Analysis

9/2/23

5 min read

10 Most Impactful NFL Preseason Injuries of 2023

Miami Dolphins cornerback Jalen Ramsey

NFL coaches and general managers would rather lose an August preseason game than lose a player for any length of time. The most vital element of the summer is staying healthy.

When injuries hit, particularly to stars, the damage can last far beyond the seasonā€™s kickoff. Sometimes, the impact is felt all the way through the schedule.

As Hall of Famer Bill Parcells always said, ā€œI can only coach the guys I have.ā€ Here are 10 players teams might not have to start the season ā€” or wonā€™t have at all ā€” and their absences or limited availabilities are sure to have an effect in 2023.

Most Impactful Preseason Injuries

Chuck Clark, S, New York Jets

Chuck Clark went out during OTAs. This is not the worst-case scenario because it allows more recovery time to return for the regular season. Unfortunately, he tore an ACL and is done for 2023. The New York Jets brought him in to be a starter, banking on Clarkā€™s experience with the Baltimore Ravens and his leadership skills in a young secondary. They wonā€™t have any of that this year.

Nyheim Hines, RB, Buffalo Bills

The versatile Nyheim Hines had perhaps the weirdest injury for any NFL player this year. He was seated on a stationary jet ski when struck by another jet ski, tearing up his knee and sidelining him. Hines, who spent nine games with the Buffalo Bills in 2022 without much of a role, was projected to offer a steady target out of the backfield for Josh Allen ā€” a change-of-pace guy. That wonā€™t be happening this season.

Marlon Humphrey, CB, Baltimore Ravens

One of the top cornerbacks in the league during the past six seasons, foot problems that required August surgery set back the three-time Pro Bowler. The Ravens are confident he will be back within the first month of the schedule, so he remains on the active roster. Baltimore faces each of its rivals in the tough AFC North within the first five weeks, so a quick recovery for Marlon Humphrey would be significant, and a slow recovery could be devastating.Ā 

Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Seattle Seahawks

This first-round selection could elevate the Seattle Seahawksā€™ passing game toward the top of the mountain, combining with DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett in a division there for the taking should Seattle build on its impressive 2022 season. But the Ohio State product fractured his wrist in late August. Jaxon Smith-Njigba returned to practice on a limited basis, but his availability is uncertain for the early portion of the schedule.

Tim Patrick, WR, Denver Broncos

This is the saddest of them all. Tim Patrick was emerging as a top-flight target for the Denver Broncos, then he tore his ACL a year ago and missed the entire season. During this summerā€™s training camp, Patrick tore his Achilles tendon, a career-threatening injury. He likely would have been a complementary receiver in 2023, but Russell Wilson needs all the help he can get to turn things around, and Patrick wonā€™t be around.

Scott Quessenberry, OL, Houston Texans

The Houston Texans are breaking in the No. 2 overall draft pick, C.J. Stroud, at quarterback. Consider that veteran Scott Quessenberry could be a calming influence and influencer for Stroud. Remember how damaging the loss of center Ryan Jensen was to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season ā€” and they had Tom Brady at quarterback.

Jalen Ramsey, CB, Miami Dolphins

Certainly, the most renowned player on our list, Jalen Ramsey, damaged his meniscus and underwent surgery. The Miami Dolphins acquired the six-time Pro Bowler with the idea of combining him with four-time Pro Bowler Xavien Howard and having two shutdown cornerbacks. That could happen, but it is not likely before November. Ramsey is also coming off one of his weaker campaigns in 2022.

Haason Reddick, Edge, Philadelphia Eagles

A broken thumb shouldnā€™t be too debilitating for Haason Reddick, a sack master in Philly who is a significant cog in what might be the best defense east of San Francisco. Still, what if he canā€™t complete the tackles (and sacks) he regularly made as an All-Pro? Besides, the Philadelphia Eagles lost two important starters in free agency and canā€™t afford any steps backward on defense.Ā 

Kansas City Chiefs Kadarius Toney

Kadarius Toney, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

A bust with the New York Giants who found Nirvana with the Kansas City Chiefs ā€“ who doesnā€™t with Patrick Mahomes throwing them the ball? ā€“ Kadarius Toney could be the No. 1 target when healthy. Instead, there are questions about his productivity coming off a partially torn meniscus. Toney has been a relatively slow healer in the pros, and with JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman gone from Kansas City, the Chiefs could use a healthy Toney.

Trai Turner, OL, New Orleans Saints

A quadriceps problem will force veteran guard Trai Turner to miss the season. He was hurt in the third training camp practice. His injury throws a wrench in the functioning of the offensive line. Turner is a five-time Pro Bowler during his nine-year career, but a 10th season of play in the NFL might have to wait until 2024.


Barry Wilner was a sportswriter for the Associated Press for 46 years. He has covered virtually every major sporting event, including 14 Olympics, 9 World Cups, 34 Super Bowls, the World Series, and the Stanley Cup Final, and has written 75 books. Follow him on TwitterĀ @Wilner88.


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