6 NFL Injury Storylines To Watch In Wild Card Weekend

Sports Injury Central
Dec 25, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) throws the
Dec 25, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) throws the / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Damar Hamlin's Continued Improvement

Second-year safety Damar Hamlin Tweeted a picture of he and his family watching the Bills' Week 18 win, the latest step in what has been a remarkable series of improvements since Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest and was revived by members of the training staff after a tackle last Monday

Hamlin woke up on Thursday, had his intubation and ventilator removed, and has been in communication with his teammates while he continues to recover from the unprecedented sudden cardiac event. 

The 24-year-old was placed on IR and is still in the intensive care unit at the University of Cincinnati but is reportedly on track to be released soon

Who Will Start At QB, OL for Dolphins?

Third-string quarterback Skylar Thompson played through an apparent left knee sprain in the Dolphins’ 11-6 win on Sunday and may be in line to make his third start this season against the No. 2 seed Bills in the Wild Card round.

Tua Tagovailoa missed the last two games in concussion protocol and is unlikely to be cleared by next weekend, according to the Pro Football Docs.

The southpaw signal-caller is still considered day-to-day and Mike McDaniel said that Tagovailoa has no set return timeline.

Teddy Bridgewater was available for emergency on Sunday after he dislocated his right pinkie finger in Week 17. 

Several other key offensive players were out or suffered an injury, including Terron Armstead, the starting and backup right tackle, Raheem Mostert, Jaylen Waddle, and Tyreek Hill. 

How Will Lamar Jackson Play in Ravens’ Playoff Return? 

The Ravens went 3-3 with MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson sidelined by a left PCL sprain and the Pro Football Docs expect him to return for the Wild Card round vs. the Bengals. 

The 26-year-old – who celebrated his birthday on Saturday – has a tentative SIC score of 74 because Jackson hasn’t practiced since Week 13 and is more dependent on his mobility than other quarterbacks. 

Jackson, unfortunately, will be without his top-two wide receivers, but tight end Mark Andrews – who had eight catches for 89 yards and one touchdown vs Cincinnati in Week 5 – should be available after he was inactive on Sunday. 

Will Williams' Back Spasms Keep Him Out vs. Jaguars?

Wide receiver Mike Williams was carted into the locker room and missed the second half after he suffered a low-back contusion with likely spasms in the Chargers’ loss. 

The 28-year-old suffered a herniated disc ahead of his 2017 rookie season and missed the first five games.

Williams will reportedly undergo an MRI on Monday but the Pro Football Docs expect him to be available against the Jaguars as the recent injury doesn’t appear to be related to his previous issues.

Will O-Line Absences Slow Down Burrow, Bengals?

In the last two weeks, right tackle La’el Collins and right guard Alex Cappa – the Bengals’ two biggest free-agent signings – both suffered significant knee injuries and are unlikely to be available for the playoffs.

After a rough first half, the Bengals have only allowed 12 sacks during their eight-game winning streak, while the Ravens are 6th in the NFL with 48 total sacks this season.

Joe Burrow was notably sacked 19 times for 137 yards lost in four playoff games last season and became the first quarterback to be sacked nine times and win a playoff game.

Could Cook, O-Line Injuries Spoil Vikings' Playoff Run?

Dalvin Cook appeared to suffer a left knee injury in the second quarter but returned and shouldn't be impacted by the issue against the Giants.

The offensive line, however, is in significant turmoil heading into the playoffs: Center Garrett Bradbury has missed multiple games with a back injury and succeeding car crash, his backup Austin Sclottmann suffered a fractured left fibula, right tackle Brian O'Neill tore his Achilles, and reserve Blake Brandel is on IR with an MCL sprain. 

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