A number of teams were affected by injuries in Week 6, but none with as potentially devastating a long-term impact as the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens defense, already missing Terrell Suggs due to a ruptured Achilles' tendon, may now find itself without the team's undisputed leader, Ray Lewis, due to a triceps injury. Couple this with what appears to be a season-threatening knee injury for CB Lardarius Webb, a sprained knee for NT Haloti Ngata, and the once-vaunted Baltimore defense looks vulnerable for the first time in recent memory.
Here are the key injuries from Sunday's action, and their potential impact:
Ray Lewis, Baltimore Ravens (triceps)
Lewis left Sunday's thrilling 31-29 win over Dallas in the fourth quarter due to a triceps injury and spent the game's deciding moments on the sideline in visible pain. If it is indeed a torn triceps, as some inside the Baltimore locker room fear, Lewis may require surgery, which would mean the end of his season.
The triceps is the main muscle in the posterior part of the upper arm, with its name derived from the three "heads" of the muscle: long, medial, and lateral. It attaches to the shoulder blade on one end and to the elbow on the other, with its main role being to extend the elbow. It also provides stability to the humerus (upper arm bone) when the shoulder joint is turned, and help to extend the shoulder.
Injuries to the triceps muscles or to the tendons that attach the triceps to the bones often occur when the elbow is forcibly bent while the individual is actively trying to extend the joint. This results in tenderness to the touch, swelling at the site of the injury, and weakness when the elbow is extended against resistance. This weakness makes it difficult to perform any number of football-related activities, including engaging and maintaining a block.
An MRI, as Lewis is scheduled to have on Monday, can confirm the diagnosis and specifically identify the location and degree of the injury. If there is a rupture of the triceps tendon, which attaches the muscle to bone, Lewis would require surgical reattachment and months of recuperation and physical therapy. If it is a muscle tear instead, there is a chance it could be treated conservatively, with rest and rehabilitation, but depending on the degree may require surgery. Either way, it can result in a protracted absence from athletic activity. At a minimum, next week's showdown with Houston seems out of the question for Lewis, and there is reason to believe it will be a much longer absence than that for the future Hall of Famer.
Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE
The Cardinals' QB, who improbably had led the team to a 4-1 start before Sunday's loss to Buffalo, injured his ribs in the final two minutes of regulation and was replaced by John Skelton for the remainder of the game and overtime. The injury took place when two Bills defenders fell on top of Kolb during a sack, leaving the Arizona QB lying on the field for several minutes in pain. Interestingly, Kolb suffered a similar injury during the Cardinals' first preseason game, and his injury, in part, allowed Skelton to wrest away the starting job before spraining an ankle himself in Week 1. Kolb will undergo more tests on Monday to determine his prognosis for next week's game at Minnesota; the biggest concern with rib injuries is often pain tolerance, requiring players to wear protective padding and receive numbing injections if they opt to take the field.
As is typical with the Patriots, details are scarce, but Bolden left yesterday's loss at Seattle with a knee injury that appears to have taken place on a kickoff that resulted in a touchback. With Bolden's absence, starting RB Stevan Ridley shared carries with Danny Woodhead, although the Patriots' offense skewed heavily toward the passing game yesterday.
Murray suffered a sprained left foot late in the second quarter of the Cowboys' loss to Baltimore and was pulled from the game shortly after the start of the second half. The injury was a tough blow to Dallas, as the second-year RB had amassed 93 yards on 14 carries in one half of play, but there was some good news after the game: an initial x-ray was negative and Murray did not require a protective boot. Murray will undergo an MRI of the foot on Monday to further evaluate the injury, and if he cannot play next week at Carolina, Felix Jones is likely to start against the Panthers' underwhelming run defense.
Powell, the Jets' backup RB, suffered a right shoulder injury in New York's rout of Indianapolis on Sunday, and the preliminary diagnosis is a dislocation of the joint. A shoulder dislocation involves tearing of the ligaments holding the shoulder joint in place, with higher degrees of tearing causing more significant instability. With this type of injury, Powell's main issue may end up being pain tolerance, and if he returns to action too soon, there is always the risk of aggravating the injury and further tearing the ligaments that hold the shoulder joint in place. With Powell on the sideline, Shonn Greene turned in a 32-carry, 161-yard, three TD performance against the Colts, with Joe McKnight serving as his primary backup and ripping off a 61-yard run of his own.
The Browns' electrifying rookie RB saw limited action after suffering a first quarter rib injury in Cleveland's 34-24 win over the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday. Richardson only amassed 37 yards on 14 carries and will have an MRI of the ribs today to assess the degree of injury, but the good news for Cleveland fans - other than their team getting into the win column for the first time this season - is that Richardson himself sounds optimistic that he will be back for next week's contest at Indianapolis. If he is unable to play, with pain tolerance potentially being the biggest concern, backup Monterrio Hardesty would likely get the start.
Lardarius Webb, Baltimore Ravens (knee)
The Ravens' underrated CB suffered what is feared to be a season-ending left ACL injury Sunday against Dallas. Webb fell to the ground after tangling with Dez Bryant as the Cowboys' WR ran a pattern in the first quarter, and was taken off the field after being evaluated by the Baltimore training staff. With Webb sidelined, Bryant lit up the Ravens' secondary to the tune of 95 yards and two touchdowns, and 5-1 Baltimore will most certainly struggle to find a replacement as skilled as Webb.
Haloti Ngata, Baltimore Ravens (knee, shoulder)
Ngata, the Ravens' All-Pro nose tackle, played through a right knee sprain suffered early in the Ravens' win over Dallas on Sunday, and as a further testimony to his toughness, he continued despite aggravating a right shoulder injury as well. After the game, Baltimore officials seemed to voice more concern over the knee injury, which will be evaluated on Monday with an MRI. If Ngata is to lose any time, on top of the losses of Webb and Lewis and Terrell Suggs during the offseason, the Ravens' defense will be hard-pressed to live up to the menacing reputation it has built over the years.