Blaine Gabbert Injures Non-Throwing Shoulder and We Compare 2011 Injuries with 2012
By: Kim O'Hara | Posted: October 23, 2012
Source: Jaguars QB Blaine Gabbert awaiting second opinion, appears to have torn labrum non-throwing shoulder. Game status TBD. #nfl— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) October 23, 2012
It remains unofficial as he pursues a second opinion with Dr. James Andrews, but sure looks like Jacksonville quarterback Blaine Gabbert has a torn labrum in his left (non-throwing) shoulder. There’s been speculation as to how much time he may miss with the injury. Although a painful non-throwing shoulder is better than the alternative, it can still absolutely inhibit a quarterback’s success. Tennessee quarterback Jake Locker has been out over a month with an injury to his non-throwing shoulder; the Titans have the luxury of a competent veteran in Matt Hasselbeck, who has led the team to two consecutive victories.
The Jaguars aren’t likely to fare quite as well, should Gabbert be subjected to an extended absence. For as much flak that’s been tossed the second year player’s way in his brief career, he has improved in 2012. His backup, Chad Henne, inherited a 17-3 lead over Oakland when Gabbert was injured in the second quarter. Henne proceeded to throw for 71 yards, completing less than half of his passes, and the Jaguars ultimately lost in overtime. Throw in a foot injury for running back Maurice Jones-Drew, and a troubled Jaguars season has broached disaster territory.
While we await word on Gabbert and Jones-Drew, we at TFG starting thinking about this time last year, and how many more injuries there seemed to be. Through seven weeks of play in 2012, 94 players are listed on season-ending injured reserve. By comparison, through just four weeks in the 2011 season, 135 players had been diagnosed with season-ending injuries. That’s three weeks less in the injury count, but 41 more players injured. Working on the most basic of projections, Week 14 of this season could be looking at 188 players on IR. Week 14 in 2011? 274 players had gone on IR. That’s not including the final week injuries to players like Adrian Peterson and Rashard Mendenhall, either.
There are two key contributing factors to the decline of injuries in 2012. The first, and most obvious, is the new amendment to the injured reserve rule. Players can now be placed on IR designated for return, meaning they have six to eight weeks to heal and return to the active roster. This gives teams the opportunity to allow their players to recover without wasting a spot on the 53-man roster. Injuries that could have ostensibly been rehabbed in eight weeks have historically resulted in an injured reserve label; teams weren’t likely to tie up a roster spot on a player not guaranteed to return, particularly role players who were less difficult to replace.
The lockout is the other contributing factor. Specific statistics proving this theory are difficult to come by, but a spike in season-ending injuries after a missed offseason probably isn’t a total coincidence. Players were unable to train and condition in a team environment with team-affiliated staff, and many appeared to have paid the price.
While we certainly wish all injured players the best in their recovery, we’re thrilled to see a marked decline in injuries at this point in the season, a trend we hope continues in the second half of the season.
Kim O'Hara is the Associate Editor of TheFootballGirl.com. She is an avid fan of sports in general, but the NFL in particular. She has also been a contributor to ESPN the Magazine. Follow her on Twitter: @arahomik
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