It is believed Saints nose tackle Brodrick Bunkley tore his quadriceps in his team’s 34-27 loss at home against Baltimore, and his season is most probably over, the NFL Network is reporting.
Bunkley hurt his leg on a second-and-7 for the Ravens at midfield trying to stop a rush by running back Justin Forsett, who finished with 22 carries for a career-high 182 yards and two touchdowns. He walked off the field with the help of trainers and didn’t return.
The NFL’s Ian Rapoport then tweeted about Bunkley’s injury at approximately 8 a.m. Tuesday. He did not name a source. The Saints haven’t commented on Rapoport’s report on Bunkley, which is standard for the team whenever an injury to a player is involved.
If Bunkley is indeed ruled out for the remainder of the campaign for the Saints (4-7), he’d be the third New Orleans defender to suffer a season-ending injury in as many weeks. A team that is ranked 27th on defense and surrendered a staggering 1,184 yards as well as 88 points in three consecutive setbacks at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in November can ill afford more major injuries to its personnel.
Rookie backup safety Vinnie Sunseri broke his left forearm attempting to make a special-teams tackle in a 27-24 loss at home against San Francisco on Nov. 9. Safety Rafael Bush, a fourth-year pro, fractured his right fibula in a 27-10 defeat at home against Cincinnati a week later.
A fourth defender, three-time Pro Bowl safety Jairus Byrd, has been out of action since sustaining a meniscus tear in one of his knees prior to an Oct. 5 victory at home against Tampa Bay.
At nose tackle, in addition to Bunkley, the Saints have 2013 third-round draft selection John Jenkins and Brandon Deaderick, who’s in his first year with New Orleans. Jenkins saw significant action at nose tackle in five regular-season games that Bunkley missed with a calf injury at the beginning of last year.
Bunkley has 17 tackles (eight solo) while starting each of the Saints’ 11 games this year. He joined New Orleans in 2012 and is in his ninth NFL season.