NFL players have been dropping like flies ever since the lockout was lifted in late July, leading to a late start of the season for the league. Each week, players have been suffering season-ending injuries and teams are lucky to have fewer than five players on their weekly injury report.
Two more high-profile names suffered season-ending injuries on Sunday — Kansas City running back Jamaal Charles and Green Bay safety Nick Collins.
Charles tore his anterior cruciate ligament when he took an awkward lunge out of bounds and collided with the Detroit mascot. An MRI on Monday confirmed the injury, and Charles was placed on injured-reserve.
This news comes just one week after Chiefs safety Eric Berry tore his ACL and was placed on injured-reserved. To make matters worse, the Chiefs are 0-2 and have been outscored 89-10 in those games.
If the Packers want to repeat as Super Bowl champions, they will have to do it without a key player in Collins. During Sunday's game against Carolina, Collins injured his neck while trying to make a tackle and was taken off the field in a stretcher.
Collins and Charles are just the latest two to suffer season-ending injuries this season. San Dego kicker Nate Kaeding tore his ACL during the opening kickoff of Week 1. His teammate, defensive end Luis Castillo, broke his fibula in the same game. Detroit running back Mikel Leshoure tore his ACL just days into training camp.
These are just a few of the more prominent season-ending injuries, and dozens more players are dealing with injuries on a weekly basis, such as Houston running back Arian Foster, New Orleans wide receiver Marques Colston, St. Louis running back Steven Jackson and Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning to name a few.
Not only have all of these injuries made things extremely challenging for fantasy football owners, but they have come on the heels of an offseason in which NFL officials spent much of the offseason concentrating on improving player safety.
However, the biggest culprit of the rise in injuries is not rooted in a more dangerous game but with the lockout. Players were kept out of training facilities and forced to find their own means of conducting offseason workouts. The lack of mini-camps in the spring and accelerated training camps have no doubt contributed as well, as teams were forced to prepare for the season with a much shorter amount of time.
Injuries are nothing new to the NFL and have always played a big role in determining which teams succeed, but at the rate things are going, many teams will be without their top players late into the season. This is something the NFL doesn't want to have, especially after the season was in jeopardy.