Week 7 Injury Watch: Taylor Lewan, Devin Bush, more


Kyle Trimble is a licensed physical therapist here to provide NFL injury analysis. In the Week 7 Injury Watch, he’ll go over some important season-ending injuries, including Devin Bush and Taylor Lewan, while also assessing significant offensive players on the mend.

Week 7 Injury Watch


Pittsburgh LB Devin Bush: torn ACL

Bush broke the hearts of Steelers fans everywhere Sunday when he went down with a “significant knee injury.” It was later confirmed as a torn ACL in his left knee, ending his 2020 season.

Bush tore the ACL late in the first half trying to tackle Cleveland Browns running back D’Ernest Johnson. The tear occurred when Johnson missed catching his pass, forcing Bush to change direction to avoid a late hit.

As a result, his knee went into the classic valgus position commonly seen with ACL tears.

He is looking at roughly a 9-to-12-month recovery, possibly longer with associated damage.

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Considering Bush plays a position that requires more explosive movements and constant sideline-to-sideline movement, he will have a longer recovery timeline until he is 100%.

He likely will be ready for training camp next season but may not be his old self until possibly the second half of the 2021 season.

Fantasy/Betting Tips: The Steelers’ defense will remain feared even in Bush’s absence, but it’s a big hole to leave behind. -Tim Heaney

Tennessee Titans LT Taylor Lewan: torn ACL

Similar to Bush, Lewan suffered his own ACL tear. This occurred in the third quarter in Week 6 with Lewan hurt but able to walk off under his own power.

He will also have a 9-to-12-month recovery, but he should come back to close to 100% by Week 1.

As an offensive lineman, he works in a smaller space, which is beneficial for his recovery but he needs to ensure that he can move well enough laterally to protect quarterback Ryan Tannehill from edge defenders.

Lewan’s recovery shouldn’t be complicated unless there is associated damage such as meniscus or other ligament tears.

Fantasy/Betting Tips: Derrick Henry fantasy managers may have reason to be concerned. Tennessee averages nearly 4 yards a carry to Lewan’s side. Don’t be surprised if Henry’s production dips with the loss of Lewan, though he’ll still have plenty of volume to work with.

Giving Tannehill his normal time to throw may be a bigger issue.

San Francisco 49ers RB Raheem Mostert & Philadelphia Eagles TE Zach Ertz: high-ankle sprain

Mostert and Ertz suffered high-ankle sprains Sunday, ending their day prematurely. Normally ankle sprains can be played through, but a high-ankle issue is more problematic and longer-lasting.

The bottom portion of the tibia and fibula articulate with the talus, which is the top of the foot bones. Together, they make up the ankle complex held together by a syndesmosis, or fibrous joint.

Week 7 Injury Watch: Raheem Mostert, Zach Ertz both dealing with high-ankle sprains
High-ankle sprain (Credit: South Florida Institute of Sports Medicine)

When the injury occurs, the foot is usually forced into external rotation and dorsiflexion, twisting the foot outward and pushing up, driving the talus like a wedge between the tibia and fibula, hence the high ankle sprain.

As a result, there is less stability within the area, and running/jumping is compromised due to the foot continuing to push up against the tibia/fibula, leading to weakness and loss of function.

Ertz is expected to miss at least the next month, and Mostert could potentially be on the same timeline with discussion about going to Injured Reserve (with return designation).

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Research suggests that a player can return from a high-ankle sprain within 2-to-6 weeks, but that varies based on severity and positional demands.

While players can come back after missing 2-to-3 games, their effectiveness is often restricted for the first few contests back; the area is still healing and likely won’t provide the structural support needed to run and cut effectively.

Time spent on IR could help maximize their healing, but time is one factor that cannot be sped up.

Fantasy/Betting Tips: Looking at this from a fantasy perspective, these are players that could be bought low right now with the hopes they recover late in the season for fantasy playoffs — as long as the potential investor has roster spots to play with.

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.

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