Things looked good on Sunday morning for Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson. He had been battling an ankle sprain for the past two weeks, but he was able to move smoothly in pregame warmups and appeared as close to full-go as he has been since Week 3. However, the world-class wide receiver was ineffective in the first half, and then re-injured his right ankle when tackled on his only reception of the game. He left after that. Johnson will be evaluated further in order to determine the severity of the injury.
Given this is the second time Johnson has injured the same ankle, it would not be a surprise if he misses time in order to avoid risking any further damage.
Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints
The Saints have played it coy about Graham's shoulder injury, sustained early in Sunday's win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but given his significance to the team, many are holding their breath as the star tight end undergoes further tests on Monday. Graham suffered the injury in the first quarter, but actually returned to play before being removed for good. Shoulder injuries run the gamut from mild sprains (similar to the one DeSean Jackson had earlier in the season without any missed time) to separations or fractures that could require significant recovery time. The football world will be keeping a close eye on news out of New Orleans, and the Saints' upcoming bye couldn't have come at a better time for Graham.
Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans
The snake-bitten Tennessee quarterback left yet another game due to injury this week, this time departing his team's heartbreaking loss to the Cleveland Browns due to a thumb injury on his right hand sustained in the second quarter. Preliminary x-rays were negative, and he will undergo further testing.
The location and mechanism of injury, which involved stretching of the thumb away from the hand, are suggestive of an ulnar collateral ligament sprain. This ligament connects the first metacarpal (hand bone) to proximal first phalange (the thumb bone closest to the hand itself) and is crucial for grip strength. Depending on the grade of the injury, the thumb could require anything from splinting and allowing the ligament to heal (Grades 1-2, typically up to a month before returning to play) to surgery to repair the ligament (Grade 3, which could require months to recover).
As the team awaits results from additional tests, backup QB Charlie Whitehurst will prepare if needed to take over as starter next week against the Jacksonville Jaguars and possibly beyond.
Drew Stanton, Arizona Cardinals
Stanton, who had replaced an injured Carson Palmer at quarterback, left in the third quarter of Sunday's loss to the Denver Broncos after suffering a concussion following a hit from Von Miller. Stanton staggered noticeably after sustaining the hit and did not return to action. He was replaced by Logan Thomas. Thomas struggled mightily in relief, and depending on whether Stanton is able to pass concussion testing this week (as well as whether Palmer's shoulder recovers in time), the Virginia Tech product may find himself starting against Washington next Sunday.
Montee Ball, Denver Broncos
The second-year back, expected to be a large part of the Broncos' offense this year, sustained what preliminarily appears to be a fairly severe groin strain in the win over Arizona. He may end up missing significant time. Ball sustained the injury while blocking on a Peyton Manning pass, and had to be helped off the field and to the locker room. The team awaits results of an MRI scheduled for Monday morning. Bear in mind that groin strains are notoriously easy to aggravate if an athlete returns to action before fully healing, which means that backups Ronnie Hillman and Juwan Thompson are likely to see plenty of playing time when Denver faces the New York Jets next week.
Donald Brown, San Diego Chargers
The Chargers running back, pressed into starting duty due to the sprained knee suffered by Ryan Mathews, was himself forced out of Sunday's shutout win over the New York Jets due to a concussion. Brown will have to pass neurological testing from the San Diego medical staff this week in order to suit up next week against the Raiders. In his stead, rookie Branden Oliver starred to the tune of 182 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns and most certainly earned an increased role in the team's offense going forward, regardless of whether Brown can play next week.
Reggie Bush, Detroit Lions
The Lions running back, seeing extra action due to an injury to Joique Bell, suffered an ankle injury in the fourth quarter of Detroit's loss to the Buffalo Bills and did not return. Following the game, Bush did not believe the injury would cost him significant time, but the team will need to wait and see whether there is any swelling, pain, or loss of range of motion before testing the ankle in practice. If Bush is unable to play in Week 6 against the Minnesota Vikings, George Winn is likely to see significant playing time in his place.
Rashad Jennings, New York Giants
Jennings, who has played well during New York's three-game winning streak, left the Giants' come-from-behind win over Atlanta with a sprained knee. The team hasn't released any specifics to this point, other than the fact that Jennings is scheduled for an MRI to determine the extent of the injury. Rookie Andre Williams carried the ball 20 times for 65 yards and a touchdown in relief, and he will see a similar workload in next week's showdown at Philadelphia if Jennings is unable to suit up.
Zac Stacy, St. Louis Rams
The Rams running back left in the third quarter of his team's loss to the Philadelphia Eagles with a left calf strain and did not return. Like other muscle strains of the lower extremity, calf injuries are slow to recover and easy to re-injure, meaning that the team will likely take it slow getting him back on the practice field. If Stacy is unable to play next Monday night against the San Francisco 49ers, backup Benny Cunningham would get the nod in his place.