The list of casualties on the NFL’s opening weekend runs long and deep, and the ramifications could have lasting effects on many teams’ hopes for making the postseason. Week 1 saw a number of top receivers and defensive studs go down to injuries of varying degrees. Some could be out for a week or much longer, while the fate of others has yet to be determined.
Here are the key injured players before the end of Week 1.
Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys
Perhaps the biggest start to go down is Bryant. The All-Pro receiver, who inked a lucrative long-term contract extension before training camp, suffered a broken bone in his right foot in the third quarter of Dallas’ comeback victory over the New York Giants. He will reportedly require surgery and is expected to miss four to six weeks. ESPN reports Bryant’s scheduled for surgery on Tuesday. Over the last three seasons Bryant’s account for 41 touchdowns, and his loss greatly impacts a Cowboys squad that looks to repeat as NFC East champs and return to the postseason.
Randy Gregory, DE, Dallas Cowboys
In another blow to Cowboys in the third quarter despite the win, rookie defensive end Gregory sustained a high right ankle sprain and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports the injury typically translates to a four-to-six week absence. With Greg Hardy suspended for three more games, fifth-round draft choice and rookie Ryan Russell is next up on the depth chart.
T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts
Another stud receiver who signed a huge contract extension, Hilton led the Colts with seven catches for 88 yards in their loss to Buffalo but also suffered a knee bruise. NFL.com reports Hilton is day-to-day and the team will be cautious by potentially holding him out for one or two games. Originally there were worries that the injury would be more serious, but the Colts also have veteran Andre Johnson and rising Donte Moncrief to lead the receiving corps.
Terrell Suggs, OLB, Baltimore Ravens
The most devastating injury to any defensive player, Suggs was ruled out for the season with a torn Achilles, leaving the Ravens defense without its leader and star. A six-time Pro Bowler and the team’s all-time leader in sacks, Suggs ripped the Achilles in his right foot in the fourth quarter of Baltimore’s narrow loss to Denver and comes 40 months after tearing his left Achilles. At 33, Suggs’ career could be in jeopardy. The Ravens could shift rookie and fourth-round pick Za’Darius Smith into the starting lineup, or move C.J. Mosley of Courtney Upshaw into Suggs’ spot.
Luke Kuechly, LB, Carolina Panthers
The Panthers proved victorious 20-9 over Jacksonville, but star linebacker Kuechly went down with a concussion after colliding with rookie Jaguars running back T.J. Yeldon in the second quarter. The Defensive Player of the Year in 2013, Kuechly inked a $62-million contract extension just last week, but his status against Week 2’s opponent, Houston, is in question.
Antonio Cromartie, CB, New York Jets
The extent of Cromartie’s injury is presently unknown, but he was reportedly scheduled to undergo an MRI his left knee at 10:30 p.m. ET. Cromartie went down without any contact and his knee buckled in the second quarter of New York’s win over Cleveland. He was carted off the field, a sign the injury is quite serious. A source told ProFootball Talk the Jets are bracing for the diagnosis of a torn ACL or MCL. The Jets will likely turn to Marcus Williams, who came up with an interception and three passes defensed in relief.
Other notable injuries: DeSean Jackson, WR, Washington Redskins (hamstring); Josh McCown, QB, Cleveland Browns (concussion); Sam Barrington, LB, Green Bay Packers (ankle); Andre Ellington, RB, Arizona Cardinals (knee); Corey Graham, S, Buffalo Bills (head); Trumaine Johnson, CB, St. Louis Rams (head); Luke Joeckel, LT, Jacksonville Jaguars (ankle); Dion Sims, TE, Miami Dolphins (head); DJ Fluker, G, San Diego Chargers (ankle); Rafael Bush, S, New Orleans Saints (pectoral)