Despite a Cowboys comeback, a near upset of the Chiefs and another Ravens romp, it was hard not to see injuries as the biggest story of Week 2 of the N.F.L., which began without a slate of preseason games. The long list was topped by several star players, and some of them are unlikely to be seen on the field again this season. And at least one team, the San Francisco 49ers, was hit with a staggering toll. Here’s the rundown.
Christian McCaffrey, RB, Panthers
The injury. McCaffrey scored his second touchdown of the game in the fourth quarter against the Buccaneers, but got up slowly and walked off gingerly. He did not return.
The prognosis. McCaffrey sounded hopeful after the game, but ESPN reported Monday that he would miss “multiple weeks” with a high ankle sprain. “They say four to six weeks. Well, that’s a challenge to me. And I’m gonna attack it, like I attack anything else,” McCaffrey said in an interview with the The Athletic.
The cost. McCaffrey is coming off two consecutive 1,000-yard seasons and has been the Panthers’ only significant rushing option — and one of the team’s most consistent receiving options. Last season he had 1,387 rushing yards; the next best Panther had 130.
The backup. Next on the depth chart is Mike Davis, a six-year veteran with 10 career starts.
Saquon Barkley, RB, Giants
The injury. Barkley was tackled at the sideline early in the second quarter against the Bears and had to be helped off the field.
The prognosis. Barkley tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, the Giants said Monday, and will have surgery to repair it. Such an injury almost certainly means an end to his season.
The cost. Barkley was the No. 2 pick over all in 2018 and ran for 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons. He is the Giants’ chief offensive weapon and their marquee player.
The backup. Dion Lewis presumably becomes the team’s top option at running back, but the Giants planned to try out the free agent Devonta Freeman, according to NFL.com. Freeman last played for the Atlanta Falcons.
Several San Francisco 49ers
Nick Bosa, DE. After joining in on a group tackle early in the game, Bosa was carted off the field. A torn A.C.L. was suspected, which would very likely end his season.
A No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 draft, Bosa was the defensive rookie of the year last season and a key part of the defense that helped carry the Niners to the Super Bowl. The team is likely to take a look at its options in free agency, notably Ziggy Ansah, who played for the Seahawks last season.
Jimmy Garoppolo, QB. Garoppolo was hit in the back of the leg early in the game against the Jets. He finished the half 14-of-16 for 131 yards, but limped at times. With his team ahead, 21-3, Garoppolo did not return for the second half.
Coach Kyle Shanahan said Garoppolo, who led the 49ers to a 13-3 record and a trip to the Super Bowl last season, had a high ankle sprain and was likely to sit out at least next week.
His backup, Nick Mullens, was 8-of-11 for 71 yards and an interception.
Raheem Mostert, RB. Mostert had a 76-yard touchdown catch in Week 1 and an 80-yard touchdown run in Week 2 before going down with a strained M.C.L. The team was hopeful that the injury was mild. Tevin Coleman, another running back, also hurt his knee in the 49ers win.
Solomon Thomas, DT. Like Bosa, it appeared that Thomas torn his A.C.L., though it might be less severe. Thomas had just earned a starting spot on the defensive line in his fourth season since being drafted with the No. 3 overall pick in 2017.
Courtland Sutton, WR, Broncos
The injury. The Broncos’ Pro Bowl receiver missed the season opener with an injury to the AC joint in his shoulder. A similar injury also took out Denver’s starting quarterback, Drew Lock, in Week 2 against the Steelers.
Lock’s replacement, Jeff Driskel, threw a pass that went through Sutton’s hands and was picked off by Steelers defender Joe Haden. Sutton then chased Haden down, tearing his A.C.L. in the process.
The prognosis. Sutton is out for the season while Lock’s sprained AC joint will cause him to miss two to six weeks.
The cost. Sutton led the Broncos in receiving yards in 2019, a big blow to a team that had already lost Pro Bowler Von Miller (ankle) in training camp, and RB Phillip Lindsay and CB A.J. Bouye in the second half of Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh.
The backup. Driskel was 18-of-34 for 256 yards after Lock left early in the 26-21 loss. In spot starts for the Bengals and the Lions over the last two years he is 1-7 with poor passing numbers.
Tavon Young, DB, Ravens
The injury. Early in the game he jumped to block a pass and landed hard, injuring a knee. He did not return.
The prognosis. Coach John Harbaugh said he expected that Young’s season was over.
The cost. This will be the third season that Young, an important player for the Ravens, has largely missed. All of 2017 was lost to a torn A.C.L., and 2019 to a neck injury.
The backup. ESPN reported that a combination of Anthony Averett, Jimmy Smith, and Marlon Humphrey could pick up Young’s lost snaps.
Malik Hooker, S, Colts
The injury. After losing running back Marlon Mack to an Achilles tear in the first half of a Week 1 loss to the Jaguars, the Colts’ safety Malik Hooker went down with the same injury in a 20-11 win over the Vikings in Week 2.
The prognosis. Out for the season.
The cost. Hooker has not lived up to expectations for the Colts since being drafted in 2017, although the coaching staff talked up his chances of having a good 2020. Hooker, like Mack, is in the final year of his contract after the Colts decided not to pick up his fifth-year option.
The backup. Rookie Julian Blackmon substituted for Hooker in the second half.
Benjamin Hoffman contributed reporting.