Tim Hightower, Willis McGahee, Earnest Graham, Beanie Wells All Injured in Week 7
If you’re a running back and you play in the NFL, chances are you gut hurt on Sunday. Tim Hightower and Earnest Graham suffered season-ending injuries, while Willis McGahee and Beanie Wells sustained injuries that could keep them out a few weeks. Additionally, Marshawn Lynch, Mark Ingram, and Darren McFadden also got nicked. We’ll explore the status of each running back.
Tim Hightower, Redskins: Hightower injured his left knee after planting to make a cut against the Panthers Sunday. Anytime a running back or receiver gets carted off a field with a knee injury, you have to worry about a torn ACL. That was the case for Hightower who is done for the season. Ryan Torain is expected to become the lead back with Roy Helu mixing in as the change of pace guy.
Willis McGahee, Broncos: McGahee broke the fourth metacarpal in his right hand during the third quarter of Sunday’s win at Miami. He had 18 carries for 76 yards before leaving the game. Willis needs surgery on the hand and is likely to miss two weeks. Knowshon Moreno and Lance Ball split carries after the injury, and we expect that to continue with Willis out. Moreno may see slightly more action because he’s also a good pass catcher.
Earnest Graham, Buccaneers: Graham went down suddenly after trying to make a cut, which is never a good sign. It wasn’t; he tore a tendon in his heel and is done for the season. LeGarrette Blount has a sprained MCL that’s caused him to miss two weeks, so he could be back. If not, Kregg Lumpkin will be the team’s primary back. He didn’t do much running Sunday with the Bucs in comeback mode, but he did catch six passes for 37 yards.
Beanie Wells, Cardinals: Beanie hurt his knee trying to block in pass protection on a play. NFL Network’s Jason LaCanfora has termed it a bone bruise, and Wells is expected to miss 1-2 weeks. Alfonso Smith and LaRod Stephens-Howling are likely to split carries next weekend at Baltimore. The Cardinals will hope to have Beanie back week 9 against the Rams. Beanie is clearly a superior talent to either of the two replacements, so Arizona will struggle without him.
Darren McFadden, Raiders: McFadden sprained his foot in the loss to the Chiefs and only carried the ball twice for four yards. Oakland is entering its bye week and hopes McFadden will be healthy in time for week 9. If he’s not ready, bruiser Michael Bush will carry the load with rookie Taiwan Jones getting some looks.
Mark Ingram, Saints: Ingram hurt his heel at the end of the Saints’ blowout win over the Colts. He reportedly had a difficult time walking after the game, and there is concern he may have hurt his tendon. Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles will likely share the load if Ingram misses next week’s game.
Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks: Lynch somehow hurt his back in warmups and did not play against the Cleveland Browns. Coach Pete Carroll says it’s been an issue for Lynch since he’s been with the team and that it flared before the game. Leon Washington had seven rushes for 39 yards while Justin Forsett ran eight times for 23 yards. You can follow the situation and pick up Washington or Forsett for fantasy purposes, but the Seahawks are averaging the second-fewest rushing yards per game this season. Don’t expect much from Lynch or his replacements.