Saints’ Derek Carr Suffers AC Joint Sprain

SEPTEMBER 25: Head coach Dennis Allen confirmed on Monday that Carr is dealing with an AC joint sprain. That means the worst-case scenario is not in play, with Allen acknowledging the team “dodged a bullet” in this instance. Carr is now week-to-week, though Allen declined to immediately rule him out for Week 4. Winston and fourth-round rookie Jake Haener are in place on the Saints’ active roster, but the latter is serving a six-game PED suspension. Any missed time by Carr would thus leave the team shorthanded under center.

SEPTEMBER 24: The Saints saw quarterback Derek Carr exit their Week 3 loss on Sunday, and it may take some time before he next takes the field again. Carr is facing at least a short-term absence due to a shoulder injury, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

Carr was slow to get up after taking a sack in the third quarter, and he was taken to the locker room before being ruled out shortly thereafter. The 32-year-old underwent X-rays at a local hospital, but Rapoport notes testing revealed a more serious injury appears to have been avoided. For now, Carr is believed to have suffered an AC joint sprain.

The four-time Pro Bowler was released from hospital in time to fly back home with the team, ESPN’s Katherine Terrell notes. That adds a slight bit of optimism to this situation, with multiple reports confirming Carr’s ailment is not season-ending. Any missed time would nevertheless be a notable blow to a franchise which has had to deal with a slew of availability issues under center in recent years.

New Orleans inked Carr to a four-year, $150MM deal in March not long after his Raiders tenure came to an official end. His addition raised expectations for the Saints’ offense, though his 1:2 touchdown-to-interception ratio and 80.2 passer rating through two games left plenty to be desired. Carr has a history of playing through pain dating back to his time with the Raiders, so it will be interesting to see how aggressive he is in returning while the team weighs the risk involved given their investment made in him.

With Carr sidelined, Jameis Winston took over at QB to finish the game on Sunday. The former No. 1 pick went 10-for-16 with 101 passing yards, but New Orleans blew a 17-0 lead established with Carr playing to ultimately lose 18-17 to the Packers. Winston took a pay cut to remain with the Saints this offseason despite the Carr addition. After losing his starting gig to an ACL tear in 20121 then being supplanted as QB1 by Andy Dalton last year, Winston could again be positioned to see first-team action moving forward.

The Saints’ next contest is a Monday night game against the Buccaneers, with whom Winston spent his first five seasons. Even if Carr’s injury proves to be a minor one, it seems likely the latter will be forced to miss at least the upcoming Week 4 tilt. New Orleans will, however, receive a boost in the ground game with Alvin Kamara set to return from his three-game suspension to open the campaign. Especially with fellow running back Jamaal Williams on IR, Kamara should see a notable workload right away in his 2023 debut. The Saints’ longer-term offensive outlook could, however, take a hit if Carr is shut down for an extended stretch.

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