The final regular season Sunday mostly steered clear of career-altering injuries, thankfully. We also didn’t see too many injuries that will overly impact the playoff matchups. Let’s check out what we know so far on the injury front.
Eli Manning has been diagnosed with a high ankle sprain. Thankfully this comes when he will have plenty of time to rest, but at 33 and after back-to-back poor years, his successor needs to be walking out of the sunrise pretty soon. Manning’s decline over the last two seasons is real and worrisome. This was by far the worst season of his career with 18 touchdown passes and 27 interceptions, a career low and high.
Eddie Lacy's ankle was clearly still an issue as he limped off the field multiple times in the Packers win over Chicago. He didn’t seem to aggravate the injury badly though and that is good news since the Packers take on the 49ers next week and they will need his bruising presence. Lacy is in the lead for offensive rookie of the year with 1,178 rushing yards, 11 touchdowns and 4.1 yards per carry.
Hakeem Nicks left Sunday's game against Washington with an ankle injury. This was most likely Nicks’ last game as a member of the Giants. He is in the final year of his rookie contract and is expected to walk in free agency. Nicks finishes the season with 56 catches for 896 yards and zero touchdowns. Injuries seem to have slowed him down and his early playmaking ability looks gone at the moment. We will see if he can turn things around with another team.
Justin Hunter left the game against the Texans with a shoulder injury. Hunter had two breakout games and showed plenty of playmaking ability in this his rookie season. His role will increase next year and he and Kendall Wright should make for a good 1-2 punch in Tennessee.
Rueben Randle was forced from the game against Washington due to his knee injury which he had coming into the game. It was strange that he was in the game at all. The weather was bad, he never looked 100% and this game was completely meaningless, especially for Randle who is locked into a big role for next season already.
Seahawks' tight end Luke Willson was carted off the field with a high left ankle sprain in the game against St. Louis. He is currently Zach Miller’s backup, but has potential to be more long term. We will hopefully know more about his status for the playoffs soon.
Aaron Dobson was forced from New England's game against the Bills with an aggravation of his foot injury in the first quarter. It's troubling news for Dobson's playoff status after he missed Weeks 13-15 with the same injury. Kenbrell Thompkins was able to play this week and would be the starter if Dobson can’t get healthy with the extra time the bye affords him.
Brian Hartline suffered a left knee injury against the Jets on Sunday. Miami lost and didn’t make the playoffs so he should have plenty of time to recover depending on the severity of course. He went over 1,000 yards receiving for the second straight season before exiting and all in all had a productive season.
Coach Jim Schwartz confirmed Calvin Johnson will need minor knee surgery this offseason. Johnson ended up missing two games this season and being limited by persistent soreness in a few others. He still finished with 84 catches, 1,492 yards and 12 touchdowns. Johnson's surgery will likely be some kind of scope that cleans out his knee and gives him more comfort. It's not a major concern for his dynasty value.
Bills free safety Jairus Byrd was forced from the game against the Patriots with a right ankle injury. Byrd’s ability is unquestioned, but he was injured the first five games of the season and never was completely healthy. There’s a good chance this was his last season in Buffalo.
Colts’ cornerback Vontae Davis left Sunday’s game with a first-quarter groin injury. Davis has battled groin ailments off and on throughout this season. The Colts need Davis to get healthy for the playoffs. He is their top cover corner.
Other Injury Notes:
The Cardinals fear an ACL tear for nose tackle Alameda Ta'amu. . . . Bears’ right tackle Jordan Mills was forced from the game against the Packers with a foot injury. . . . Giants left tackle Will Beatty left the Washington game with a fractured leg. . . . Browns cornerback Buster Skrine left the Steelers game with a shoulder injury.