5 NFL Injury Storylines Heading Into Week 2

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott is expected to miss 6-to-8 weeks after fracturing his hand during Sunday Night Football.
Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott is expected to miss 6-to-8 weeks after fracturing his hand during Sunday Night Football. / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Dak Prescott Fractures Hand, Cooper Rush Next Up

The Dallas Cowboys' season has taken a completely different tenor after Week 1, as quarterback Dak Prescott is scheduled to undergo surgery on a right-hand fracture and is expected to miss 6-to-8 weeks.

Dallas, 0-1, also lost left tackle Tyron Smith for several months to an avulsion fracture and was mostly manhandled by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during Sunday Night Football even before Prescott's hand broke on Shaq Barrett's helmet in the fourth quarter.

Backup QB Cooper Rush will start for Dallas while Prescott is sidelined. Rush has only started one game in his NFL career thus far, but he's about to get a lot more experience.

Steelers Lose Watt, Harris in Dramatic Week 1 Win

The reigning Defensive Player of the Year T.J. Watt will likely be out for 3-to-4 months (without surgery) after suffering a torn left pectoral muscle late in the fourth quarter of Pittsburgh's wild overtime win against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Watt's current timeline suggests he'll be able to return late in the regular season. For reference, his brother J.J. Watt suffered a torn pectoral in Week 8 in 2019 and returned eight weeks later for the playoffs.

Watt wasn't the only Steelers player to go down during Week 1. Running back Najee Harris, who left the game with a foot injury, suffered a mild high ankle sprain in the fourth quarter that is likely to keep him out for Week 2 and potentially multiple games.

Without Harris, rookie Jaylen Warren and veteran Benny Snell Jr. will split the carries and the talented wide receiving corps could see additional targets. 

Several Elite WRs May Miss Week 2, Beyond

Three separate top-end fantasy wide receivers left their respective games on Sunday with injuries that could keep them out for multiple weeks.

Tee Higgins suffered a concussion in the first half against the Steelers when he was leveled by Devin Bush Jr. and didn’t return to the Bengals’ OT loss. 

Concussions are hard to predict, but Higgins is certainly in danger of missing Week 2 against the Cowboys. Higgins missed two weeks early in the 2021 season with a shoulder injury but still finished the season with over 1,000 receiving yards and six touchdowns.

Keenan Allen suffered a left hamstring strain in the Los Angeles Chargers’ win over the Las Vegas Raiders, and the wideout said after the game that he is hopeful he can play in Week 2.

Allen will have to make a quick recovery, however, if he's going to suit up against the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday Night Football. The 30-year-old wideout dealt with injuries earlier in his career but has mostly been able to stay healthy lately, playing in 16 games in four of the past five seasons.

Finally, Buccaneers Pro Bowler Chris Godwin left Sunday’s game against the Cowboys with a hamstring injury. Tampa's win over Dallas was his first game back from a torn ACL, so Godwin could miss time and play sporadically as he works his way back.

Ravens Facing Multiple Holes in Offensive Line

Baltimore Ravens replacement left tackle Ja’Wuan James suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon against the New York Jets, leaving the Ravens with little offensive line depth.

Ronnie Stanley was inactive for Sunday’s win over the Jets as he continues to rehab his left ankle, and it remains unclear when he'll be ready to play.

Veteran do-everything lineman Patrick Mekari stepped in for James in Sunday’s game because rookie Daniel Faalele was a healthy scratch.

Baltimore’s running game was largely ineffective, gaining just 63 yards on 21 attempts, and has a tough stretch coming up against the Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills in the next three games. 

Will Mitchell’s Knee Injury Push Samuel into 49ers’ Backfield?

For the second year in a row, the San Francisco 49ers’ starting running back suffered a knee injury in the first half of the first game of the season. Elijah Mitchell left San Francisco's season opener wearing a “significant” brace on his right knee and will likely miss multiple games after suffering an MCL sprain.

Mitchell’s knee sprain once again forced Kyle Shanahan to turn to Deebo Samuel at running back, who finished off that drive with a six-yard touchdown rush. 

Samuel, Trey Lance and Jeff Wilson Jr. all rushed at least eight times and combined for 128 yards on the ground. 

The trio and rookie Tyron Davis-Price will feature in Shanahan’s maniacal rushing attack as the 49ers get Lance acclimated to the passing game.

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