Week 14 Injury Watch: Philip Rivers to play through turf toe

Kyle Trimble is a licensed physical therapist here to provide NFL injury analysis. Read his Week 14 Injury Watch, with this week’s updates on Indianapolis Colts QB Philip Rivers, Cincinnati Bengals WR Tee Higgins, Philadelphia Eagles T Jason Peters, and Pittsburgh Steelers LB Bud Dupree.

For an update on Washington Football Team running back Antonio Gibson‘s toe injury, click here.

Week 14 Injury Watch

Philip Rivers, QB, Indianapolis Colts: Right plantar plate rupture

Philip Rivers is reportedly dealing with a severe turf toe injury sustained in Week 11 against Green Bay. More specifically, he is dealing with a plantar plate rupture in his right foot.

Turf toe is a hyperextension of the great toe resulting in a sprain that creates instability within the joint. A plantar plate rupture is a tearing of the metatarsophalangeal joint, leading to instability during pushing off the foot.


Biological diagram of turf toe (Moore Foot & Ankle Specialists)

This will make basic activities such as running, jumping, and even walking difficult as the great toe allows for effective push off to propel forward. The plantar plate is roughly around the balls of the feet and connects to the plantar fascia to allow for the toes to extend while keeping the foot rigid for effective push off. He can play with a rigid sole and tape to support the area, but it still does not eliminate the difficulty with mobility.

While Rivers is not known as a mobile quarterback, the inability to scramble may be hindered as evident by getting sacked 3 times, a season high, against Houston. Fortunately, the toe does not appear to hinder his ability to throw which should bode well for the Colts offense.

Already with the loss of LT Anthony Castonzo, Rivers may struggle down the stretch with pressure in the pocket from back to back weeks of J.J. Watt and T.J. Watt of the Texans and Steelers, respectively. Add in the loss of backup tackle Le’Raven Clark to a torn Achilles. This will be something to watch as the Colts attempt to keep pace in the AFC South and secure a playoff berth.

Bud Dupree, LB, Pittsburgh Steelers: Right ACL tear

The Steelers were dealt bad news last Wednesday afternoon as linebacker Bud Dupree went down with what is now confirmed as an ACL tear in his right knee. Add insult to injury, they then proceeded to lose to Washington Monday night by a score of 23-17.

If you’ve been following The Game Day for a while, you know that almost weekly there has been an ACL tear, ending someone’s season prematurely.

Sustaining this injury late in December makes a return to play in Week 1 difficult.

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He could be ready by then, but starting off on PUP to allow Dupree to continue to work back into shape may be the best approach for 2021. The longer a player waits after the 9-month mark to return, they have a 7 times less chance they have to re-tear their ACL.

The Steelers, already without Devin Bush lost to the same injury earlier this season, may falter down the stretch due to losing 2 out of their 3 starters from this season. This could be an opportunity to win some money betting against Pittsburgh especially with opponents such as Buffalo, Indianapolis, and Cleveland in the coming weeks.

Jason Peters, OT, Philadelphia Eagles: Dislocated, fractured toe

It was reported last week that future HOF tackle Jason Peters is playing through a broken and dislocated toe that will eventually require surgery in the offseason.

He is likely dealing with an injury to the great toe which is essential for driving forward on the balls of the feet in blocking to protect Carson Wentz.


Eagles T Jason Peters (71) against the Cincinnati Bengals during overtime at Lincoln Financial Field. (USA TODAY Sports)

Peters has had the toe relocated and stabilized so he can finish the season but even a move inside to right guard still hampers his ability to stay engaged with his block and create lanes for the running game.

Considering Wentz gets sacked at least 3 times a game (except Week 2), an injured Peters may be better than some of the options available to the Eagles at this moment. If you haven’t already, don’t trust Miles Sanders and the Eagles running game.

A Peters absence also could make Jalen Hurts‘ life more difficult — especially against the dangerous Saints defense in Week 14 — as he takes the starting job from Carson Wentz.

Tee Higgins, WR, Cincinnati Bengals: Hamstring

Tee Higgins tweaked his hamstring late in the 4th quarter of Sunday’s loss to the Dolphins while jumping over a defender. Details are scarce on the severity of the injury, but this will be something to watch in the coming days as the Bengals prepare to face the Cowboys on Sunday.

Each team handles hamstring strains differently which makes this tricky how to project him for Week 14. Looking at the Bengals injury report, several other players have sustained hamstring strains, missing anywhere from 0-2 games this season.

Those timelines fit what research indicates to miss for a hamstring strain. If this is indeed a tweak and more precautionary, then it’s quite possible he plays despite the injury.

Despite the Bengals woeful record, Higgins is having a strong rookie season statistically even with multiple quarterbacks behind center. He will be someone to watch on the practice reports to see whether he plays Sunday as he charges towards the Bengals rookie reception and yardage records and remains fantasy relevant.

Kyle Trimble is a licensed physical therapist who also works as an injury spotter for Dr. David Chao. Kyle has extensive experience in outpatient orthopedics, skilled nursing, acute care hospital, and home care. He’s also a member of Bills Mafia and runs the website Banged Up Bills.

Disclaimer from Kyle: My opinions are my own. Any thoughts I have on the injuries are based on media reports, my knowledge of the injury, and speculation based on the information currently available including video and print media. This information is subject to change based on the information released by the team.

After reading about the Week 14 Injury Watch:

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