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Injuries Mount as Week 3 Approaches

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As the NFL season kicks into full gear, with Week 3 set to begin on Thursday night in New England, big injuries are starting to mount across the league landscape.

The biggest one from Week 2, the knee injury to Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, got significantly worse for Minnesota on Wednesday when it was announced that Peterson decided to undergo surgery to repair the torn meniscus in his knee. The surgery was conducted on Thursday morning and the Vikings called it a “successful” procedure.

“Adrian Peterson had a successful lateral meniscus repair this morning,” the team said in a statement. “The surgery was performed by team physician Chris Larson at Twin Cities Orthopedics. There were no additional injuries or issues noted in or surrounding the knee joint during the surgical procedure. The rehabilitation process will begin immediately.”

Peterson suffered the injury in the team’s victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night, but initial reports had AD thinking he might be able to play through the injury with the Vikings refusing to rule him out early in the week. But reality set it on Wednesday, and Peterson elected to get the surgery done to begin the healing process.

The meniscus injury is not as severe as a full ACL tear, so it shouldn’t sideline the All-Pro running back for the entire season, but Peterson is still expected to miss several months. Minnesota is holding out hope he can return late in the season for a playoff run. In the meantime, they’ll turn to a trio of backs to fill the void. That group will be led by Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata, who filled in admirably for Peterson during his 2014 suspension. The other member of that backfield will be Ronnie Hillman, formerly of the Denver Broncos. How the Vikings split the workload between those three remains to be seen, but they know they’ll need all hands on deck to replace the production of their star running back.

“Obviously, it’s hard to replace a running back like Adrian Peterson,” Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford said. “When Adrian is in the game, everyone is loading the box, trying to stop the run, which gives us a lot of one-on-one matchups on the outside. It also makes our play action pretty effective. When they see him coming downhill, everyone is stepping up to stop the run. There are some things we took advantage of with him in the game. We’ll have to see how defenses will play us from here on out.”

The loss of Peterson makes Bradford, acquired in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles eight days before the season began, the focal point of the Minnesota offense. The veteran signal caller shined in Sunday night’s impressive victory over the Green Bay Packers, but he’ll have an uphill battle to prove that wasn’t just a flash in the pan, especially now that Peterson is sidelined indefinitely.

For the Vikings, the timing of the injury bug striking their offense couldn’t be worse. Peterson’s injury comes in addition to season-ending injuries already suffered by starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, which led to the trade for Bradford, and starting left tackle Matt Kalil, who had been dealing with a hip injury the first two weeks of the season, that became too debilitating to play through. Surgery on the hip will end Kalil’s season and a streak of 66 consecutive games played that dates back four seasons.

Minnesota still has an elite defense and some pieces on offense, but with Kalil done for the season and Peterson not coming back anytime soon, it’s hard to see them keeping up their hot start to make a playoff run. Their sustainability will be tested on Sunday when they face the NFC Champion Carolina Panthers.

COREY COLEMAN BREAKS HAND IN PRACTICE

After a breakout game on Sunday for the Cleveland Browns, rookie wide receiver Corey Coleman caught a bad break on Wednesday in practice.

Coleman suffered a broken hand during the team’s first day of preparation for their upcoming game against the Miami Dolphins. The injury reportedly occurred during a practice play where Coleman hauled in a pass and went to the ground, at which point a teammate landed on his hand. The broken hand will not require surgery, but the rookie will be sidelined for 4-6 weeks while it heals.

“An X-ray late this afternoon on Corey Coleman’s hand revealed a fracture,” the Browns said in a press release on Wednesday night. “He was a full participant in today’s practice. The injury is being further evaluated in order to determine when he will return to play.”

The No. 15 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft was coming off a phenomenal performance in the team’s Week 2 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. In just his second career NFL game, Coleman hauled in five passes for 104 yards and two touchdowns to help stake the Browns to an early lead that they eventually let slip away.

“Two touchdowns, five catches, over 100 yards. Keep doing that for me baby, and we are right on,” coach Hue Jackson said of Coleman after the game.

But the injury on Wednesday assured that Coleman will not be able to keep doing that for the foreseeable future. It’s another significant setback for a Browns team that just seems to be going through more of the same year after year, regardless of who is running the show.

After coming into the season with some promise, Cleveland has since lost starting quarterback Robert Griffin III, reserve quarterback Josh McCown and now Coleman to injury. Rookie Cody Kessler is expected to make his first career start at quarterback on Sunday against the Dolphins, and he’ll be at an even bigger disadvantage without Coleman out there. Rookie project Terrelle Pryor is now the team’s No. 1 wide receiver, at least until Josh Gordon’s expected return from suspension in Week 5. Additional injuries have shaken up the starting offensive line that will play in front of Kessler, which will make for an interesting trial by fire for the third round draft pick out of USC.

For the Browns, with injuries mounting and morale wavering after the team blew a 20-2 lead over the Ravens on Sunday, the season once again feels over before it began. We’d say it seems like they can’t catch a break, but it seems like that’s all they’re getting, the breaks are just bad ones.

BRISSETT SET TO START THURSDAY NIGHT

Cleveland’s Cody Kessler isn’t the only rookie quarterback set to make his first NFL start in Week 3.

With Jimmy Garoppolo dealing with a shoulder injury and Tom Brady still sidelined two more weeks due to a suspension, the New England Patriots are turning to their own 2016 third round pick, Jacoby Brissett, to take the reins as they battle the Houston Texans on Thursday Night Football. The North Carolina State product will become the third quarterback selected in the 2016 draft to start already this season, with Kessler set to be the fourth on Sunday.

Brissett made his NFL debut in relief of the injured Garoppolo last week and played well enough, completing two-third of his passes (6-of-9) for 94 yards, while helping the Patriots hold off the Dolphins, who rallied to make a 31-3 game into at 31-24 final.

But Thursday night will be a different animal for Brissett, as he won’t be spotted a big lead by Garoppolo that he can simply manage and carry to the finish. He’ll instead have to make plays to get the Patriots on the board against a strong Texans team with a very good defense. It’s not an ideal situation for the Patriots, who had just been hoping to bide their time while Brady was suspended with Garoppolo, and didn’t skip a beat as they saw him get on an incredible roll that had him looking like the quarterback of the future in New England. Now they turn to Brissett, a developmental piece who wasn’t supposed to see the field this season. Still, coach Bill Belichick had praise for his rookie.

“Jacoby has done a good job for us. He has improved every day,” Belichick said. “He’s a hard-working kid. He’s in here early, he stays late, he studies the game mentally. He’s got good physical talent and has improved steadily since he’s been here since back in the draft in May.”

The Patriots did not sign another quarterback this week to take Garoppolo’s place on the depth chart, and rumors swirled early in the week that wide receiver Julian Edelman would be the emergency backup plan at quarterback should something happen to Brissett. But it now appears that Garoppolo will be well enough to suit up for the game and serve as backup in case of emergency.

Still, it’s not what the Patriots were hoping for out of this short week. After winning their first two games, and with the bumbling Bills in their sights for Week 4, the Pats were looking at Thursday’s game as a huge opportunity to possibly get to 4-0 during the four games Brady missed. But that task becomes a lot harder with an inexperienced rookie leading the way.


About Devon Jeffreys

Devon Jeffreys