NFL Week 9 Injuries: Hines Ward Takes Head Shot; Miles Austin Hurt Again

PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 06: Hines Ward #86 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks at the scoreboard following their loss to the Baltimore Ravens during the game on November 6, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

With Week 9 of the NFL schedule almost in the books, SBNation.com's Medical Expert Dr. Ali Mohamadi discusses some of the most significant injuries from this weekend's games, and their potential impact:

Wide Receivers

Hines Ward, Pittsburgh Steelers (head)

Ward, who had just returned from an ankle injury, suffered a head injury in the first half of the Steelers' contest with Baltimore on Sunday night and did not return to action. Ward was struck on a helmet-to-helmet hit by Ravens LB Ray Lewis while catching a pass over the middle of the field and was clearly dazed as he walked slowly off the field with the assistance of the Pittsburgh medical staff. The Steelers' initial report was that Ward had suffered a stinger, but it would not be a surprise if this is ultimately diagnosed as a concussion, with his return to action pending neurological testing this week.

Miles Austin, Dallas Cowboys (hamstring)

Austin's injury-riddled season continued, as he suffered a strained right hamstring in the second quarter of the Cowboys' win over Seattle. Austin pulled up after hauling in a 37-yard pass from Tony Romo, headed for the sideline, and did not return to action. This comes on the heels of a left hamstring injury that the Dallas WR sustained in the preseason and caused him to miss two regular season games already. It remains to be seen whether Austin will be able to suit up for the Cowboys' Week 10 contest against Buffalo.

Running Backs

Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers (ankle)

Gore, who gained over 100 rushing yards for the fifth consecutive game in the 49ers' win over Washington, played through a left ankle sprain suffered in the second quarter of play. After the game, Gore was favoring the ankle noticeably, and it remains to be seen whether it will affect his status for next Sunday's showdown with the New York Giants. Of note, Gore was hampered by a right ankle sprain sustained in Week 3 against the Bengals that did not affect his effectiveness in subsequent games.

Shonn Greene, New York Jets (concussion)

The Jets' RB was removed in the fourth quarter of his team's 27-11 win over Buffalo after sustaining a head injury. Greene underwent a concussion test on the sidelines and apparently was cleared to return to action, but was held out as a precaution. This differs with the treatment given Jets TE Dustin Keller, who also sustained a head injury in the second quarter but after passing a concussion test was reinserted in the second half. By all accounts, both should be ready to go in Week 10 against the Patriots.

Cornerbacks

Tracy Porter, New Orleans Saints (neck)

The Saints CB suffered a scary-looking neck injury on the second play of the Saints' win over Tampa Bay, lying on the field with limited movement for 10 minutes before being carted off the field and sent to a local hospital for observation. Porter, whose helmet struck the leg of Bucs WR Mike Williams, passed neurological tests in the stadium and is doing well with full movement and sensation in all extremities.

Defensive Lineman

Gerald McCoy, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (biceps)

The Bucs' defensive tackle, who has been a frequent victim of the injury bug, suffered a right arm injury in Tampa Bay's loss to New Orleans, which is preliminarily believed to be a torn right biceps. If this is the case, McCoy would likely miss the remainder of the season, and it would come off the heels of a torn left biceps at the end of the 2010 campaign that caused him to miss the final 4 weeks last year. Further testing to be conducted today will determine the exact prognosis.

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