Concussion Watch: NFL Head Injuries in Week 3

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For a second straight season, FRONTLINE is keeping track of how many NFL players are being sidelined by head injuries. Entering last weekend’s games, our Concussion Watch project had counted 20 players added to the NFL injury report for a concussion.

In Week 3, we counted another seven possible injuries. As next weekend’s games draw closer, here are the names we’ll be watching for when teams release their final injury reports on Friday.

King Dunlap, San Diego Chargers

King Dunlap left the Chargers’ Week 3 game in the fourth quarter with what the San Diego Union-Tribune reported to be a concussion.

It’s not clear exactly how Dunlap was hurt, but if the diagnosis is confirmed, he would become the second Chargers lineman to suffer a concussion in less than a week. His teammate, D.J. Fluker, was sidelined with a concussion during practice in the run-up to San Diego’s third game.

Week 4 injury report status: Concussion, questionable to play.

Jermichael Finley, Green Bay Packers

Jermichael Finley was forced from the Packers game in Week 3 after colliding with Bengals safety George Iloka. Finley was trying to haul in a catch when he was drilled in the head by Iloka, who according to ESPN, “appeared to lead with his shoulder.” No penalty was called on the play.

The play ended with a scary scene, as Finley attempted to run for the sidelines, staggered for roughly 10 paces, and then returned to the ground. He would eventually walk off the field on his own power.

The Packers soon announced that Finley would miss the rest of the game with a concussion.

Week 4 injury report status: Bye week.

Dwight Lowery, Jacksonville Jaguars

Safety Dwight Lowery suffered a concussion Sunday “on a vicious crack-back block” by Seattle Seahawks receiver Golden Tate, The Florida Times-Union reported.

Although the play ended with an injury, Jaguars coach Gus Bradley told reporters after the game that the hit appeared clean. If anything, he said, Lowery was simply taken by surprise by how Seattle had positioned its receivers for that particular play.

“They cracked and they caught him off guard,” said Bradley.

Week 4 injury report status: Concussion, will not play.

Brian Orakpo, Washington Redskins

Brian Orakpo briefly left the field in the first half of Week 3 to be evaluated for a concussion, but the Redskins linebacker would later return to the game, The Washington Times reported. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that Orakpo was hurt in the first quarter after he was speared by teammate Brandon Meriweather.

In Week 2, Meriweather was involved in two plays that resulted in two separate concussions: One to Packers running back Eddie Lacy, and one to himself. Meriweather was later fined $42,000 by the league for his hit on Lacy. 

Week 4 injury report status: Not on the injury report.

Tracy Porter, Oakland Raiders

The Raiders tweeted near the end of their Week 3 game with the Broncos that cornerback Tracy Porter “has a head injury” and was being evaluated by team medical staff. As NBC Sports reported:

As he fought to bring Demaryius Thomas to ground after a 4-yard completion, Raiders defensive end Lamarr Houston’s knee made contact with the back of Porter’s helmet.

Porter also suffered a concussion during the 2012 season.

Week 4 injury report status: Concussion,  probable to play.

Terrelle Pryor, Oakland Raiders

Tracy Porter wasn’t the only Oakland player to leave Week 3 with a concussion. With less than seven minutes to go in Monday’s game, Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor took a helmet-to-helmet blow from Broncos linebacker Wesley Woodyard. As ESPN reported:

Pryor stayed down face-first on the grass for a bit but remained in the game for two more plays, even though he seemed stunned during a stoppage in play to determine whether he had fumbled.

Pryor was taken to the locker room where he was later diagnosed with a concussion.

Raiders coach Dennis Allen told reporters in post-game remarks that he couldn’t tell if the tackle was illegal, “but it was a pretty good hit … I think that play could have happened to just about anybody.”

Week 4 injury report status: Concussion, questionable to play.

Bubba Ventrone, San Francisco 49ers

Bubba Ventrone sat out of a 49ers practice session on Monday after leaving the team’s Week 3 game with the Colts to be checked for a concussion. San Francisco’s NBC affiliate reported that he was hurt in the first half while blocking on a punt return.

If Ventrone does have a concussion and goes on to play in Week 4, it would mark an especially quick recovery as the 49ers will have had just four days in between games.

Week 4 injury report status: Concussion,  questionable to play.

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