by Rob Joyce
The regular season for the NFL is still a week away, but for some fans their hopes of a dream season have already taken a hit. With still a pre-season game to play, injuries have piled up like they do every season. For some fringe NFL players, it could them a job. For others, it could mean a starting role is gone. And for the biggest of names, an injury means their respective teams have major holes to fill.
With some time to spare, here are the preseason injuries that will have the biggest impact on this season:
5) Carson Wentz:
The second overall pick in this year’s draft wasn’t expected to play much this year anyways, with Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel getting big money and Wentz possibly needing a year to “redshirt” and learn the ways of the NFL. Still, it had to be disheartening for Eagles fans to see Wentz take a big hit in the pre-season opener and wind up with a fractured rib.
4) Benjamin Watson:
He’s 35, but Watson was coming off a career-best year with Cleveland in 2015 before signing with the Ravens this offseason. A torn right Achilles ended his season prematurely, after the tight end had missed just four games total the prior seven years. Baltimore was hit with a string of injuries last year, and their luck has rolled into 2016 already.
3) Dion Lewis:
Lewis was another classic Patriots pickup last season, a castoff who burst onto the scene once he came to New England. A torn ACL ended his year in November, but he suffered another blow this preseason. He had to have another surgery on his knee and will start the year in the physically-unable to perform list, meaning he’ll be out at least the first six weeks of the season.
2) Teddy Bridgewater:
The Vikings’ quarterback is the most recent victim of a significant injury. At practice Monday he planted his foot and fell to the ground – he tore his ACL and dislocated his knee. Heading into his third year he was expected to take a leap, but instead Minnesota’s chances at a second straight NFC North title just took a serious hit.
1) Tony Romo:
The Cowboys’ oft-injured quarterback took a vicious hit to the back early in a preseason game against the Seahawks. He stayed in the game and afterwards was quoted as to how comforting it was to be able to take a hit on his surgically repaired back and be okay. Turns out, he fractured a vertebrae and will be out six to 10 weeks. Pre-season darling Dak Prescott will be the starter for now, but the difference between facing second- and third-team defenses versus the starters in a regular season game is massive. After a 4-12 campaign marred by a Romo injury last year, 2016 is off to an awful start.