DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) — The 2014 NFL season has yet to begin, and some of the game’s top players are already suffering from potential serious injuries.
Here are six injuries from the offseason and preseason that could have a big impact on 2014.
1. Sean Lee, Dallas Cowboys
The oft-injured but talented linebacker torn the ACL in his left knee in the team’s first organized team activity in May. He left the field angry, knowing that yet another season was likely lost due to injury.
The team’s defensive play-caller was on the field in 11 games last season for the Dallas defense — a defense that allowed a league-high 415.3 yards per game.
With him, they were historically bad. Without him…Is there any reason to expect improvement?
2. Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams
St Louis was a sexy pick to surprise a lot of people and turn heads in the tough NFC West this season. Not anymore.
With Kenny Britt, Tavon Austin, Jared Cook, and Zac Stacy on board, it appeared that Sam Bradford finally had the necessary weapons surrounding him.
Instead, at the age of 26, the former Sooner will undergo surgery to fix a torn ACL for the second consecutive season.
Head Coach Jim Fisher says Shaun Hill is “our guy”. Clearly they’re out of options.
3. Wes Welker, Denver Broncos
Broncos weapon Wes Welker may return to action in Week 1 against the Colts. That’s if he doesn’t choose to walk away from the game forever.
At the age of 33, Welker suffered his third diagnosed concussion since November on Saturday.
Yes, Peyton Manning and the Broncos have plenty of offensive weapons to use in his absence.
But Welker did reel in at least 3 passes in each game he played last season, totaling 73 receptions for 778 yards and 10 TDs.
He’s still a game-changer.
4. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
No, Cam Newton will not likely miss a regular season snap. But his style of play and rib injuries…they just don’t mesh.
Over the past 3 seasons, Newton has taken 467 sacks or hits, more than double any other QB over that span.
At 6-foot-5 and 265 pounds, he was already a big target. Now his ribs are too.
5. Darnell Dockett, Arizona Cardinals
Arizona yielded the 6th fewest yards in the NFL last season. Doing so again in 2014 looks like a longshot.
During the offseason, inside linebacker Karlos Dansby signed with Cleveland. Now, three-time Pro Bowl defensive end Darnell Dockett is lost for the season.
Dockett suffered a torn ACL during practice last week and was officially placed on injured reserve.
6. Sam Baker, Atlanta Falcons
After the quarterback, what’s the most critical position on offense? Many would say left tackle.
The Falcons were the worst rushing team in the NFL last season, averaging just 77.9 yards per game on the ground. And QB Matt Ryan was sacked a career-high 44 times.
Now, Atlanta’s left tackle Sam Baker is gone for the season. Uh oh.
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