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Is The Season Over for Raiders’ Amari Cooper and Bills’ Kelvin Benjamin?

Inside Injuries December 12, 2017 1:05PM EDT
Amari Cooper WR, Raiders: ankle sprain
Amari Cooper cleared concussion protocol and returned to practice last Friday. His ankle remained a concern, but after making quick progress he was cleared to play in Week 14. Cooper’s return was short-lived. He quickly re-aggravated his ankle injury. Our algorithm shows that Cooper returned two weeks too early, and now he faces a four week Optimal Recovery Time. Cooper’s season should be over. He was an Elevated Injury Risk entering Week 14 with a Below Average HPF (Health Performance Factor), so he shouldn’t have played.

Greg Olsen TE, Panthers: foot re-aggravation
After one week off, Olsen returned in Week 14. While he remained an Elevated Injury Risk, he was approaching his Healthy to Return date. Olsen limped off of the field at one point after aggravating his foot/ankle. He was able to return after getting re-taped and played 92% of the Panthers’ offensive snaps. Olsen should be able to finish the season, but his foot will continue to be a concern. It doesn’t take much to re-aggravate a Jones fracture. He may try to make it through the season as the Panthers fight for a playoff spot, but don’t be surprised if he continues to be in and out of games. He may also need a follow-up procedure during the offseason. That is fairly common for players who suffer a Jones fracture, a notoriously tricky injury.

Tevin Coleman RB, Falcons: concussion

Amari Cooper

You may not be able to use Amari Cooper again this season. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Late on Thursday night, Tevin Coleman left to be evaluated for a head injury and did not return. He has 10 days from the last game to clear concussion protocol. The Falcons have one of the most lethal running back duos in the game, so having Coleman back for the final three games is crucial as they fight for a playoff spot. Watch Coleman’s practice status throughout the week. That will be the best indication of how he is progressing through protocol.

Alvin Kamara RB, Saints: concussion
Like Coleman, Kamara was also forced out of the Thursday game with a concussion. He has been one of the most exciting players this season and is a key piece in the Saints dynamic offense. With 10 days to clear concussion protocol, he has a good chance to return for Week 15. But with all concussions, it’s no guarantee and it’s very difficult to predict recovery time.

Marcus Mariota QB, Titans: knee injury
Marcus Mariota injured his knee early in the Week 14 game but played through it. He took a hard hit as he attempted to slide at the end of a run. It showed in his performance. Mariota clearly wasn’t as mobile and was very inaccurate on many of his passes, completing just 16 of 31 passes and throwing two interceptions. If there is any instability in the knee, the Titans are likely to send him for an MRI to determine what damage was caused. He previously suffered a season-ending MCL sprain in 2015 and had knee problems in college.

Kelvin Benjamin WR, Bills: knee re-aggravation
Kelvin Benjamin returned from a two game absence on Sunday, attempting to play through a meniscus tear. He didn’t last very long and should have never tried to play through the injury. Most NFL players who suffer a meniscus tear undergo surgery, and recovery can be as short as four weeks. Now Benjamin’s season could be over. If he re-aggravated the injury or caused more damage to his knee, surgery would be necessary. The meniscus is affected when cutting and impacts knee stability. These are important things for a wide receiver, which is why Benjamin remained a High Injury Risk for Week 14. He won’t improve for the rest of the season.

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