The NFL season has finally begun and the first Sunday of the season came and went. As always there were some fantastic, nail-biting games, such as the Chargers-Colts game, which kept fans excited. There were also some blowouts, such as Baltimore’s absolute stomping of the Miami Dolphins. And on the unfortunate side of things, as is typical for the NFL, every game had its share of injuries. Some players suffered minor nicks and bruises and were able to return to the field. However, other players suffered more serious injuries and will be out for a while. Here are some key Week 1 injuries to major players during Sunday’s afternoon and evening games:
Nick Foles (Jacksonville Jaguars QB)
The first major injury of the day was to Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Nick Foles. After he hurt his shoulder in the first quarter, the coaching staff quickly declared him out for the game. He suffered the injury when he was hit by a Chiefs defensive lineman, while throwing his first touchdown pass of the season. The Jaguars, who signed Foles to a huge $88 million contract this offseason, were hoping he could lead the team back to the playoffs and make a deep run. However, they will have to depend on backup quarterback Gardner Minshew, a rookie out of Washington State, for at least a few weeks.
Foles’ injury is a broken collarbone, which usually takes between four and eight weeks to heal. If the Jaguars still want to have a chance of making the playoffs, they will have to depend on Minshew. The Chiefs dominated them yesterday. However, the Chiefs are also one of the best teams, if not the best team, in football. Minshew had a fairly impressive NFL debut, completing 22 of his 25 passes for 275 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. If he can continue to play like that, the Jaguars should be able to stay afloat in the playoff race while Foles recovers.
Tyreek Hill (Kansas City Chiefs WR)
Nick Foles was not the only player to suffer a major injury in the Jaguars-Chiefs game. Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill also left the game and did not return. In fact, Hill also suffered an injury to his shoulder and clavicle. However, Tyreek Hill hurt not just his clavicle, but the part of his bone where the clavicle joins with the sternum of the back. This was so serious that he had to leave the stadium and be taken to the hospital. Hill will most likely not require surgery, but will be out for at least a few weeks.
Losing Tyreek Hill, one of the 10 best receivers in football, is certainly a blow to the Chiefs offense. However, as Kansas City showed on Sunday, they have more than enough firepower to overcome this loss. They have so many talented players on offense starting with last year’s MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Other notable players include Travis Kelce, LeSean McCoy, Damien Williams and Sammy Watkins. In fact, Watkins had an incredible game against Jacksonville, with nine catches for 198 yards and three touchdowns. The Chiefs will be just fine.
Malik Jackson (Philadelphia Eagles DT)
The defensive tackle suffered a lower leg injury during the fourth quarter of Philadelphia’s win over the Washington Redskins. The team does not currently know the severity of the injury. Jackson is in a walking boot, so he could be out for some games, but the boot could also just be precautionary. If Jackson, a key run stuffer and pass rusher in the interior of the defense, is out, the Eagles will be left with only three defensive tackles on the active roster. They would probably call up Bruce Hector off the practice squad. However, the Eagles defensive line should be fine because they still have two other fantastic d-tackles in Fletcher Cox and Timmy Jernigan.
Joe Mixon (Cincinnati Bengals RB)
Mixon left early during the third quarter of his team’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks due to an ankle sprain. It was serious enough that he did not return for the remainder of the game. However, the Bengals are optimistic about the severity of the injury and believe he will be back on the field sooner rather than later. Mixon is a key player in Cincinnati’s offense, which will lose a lot of its explosiveness as long as he and receiver AJ Green are out.
Mixon had not been having a great game when he left, with just six carries for 10 yards and two receptions for seven yards. His backup, Giovani Bernard had a little bit more success but was not a huge factor either. Bernard, who finished the game with 21 rushing yards on seven carries and 42 receiving yards, has been a Bengal since 2013. He is a reliable running back, but Cincinnati needs Mixon back to potentially take this offense to another level.
Jimmy Smith (Baltimore Ravens CB)
Smith is a very good cornerback when healthy, but he has had trouble staying healthy in recent years. He has missed at least four games in four of the past five years and hit injured reserve in three of them. This time, Jimmy Smith hurt his knee and will undergo an MRI on Monday. The Ravens are confident that the injury will not be season-ending, but are not sure how long it will take for the cornerback to recover. Smith is an important piece of a revamped Ravens defense, which lost some key players like All-Pro linebacker CJ Mosley but added others like All-Pro safety Earl Thomas.
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