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NFL Spine Injury Roundup: Week 6

This week, there were more serious back and neck injuries than we saw last week. On a positive note, several players returned this week from concussions. Let’s take a look at where these players stand.


Baltimore Ravens – Kamar Aiken (Wide Receiver) – While Aiken did pick up the first touchdown of his NFL career during Sunday’s game, he left during the third quarter with a concussion and did not return. He is currently being monitored under NFL protocol.

Carolina Panthers – Josh Norman (Cornerback) – Norman missed the Week 6 game due to a concussion he sustained during last Sunday’s game.

New England Patriots – Bryan Stork (Center) – Stork sustained a concussion during the team’s practice on Thursday, and had to sit out for Sunday’s game. NFL concussion protocol indicates that a player must gradually return to exercise and play, and there was simply not enough time for Stork to complete protocol before Sunday.

Oakland Raiders – Nick Roach (Linebacker) – Roach sustained a serious concussion during a preseason game and has not played at all during the regular season. Roach has had trouble with vision and balance and has seen concussion specialists. The Raiders placed him on injured reserve, and he is expected to return next season.

San Diego Chargers – Donald Brown (Running Back) – Brown left last week’s game with a concussion and also had to sit out this week.

Washington Redskins – David Amerson (Cornerback) – Amerson was taken to the locker room to be evaluated for a concussion during Sunday’s game and did not return.

Returning from Concussions

Arizona Cardinals – Drew Stanton (Quarterback) – Stanton left the field with a concussion during the Week 5 game. Stanton, the Cardinals’ backup quarterback, was cleared to play this week, but Carson Palmer, Arizona’s starting quarterback, was cleared to play as well following a shoulder injury, so Stanton was not needed for the Week 6 game.

Chicago Bears – Jeremiah Ratliff (Defensive Tackle) – Week 6 was Ratliff’s first game back after he sustained a concussion during Week 2. Ratliff helped the defense to hold Atlanta to only 42 rushing yards.

Cincinnati Bengals – Vontaze Burfict (Linebacker) – Burfict also returned for Week 6 after suffering a concussion during both the first and second weeks of the season. Unfortunately, Burfict once again sustained a blow to the head during Sunday’s game, but a concussion was ruled out after testing, and Burfict returned to the game.

Detroit Lions – Joique Bell (Running Back) – Bell had previously sustained a concussion during Week 4, and was able to return with great success for Sunday’s game, helping his team take the win.

Jacksonville Jaguars – Dwayne Gratz (Cornerback) – Gratz was also cleared to play this week after a concussion during Week 4. However, Gratz was benched for Sunday’s game in favor of his replacement, Demetrius McCray, and will have to fight to win back the starting position.

Tennessee Titans – Blidi Wreh-Wilson (Cornerback) – Wreh-Wilson returned for Sunday’s game following a Week 4 concussion. The break seems to have been good for him, as his game improved notably, and caught the first interception of his NFL career.

Back Injuries

New York Giants – Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (Cornerback) – Rodgers-Cromartie left during the first half of Sunday’s game with back spasms and didn’t return. He was also on the injury list last week due to ankle and hamstring issues. While nothing has been confirmed as of yet, it is a possibility that the back injury could be related to the hamstring injury.

San Francisco 49ers – Vernon Davis (Tight End) – Davis has been out for the past two games with a back injury. While he is expected to play in this week’s Monday night game, he is still listed as questionable, so there is a chance he may have to sit out again.

St. Louis Rams – Barrett Jones (Center) – The Rams are playing against the 49ers in the Monday night game, and like Vernon Davis, Jones is listed as questionable with a back injury.

Returning from Back Injuries

Miami Dolphins – Randy Starks (Defensive Tackle) – Starks returned from a back injury following last week’s bye week. Starks was among five Dolphins players who returned this week, and although the Dolphins ultimately lost, it was a close game.

Neck Injuries

Chicago Bears – D.J. Williams (Linebacker) – Williams was listed as questionable this week with a neck injury, and did not play in this week’s game. He had been dealing with a neck injury for a couple weeks, but was listed as probable early last week. It is not clear why he was downgraded to questionable.

Green Bay Packers – Jamari Lattimore (Linebacker) – Lattimore sustained a neck injury during the first half of the Packers’ game on Sunday. While he did not need any assistance to go to the locker room, he was out for the rest of the game.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Johnthan Banks (Cornerback) – Banks suffered from a neck injury last week, and although he participated in limited practice Friday, he was ruled out for the game this weekend.

Returning from Neck Injuries

Buffalo Bills – Ron Brooks (Cornerback) – Fortunately, Brooks’ very concerning land on his head during a play last week did not result in any major head or neck injuries. There was initially some concern that Brooks’ neck was injured, but he was discharged last week after observation and was allowed to play this week.

Follow me on Twitter @GleiberMD for weekly NFL spine injury updates.