NFL Playoffs: Injuries That Couple Impact Postseason Play

With the regular season in the books and the start of the Wild Card playoff round just five days away, SBNation Medical Expert Dr. Ali Mohamadi discusses some of the most significant injuries from yesterday's games, and their potential impact for the playoffs:

Rashard Mendenhall, Pittsburgh Steelers (knee)

Mendenhall suffered a right knee injury in the first half of the Steelers' Week 17 win over the Browns, and Head Coach Mike Tomlin has already said it is unlikely he will suit up for next Sunday's Wild Card game at Denver. While there has been no official word out of Pittsburgh, there are concerns that Mendenhall may have torn his ACL, which certainly would put him out for the entirety of the playoffs. Backup Isaac Redman amassed 92 yards on the ground, although he did fumble twice, and would get the nod at running back next week assuming Mendenhall cannot play.

T.J. Yates, Houston Texans (shoulder)

There have been conflicting reports out of Houston regarding the severity of the shoulder injury to Yates' left (non-throwing) shoulder, with the team calling it a bruise while at least one source indicated it may be a sprain. Either way, the Texans do not appear concerned about Yates' status for Saturday's game against Cincinnati. Even if the shoulder is sprained, if it is a low-grade injury (as was the case for Tom Brady in Sunday's game), since it is the non-throwing shoulder, although pain may be a factor there shouldn't be an impact on the Houston QB's throwing motion. If Yates is unable to play, however, backup Jake Delhomme would once again find himself starting an NFL playoff game.

Robert Meachem, New Orleans Saints (knee)

The Saints WR was removed from the team's shellacking of Carolina due to knee pain, which was later diagnosed as a bruised knee. Based on preliminary reports, the injury should not affect Meachem's status for next weekend's game against the Lions, but it remains to be seen whether there is significant swelling or pain over the next day or two.

Justin Smith, San Francisco 49ers (knee)

The 49ers defensive end, a candidate for defensive player of the year, aggravated a left knee injury in the team's win over St. Louis and left the game in the first quarter, although he did re-insert himself in the lineup at the end as his team fought off a Rams comeback effort. Given that San Francisco earned a first-round bye with yesterday's victory, Smith should have ample time to recover, but keep an eye on his practice status over the course of the next two weeks.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.