As Deshaun Watson’s ACL Tear Shows, NFL Has an Injury Problem
Stars across the league are going down as the league deals with an uptick in injuries.
It seems as if every week of the NFL season, another franchise star goes down with an unfortunate injury that derails a team’s season.
The latest high-profile victim fell Thursday, when Houston Texans rookie sensation Deshaun Watson went down with an ACL injury that will likely sideline him for the rest of the season. The Indianapolis Colts also announced Thursday that injury-riddled quarterback Andrew Luck has officially ruled out for the season with a shoulder problem that’s showing no signs of getting better. The grim reports add to previous losses that include franchise playmakers like Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, and a litany of others.
There’s no doubt this has been a particularly brutal year for injuries to star players, and it seems like a matter of when — not if — the next big injury happens.
The problem is an existential one for the NFL, which has seen a surprising increase in injuries in 2017 despite better methods of diagnosing and treating hurt players. There has been a noted increase in injuries this year, with 33 more players on the various injured lists than there were at this time during the 2013. The total number of injured players at this time in the season has increased almost every year since then.
A sit-down with two player agents by Sports Illustrated revealed a variety of theories for the uptick in injuries. Poor luck, a potential rise in diagnoses, and teams keeping players sidelined on purpose longer were a few of their theories as to why we’ve seen such an increase in injuries.
“I think it’s bad luck,” former NFL offensive lineman and current analyst Geoff Schwartz said. “Some of these injuries have been horrific. Can’t predict legs breaking, knees dislocating, etc.”
It could be bad luck, or it could be a more serious issue yet to be uncovered. Whatever it is, we do know it’s absolutely hurting the NFL as much as it is the individual players.