Line judge Sarah Thomas is recovering from a broken wrist sustained in a Week 16 collision (video) at Lambeau Field between the Packers and Vikings, Football Zebras sources have confirmed.
The Vikings receiver came back on a passing route. The receiver caught the ball and was immediately contacted by the defender. Thomas was in the proper position. She saw she was going to get hit and braced for impact. The receiver’s helmet contacted Thomas’ forearm area. Initially there were concerns that she suffered a head injury as her head snapped when she hit the ground.
Thomas left the game briefly and was evaluated under the concussion protocol. She returned for the end of the game.
It is not known how much time Thomas will miss or if her injury will impact her availability for the playoffs. Head linesman Ed Walker and line judge Tony Veteri are also out with injury; swing official Mark Spanier has been filling in for Walker and an official on a bye week has covered for Veteri. Ed Hochuli’s crew is on a bye this week, and the remaining 16 crews are all working on Sunday, so there aren’t many officials available to fill in for other injured officials. (Occasionally an official can pull double duty on a Thursday-Sunday turnaround.)
Hochuli’s head linesman, Greg Bradley, will take the field as a line judge on Jeff Triplette’s crew in place of Thomas.
This is Thomas’ second year as a full-time NFL official. Before joining the NFL officiating staff, Thomas spent two years in the NFL’s Officiating Development Program.
Best wishes to Thomas for a speedy and complete recovery.