Any NFL player and fan knows that injuries are all part of the game, but it seems like this season has already had its share of devastating injuries. Even before the season started many key players fell victim to injuries that ended up cutting their seasons short. The list of players inflicted is quite extensive and full of many noteworthy names.
Some key players like A.J. Green, Dez Bryant, Roddy White, Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, Keenan Allen, Arian Foster and Vernon Davis have all been banged up but should be able to play or miss at the most one game. Arizona Cardinals quarterback, Carson Palmer, is essentially day-to-day with a shoulder injury, while Tony Romo of the Cowboys continues to play with a back that could use some extended rest.
On the other hand, most players on this list will be out for more than one game. Many of these players have suffered season ending injuries, with one particular injury bad enough to threaten the player's career. It isn't easy replacing any of these NFL stars and the impact of most of these injuries is sure to effect each of the player's teams.
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15 B.J. Raji (DT) - Green Bay Packers
B.J. Raji was looking to have a comeback season with the Packers, but he tore a tendon in his right bicep during a preseason game and will be out 6-9 months, or essentially the entire season. The versatility of Raji and his ability to free up linebackers to make plays are both reasons why he will be missed on the Packers defense in 2014. Raji showed glimpses of his potential in 2010 (2nd year in league) when he recorded 6.5 sacks, 39 tackles and 3 passes defensed. He returned an interception for a touchdown in the Packers NFC Title game against Chicago and was recognized with a Pro Bowl selection in 2011.
14 Aaron Ross (CB) - Baltimore Ravens
Looking to upgrade their defense in 2014, the Baltimore Ravens went out and signed veteran cornerback Aaron Ross. Ross won two Super Bowls as a member of the New York Giants, having a big season in 2011 while finishing with 60 tackles, 12 passes defensed and 4 interceptions. He was expected to fill the void in the Ravens defense that was created when Cary Williams signed with the Philadelphia Eagles following the Ravens Super Bowl victory in 2012. The Ravens were looking for the savvy veteran to complement Jimmy Smith at the other cornerback position in the Ravens secondary. Sadly, on July 24th, Ross tore his achilles tendon, ending his season.
13 Glenn Dorsey (DT) - San Francisco 49ers
Glenn Dorsey was starting to become a major force on the 49ers defensive line in 2013. It was starting to look like the 5th player selected in the 2008 NFL draft was going to live up to some of his potential after joining the 49ers from the Kansas City Chiefs. With Navorro Bowman out and Aldon Smith's future in doubt, the loss of Dorsey makes both of their losses that much worse. Dorsey had a solid season last year, with 41 tackles and 2 sacks in 13 starts, and was eager to improve upon those numbers this year. Instead, Dorsey will likely be out for the entire season to repair a biceps tear, though there is hope that he might be able to return before the end of the year.
12 Vick Ballard (RB) - Indianapolis Colts
With Trent Richardson struggling to make an impact in Indianapolis, Vick Ballard was expected to be a major factor in the Colts running game. Instead, Ballard tore his Achilles tendon before the season even started. The Colts already lost Donald Brown to the San Diego Chargers and are in the precarious position of needing Trent Richardson to step up to provide some relief for Andrew Luck. Ballard was recovering from a knee injury he suffered in 2013 and was poised to better the 814 yards of rushing he had while starting in only 11 games as a rookie in 2012. The potential for a big season now belongs to Richardson, or the impressive, but oft-injured Ahmad Bradshaw, as Ballard is sidelined once again.
11 Knowshon Moreno (RB) - Miami Dolphins
Following a week 1 victory against the New England Patriots where he gained an NFL best 134 yards on the ground, Knowshon Moreno suffered a dislocated elbow in a loss the next game to the Buffalo Bills. The injury should sideline him for multiple games, putting a damper on the Dolphins fast start with their convincing victory against the Patriots. The running back out of Georgia had a breakout 1,038 yard, 10 touchdown season last year for the Denver Broncos. In one game, Moreno provided a glimpse of what his presence could mean for a Miami team in dire need of a consistent ground game.
10 Charles Tillman (CB) - Chicago Bears
The Chicago Bears entered the 2014 season in desperate need of better play on the defensive side of the ball. The loss of veteran cornerback, Charles Tillman, will not help their cause. Tillman suffered a season ending triceps injury during the Bears victory over the San Francisco 49ers. The two-time Pro Bowl corner was one of the more consistent players on the Bears defense with 856 tackles, 36 interceptions and 42 forced fumbles throughout his NFL career. The Bears, who suffered an injury to free safety Chris Conte as well, are in no position to endure additional losses on defense. Tillman's talent and veteran leadership will be missed.
9 Jon Beason (LB) - NY Giants
Jon Beason broke his foot during OTAs and looks like he aggravated the injury during the Giants loss to the Detroit Lions. The defensive signal caller missed the game versus the Texans this Sunday, but there is a fear that he could end up being sidelined for more than just one week. Beason was looking to return to the form that saw him make over 120 tackles a year during the first four years of his career as a member of the Carolina Panthers where he was a Pro Bowl selection in 2008, 2009 and 2010. In 2013, Beason recorded 93 tackles and appeared to be returning to form. If he does return, he might face the prospect of having to play in pain for the remainder of the season.
8 Robert Griffin III (QB) - Washington Redskins
Another injury to Robert Griffin has Redskins fans thankful that the franchise didn't trade away Kirk Cousins during the off-season. Griffin dislocated his ankle during the Redskins 41-10 win over Jacksonville, suffering ligament damage that will likely sideline him for 6-8 weeks. Griffin had a solid start, with a quarterback rating of 98.4 for the season before he went down with the ankle injury. The injury is certainly significant for RG3 and the Redskins, however, the capability of Cousins to come in and run the Redskins offense will soften the blow. Griffin can return to form, but might return to a quarterback controversy if Cousins has his way.
7 Nick Hardwick (C) - San Diego Chargers
Nick Hardwick has been more than just a steady contributor on the young San Diego Charger's offensive line. The savvy veteran has been responsible for calling out responsibilities and ensuring Phllip Rivers gets the best protection possible to enable him to have the time to look downfield. With his lack of mobility, Rivers relies heavily on Hardwick's calls for blitz pick ups and other reads made by the veteran center. Hardwick, who was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2006, hadn't missed a game in four consecutive seasons. He will now miss all of 2014 and possibly face the prospect of retirement with a significant neck injury.
6 Kiko Alonso (LB) - Buffalo Bills
Kiko Alonso's 2014 season was over before it even officially began. Suffering a torn ACL during an off-season workout in Oregon, Alonzo had surgery that will sideline him for 7-9 months, effectively ending his season. The Bills are young and still have an imposing defensive line and solid defense, but Alonso's consistent ability to make plays will be sorely missed. In his rookie season, Alonso had 159 tackles, 4 interceptions and 2 sacks. Despite his lack of elite speed at the linebacker position, he has proven to have the knack of being able to diagnose plays, fill gaps and make big plays.
5 Chris Long (DE) - St. Louis Rams
It seems like St. Louis can't catch a break after they first lost Sam Bradford for the whole season and then lost Chris Long for about 8-10 weeks following surgery on his ankle. Long suffered the injury in the Rams season opening 34-6 loss at home to the Minnesota Vikings. He was really starting to become one of the league's most consistent defensive ends with 33 sacks and 110 tackles in his last three seasons with the Rams. His motor and ability to set the edge on running plays will be sorely missed, especially in a season where the Rams looked ready to take a step up in the rugged NFC West.
4 Mark Ingram (RB) - New Orleans Saints
Mark Ingram was looking to establish himself as the Saints primary running back in 2014. He started the season with 24 carries for 143 yards and 3 touchdowns, before injuring his hand in the Saints second game of the season against the Cleveland Browns. Although the Saints use a running back by committee approach, Ingram's 6.0 yards per carry and 3 rushing touchdowns in less than two games will be hard to replace. Look for Ingram to be out of action for at least a month, adding a little more pressure to Drew Brees to go along with the Saints 1-2 start.
3 Ryan Mathews (RB) - San Diego Chargers
The Chargers will miss Ryan Mathews and his hard charging running style. Mathews gained 1,255 yards on 285 carries last season, while managing to play in all 16 regular season games and even two playoff contests as well. The back who has had only one full season of play in a four-year NFL career, was really looking forward to proving his durability yet again this year. Instead, he sprained the MCL in his knee during the Chargers second game of the season against Seattle. Mathews will probably be out for only four games, but his ability to gain yards after contact might be sorely missed.
2 Sam Bradford (QB) - St. Louis Rams
Sam Bradford was ready to prove his skeptics wrong and lead the improving St. Louis Rams into the playoffs in 2014. The problem is that his left knee wasn't willing. Coming off an ACL tear from last season, Bradford went out and tore the same ACL in a meaningless preseason game against the Browns. Given the Rams backups, Shaun Hill, Austin Davis and Case Keenum who was claimed off waivers, the replacement options are mediocre at best. Despite his skeptics, Bradford passed for 3,702 yards and 21 touchdowns in 2012 and was playing even better in 2013 before suffering his first knee injury. His injury is a huge blow to the Rams and will certainly effect the fortunes of his team.
1 Sean Lee (LB) - Dallas Cowboys
Sean Lee has had a difficult time staying on the playing field for the Dallas Cowboys. Since becoming a starter in 2011, Lee has missed 16 games in three seasons and will be adding to that total in 2014. Lee tore his ACL in OTAs prior to the start of the season and will be out for the whole year. The signal caller of the Cowboys defense had 99 tackles, 6 passes defensed and 4 interceptions while playing in only 11 games last year. His leadership and ability to defend in the passing game as well as against the run will be sorely missed. Lee's loss is a big blow to the young Cowboys defense that needs to improve for the Cowboys to be a threat to win the NFC East.
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