Michael Vick's Broken Hand Headlines NFL Week 3 Injury Report

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 25: Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles sits on the sideline with an injured right hand in the fourth quarter against the New York Giants at Lincoln Financial Field on September 25, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Giants defeated the Eagles 29-16. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

SB Nation's Medical Expert analyzes all the major injuries from NFL Week 3, including Michael Vick's broken hand, which could sideline the Eagles QB for 3-4 weeks.

At 1-2 after a home loss to the New York Giants, Philadelphia's "dream" season has been anything but thus far, and in back-to-back weeks, the nightmare scenario of losing QB Michael Vick has been all too real for Eagles fans. With his status for next Sunday's game against San Francisco in doubt, Vick's broken right hand headlines the injury list for Week 3.

Here are the key injuries from the week so far, and their potential impact:

Quarterbacks

Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles (hand)

Vick suffered a broken right (non-throwing) hand in the third quarter of the Philadelphia's 29-16 loss to the New York Giants. Although the Eagles QB returned for a series after breaking the hand, he was removed from the game and watched the fourth quarter from the bench. Early reports on Monday are that Vick will miss 3-4 weeks, although nothing is certain yet.

Reports on Sunday indicated that Vick sustained a fracture of his fourth metacarpal (hand) bone, and initially there were conflicting reports about whether it was a simple fracture (clean break without significant separation of the broken ends), or if there was displacement of the fractured ends. In the case of a simple fracture, it would be conceivable Vick could wear a splint and play in Week 4 against the San Francisco 49ers. However, if he has suffered a displaced fracture -- as one would assume from the 3-4 week recovery timeline -- he would require realignment of the bones under anesthesia, and possibly surgical placement of screws and plates to ensure proper healing. In a best case scenario, this would keep Vick as little as two weeks, but that seems unlikely at this early juncture. Either way, he may experience further swelling of the hand over the next 24-48 hours, and even if he were not to require surgery, pain control would be a challenge even with a simple fracture. (Read more about Michael Vick's injury.)

Running Backs

Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers (ankle)

Gore entered Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals with a nagging, mild right ankle sprain, which he aggravated in the second quarter of the 49ers' victory. He was removed in the second half for backup Kendall Hunter, and by Gore's own account his status for Week 4 is questionable. The San Francisco RB's ability to practice this week and play next Sunday at Philadelphia may hinge upon the amount of swelling and pain he experiences over the next 24-48 hours, which can be considerable, depending on the location of the sprain and the degree to which it was re-injured.

Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders (groin)

Just about the only thing that went wrong for the Raiders in their 34-24 win over the New York Jets was that McFadden, who ran for 171 yards and two touchdowns, suffered a strained groin in the fourth quarter. Early indications are positive, and it doesn't appear it will impact McFadden's status for the Week 4 matchup against New England. However, with groin injuries, as with most lower-body muscle strains, the key will be whether McFadden can avoid reaggravating the injury, which is a common occurrence.

Wide Receivers

Kenny Britt, Tennessee Titans (knee)

The Titans' top receiver was carted off the field in the second quarter of the team's 17-16 win over the Denver Broncos with a right knee injury. Britt injured the knee as he planted his right foot after catching a pass, and even though the exact diagnosis won't be known until Monday's MRI is performed, by all indications he will miss a significant period of time. Early speculation centers on a possible tear of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and/or medial collateral ligament (MCL) of the right knee. In either case, the recovery period would be significant. An ACL tear would require reconstructive surgery, with a return to action in 6-9 months, whereas an MCL tear may or may not require surgery, but the recovery time for a severe injury would be at least 3 months. If the MRI reveals a significant tear of either of these ligaments, it is likely Britt's season is done, and if both are torn, the rehabilitation process would last well into the offseason. (Read more about Kenny Britt's injury.)

Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia Eagles (hamstring)

Maclin missed much of the fourth quarter of the Eagles' loss to the Giants after straining a hamstring. The extent of the injury is unknown at this point, and with the hamstring there is a wide spectrum in terms of severity. Stay tuned to this column next Sunday morning for an update on Maclin's progress over the week and the likelihood of his playing against the 49ers.

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