Biggest NFL injuries of the 2016 preseason

As per usual, most teams rested the majority of their starters Thursday night. The New England Patriots, who wanted to get work for soon-to-be-suspended quarterback Tom Brady, were notable exceptions. Brady played until halftime of the Patriots’ 17-9 loss to the New York Giants.

Regardless, let’s wrap up our summer-long series with a rundown of the 10 most impactful injuries of the summer.

 

1. QB Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys

Injury: L1 compression fracture in back

Date: Aug. 25

Impact: The Cowboys once again will play without Romo for an extended period, and they can only hope it goes better than it did in 2015. They were 1-11 in games Romo missed last season, but the sharp preseason of rookie backup Dak Prescott has inspired some optimism. Romo’s injury history makes it difficult to count on him as the starter in 2017.

 

2. QB Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings

Injury: Torn left ACL plus other structural damage

Date: Aug. 30

Impact: Bridgewater will miss at least the 2016 season, leaving a team with Super Bowl hopes in the hands of 36-year-old journeyman backup Shaun Hill. In 14 previous seasons, Hill has never started more than 10 games. And a promising developmental quarterback, Taylor Heinicke, is out until midseason because of foot surgery. The Vikings are incredibly thin at the game’s most important position.

 

3. CB Vontae Davis, Indianapolis Colts

Injury: Right medial ankle sprain

Date: Aug. 20

Impact: Davis, a Pro Bowl player for the past two seasons, is considered week-to-week and has been seen with a cast on his right foot. The Colts are worried enough about his status that they signed veteran Antonio Cromartie off the street to give them emergency depth. But at the start of camp, Colts coach Chuck Pagano said the team needed Davis at his best or their defense would suffer. It’s going to suffer, at least early in the season.

 

4. C Hroniss Grasu, Chicago Bears

Injury: Torn right ACL

Date: Aug. 6

Impact: Grasu will miss the season, leaving the Bears without a promising part of what they hoped would be a revived offensive line. Two potential replacements departed in the offseason; Manny Ramirez retired and Matt Slauson signed with the San Diego Chargers.

 

5. C Nick Martin, Houston Texans

Injury: High ankle sprain

Date: Aug. 18

Impact: A second-round draft pick, Martin was in line to replace veteran center Ben Jones, who signed with the Tennessee Titans during the offseason. Now the Texans are hoping that Greg Mancz, who made the roster in 2015 as an undrafted rookie, can hold down the position.

 

6. G Jack Mewhort, Colts

Injury: Left knee

Date: Aug. 20

Impact: Mewhort escaped the worst-case scenario but is going to miss at least a few weeks of the regular season, a big blow for a team that made protecting quarterback Andrew Luck its biggest offseason priority.

 

7. RB Branden Oliver, Chargers

Injury: Torn right Achilles tendon

Date: Aug. 28

Impact: The injury cost the Chargers their top kickoff returner, as well as a runner who was supposed to be part of a three-man rotation in the backfield. The latter job will now be left to Melvin Gordon and Danny Woodhead.

 

8. LB Reggie Ragland, Buffalo Bills

Injury: Torn left ACL

Date: Aug. 5

Impact: A second-round draft pick, Ragland was on target for a prominent if not starting role on a defense that needs to make major improvement this season. Instead, Ragland joins fellow rookie Shaq Lawson (shoulder) on the sideline when the season begins.

 

9. TE Benjamin Watson,Baltimore Ravens

Injury: Torn right Achilles tendon

Date: Aug. 27

Impact: The Ravens were counting on Watson to be a major contributor, especially early in the season, with fellow tight ends Dennis Pitta (finger) and Maxx Williams (undisclosed) both sidelined for much of the preseason. Now they’ll have to look elsewhere.

 

10. QB Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles

Injury: Two fractured ribs

Date: Aug. 11

Impact: Wentz has returned to practice, but he still lost out on valuable developmental time. He also reduced his chances for getting on the field as a rookie. The Eagles’ plan was to start Sam Bradford early, with Chase Daniel backing up, but the presence of a healthy Wentz would have made things more interesting. A rookie quarterback who misses most of training camp and the majority of the preseason faces a stiff learning curve.

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