The Worst Injuries of the NFL Preseason (and How Teams Are Handling Them)

Let’s face it. If your favorite NFL team makes it through training camp and preseason games without any serious injuries, you’re lucky. Teams routinely have to shuffle lineups and change their initial offensive or defensive plans for the season when big players get hurt. We just had our first regular season games of 2018. But who didn’t play? Let’s take a look at some of the biggest injuries of this year’s NFL preseason, offseason, and training camp.

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Derrius Guice – Washington Redskins

This one was huge for the Redskins. Guice, a second round pick and former LSU star, tore his ACL in his first preseason game (and loss) against the Patriots. The running back has had surgery to repair his knee and well, he’s out for the season. Guice is expected to make a full recovery but he won’t be rejoining his teammates on the field again until the offseason of 2019. The Redskins had big plans for this playmaker to amp up their offense this season but they’ll just have to wait. Post-surgery, Guice remains positive, saying, “I’ll be back, stronger than ever.”

How will they replace him?

The Redskins have signed Adrian Peterson to a one-year deal. The 33-year-old Peterson is uh, pretty famous, though he may not be as good as he once was. A year ago, the Vikings chose to release him instead of paying him $18 million. Peterson has since played stints with the Saints (didn’t go great) and the Cardinals (a little more impressive) but his new teammates have faith that he’ll be able to play at a high level this season. Peterson is listed as their starting RB in the Redskins’ opening game against Arizona.

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Marqise Lee – Jacksonville Jaguars

This hurts. Going into the 2018 season, Marqise Lee was expected to be the Jaguars’ top receiver this fall. Last year, he finished with 56 receptions (leading the team overall), 702 receiving yards, and 3 touchdowns. Lee ended up signing a four-year contract with the Jags for $38 million. The wide receiver sustained a knee injury in Week 3’s Preseason game against the Falcons when he received a pass from Blake Bortles and took a helmet to the left knee.

How will they replace him?

Luckily, the Jaguars have good depth at the WR position, with players like Keelan Cole, Dede Westbrook, and rookie DJ Chark. This offseason, they also signed veteran receiver Donte Moncrief who is expected to contribute big plays and spread out defenses of other teams who might try to slow down the Jags. He’s been signed to a one-year $9.6 million deal to get the job done.

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Jerick McKinnon – San Francisco 49ers

Well, this changes things for the 49ers. McKinnon’s torn ACL means he’s out for the season. The running back was specifically chosen by head coach Kyle Shanahan as the perfect fit for his offense. He’d been signed to a four-year, $30 million contract because, well, the guy can run and he catches a lot of passes. At least he did in the offseason for the 49ers (even if he didn’t for the Vikings). McKinnon injured his knee on the final play of a team practice last Saturday and likely won’t return until next year. He was expected to be the starting running back for the 49ers in their opener against Minnesota.

How will they replace him?

It’ll take some shuffling, but the 49ers have three other running backs on their roster: Matt Breida (who will likely start), Alfred Morris (who will share the load), and Raheem Mostert. None of them, however, feel as much like Shanahan’s ideal scenario as McKinnon did. And remember, QB Jimmy Garoppolo has been drilling this same offense with McKinnon the whole offseason. Expectations were high, so we’ll see how it pans out for the 49ers now.

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Jason Verrett – Los Angeles Chargers

A huge knock to the Chargers’ defense, the 27-year-old Verrett suffered a torn Achilles tendon in the first conditioning test of training camp. Yeah, before the preseason even started. A couple years back, the cornerback injured his rotator cuff and later his ACL, but this season he was fully cleared and playing without a brace. The first-round pick and Pro Bowler has had some bad luck to say the least – he’s missed 55 of 80 possible games with the Chargers during his five seasons. And to think we finally thought he was healthy…

How will they replace him?

The Chargers’ hopes of matching up Verrett with cornerback Casey Hayward and safety Derwin James to create a dominant defense have been dashed. Good thing the Chargers are deep at cornerback. Last year, Verrett was replaced with Trevor Williams who played impressively well. We’ll see him move back into the starting slot alongside Hayward again this year. Luckily for the Chargers (who are plagued by injuries), Trevor Williams seems to have recovered from the sprained ankle he sustained at the end of July. Meanwhile, the Bolts are still paying Verrett $8.526 for the season…

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Are the Chargers cursed?

We’re not done with the Chargers yet. Each year they look great on paper and then the team is torn apart by a series of injuries before the regular season starts. This May, tight end Hunter Henry tore his ACL (before training camp, ugh) and it’s unlikely he’ll make it back for any of the 2018 season. Just in case there’s a chance though, they’ve placed him on the Physically Unable to Perform List. This will only matter, of course, if the Chargers are still playing in January. To add insult to injury (or injury to injury?), they lost another tight end, rookie Austin Roberts to a torn ACL on the first day of training camp. Yeah, really.

Which one of these hurts their team the most? Can they bounce back?