NFL news roundup: 49ers dealt key injuries on defense, Riley Cooper situation moving forward


A pair of key 49ers defensive players have suffered injuries early in training camp, Riley Cooper is still dealing with the after-effects of the video that spread across the Internet on Wednesday, and Nick Barnett finally found a new NFL team.

The San Francisco 49ers were dealt a pair of seemingly serious injuries on Thursday and, unfortunately for the Super Bowl contenders, both issues happened on the defensive side of the football.

Patrick Willis suffered a slight fracture in his right hand during Wednesday's practice. Willis iced his hand on Wednesday, but team doctor's didn't learn about the fracture until an X-ray revealed it on Thursday morning. Willis is expected to play through the injury, however, so it's apparently not quite as serious as it sounds.

A separate injury happened to a different 49ers player during Thursday's practice, though the extent of cornerback Chris Culliver's injury is currently unknown. Last year's third cornerback was seen crying as he was carted off of the practice field with an apparent left knee injury, but the extent of the injury has yet to be determined.

It's unknown how Culliver's injury will effect his team's efforts for the upcoming season, but Niners Nation was able to shed some knowledge on Willis's slight injury:

Willis has had three injuries to his right hand before. He played with a broken hand in college and broke it again in the NFL in 2007 and 2010. This is the fourth fracture to his hand and wrist. All bones are susceptible to fracture when it comes to high impact activities, but it increases as we age.

What inspires confidence is the human body has an amazing ability to heal bones quickly. In fact, broken bones can heal within a few months that even an x-ray does not show the original fracture line. If the fracture is being reported as "slight," we are probably looking at four to six weeks for it to be good as new.

The Riley Cooper situation is still sorting itself out

Riley Cooper used some racially-derogative language at a country music concert and, unfortunately for him, video of the incident surfaced on the Internet earlier in the week. The situation continued to sort itself out on Thursday with the Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver in a few different areas.

The NFL will not discipline Cooper, according to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, though Goodell did note that the reason the NFL wouldn't punish him is because he's going to be disciplined by the Eagles and he's already tried to be accountable for his actions. The Eagles are handling it both internally and externally. The biggest part of Cooper's discipline is that he'll receive outside assistance first, in the form of training to help him understand the impact of his words and actions.

Cooper's teammates aren't handling the situation quite as well, however, with running back LeSean McCoy saying he lost a friend because he "can't respect a guy like that."

Washington Redskins sign veteran linebacker Nick Barnett

Nick Barnett has fallen a bit out of the casual fan's consciousness since moving on from the Green Bay Packers, but the veteran linebacker has played well for the Buffalo Bills over the past two seasons. The 32-year-old was released by Buffalo after failing a physical this offseason, however, but has now caught on with the Washington Redskins.

Barnett was likely signed to fill the void of injured reserve Keenan Robinson and, according to Hogs Haven's Mike Harar, Barnett should be able to do that quite well.

He was usually tasked with covering the tight ends and running backs out of the backfield, and should be a dependable veteran back-up to London Fletcher this year with the Redskins. He is not the fastest linebacker, but is fluid and intelligent with little wasted movement after the snap and can play the "Mike" position if necessary.

Vikings offensive tackle popped for PEDs

Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle DeMarcus Love has been suspended for the first four games of the upcoming NFL season, it was announced on Thursday. The second-year pro was once considered to be a potential first-round pick, but injury issues allowed the Vikings to get him with the 168th pick in the 2011 draft.

Love has yet to make a name for himself in the NFL, because he spent 2011 on the inactive list and 2012 on the injured reserve. It seems likely that this issue won't move him any closer to the field in 2013.

More from SB Nation:

Big changes coming for the Pro Bowl

Video: Riley Cooper using the N-word at concert

Whose stock is rising and falling after a weekend of camp?

The greatest backup of them all, NFC edition | AFC edition

Complete NFL training camp coverage

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