NFL injury notebook: Bucs fear TE Howard done for season
Tom Brady might need to lean on old friend Rob Gronkowski a little harder now.
O.J. Howard, to whom Brady threw the third of his five touchdown passes in Tampa Bay’s 38-31 win over the visiting Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, suffered an Achilles injury in the fourth quarter, and coach Bruce Arians fears it is a season-ending ruptured tendon.
If he is indeed out for the season, the fourth-year tight end would finish 2020 with 11 catches for 146 yards and a pair of scores. Gronkowski, who came out of retirement in the offseason to join Brady in Tampa Bay, has nine grabs for 88 yards without a score through four games.
The Bucs were also without injured running back Leonard Fournette (ankle) and receiver Chris Godwin (hamstring). Arians told reporters he believes Fournette could be ready for Thursday night’s game against Chicago, but does not think Godwin will play.
Tampa Bay also lost running backs LeSean McCoy (ankle) and Kenjon Barner (concussion) during the game, but there was no word yet on their status for Week 5.
–Despite thrashing the Cowboys 49-38 in Dallas, the Cleveland Browns are still feeling anxiety as they await the results of an MRI exam on running back Nick Chubb’s right knee.
Coach Kevin Stefanski said after the game Chubb will undergo the exam Monday. Chubb got his leg rolled up by Dallas’ Trysten Hill while he was pass blocking in the first quarter and did not return to the game.
The Browns still ran for more than 300 yards in the win, with D’Enrest Johnson rushing for 95 yards and Kareem Hunt adding 71 yards and two scores. Chubb, 24, tore three ligaments in his left knee in college at Georgia, though not his ACL.
–Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler reportedly could miss multiple weeks because of a hyperextended knee and hamstring injury that he sustained early in the loss to the Buccaneers.
Ekeler reportedly wore a brace on the knee and walked on crutches after the game in which he finished with two carries for 12 yards and one reception for 2 yards. The Chargers plan to have Ekeler undergo an MRI exam on Monday to determine the severity of the injury.
The Chargers are scheduled to visit the New Orleans Saints in Week 5 for a Monday night game.
–The Jacksonville Jaguars had a painful day in Cincinnati. Along with becoming the first team to lose to the Bengals this season, the Jaguars lost several players on both sides of the ball.
Rookie cornerback CJ Henderson sustain a shoulder injury in the first quarter, while veteran linebacker Myles Jack injured his ankle in the second quarter. Tight end Tyler Eifert (concussion), corner D.J. Hayden (hamstring) and offensive tackle Cam Robinson (knee) were all injured in the fourth quarter. None of the five players returned to the game following their injuries.
–Houston tight end Jordan Akins sustained a concussion in the second quarter of his team’s loss to Minnesota after Vikings safety Harrison Smith delivered a helmet-to-helmet hit on a pass over the middle. Akins held on to the ball for a 26-yard completion and Smith was ejected from the game. … Saints All-Pro tackle Ryan Ramczyk left New Orleans’ game in Detroit midway through the third quarter with what was reported to be a concussion.
–Indianapolis linebacker Darius Leonard missed the second half of the Colts’ home win over Chicago with a groin injury. Coach Frank Reich did not provide an update on Leonard’s status after the game. … Philadelphia lost safety Rudy Ford and linebacker T.J. Edwards to game-ending hamstring injuries Sunday night at San Francisco.
–Field Level Media