That crunch you heard at around 4 p.m. ET on Sunday could have been the Jets' season. Fortunately, it looks like Laveranues Coles is okay.
New York fought Indy valiantly on Sunday, but the defense's lack of one or two more stoppers did the team in, and made the offense call a play forever informally known as "Trample-The-Stanford-Tuba" in the game's final seconds. Chad Pennington dumped the ball over the middle to rookie RB Leon Washington, who lateraled to Brad Smith, and the shenanigans were on. For a few moments (and seven more laterals), it looked as though the Jets might accomplish an impossible score, which would've echoed Cal-Berkeley's insane win over Stanford more than two decades ago, in which the Stanford band, thinking the game was over, marched onto the field, and got run into by the victorious Golden Bears.
Watching a school-yard play like that one brings a smile to the viewer's face, but watching Coles limp off the field holding his shoulder after being smooshed by a defensive behemoth was no fun at all. Coles touched the ball twice in the game-ending melee, but needed help getting up after the play was over, and was clearly in pain in the locker room. Funny to funereal in six seconds.
As of this writing, not much more is known about Coles' shoulder, though the player himself said that he'd be "fine," and that the reason he needed to be helped off the field had more to do with being exhausted. Here's hoping Coles is truth-telling; if he's not, the weekend's funniest play just became deadly serious for a whole lot of fantasy players. Anyway, let's check out Week 4's other key injuries:
Kurt Warner, Ari – It was a very healthy day for signal-callers, so we'll begin by exploring Warner's bruised psyche. Warner was pulled from the Cardinals' game against the Falcons after going 11-for-20 for 128 yards, three sacks, an interception and an extremely strange fumble, in which Warner scrambled away from the pocket in slow-motion, eyes locked downfield, while the entire Falcons defensive line caught up to him and stripped him of the ball. After the game, Dennis Green announced Matt Leinart would start next week against Kansas City.
Chris Simms, TB – Simms went home from the hospital, a week after surgery to remove his spleen. He reportedly wants to play again this year, but I'm not holding my breath.
Cedric Houston, NYJ – Houston's left knee was crumpled by a hit from Dwight Freeney, and he had to be carted off the field. It didn't look good, though presumably we'll know more on Monday. The injury almost certainly clears the way for Leon Washington to become Kevan Barlow's full-time backup, and perhaps more, if the way Washington has played over the past two games is any indication. Derrick Blaylock will probably dress as the third-stringer.
Reuben Droughns, CLE – Droughns posted a fine game in Oakland – 25 carries for 100 yards, though he lost a fumble that the Raiders converted into a TD – but according to the Cleveland Plan Dealer, he was in obvious pain after the game, as his shoulder appears to still be bothering him. Remember, Droughns missed the Browns' game against Baltimore in Week 3 because of the same shoulder.
Michael Bennett, KC – The Chiefs are saying that Bennett was inactive for their game Sunday because of a sore hamstring, though he wasn't listed on the team's mid-week injury report. Bennett was supposed to be the team's backup to Larry Johnson, but apparently that mantel will now fall to Dee Brown.
Shaun Alexander, Sea – Alexander didn't play Sunday night against the Bears, and will try to heal his cracked ankle during Seattle's Week 5 bye, but is likely to be highly questionable for Week 6 at St. Louis.
Steve Smith, Car – New Orleans linebacker Scott Fujita was either pushed or intentionally rolled into Smith's legs as a play ran in completely opposite direction, and Smith had to momentarily leave the game. He returned, but several players were quoted in the Charlotte Observer as saying they didn't think Smith was playing at 100 percent. Still, he caught 10 passes for 87 yards and a score.
Chris Henry, Cin – The supremely talented but incredibly troubled wideout was held out of the Bengals' game against New England because of his participation in the Odell Thurman DUI incident last week – Specifically, Henry was reportedly seen vomiting out the window of the car Thurman was illegally operating. No word yet on what's next for the beleaguered Henry.
Matt Jones, Jac – On a day when Reggie Williams pretty clearly took over as the Jaguars' WR1, Jones was standing on the sidelines for most of the fourth quarter, presumably because of his lingering groin injury. It remains to be seen if he'll play next week against the Jets.
Devery Henderson, NO – Henderson was a surprise inactive for the Saints this weekend, six days after he scored a big Monday night TD against Atlanta. His shoulder is hurt.
Samie Parker, KC – The Chiefs' putative WR2 bruised his ankle and came out of the game for a while, but returned. Considering Dante Hall had a huge fantasy game, Parker's owners have to be about at their rope's end.
Desmond Clark, Chi – Clark didn't play many second-half snaps for the Bears, but reportedly came out of the Sunday night game healthy. His bad ankle held up to the tune of three catches for 39 yards, but he probably didn't play as much as usual because the game was no longer in question.
Ben Utecht, Ind – The reserve tight end continues to be targeted in Peyton Manning's offense, but also continues having a hard time staying on the field. He was crunched by Jets' CB Andre Dyson with a vicious helmet-on-back hit, and didn't return.
Chris Villarial, Buf – Villarial suffered a high-ankle sprain in the second quarter of the Bills' win over Minnesota. He didn't return, and was replaced by Duke Preston. According to the Buffalo News, Villarial is likely to miss multiple games.
Andre Gurode, Dal – Gurode required upwards of 30 stitches to close a gash caused by Albert Haynesworth's cleat. Gurode's helmet came off on a rushing play, and as he was prostrate on the ground, Haynesworth stomped and kicked Gurode's head. One assumes (and hopes) Haynesworth will be suspended.
Edwin Mulitalo, Bal – Mulitalo told the Baltimore Sun after the game that he believed he tore a muscle near his right elbow. He thinks he'll be out for an extended period.
Ephraim Salaam, Hou – Salaam, who's starting because rookie Charles Spencer is out for the year, strained his groin against Miami on Sunday and didn't return. After the game, he said he thought he'd be able to play next week.
Frank Davis, Det, – The special teams player suffered a scary-looking injury during the second-half kickoff, during which he was down for 15 minutes while medical staff attended to him. Fortunately, according to the Detroit Free Press, the injury is now considered to be a stinger, and Davis should be okay.
Mike Wahle, Car – Wahle had to leave the Panthers' game in the second quarter because of a bad flu; according to Jordan Gross, "He gutted it out a couple of series and did a nice job, but it just got to the point where he was dizzy standing up."
Kynan Forney, Atl – The starting right guard left Sunday's game with a dislocated shoulder and didn't return.
Wayne Gandy, Atl – Gandy also hurt his shoulder, but not as severely. He returned.
Mike Brisiel, Hou – Very scary moment in Houston when Brisiel, a practice-squad guard, suddenly collapsed on the sidelines. According to the Associated Press: "Team officials said Brisiel was ill, but his condition was not serious. He was not playing in the game. After about five minutes of being treated, Brisiel got onto a stretcher under his own power and was taken to the locker room." Phew.
Marcus Stroud, Jac – Stroud stayed in for all but a few plays on Sunday, but was obviously limited by his severely sprained ankle. According to the Florida Times-Union, however, Stroud plans to keep playing.
Jason Taylor, Mia – Taylor injured his ribs in Sunday's game in Houston, but returned.
Kenechi Udeze, Min – Udeze was reportedly "escorted" to the X-ray room after the game, and was seen limping, but wouldn't comment on his injury.
Leigh Bodden, Cle – Bodden, pretty much the last man standing among Cleveland cornerbacks, badly sprained his ankle in the first quarter of Sunday's game in Oakland, and had to be carted off the field. According to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, X-rays were negative, but Bodden's status for next week against the Panthers is very much in question.
Darren Sharper, Min – Sharper bruised his left quadriceps and couldn't return, but told the St. Paul Pioneer Press he would be fine to play next week.
Michael Boulware, Sea – Boulware suffered a concussion in the second quarter of Seattle's Sunday night contest, when he tackled John Gilmore with his helmet. It saved a touchdown, but Boulware didn't return.
Curtis Deloatch, NO – Third-string CB Deloatch hurt a hamstring covering a first-quarter punt and didn't return.