The NFL, already fighting to preserve its popularity with a divided fan base, lost two superstars Sunday.
The winless New York Giants will be without receiver Odell Beckham Jr. for the rest of the year, while three-time defensive player of the year J.J. Watt suffered a season-ending injury for the second straight season.
Beckham needs surgery on his broken left ankle, the Giants said Monday, and he was put on injured reserve with fellow receiver Dwayne Harris, who fractured a foot in Sunday’s loss to the Chargers. Beckham had a team-high 25 catches for 302 yards.
Receivers Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard also suffered ankle injuries on the same series. Marshall said late Monday that he would undergo season-ending surgery. Shepard is listed as day to day. The Giants re-signed Tavarres King and signed Travis Rudolph off their practice squad to help wide receiver Roger Lewis Jr. for Sunday’s game in Denver, though coach Ben McAdoo said there are no plans to re-sign fan favorite Victor Cruz, who was released after last season.
McAdoo knows the Giants (0-5) have basically no chance of making the playoffs for a second straight year. “Everyone is disappointed,” he said.
The Houston Texans, however, remain in the hunt in the AFC South thanks to dynamic rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson. But they face another long stretch without Watt, who fractured his left leg in Sunday’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, and also lost linebacker Whitney Mercilus for the season with a torn pectoral muscle.
Watt, who was returning from back surgery, had 15 tackles but no sacks. Mercilus had 10 tackles and a sack. The Texans will again lean on Jadaveon Clowney, who carried the defense last season and has 16 tackles, three sacks and returned a fumble for a touchdown.
“You don’t replace J.J. Watt or Whitney Mercilus with one guy. That’s just ridiculous. It’s going to be a lot of different guys that are going to chip in to help,” coach Bill O’Brien said.
Chiefs receiver Chris Conley also is out for the season after rupturing his left Achilles tendon Sunday.
Carr expected to go
Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is expected to play Sunday against the Chargers after missing their loss to the Baltimore Ravens with a back injury.
EJ Manuel started in Carr’s place Sunday and passed for 159 yards and a touchdown, but Oakland gave up gave up 365 yards and 30 points in losing a third straight game.
Bills’ Clay sidelined
Buffalo Bills tight end Charles Clay is out indefinitely after left knee surgery.
Clay, who suffered a torn meniscus and sprained medial collateral ligament according to multiple reports, is second on the team with 20 catches, first with 258 receiving yards, and tied for the lead with two touchdowns.
Asked if he’d start Sunday against New Orleans, Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford told local radio “I don’t know yet,” as he reportedly nurses hamstring and ankle injuries. He’s started every game since 2011. ... The Lions released defensive end Armonty Bryant. ... The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed kicker Patrick Murray to replace struggling Nick Folk, who was put on injured reserve. ... The Minnesota Vikings released running back Stevan Ridley, making room for receiver Michael Floyd. ... Raiders defensive tackle Darius Latham was banned four games for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.