There have been relatively few major injuries thus far in Week 8, with the potentially most significant being the knee and quadriceps injury suffered by Dolphins’ rookie QB Ryan Tannehill. While Miami fans hold their breath for an MRI scheduled for Monday, here is information on Tannehill’s and other key injuries suffered in Sunday’s NFL action:
Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins (knee, quadriceps)
The Dolphins’ rookie QB, who has exceeded expectations this season by all accounts, suffered a hyperextended left knee and bruised quadriceps in the first quarter of Miami’s 30-9 win over the New York Jets and did not return to action. The injury took place on a sack by linebacker Calvin Pace, who came through the line unblocked, causing Tannehill to limp off the field and straight to the trainers’ bench. Of the two injuries, the one more likely to cost Tannehill playing time is the knee injury.
A hyperextended knee occurs when excessive pressure or force pushes the joint past its normal extension range of motion while the knee is in a straightened position, bending the knee backward. This usually happens while bearing weight on the limb and are not uncommon in athletes when landing from a jump to an extended knee position, or from an outside force to an extended knee. Hyperextension injuries can range from mild to severe depending on the amount of damage done to the stabilizing structures in the knee, such as cartilage (the anterior cruciate ligament in particular) menisci, and popliteus tendon. Regardless of the extent of the injury, initial symptoms may include swelling, pain at the back and sides of the knee, pain with walking, and a feeling of instability with motion. As long as there is no damage to the structures of the knee, treatment is supportive and consists of rest, ice, compression with an ace bandage or similar fitting, and elevation.
Tannehill’s prognosis will likely be determined following an MRI of the knee and will also depend upon any further swelling or lingering pain over the next 2-3 days. If there is no internal damage and the initial symptoms subside quickly, it is conceivable Tannehill could play as soon as next week; if not, backup Matt Moore, who filled in admirably Sunday, is ready to take the reins at Indianapolis in Week 9.
Add Quinn to the growing list of players knocked out of games this season with a likely concussion, as the Kansas City QB suffered a concussion in the first half of the Chiefs’ 26-16 loss to Oakland. Quinn was pulled after taking a number of hard hits, including one on an interception by Matt Giordano that ultimately led to former-starter Matt Cassel entering the game. It was yet another in a growing list of injuries for the 1-6 Chiefs, including a concussion to Cassel himself three weeks ago that led to his being removed as starter. With Kansas City facing a short week before Thursday night’s game against the Chargers, it would seem most likely that Cassel will get the nod in Week 9.
The Wembley Stadium playing surface was unkind to the Patriots’ WR, as Welker suffered a non-contact injury to his left ankle in the fourth quarter of New England’s 45-7 victory over St. Louis and did not return to the field. After the game, Welker explained that his ankle twisted when it "kind of got stuck in the turf" at the wet London venue, causing him to limp off the field in some pain. Welker did not seem concerned about the injury in post-game interviews, and with the Patriots facing a bye in Week 9, he should be ready for the team’s next game on Nov. 11 against Buffalo.
Blackburn, the Giants’ leading tackler, pulled his hamstring in the third quarter of New York’s thrilling 29-24 win over Dallas and did not return to the lineup. The injury took place on a tackle of Cowboys running back Felix Jones, and despite receiving treatment on the New York sideline, he was held out for the remainder of the game by the team's medical staff. While it is unclear how severe the injury is, hamstring injuries are notoriously slow to heal and prone to aggravation if the athlete returns to full competition before complete recovery. Backup Mark Herzlich took over for Blackburn and would get the starting nod next week against Pittsburgh if Blackburn is unable to suit up.
One of the only lowlights of 7-0 Atlanta’s 30-17 trouncing of Philadelphia was the ankle injury suffered by Weatherspoon, who was carted off the field in the second half and did not return to action. Weatherspoon, who had played every defensive snap for the Falcons this season, was bearing weight after the game and did not require a walking boot, but will have an MRI Monday as a precautionary measure. Falcons fans will be keeping an eye on Weatherspoon’s practice status this week for a glimpse into whether he will be able to suit up against Dallas next Sunday night.