The Denver Broncos could be looking at a long time without Wes Welker after the star receiver suffered his third concussion in the past two seasons.
Welker, who was diagnosed with a two concussions last year in the span of four games, suffered another one in his team’s 18-17 loss on Saturday night to the Houston Texans. Welker took a hit from Texans safety D.J. Swearinger during the game and went down hard.
Afterward, Denver coach Jon Fox was revealing little about the severity on the injury.
“It was determined it was a concussion,” Fox said. “He’ll go through the protocol. The biggest thing on him is, of course, player safety. He’ll go through the protocol.”
“We’ll leave that to the medical people and he won’t come back until he’s ready to come back,” Fox added.
Replays of the hit showed that Swearinger hit Wes Welker in the head with his forearm and shoulder, a hit the Texans safety said was unavoidable.
“I led with my shoulder; that’s the only thing I can do,” Swearinger said. “He’s a short guy. I led with my shoulder. The results are the results and that’s all I can do on that play.”
Though there is not yet an idea of how long Wes Welker could be gone with the concussion, the Denver Broncos could be fearing the worst. The NFL’s new, stricter concussion policies require Welker to pass a series of rigorous tests before he is deemed eligible to play, and other players who have suffered multiple concussions within a short time frame have struggled to come back.
ESPN writer Jeff Legald explains:
According to the league’s concussion protocol, even if a player is symptom-free the day following his concussion, he can return only to light exercise three days after the hit and only in non-contact portions of practice four days after the hit. The quickest a player, who is symptom-free the day after suffering the concussion, can return to a full contact practice is five days after the hit and the player has to show no symptoms compared to his base-line testing the day after the hit to even be on that timetable.
The Denver Broncos could now be forced to look for wide receiver help if Wes Welker were to miss significant time. The team already suffered the loss of Jordan Norwood, a receiver projected to make the team, and now may be without the No. 2 threat behind Demaryius Thomas as well.