Week 1 Injury Updates: Andrew Luck, Derrick Henry, & More

We’re inching closer to the start of the NFL regular season and injuries are mounting across the league. Even with most coaches holding their key players out of preseason games, some teams will be without their stars to start the season.

Here’s a position-by-position breakdown of who could be on the sideline when the regular season rolls around:


Andrew Luck, IND, calf

Luck suffered a calf injury back in OTAs, but it has since evolved into an ankle injury according to the Colts and he has yet to play in any preseason games. Luck also hasn’t practiced at all this week either.

The Colts would turn to Jacoby Brissett if Luck misses any time in the regular season. Brissett started 15 games in Luck’s absence during the 2017 season, leading the Colts to a 4-11 record in the process. Luck had a resurgent 2018, setting a career-high in passer rating and taking Indianapolis back to the postseason.

Indianapolis saw its success rate on passes jump from 45 percent to 54 percent when Luck returned and could be looking at some major regression if he has to miss significant time.

Running Backs

Kenyan Drake, MIA, foot

Drake has been dealing with a foot injury all summer, but he recently ditched the walking boot and the Dolphins are optimistic their fourth-year back will be ready for Week 1.

Drake led Miami with nine touchdowns in 2018 and was second in rushing on the Dolphins last season, finishing behind current Buffalo Bill Frank Gore. However, Drake’s success rate on his runs was just 45 percent, slightly below team and league average.

If Drake is out, Kalen Ballage would move to the top of the depth chart.

Derrick Henry, TEN, calf

Henry suffered a calf injury on the first day of training camp and has struggled to recover, only returning to the practice field earlier this week.

The former Heisman winner carried the Titans offense toward the end of 2018, leading the NFL in carries during the final three weeks of the season and rushing at a 57-percent success rate. Tennessee ran the ball at the second-highest rate in the league last season and if Henry can’t handle the workload he did a year ago, it could be tough sledding for Marcus Mariota and company.

Wide Receivers

Parris Campbell, IND, hamstring

Campbell turned in impressive performances in the Colts’ OTAs, but he hasn’t seen the field the last few weeks after suffering a hamstring injury early in training camp. As of Tuesday, Colts head coach Frank Reich has said the rookie isn’t ready to return to the practice field just yet.

The rookie was slated to be the Colts’ slot receiver, the same role he filled in college. His loss could be significant if Brissett is forced to play in place of Luck. Brissett targeted underneath routes on nearly 74 percent of his throws in 2017.

DK Metcalf, SEA, knee

The rookie second-round pick and combine darling has struggled out of the gate, needing minor surgery last week. However, the always upbeat Pete Carroll doesn’t expect the rookie to miss much time and his current status is “week-to-week.”

Metcalf was listed behind Tyler Lockett on Seattle’s depth chart, but the Seahawks are hurting for playmakers following the departure of all-time leading receiver Doug Baldwin. Metcalf may be raw, but he averaged over 20 yards per reception his final year of college and could be in-line for a big role in the Seahawks offense once he returns.

John Ross, CIN, hamstring

Ross was selected with the ninth overall pick of the 2017 draft to be the starting receiver opposite A.J. Green (who is dealing with his own ankle injury), but has struggled to make an impact during his first two years in the NFL. And now, the world-class speedster is hobbled by a hamstring injury.

Both Ross and the Bengals are hoping the receiver can return to practice next week, but it may take a while for Ross to get back to full speed. Despite contributing 7 touchdowns in 2018, Ross has caught just 35 percent of his targets and averaged 10 yards per reception in his NFL career.

With the Bengals transitioning to a new offensive scheme under rookie head coach Zac Taylor, the lack of preseason reps for Ross doesn’t bode well for his future.

Tight End

Tyler Eifert, CIN, knee

Following a Pro Bowl season in 2015, Eifert has struggled to stay on the field and it looks like his availability to start Week 1 is in doubt as he recovers from surgery to repair a broken ankle.

Eifert has been one of the most productive tight ends in the NFL when healthy, averaging 8.7 yards per target over the last three seasons. However, he has also missed 34 games since the start of 2016.

It’s also worth noting Taylor comes from a Los Angeles Rams team that didn’t often feature tight ends in its passing game. Starting tight end Tyler Higbee averaged just 1.5 catches and 18.3 yards per game in 2018 for the Rams.

Dallas Goedert, PHI, calf

The Eagles led the NFL in two tight end sets in 2018 and they could increase that usage in 2019 if Goedert is able to line up next to Zach Ertz all season.

After looking dominant in the Eagles’ preseason opener, Goedert has been shut down for the remainder of the preseason with a calf injury. The Eagles have shown a lot of two tight end looks in the preseason in his absence, so he should be on the field and receiving quite a few targets from Carson Wentz once he’s back on the field.

Offensive Line

Mitch Morse, BUF, concussion

Morse was a big offseason addition for the Buffalo Bills, but he suffered a concussion early in training camp and hasn’t returned to the field since, remaining in concussion protocol. It is the fourth concussion of his career.

Buffalo gave Morse $20.4 million guaranteed to lure him away from the Kansas City Chiefs and anchor its offensive line. The Bills allowed 41 sacks in 2018 and their running backs averaged 3.5 yards per carry. Improvement along the offensive line is necessary if the Bills want to take a step forward.

Defensive Line

Nick Bosa, SF, ankle

The 49ers rookie pass rusher injured his ankle on August 7 and has yet to be a full participant in practice since. Recently, San Francisco GM John Lynch classified his odds for playing in the season opener as “50-50.”

Bosa has a history of being extra cautious with his injuries, having sat out most of his final year of college to heal up for the draft. The 49ers could use Bosa’s pass-rushing ability as soon as possible, they allowed opposing quarterbacks to post a passer rating of 105.4 in 2018 and only intercepted two passes all year.

Fletcher Cox, PHI, foot

Cox suffered a foot injury in the Eagles’ final game of 2018, requiring offseason surgery that he is still recovering from. To date, Cox has yet to be a full participant in any practice for the Birds. However, the defensive tackle told NBC Sports Philadelphia he only needs one week of practice to be ready for Week 1.

The Eagles added Malik Jackson in free agency and brought back Timmy Jernigan on a team-friendly deal, so they certainly aren’t hurting for talent on the interior of their defensive line, but Cox is a four-time Pro Bowler who had 34 QB hits in 2018. The Mississippi State product has been inactive for just three games in his seven-year career.

Vita Vea, TB, knee

The second-year defensive tackle looked to be lost for the season a few weeks ago, but an MRI revealed he suffered a sprained LCL and the Buccaneers are even optimistic that he could be ready by the season opener.

Tampa Bay fielded one of the worst defenses in the NFL in 2018, allowing 29 points per game. The Bucs are also facing a brutal schedule early on, having to face the 49ers, Saints, Rams, and Panthers in their first six games.


Micah Kiser, LAR, pectoral

The Rams have sat most of their starters in the preseason, but Kiser was one of the few guys who saw game action. Unfortunately for Kiser, he suffered a pectoral injury in the Rams’ second preseason game that required surgery and he has no timetable for his return.

Kiser was a fifth-round pick last year and was expected to have a huge role going into 2019. The Rams had the 20th-ranked scoring defense in the NFL, but benefited from 30 forced turnovers, third-most in the NFL. Los Angeles isn’t expected to find outside help in Kiser’s absence.

Defensive Backs

Patrick Chung, NE, arm

Chung’s season has taken a turn in recent days. Still recovering from a broken arm, Chung was indicted for felony possession of cocaine earlier this week.  The long-time Patriot is now facing a minimum four-game suspension.

The safety has averaged over 80 tackles per season since returning to the Patriots in 2014 following a one-year stop in Philadelphia. Chung sat out Week 17 in 2018, which turned into a 38-3 drubbing of the New York Jets.

Joe Haden, PIT, ankle

Haden was carted off the practice field a few weeks ago with an ankle injury that is now being classified as “minor.

The cornerback had a resurgent 2018, finishing the season with 12 passes defended, his most since his Pro Bowl seasons of 2013 and 2014. Haden has yet to return to practice, but he is considered day-to-day by the team.

It is also worth noting the Steelers are actively trying to extend Haden’s contract, so he may want to be cautious until the deal is done.

Byron Jones, DAL, hip

The Cowboys’ star cornerback is still recovering from offseason hip surgery. Jones didn’t even travel with the team to California for the start of training camp.

With just two weeks remaining until the start of the regular season, the Pro Bowler remains on the PUP list. Jones was second in the NFL in pass breakups in 2018 and help opposing QBs to just a 70.8 passer rating when targeted.