In a sport as physical as football, injuries are bound to happen. When you reach the ranks of the NFL, where the games are faster, the players bigger, and the intensity is raised, individuals can find themselves getting hurt in all sorts of ways. This is something we’ve seen quite often during the 2015 preseason.
Unlike years past, this summer has been marked with an unusual amount of fighting between players. Whether there’s something in the water or Mercury’s in retrograde, training camps all around the league have been filled with individuals who seem to be going out of their way prove their masculinity. In fact, on Tuesday, during the second joint practice between the Dallas Cowboys and the St. Louis Ram, a pair of brawls broke out, culminating in a helmet-less Dez Bryant getting slugged in the face.
We understand injuries are part of the game. However, there’s no reason they should come from an altercation between players. In the heat of the moment, tempers can get hot, sure, but there is no reason things should go this far. And if you ask us, seeing these feuds makes us feel for the players who get injured while actually playing the game. They’re not looking for trouble. Unfortunately, it just happens to find them.
As we inch closer and closer to the 2015 NFL regular season, the more injuries teams suffer during this preseason, the harder it will be for them to compete when it really matters. Some teams have been fortunate enough not to endure serious injuries to crucial players. Other clubs, not so much. Who are these individuals? We’re so glad you asked. Here’s a look at the 10 biggest preseason injuries of 2015.
1. Jason Pierre-Paul, defensive end, New York Giants
Jason Pierre-Paul (pictured above) suffered a significant hand injury due to a fireworks accident on July 4. Through some controversial reporting, we learned that the two-time Pro Bowler had to have his right index finger amputated. While JPP has spoken with Giants head coach Tom Coughlin, there is still no timetable for when he may return to the team.
2. Julius Thomas, tight end, Jacksonville Jaguars
During the Jaguars preseason opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers, tight end Julius Thomas suffered a stable fracture in his left hand, which will keep him out for the remainder of the preseason. He is expected to be ready to go for Week 1. Considering Jacksonville just gave the two-time Pro Bowler — and former Denver Bronco — a five-year $46 million deal this offseason, we’d say the organization just caught a lucky break (pun completely intended).
3. Matt Elam, strong safety, Baltimore Ravens
Matt Elam will miss the entire 2015-16 season after tearing his bicep during a Ravens practice on August 2. Instead of suiting up for his third NFl season, the strong safety out of Florida is expected to undergo surgery and will be out for four-to-six months.
4. Kevin White, wide receiver, Chicago Bears
The Chicago Bears had high hopes for rookie wide receiver Kevin White when they selected him with the No. 7 pick in this year’s draft. However, there is a good chance he doesn’t see the field in 2015-16, after the team reported he needs surgery to repair a stress fracture in his shin. White will start the beginning of the regular season on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. This should continue to keep quarterback Jay Cutler in a sour mood for the foreseeable future.
5. Michael Floyd, wide receiver, Arizona Cardinals
Arizona Cardinals wideout Michael Floyd (pictured above) took a nasty fall at practice, gruesomely injuring his left hand in the process. He dislocated three fingers and needed surgery to repair the damage. It’s more than likely he won’t be ready to go at the start of the regular season. However, if the injury isn’t as bad as original believed, you never know.
6. Arian Foster, running back, Houston Texans
It’s a Hard Knock(s) Life for the Houston Texans, as star running back Arian Foster underwent surgery to repair a groin injury that he suffered during the team’s first full-padded practice of the offseason. When it comes to this type of surgery, there is no way to precisely determine when a player will be ready for action. After rushing for 1,246 yards and eight touchdowns in 2014, the Texans better pray Foster returns sooner rather than later.
7. Phil Loadholt, offensive tackle, Minnesota Vikings
With quarterback Teddy Bridgewater looking to build off his solid rookie season and All-Pro Adrian Peterson set to return to the backfield, the Minnesota Vikings are a popular sleeper pick to make the postseason this year. Unfortunately, that road just got a little but harder. An MRI on Sunday revealed that starting right tackle Phil Loadholt suffered a torn Achilles tendon during the team’s preseason game against the Buccaneers on Saturday night. Loadholt will need season-ending surgery. This is a tough break (literally) for the Vikings.
8. Breshad Perriman, wide receiver, Baltimore Ravens
Another first-round receiver, another unfortunate injury. Breshad Perriman sustained a knee injury on the first day of training camp. The Baltimore Ravens believed it was nothing more than a minor bruise. Now, eleven missed practices and the preseason opener later, the team fears his injury may be worse than they initially thought. Coach John Harbaugh is still holding out hope Perriman can be back on the field before the start of the regular season. “Hope” being the operative word.
9. Geno Smith, quarterback, New York Jets
Starting quarterbacks are not supposed to get sucker-punched in the face by their teammates. But that’s exactly what happened to Jets QB Geno Smith during a locker room altercation with IK Enemkpali. Since the unacceptable incident, Enemkpali — after being released by the Buffalo Bills — has signed with the Buffalo Bills, while Smith needed surgery to repair his broken jaw, and will be out six to 10 weeks. Clearly the New York Jets refuse to relinquish their crown to the San Francisco 49ers as the most dysfunctional team in the NFL.
10. Kelvin Benjamin, wide receiver, Carolina Panthers
Earlier on Wednesday, Carolina Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin was carted off the field with a left knee sprain during the team’s joint practice with the Miami Dolphins. Benjamin caught 73 passes for 1,008 yards, and nine touchdowns during his rookie season last year. Heading into his sophomore season, the Panthers had high hopes for the former Florida State Seminole. Hopefully this is nothing more than a minor setback.
[update: So much for a minor setback. That sprain was actually a torn ACL and he will miss the entirety of the 2015 NFL Season. Ouch.]