It’s a miracle for NFL players to finish a season without missing any games due to physical inability.
They play one of the most violent sports globally and any play can lead to season or career-ending injuries.
These players train hard every day to prepare their bodies for the impact they will take.
But no training regimen can withstand the hard hits they endure for 60 minutes.
The 2021 NFL season is no different as injuries continue to pile up for all teams.
However, not all injuries are equal, and three of them had a massive impact on their squads and the league.
3. Michael Thomas
The New Orleans Saints wide receiver will miss the entire 2021 season due to an ankle injury.
However, it shouldn’t be that way if he got treatment for his injury earlier.
Michael Thomas believed that his condition would naturally heal and got a second opinion to validate his belief.
The delay in treatment left the Saints with no other choice but to place him on injured reserve.
Saints players either currently hurt or out for the year:
— Chris Rosvoglou (@RosvoglouReport) November 23, 2021
Unfortunately, recent setbacks during his recovery left the team with no choice but to declare him out for the season.
His presence could have helped a struggling Saints franchise that is yet to win since Jameis Winston went down to injury.
Having him healthy gives Trevor Siemian a legitimate downfield runner who can stretch the field quickly.
When you worry about the Taysom Hill signing, just remember this is the team that handled Michael Thomas perfectly.
— Andy Holloway (@andyholloway) November 26, 2021
Instead, the Saints offense looks limited, as shown in their recent game against the Buffalo Bills.
Their situation could be different if Thomas handled his injury differently.
2. Derrick Henry
It’s hard to imagine Derrick Henry falling to injury because he is an imposing physical specimen.
Defensive linemen and linebackers cannot slow him down once he finds an open gap.
Cornerbacks and safeties do not stand a chance when he unleashes his stiff arm.
The former Alabama running back led the league in rushing yards and touchdowns before suffering a foot ailment.
"There is optimism that [Derrick Henry] will be back early January. That is perfect timing for this team for playoffs to begin."@diannaESPN fully believes that the Tennessee Titans are the best team in the AFC.
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) November 18, 2021
Initially, the Tennessee Titans found ways to soften the blows of his absence.
They won two more games thanks to their defense.
However, not having Henry in the backfield might be catching up with Tennessee after losing two games.
The Titans dominated the run game in their Week 12 game against the New England Patriots.
Derrick Henry has missed 4 of 12 games, but is still ranks:
-2nd in rush yards (937)
-4th in rush TDs (10)
-2nd in yards after contact (728)
-5th in missed tackles forced (33)
-3rd in rush 1st downs (49)
-8th in all-purpose yards (1,091)
👑 #Titans pic.twitter.com/CjXu9zQtyt
— Wes on Broadway (@TitansDraftTape) November 30, 2021
Sadly, not having the reigning Offensive Player of the Year derailed their scoring against the Houston Texans and the Patriots.
But even if he hasn’t played since Week 8, he is still second in rushing yards and fourth in touchdowns this season.
His injury has a massive effect and the Titans are having difficulties punching the ball through the end zone.
1. Christian McCaffrey
They had no problems scoring when the second-generation NFL player dominated on both passing and receiving plays.
Unfortunately, he caught the injury bug this season and returned to action briefly.
Now, he’s out for the season because of an ankle injury.
Christian McCaffrey and Michael Thomas essentially never got off the ground this season. Honestly just a bummer, overall, for NFL fans (but even moreso for the players themselves). That’s essentially two seasons for two stars completely undone by similar injuries.
— Jeff Nowak (@Jeff_Nowak) November 29, 2021
McCaffrey played seven games this year, which is an increase from the three games he had in 2020.
What a sad turn of events for a running back who missed all but three games last year.
Without him, the Panthers offense looks lost as Newton finished with five completions for 92 yards and two interceptions in Week 12.
His NFL future in Carolina looks bleak, and the team will continue to struggle without him.