The National Football League (NFL) is the only professional sports league that has started their season in “normal” fashion in 2020. COVID has made its impact on the world of sports some more than others. COVID is starting to change the makeup of the NFL regular season, but at first, it only affected the preseason. Many experts believe this is why the NFL has seen an increase in injuries.
In a normal NFL preseason, each team would have a total of 4 games and would also have practiced against other teams. This would allow teams to slowly condition their players to be fully conditioned and competition-ready for the first week of the regular season. This year, the league was forced to cut the preseason to 2 weeks. This has lead to an increase in the number of injuries seen by this point in a normal season. Here is a look at 5 of the biggest names that have been bit by the injury bug this year.
5. Michael Thomas
Michael Thomas has been one of the most dominant wide receivers in the league since he began his career with the New Orleans Saints in 2016. Just last year, Thomas broke the single-season reception record and was even considered a Most Valuable Player candidate. Thomas injured his ankle early in week 1 of the NFL season and has yet to have returned to the field. It is looking promising for Thomas to return next week against the Chargers, but do not be surprised if they sit him with a bye week coming up to the following week for extra rest.
4. Julio Jones
Julio Jones has been another dominant receiver in the league that has seen time off the field due to an injury. Jones has been a big piece of the Atlanta Falcons offense for many years. However, Jones has missed a lot of playing time since he injured his hamstring in week 2. The Falcons are clearly missing him as they will look for their first win of the season against Greenbay, but he may be able to return if cleared. They have been a contender for the playoffs and Superbowl most of his career, so they will look for Jones to make a big impact when he returns.
3. Nick Bosa
It has been clear to see Nick Bosa has established himself as one of the premier Defensive Ends in the NFL. He was drafted 2nd overall to the San Fransisco 49ers after a season in which the team has only 2 wins but 14 losses. The following year Bosa lead the 49ers to a Superbowl appearance. Bosa would tear his ACL in a Week 2 matchup at Metlife Stadium. There were many lower-body injuries in this game. Many 49ers even complained about the playing surface. This will be a devastating loss because this injury will put Bosa out the remainder of the season.
2. Saquon Barkley
It is always devastating to see an injury, especially to younger players with as much promise as Saquon Barkley. After a strong rookie season last year with the New York Giants, Barkley has already established himself as a top tier running back. Barkley also tore his ACL. The Giants are a team that has been rebuilding the past few years. He is one of the only offensive threats on the whole team, so the Giants will most likely struggle without their star player. Barkley is an explosive and athletic player so it will be interesting to see how he returns next year after this serious injury.
Christian McCaffrey was one of the most sought-after players by NFL teams before he even entered the league. McCaffery has had an amazing career with the Carolina Panthers. McCaffery is so unique because not only is he a skilled running back, but he is also one of the top receivers in the league. His versatility will be missed in this offense but will look to return in 2-4 weeks due to a high ankle sprain. The Panthers have been able to grab a few wins this season even without McCaffrey. If they are able to win a few more before his return the Panthers could be a dangerous team this year.
This has affected many fantasy football leagues. Austin Rexroad, Vice President of the Gentlemen’s Football League, says, “I believe that Christian McCaffrey or Saquon Barkley is the biggest injuries because they have the biggest implications on the overall teams.” Do you believe the shortened preseason is the main reason the injury rate is up this year? If so, this is something the league needs to take into consideration in the future.
Media by Paul Garrett.