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MetLife Stadium Turf Draws Ire after Two More Knee Injuries following Zach Banner’s in Week 1

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The Steelers victory over the New York Giants to open the 2020 season last Monday night was a painful one, as starting right tackle Zach Banner suffered a knee injury in the fourth quarter that ended his 2020 season.

A week and two more ACL injuries later, and the playing surface at MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands has come under fire from some around the NFL.

San Francisco 49ers defensive starters Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas both suffered apparent ACL injuries while playing the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, making three season-ending knee injuries on the surface over two games.

The playing surface at the stadium, which opened in 2010, was replaced once in 2016 and then again with new FieldTurf this offseason. That new surface has drawn some criticism from those that have played on it.

“I think the turf was pretty thick,” 49ers defensive lineman Arik Armstead said. “Guys seemed to be getting stuck in the ground more regularly. A bunch of guys went down, wasn’t real fun to be a part of.”

“I know that’s as many knee injuries and ankle stuff and people getting caught on the turf that I’ve ever been a part of,” 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan added. “From what I saw, the other team did, too. I know our players talked about it the entire game, just how sticky the turf was. I think that was the first time people played on it. That was something our guys were concerned about right away and the result definitely made that a lot stronger. Unfortunately, it’s a place we have to go back next week.”

Banner has not spoken to the media since his injury. He said on Twitter that he underwent surgery on Friday.

“Any time you play on turf, you always feel a little different,” Steelers defensive lineman Tyson Alualu said on Monday, but he did not say that he felt the turf at MetLife Stadium was worse than any of the other turf surfaces the Steelers have played on. Alualu said he suffered a minor ankle injury during the game. Steelers running back James Conner also injured his ankle early in the game and did not return.

NBC Sports reported that the NFL plans to look into the turf situation at the stadium.

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