Although the Oakland Raiders improved to 4-2 on Sunday with a 24-17 victory over the Cleveland Browns, the win was tempered by news that the team has likely lost QB Jason Campbell for the remainder of the season with a fractured right clavicle. It's a tough break for the Raiders and a tough break for Campbell, a player who, unfortunately, has had a career full of tough breaks.
Here are the key injuries from the week so far, and their potential impact:
Jason Campbell, Oakland Raiders (clavicle)
Campbell, who was having the most successful season of his career to date, fractured his right clavicle (collarbone) when falling awkwardly at the end of a running play in the second quarter of Oakland's win over the Browns. The clavicle, which bridges the scapula (shoulder blade) and sternum (breastbone) serves as a strut keeping the upper limb apart from the midsection and allowing for maximum range of motion of the shoulder. A fractured clavicle, therefore, limits normal motion of the affected side's arm and, as in Campbell's case, if the throwing side is affected makes it impossible to throw the ball until full healing has taken place.
The injury, similar to one that Dallas QB Tony Romo suffered at the same time of the 2010 season and sidelined him for the remainder of the campaign, requires approximately 16 weeks for complete healing of the bone and 6-9 months to retain 85-100 percent of pre-injury mobility. Most clavicle fractures do not require surgery to realign the bone, but Campbell will likely be in a sling for 3-4 weeks followed by intensive physical therapy until he regains full range of motion of his throwing shoulder.
Campbell was replaced in yesterday's game by journeyman Kyle Boller, who will take over the reins of the Raiders' offense, unless the team finds a replacement on the waiver wire or makes a trade before Tuesday's deadline.
Peyton Hillis, Cleveland Browns (hamstring)
The Browns' feature back suffered a hamstring injury in the first quarter of Cleveland's 24-17 loss to Oakland, missing the second and third quarters of action before being reinserted in the fourth. Although Hillis' being able to play despite the injury is a good sign overall, he will have an MRI of the leg today to determine the extent of the injury. RB Montario Hardesty filled in yesterday and would continue to do so if Hillis misses any time.
Jones, no stranger to the injury list, suffered a left high ankle sprain in the second quarter of the Cowboys' heartbreaking 20-16 loss to New England on Sunday and did not return to action. The term "high ankle sprain" is usually used to describe an injury to the syndesmotic ligaments of the ankle, which hold the lower ends of the tibia and fibula (lower leg bones) together. Injuries to these ligaments are usually more severe than to other areas of the ankle, causing significant pain and difficulty bearing weight. The prognosis for recovery is determined by the grade of the sprain, or in other words, what degree of tearing of the ligaments took place. A grade 1 sprain could require anywhere from 1-4 weeks of recovery time; a Grade 2 or 3 sprain, in which there is some degree of looseness of the ankle joint, could take longer and even require surgery if the tear is complete. Rookie RB DeMarco Murray will handle the bulk of the Cowboys' running load in Jones' absence.
Cooley fractured his left index finger in multiple spots on a tackle by Philadelphia's Nnamdi Asomugha in the Redskins 20-13 loss yesterday and will require surgery to realign the bones. According to a report out of Washington, Cooley is expected to miss approximately six weeks while recovering. Cooley, who has not put up great numbers in the passing game this year, has been receiving raves from the Washington coaching staff for his blocking this season and will be a huge loss for a Redskins team that suffered multiple injuries on its offensive line against the Eagles. TE Fred Davis, who has had a breakthrough season thus far, should get even more looks in Cooley's absence.
Trent Williams, Washington Redskins (ankle)
The Redskins' second-year left tackle suffered a right high ankle sprain on the team's third drive of its loss to Philadelphia and did not return to action. Williams, who was replaced on the line by Sean Locklear, was seen after the game in a walking boot and limping noticeably, and early word out of Washington was that he was likely to miss 2-4 weeks, pending further testing. With the Redskins also having lost LG Kory Lichtensteiger against the Eagles to a probable ACL/MCL tear, the feel-good story in Washington has hit its first significant road bump of the season.
Polamalu, the linchpin of the Steelers' defense, was injured in the fourth quarter of Pittsburgh's win over Jacksonville while hitting Jaguars' RB Maurice Jones-Drew and left the game with concussion-like symptoms. Head Coach Mike Tomlin called pulling Polamalu a precautionary measure, but neurological testing this week will determine whether the All-Pro safety will be able to play in Week 7 against the Arizona Cardinals.