From Steve Smith and Le’Veon Bell, to a pair of Pro Bowl defenders in Cleveland, it was another rough day for injuries to some of the NFL’s biggest stars.
Smith tore his Achilles and is out for the season, Bell is is expected to be put on season-ending injured reserve with a knee injury, cornerback Joe Haden and safety Donte Whitner each got concussions for the Browns and Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick left the game against Oakland with an injured left thumb in a grim Week 8.
No injury, however, was scarier than when Ricardo Lockette went down.
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The Seattle Seahawks receiver was covering a punt when he was blasted by Cowboys safety Jeff Heath. He lay motionless for quite a while as teammates gathered around him and knelt in prayer. Lockette was carted off after a lengthy delay, but ultimately came away with a concussion and had movement in all of his extremities.
"He’s got a sore neck, and figure out what that all means," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "But we’re grateful he’s been able to bounce back from that, and he’s pretty positive right now."
While Lockette appeared to have escaped the worst-case scenario, Smith wasn’t able to say the same.
The Baltimore Ravens receiver was tackled by Chargers cornerback Jason Verrett on a 17-yard catch and needed to be helped off the field. Smith came into the game as Baltimore’s leading receiver with 41 receptions for 588 yards and three touchdowns.
In Pittsburgh, Bell’s right knee twisted awkwardly underneath him during a tackle by linebacker Vontaze Burfict. He didn’t put any weight on the leg as he was helped to a cart and taken from the field, a development that overshadowed Ben Roethlisberger’s return from a four-game injury absence.
Bell entered the week fifth in the NFL in rushing with 511 yards despite missing the first two games because of a suspension.
"It’s always an emotional blow when you lose any guy, let alone a guy and a star like Le’Veon Bell," running back D’Angelo Williams said.
In London, Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson injured an ankle while making his biggest catch of the day, a 30-yard sideline grab to the Kansas City 47. Johnson was well covered by the Chiefs’ Sean Smith but outjumped the cornerback to make the catch. Johnson limped off the field with 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Saints running back Khiry Robinson was carted off with an ugly injury to his lower right leg against the Giants.
Robinson left the field with his leg in an air cast, leaving the Saints with three healthy running backs: Mark Ingram, C.J. Spiller and rookie Marcus Murphy.
In other injury news:
–Jets backup QB Geno Smith had to leave the game briefly with injuries to his left shoulder and abdomen.
— 49ers RB Reggie Bush left in the first half with a knee injury.
— Bears RB Matt Forte left the game in the third quarter with a knee injury.
— Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant left with a lower back injury in the third quarter.
— Bears WR Eddie Royal left with a knee injury.
— Giants TE Larry Donnell injured his neck. Running back Orleans Darkwa left with a back injury.
— 49ers TE Garrett Celek had a concussion and safety L.J. McCray left with a knee injury.