As noted ad nauseum, the 2020 NFL season has been unlike any other, especially when it comes to injury designations. New this year is the reserve/COVID-19 list and the short term injured reserve.
The latter allows a team roster flexibility while giving a specific player the opportunity to return to the field. In previous years, being placed on the injured reserve meant their season was over.
Let’s take a look at three big names who were placed on that short-term injured reserve list this past week and what it might mean for their teams on Sunday and in the near future.
Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
Brees had the most high-profile injury (and fallout from injury) in Week 10. A vicious hit from a 49ers defensive lineman knocked him from the game in the second quarter during a Saints touchdown drive. He was able to return to finish the first half but could not return in the second half.
Once believed to be five, Brees confirmed on Friday that he has a total of 11 fractured ribs and a collapsed lung. He mentioned that doctors are encouraged by his progress, but he will miss at least the next three games, beginning with Sunday against the Falcons.
Taysom Hill was elevated to starting quarterback, ahead of Jameis Winston, in Brees’ absence. New Orleans was 5-0 without Brees last year as he sat out with a thumb injury.
Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals made the move to put Mixon on injured reserve on Saturday, so he will miss at least the next three games as well. This, after missing the previous six with a foot injury.
There was hope from those close to the organization that the running back would return to the field soon, but those within the facility are taking a much more cautious approach. The Bengals signed Mixon to a $48 million extension this offseason and want to be sure he is fully healthy before bringing him back and risking further injury.
Mixon had rushed for 428 yards on 119 carries with three touchdowns prior to his injury. He also has 138 receiving yards and a touchdown. Gio Bernard and Samaje Perine have been handling the running back duties in his absence.
Jadeveon Clowney, Tennessee Titans
Clowney will miss Sunday’s huge clash with the Ravens after being placed on injured reserve on Saturday with a knee injury. He’ll also miss next week’s big divisional showdown with the Colts, as well as the Titans’ Week 13 matchup with the Browns before being eligible to return on Dec. 6 against the Jaguars.
Tennessee signed the high-profile pass-rusher to a one-year, $12.5 million deal in September, but he has yet to record a sack, and he has played in just under 67% of the team’s defensive snaps this season. Outside linebacker Tuzar Skipper was elevated from the practice squad with Clowney going out. As a team, the Titans have registered just 11 sacks this season, the second-fewest in the NFL.