Indications Are Joe Flacco's Feeling OK; Continues 5-Step Concussion Protocol
Early signs are reportedly positive as quarterback Joe Flacco continues through the NFL's five-step concussion protocol after sustaining a vicious hit to his head Thursday night.
"Flacco … was at the Ravens' facility Friday morning and all indications are that he's feeling OK given the circumstances," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec.
"However, concussions are unpredictable with symptoms not necessarily surfacing immediately. The Ravens … will obviously monitor Flacco closely, but they do have time on their side."
Because the game was on Thursday, Flacco has 10 days instead of seven to advance through all five steps. Additionally, Flacco and the rest of the banged-up Ravens have a chance to get healthy as they only play one game over a 23-day span. The bye follows this weekend's matchup against the Tennessee Titans.
Below is an outline of the concussion protocol's five steps that Flacco must pass to prove he's symptom-free and cleared to return to full practice and game action:
1. Rest and recovery: Players may engage in stretching and balancing activities, but they don't work out beyond that. They're advised to avoid time on computers, any electronic device and social media. Participating in team meetings is prohibited.
2. Light aerobic exercise:Players can resume cardiovascular exercises, such as riding a stationary bike, using a treadmill and doing some light weightlifting, but only under the supervision of the team's medical staff. The idea is to introduce straight-line activities that don't involve much head movement. The workload is either gradually increased or halted if concussion-related symptoms recur, including a migraine. Players are permitted to return to team meetings and study film.
3. Continued aerobic exercise and introduction of strength training: Players can begin non-contact individual drills and weight training, but can't participates in 11-on-11 work.
4. Football-specific work: Football activities such as throwing, catching, running and other position-specific activities can resume, but must remain non-contact. That includes with other players, tackling dummies or blocking sleds.
5. Full football activity and clearance: Players can begin practicing with the team again without any limitations. To advance to this stage, players must not only be cleared by team physicians, but also by an independent neurological consultant, who also reviews relevant neurological tests.
"One of the advantages is this happened on a Thursday, and that definitely gives more time," Dr. Erin E. Manning, a neurologist for the Hospital of Special Surgery in New York, told Zrebiec. "It's very difficult for players to come back when there's only a week before games. It's hard to get through the protocol in that time. The 10-day timeline, it seems like it's definitely reasonable, but not everyone responds to concussions in the same way. It's very person dependent. You really can't know [a timetable]. It varies so much from person to person. It's really important to give the brain time to recover after the concussion because it is a brain injury.
"Why there is a slow return to activity is because people may feel fine doing their daily activities but if they try and do light exercise, that can make their symptoms come back."
Announcement on Whether Kiko Alonso Will Be Suspended for Hit on Flacco Expected Today
It's now been four days since Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso's illegal hit to Flacco, and we're still awaiting the league's decision to enforce a fine and/or suspension.
"A source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that neither Alonso nor the Dolphins have been informed of a suspension," wrote Florio. "A suspension nevertheless remains possible. If it's going to happen, it needs to happen soon. Alonso would surely appeal any suspension immediately, and ideally it would all be resolved by the end of the day on Tuesday. So if a suspension is coming, look for it to happen by the end of the day on Monday."
While Alonso has never been fined or suspended for an illegal hit, Shannan Sharpe pointed out in the Fox Sports' "Undisputed" video below that Alonso does have history with hits like this. He knocked Brian Hoyer out for the season when Alonso hit him in the head while the quarterback was sliding feet first. Here's the play.
Because of that history, Sharpe says Alonso deserves to be suspended. ESPN's Adam Schefter told WEEI radio in Boston on Friday that he believes Alonso will be suspended because, while it's a tough play, Alonso could've avoided lowering his shoulder into Flacco's head while he was sliding.
The topic was hotly debated all weekend. Some say it was cheap shot, some say it wasn't dirty but deserves a fine and suspension because it was avoidable and the league is looking to get rid of plays like this, and some say Alonso shouldn't be punished because Flacco was going for a first down and slid too late.
Ndamukong Suh Reportedly Won't Be Suspended, Ryan Mallett Jokes on Social Media
Dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was flagged for two personal foul penalties, and many say there should've been a third, but it sounds like they won't end in a suspension. Instead, a fine is more likely.
"Suh is a repeat offender and easily could have been suspended for his antics on Thursday night, but the league will let him off with a fine," added ProFootballTalk's Michael David Smith.
La Canfora also reported that the Dolphins are looking to move on from Suh as they are growing weary of his antics. If they did, it would cost the Dolphins $13 million in dead money in 2019.
"Suh's grabbing of quarterback Ryan Mallett's throat Thursday night was just the latest in a string of incidents that will hasten his departure from the team that made him the highest-paid defensive player in the game just two years ago," La Canfora wrote.
However, ProFootballTalk.com reports the contrary, saying Suh is still in Miami's plans.
Meanwhile, despite the unfortunate incident, Mallett found a way to joke about it on his Instagram account.
Ryan Jensen = Red Storm Security Guard
Center Ryan Jensen's popularity continues to soar.
He's developed a name for himself in Baltimore as a guy who is able to get under defenders' skin by playing to the very end of the whistle. He calls himself a mosquito.
Well, after his retaliatory hit on Alonso for knocking Flacco out of the game, Jensen is getting a new nickname from running back Danny Woodhead.
From now on, you can just call Jensen the "Red Storm" security guard.