It's only Monday of Week 1 and the injury bug has already made its presence felt in the NFL. If you're a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers in particular this morning, the news is particularly worrisome considering All-Pro center Maurkice Pouncey, linebacker Larry Foote and running back LaRod Stephens-Howling having already been lost for the season with injuries.
Here is the medical update from the week so far:
The Cowboys' $100 million quarterback was momentarily knocked out of his team's 36-31 win over the Giants last night after being sandwiched between two New York defenders late in the first half. The injury occurred when he was crunched on either side of his upper body by the Giants' Mathias Kiwanuka and Justin Trattou after throwing a pass. It appeared Romo may have suffered an injury to the ribs, but he returned to guide Dallas in the second half and Cowboys' officials stating that he merely had the wind knocked out of him.
It remains to be seen whether there will be any lasting effects of the hit as the week progresses. Pain management is a particular concern with rib injuries - something Romo is familiar with, having suffered a punctured lung due to a fractured rib in 2011 and another cracked rib in the season-ending loss to Washington last year.
The Chiefs' star running back left during the third quarter of his team's 28-2 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars with a quadriceps injury that both team officials and Charles himself have dismissed as insignficant. The Chiefs have been coy regarding the nature of the injury, but the most common quadriceps ailments are either muscle strains or bruises.
If the injury is a strain -- presumably a mild one -- the most significant issue going forward will be preventing re-injury, which requires rest until the muscle has completely healed. If it is a muscle bruise, the greatest concern would be managing the pain associated with contact to the affected area. Backup running back Knile Davis stands to gain playing time if Charles is limited next week when the Chiefs host the Cowboys.
LaRod Stephens-Howling, Pittsburgh Steelers (knee)
The Steelers' backup running back suffered a torn ACL in the third quarter of his team's 16-9 loss to the Titans on Sunday, further depleting a running back corps that is already without Le'Veon Bell due to a foot injury. Without Stephens-Howling, whose recovery will likely take 6-8 months, Pittsburgh will rely on Isaac Redman and Felix Jones to carry the load in the backfield until Bell returns.
New England's star free agent acquisition left in the second quarter of yesterday's 21-20 win over the Bills with a groin injury, but returned to complete the game. Amendola did not appear to suffer any ill effects in the second half, finishing the day with 10 catches for 104 yards. Groin strains are notoriously slow to heal and prone to aggravation, making the injury one to watch over the course of the early season.
Maurkice Pouncey, Pittsburgh Steelers (knee)
The Pittsburgh center's season came to an end after suffering ACL and MCL injuries on a freak play in the first quarter of the Steelers' loss to Tennessee. Pouncey was hurt when teammate David DeCastro dove into the back of his knee. The Pittsburgh All-Pro now faces surgery and a 7-9 month rehabilitation and recovery period. While Pouncey is very likely to make a return to form next season, the Steelers' already thin offensive line now turns to former seventh-round pick Kelvin Beachum at center.
Larry Foote, Pittsburgh Steelers (biceps)
Foote suffered a ruptured biceps in the fourth quarter of Pittsburgh's loss to the Titans yesterday, which will require surgery and most likely end the LB's season. A biceps rupture most commonly occurs when the tendon that attaches the muscle to the shoulder tears, resulting in significant pain and decreased range of motion of the shoulder and/or elbow joints. Surgery often involves reattaching the tendon to the upper portion of the arm bone (humerus) and recovery usually takes about six months.
The Giants' top CB suffered a concussion on a helmet-to-helmet collision with teammate Ryan Mundy in the second quarter of last night's contest with Dallas and did not return to action. Amukamara's availability for next week's home opener against Denver will depend upon neurological testing that will take place later in the week. If he is unable to play, Aaron Ross would take over as a starter in the Giants' secondary.