Tagged in: season ending

Injury-bit San Francisco 49ers lose Justin Skule, Tarvarius Moore to season-ending injuries

After their 2020 season was ravaged by injury, the San Francisco 49ers hoped that 2021 would bring better health. They’re not off to a promising start.

During a planned team activity Monday, the Niners lost two players to what will almost certainly be season-ending injuries more than three months before the 2021 campaign initiates. Offensive lineman Justin Skule suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee, and safety Tarvarius Moore tore his Achilles, according to a team spokesperson.

While neither Skule nor Moore has been an established starter for the Niners, both have played prominent roles in recent seasons.

Skule has played in 31 regular-season matches over the past two years with 12 starts at tackle and guard. He was expected to compete with Shon Coleman for the swing tackle job in training camp before the injury.

Moore had played a similar role in the secondary, appearing in all 48 regular-season games over the past three seasons with 13 starts. He had 49 tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in 2020 when he started eight games. He was expected to compete for the starting job at strong safety before Monday’s injury.

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Without Moore, the Niners have a group including veterans Jaquiski Tartt, Tavon Wilson, Marcell Harris and Tony Jefferson, who signed on Monday, and rookie Talanoa Hufanga to compete for spots on the safety depth chart.

Skule and Moore are the latest in a long run of disappointing injuries to the 49ers.

In 2020, the Niners lost 161.6 games to injury, the second most of any team in the past 20 years, according to Football Outsiders’ adjusted games lost metric (which also factored in players missing game for COVID-19 reasons).

Many of those injuries affected some of the Niners’ most significant players, as quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, tight end George Kittle, ends Nick Bosa and Dee Ford, receiver Deebo Samuel, cornerback Richard Sherman and running back Raheem Mostert combined to play in 37 of a possible 112 games (33%).

After the season, general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan vowed to “look at everything” to try to get and stay healthier in 2021. That included an increased emphasis on durability among the draft class and in outside free agents they acquired.

“What I’ve learned with some of our luck here, especially last year … when too many of those add up, it’s hard to compete,” Shanahan said in May.

“And I think that hit us harder than anything last year. That hit us before COVID, and that’s something we can’t do again. So, we’re not saying that we’ll never take a risk again or anything, but we definitely wanted to make a point because of what’s happened the last couple of years, at least to try to avoid that.”

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Denver Broncos sign right tackle Bobby Massie after injury to Ja’Wuan James

In the wake of Ja’Wuan James’ season-ending injury, the Denver Broncos on Wednesday signed Bobby Massie to play right tackle.

According to Massie’s representatives, Massie agreed to a one-year, $4 million deal. The 31-year-old has started 110 matches in his career and figures to be the Broncos’ starter at right tackle when they open the season Sept. 12 versus the New York Giants.

James suffered a season-ending Achilles tendon injury early last week. The Broncos on Monday will start phase 2 of their offseason program, which will permit some limited on-field work for players in attendance.

Massie was a player the Broncos were interested in signing in 2016, when he joined the Chicago Bears in free agency.

Massie spent the past five seasons with the Bears after playing his first four years in the league with the Arizona Cardinals.

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Massie missed the last eight games of the 2020 regular season because of a knee injury but had returned to practice before the end of the season. He did not play in the Bears’ wild-card loss to the New Orleans Saints.

The Broncos have largely been vexed at right tackle over the past eight years.

At least two players have started games at the position in each of the past eight seasons, as the Broncos used four different players at right tackle in 2020 and 2017.

The Broncos have not had a player start all 16 games of a season at right tackle since Orlando Franklin did it in 2012. James, who opted out last season because of concerns over COVID-19, has played a combined 63 snaps over three games — all in 2019 — since he signed a four-year, $51 million deal with the Broncos in March of that year.

James stated during the 2019 season he had suffered a torn meniscus as well as a torn MCL in separate games that season.

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Green Bay Packers fear LT David Bakhtiari suffered season-ending ACL tear in practice

The Green Bay Packers have lost one of the most important members of their high-powered offense, All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari, to what is alleged to be a season-ending knee injury suffered in practice on Thursday, a source told ESPN.

The primary diagnosis is a torn ACL, a source told ESPN, confirming a report by NFL Network. Bakhtiari will still need to undergo further tests to confirm that preliminary diagnosis.

The Packers added Bakhtiari to the injury report after Thursday’s practice. During the portion open to reporters, there was no apparent issue. Coach Matt LaFleur spoke before practice and will next take questions from reporters on Friday.

The Packers (12-3), who lead the NFL in scoring at 31.6 points per game, would be the NFC’s No. 1 seed if they triumph their regular-season finale on Sunday at the Chicago Bears.

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But now they’ll have to do it without their best non-skill position player on offense.

It comes just six weeks after they signed Bakhtiari to a record-setting, four-year, $103.5 million contract extension, making him the highest-paid offensive lineman in NFL history.

The 29-year-old, who was drafted in the fourth round in 2013, has been either first- or second-team All-Pro each of the past four years. He was named a Pro Bowl starter when the selections were revealed last week.

When Bakhtiari missed three games earlier this season because of broken ribs, the Packers played Billy Turner at left tackle. Turner has been a regular starter on the right side, at both guard and tackle.

Most recently, Turner has started the past four games at right guard, while Rick Wagner has started at right tackle. However, Wagner suffered a knee injury in Sunday’s victory over the Tennessee Titans and was a limited participant in practice. Another option would be to move Pro Bowl left guard Elgton Jenkins to left tackle.

Jenkins has played everywhere but right guard this season, having played 599 snaps at left guard, 286 at center, 31 at right tackle and 26 at left tackle, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

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Packers rookie tight end Josiah Deguara has season ending knee injury

The surging Green Bay Packers lost another offensive weapon to injury, as rookie tight end Josiah Deguara suffered a season-ending knee injury in Monday night’s triumph over the Atlanta Falcons.

A source told ESPN that Deguara, a third-round draft pick, suffered a torn ACL.

“Unfortunately it looks to be a pretty bad one,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said without revealing details of the diagnosis. “I hurt for Josiah. I love what he’s all about — the mentality he brings, and he’s certainly somebody we were really excited about.”

Deguara appeared to injury his left knee while blocking on the punt team late in the fourth quarter of the Packers’ 30-16 triumph at Lambeau Field.

The Packers had big plans for Deguara, who was seemingly tailor-made for LaFleur’s offense that moves tight ends around within a variety of formations.

He played 24 snaps in the Week 1 win over the Vikings and caught one pass for 12 yards.

But his best play was perhaps a block in which he took out two defenders on an end around by receiver Allen Lazard that gained 19 yards. He missed the next two games due to an ankle injury but returned in Week 4 versus the Falcons.

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“It’s been a little bit of a roller coaster because in terms of I thought he had a great game vs. Minnesota in Week 1, and then he goes out with an ankle injury,” LaFleur stated. “It’s been tough. But we expect him to bounce back from it and, you know, we still think he has a really bright future in this league.

The Packers played Monday without their top two receivers, Davante Adams (hamstring) and Lazard (core muscle injury), and also were missing veteran tight end Marcedes Lewis (knee).

The Packers held out Adams, who wanted to play so badly that he tweeted (and then deleted the tweet) that the team was holding him out even though he felt he was ready to play.

LaFleur stated Tuesday that he did not tell Adams to take down his tweet. “I can understand why he’s frustrated,” LaFleur said.

“He’s a competitor, wants to be out there with his brothers, and any time you don’t get a chance to go out there it’s disappointing. He’s worked his tail off ever since this thing occurred, and it’s just one of those deals where the long term, potential long-term effects, you just got to take that into consideration. And we know that in order for us to be at our best he needs to be a part of those long-term plans.”

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Cowboys DT Gerald McCoy to have season-ending surgery

Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Gerald McCoy ruptured his right quadriceps tendon during the first padded practice of training camp Monday and will undergo season-ending surgery, according to team executive vice president Stephen Jones.

McCoy was hurt during individual drills and was unable to put weight on his leg after he was inspected by the team’s medical staff. Before ducking into the locker room, McCoy attempted to take some steps unassisted but could not. An MRI revealed the tear.

“I will remain the mentor I am to the young guys and do my part to make sure that this team goes where it needs to,” McCoy said in a text to ESPN’s Ed Werder. “As far as my mindset people deal with real life problems every day especially now with the state of our country.

“There is a lot of pain and heartache taking place right now that all our attention needs to go towards whether it is the pandemic or our fight for social justice. In retrospect what I’m dealing with is minimal compared to that. Therefore this is light work for me. Anybody who knows me knows I love a challenge. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!! I will be back better. LETS GET IT!!”

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The Cowboys signed McCoy to a three-year, $18 million deal in free agency as part of a rebuild of their defensive line that also included the additions of Aldon Smith, Dontari Poe and Everson Griffen, who has yet to practice but has cleared COVID-19 testing protocol.

“It’s obviously tough,” Jones said. “It’s part of the game. You see injuries around the league every day, and unfortunately that’s why you have to have a deep roster. Obviously you sign a guy like Everson Griffen, you never know when things like this are going to happen.”

Speaking before Jones named the injury, defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford said he spoke with McCoy after practice.

“Obviously it’s never fun to see a fellow D-lineman go down,” Crawford stated. “Having a guy like that that you just get to know, just get to make part of the family, it’s always sad to see, but obviously I have a lot of faith in our training staff and also a lot of experience, as you guys know, and I know they’ll get him back and get him back right and get him back on that field better than ever.”

Crawford suffered a torn Achilles early in the 2013 training camp in individual drills and could relate to McCoy’s injury.

“It’s never fun to have it happen like that because you weren’t even competing at that time,” Crawford said. “It’s a different feeling than if it was to happen during a physical football play against your teammates.”

McCoy, 32, spent his first nine campaigns in Tampa Bay before joining Carolina last season. He has missed more than three games in a season just once in his career.

Rookie Neville Gallimore and last year’s second-round pick, Trysten Hill, replaced McCoy at times during practice. “We know [McCoy] was fired up to be here, but it’s also disappointing for us,” Jones said. “He was one of our major acquisitions in the offseason in free agency, but having said that, this will give Trysten Hill and Neville Gallimore an opportunity to really step up now.”

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Ravens center Matt Skura to have season ending surgery

The Baltimore Ravens offense suffered a tough setback Tuesday.

Ravens center Matt Skura, one of the NFL’s best offensive lineman, reportedly will miss the remaining of the 2019 season due to a knee injury suffered in Monday night’s Week 12 road victory over the Los Angeles Rams.

The Ravens will turn to rookie Patrick Mekari in Skura’s absence.

Mekari, a California product, had never played center before taking over Monday night for Skura. He spent training camp mostly playing guard, but sometimes center as well.

Skura’s excellent play is a major reason why the Ravens offensive line is graded No. 1 in pass blocking and No. 4 in run blocking by Pro Football Focus entering Week 13.

The Ravens face their toughest remaining test of the regular season Sunday at home versus the NFC-leading San Francisco 49ers. Baltimore is one game behind the New England Patriots in the race for the AFC’s No. 1 spot but holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over the defending Super Bowl champs as a result of its Week 9 win.

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Skura transformed himself over the offseason and was one of the Ravens’ most dependable players, helping lead the way to the NFL’s best rushing attack. 

He was originally diagnosed with a sprain, but further tests revealed the injury was more serious than thought.

Skura, a fourth-year pro out of Duke, will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season.

Skura’s absence will be the first major injury the offensive line will have to face all year — Bradley Bozeman and Orlando Brown Jr. have yet to miss a snap, and Ronnie Stanley and Marshal Yanda have been consistent all season long. 

Skura is an unheralded member of an offense that averages 35.1 points per match and produces an NFL-best 210.5 yards rushing. He had started 27 straight games at center and totaled the second-most snaps in the NFL (1,812) over the past two seasons.

This season, Skura ranked 14th among centers in ESPN’s pass block win rate. He was also second in the AFC in Pro Bowl voting.

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