle injury. Jones, who hurt the ankle after taking a screen pass from QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, was placed in a walking boot and was moving on crutches after the game. Further imaging studies are to follow, but given Gailey's initial comments there could be concern regarding possible ligamentous injury, which in a worst-case scenario could require surgery and a significant recovery period.
[Update: Morgan has a fractured ankle.] There were conflicting reports coming out of the 49ers' camp regarding Morgan's ankle, which he injured late in the team's 48-3 rout of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Morgan needed to be helped off the field and was unable to bear weight on the ankle, but in his postgame press conference Head Coach Jim Harbaugh stated the injury was not as serious as it initially appeared. Tests to be conducted early this week will clear up the picture.
Zach Miller, Seattle Seahawks (concussion)
Miller left the game in the first quarter after taking a shot in the head from Giants' safety Kenny Phillips during the Seahawks' upset win over New York. Miller will undergo neurological tests this week, and with Seattle's bye coming up, he will have extra time to recover in hopes of returning to the field against the Browns in Week 7.
Chris Snee, New York Giants (concussion)
Add Snee to the list of players who suffered concussions this week. The Giants' right guard suffered the injury late in the team's loss to Seattle and was taken to a local hospital after the game to be observed overnight. Snee's status for next week's home matchup against Buffalo will depend on whether he can pass neurological testing later this week; if not, Jim Cordle would likely start in his place.
Gerald McCoy, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (ankle)
The second-year Bucs standout bent his ankle awkwardly while defending a running play in the first quarter of Tampa Bay's loss at San Francisco, and he did not return after being assisted off the field. McCoy, who missed the last four games of the 2010 season with a torn biceps muscle, was in a walking boot and on crutches following the injury. Early reports are optimistic that there is no apparent fracture, but imaging studies to be conducted early this week will determine whether there is ligamentous injury, which if severe could sideline McCoy for a number of weeks at least.
The Broncos' safety suffered a neck injury during a collision with teammate D.J. Williams and Chargers' TE Randy McMichael in Denver's loss to the Chargers. Dawkins, who fell to the ground after attempting to break up a pass in the end zone, remained down for several minutes and did not return to action. The Broncos have a bye week upcoming, and further studies will determine whether the injury involves muscle, bone, or both, and that distinction will help determine his prognosis for Week 7.