In case you haven’t heard, injuries are part of the game in the NFL.
Week 3 didn’t feature the laundry list of big-name players who went down in Week 2, but, as likely will be the case every week, a number of stars suffered notable injuries Sunday.
Virtually none of the league’s 32 teams make it through the season unscathed, and several already are feeling the pain as their depth charts start to thin.
Here’s a roundup of the biggest injuries from an eventful Week 3.
Danny Woodhead, RB, San Diego Chargers: One week after losing starting running back Ryan Mathews, Chargers head coach Mike McCoy told reporters Monday that Woodhead will miss the rest of the season with a broken fibula.
The Chargers now are left with Donald Brown and undrafted rookie Branden Oliver at running back. They were able to beat the Buffalo Bills anyways to improve to 2-1, but they’ll need to either pick up another running back or place their trust in Brown and Oliver until Mathews gets back, which could be up to five weeks from now.
Jonathan Stewart and Mike Tolbert, RBs, Carolina Panthers: Sunday night was a disaster for Carolina, as its top two healthy running backs left with injuries in a blowout loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer reported that Tolbert has a hairline fracture in his left leg and could miss more than a month, while Stewart has a severely sprained knee and could be out for up to a month.
This backfield just can’t stay healthy, as DeAngelo Williams has missed two games with a hamstring injury. If Williams is able to return in Week 4, he’ll likely shoulder a massive load.
Matt Cassel, QB, Minnesota Vikings: Head coach Mike Zimmer told reporters after Sunday’s loss to the New Orleans Saints that Cassel broke several bones in his foot, meaning he’ll be out for the considerable future.
That also means it’s time for Teddy Bridgewater, as the rookie will have a chance to prove himself. With Adrian Peterson likely gone for the season during his off-field saga, the bar will be set pretty low in Minnesota.
Dennis Pitta, TE, Baltimore Ravens: Pitta suffered a hip injury against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday and underwent season-ending hip surgery Monday, Ravens coach John Harbaugh told reporters.
It’s the same hip injury that limited Pitta to just four games last season, so quarterback Joe Flacco now must rely on backup tight end Owen Daniels, who caught only one pass for 8 yards in Baltimore’s win over Cleveland.
Stephen Tulloch, LB, Detroit Lions: File this as the most bizarre injury of the season so far. Tulloch injured himself while celebrating a sack in the Lions’ win over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday and will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL.
Tulloch had appeared in 131 consecutive games before the injury, so this one hurts the Lions. More importantly, it’s a reminder of just how cruel and unpredictable life in the NFL can be.
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