This post is usually a staple of our Wednesday-to-Friday coverage. As the reports roll in detailing who was participating in practice and who was sitting lonesomely underneath the goalposts, we pass them along to feed your insatiable thirst for strains, breaks, tears, and sprains.
So if this post makes an appearance on a Monday, that’s bad. As the dust settled this afternoon following Sunday’s carnage injury updates were pouring out quickly, so here are the major ones wrapped up in one nice little season-altering package, at least for Redskins fans.
Moss could miss nearly two months, and Hightower is done for the year
Washington has been dealing with uncertainty at quarterback since training camp, a battle that took another turn yesterday when a mediocre John Beck made his first start of the season and looked like the mediocre Rex Grossman. But with a little time and seasoning there’s always hope that any quarterback can develop chemistry with his key offensive counterparts and improve.
Beck won’t get that chance after Sunday’s injuries.
Santana Moss had surgery on his broken left hand today, and head coach Mike Shanahan said he’ll miss five-to-seven weeks. That’s significantly more than initial reports that pegged his likely recovery time at roughly three weeks, and it leaves Beck and/or Grossman without the team’s only true downfield threat until at least December.
Chris Cooley’s finger injury will keep him out for another month too, so aside from his replacement Fred Davis the primary target for Washington’s passing attack is now journeyman Jabar Gaffney, with rookie third-round pick Leonard Hankerson ready to step up after being active ahead of Donte Stallworth Sunday.
The other gut punch absorbed by the Redskins today was a right hook to their backfield when Tim Hightower’s reported ACL tear was confirmed. He’ll be out for the rest of the season, but while they’ll miss his pass protection skills, the impact of Hightower’s absence on Washington’s run game will likely be minimal.
Hightower was becoming Shanahan’s latest backfield victim, with his carries gradually decreasing since Week 2. Shanahan partly blamed it on a shoulder injury, but that didn’t explain why Hightower was active last week against Philadelphia and still didn’t get any playing time whatsoever. Over the first two weeks he was given 45 carries, and then Hightower received the ball just 39 times over the next three games, watching while Ryan Torain had 135 yards on 19 carries back in Week 4.
Torain and Roy Helu will now shoulder the load, with Torain likely getting more carries after he had three 100-yard games last year. But Shanahan will probably sign Terrell Davis and have him split carries with Reuben Droughns instead.
Beanie Wells dodges a serious injury
Ken Whisenhunt was vague and cryptic when asked about a timetable for Beanie Wells, the Arizona running back who left with a knee injury in the second quarter of yesterday’s loss to Pittsburgh. But he’s definitely not done for the year, and Jason La Canfora reported that he’ll likely miss one-to-two weeks with a bone bruise.
Any lengthy absence for Wells would have been a tough blow for a Cardinal offense that’s already having difficulty mounting a sustained downfield push, ranking 18th in passes of 20 yards or more. Taking away Wells would prompt opposing defenses to focus even further on defending the pass.
Rookie Ryan Williams saw his season end in August due to a ruptured patellar tendon, so without Wells Arizona would be left to rely on a committee approach between Alfonso Smith and LaRod Stephens-Howling–two inexperienced RBs with a combined 59 career carries–and the seldom used 32-year-old Chester Taylor, who has only nine carries this year.
Breathe Detroit, Stafford is fine
Or at least he’s healthy enough that you can move on and worry about other far more pressing matters in your economically vibrant city, like bus drivers playing cards.
Falcons linebacker Curtis Lofton rolled over Stafford’s leg in the fourth quarter of Detroit’s loss to Atlanta, and the oft-injured quarterback immediately clutched his knee. That was evidently a reactionary instinct, or maybe Stafford actually has a superhuman pain tolerance, and even in his moment of pain he was trying to fool us. In his press conference today Jim Schwartz said Stafford has an ankle problem, not a knee problem, and he’s considered day-to-day.
In his three-year career Stafford has already missed 19 games.