Fantasy Injury Ward – Week 7
Dr. Dave Pratt breaks down injuries of notable fantasy football players heading into Week 7 of the Regular Season.
Fantasy Injury Ward – Week 7
Even though the quantity of players injured in Week 6 was not above the norm, the proportion of season-ending injuries was unusually high. On Sunday, four marquee-fantasy players played their last game of the season. The following is a break down of all the injuries of notable fantasy football players heading into Week 7.
As a reminder, there are five status designations players can have: active, probable, questionable, doubtful and out. The active and out designations are self-explanatory. The probable designation signifies a player has a greater than 50 percent chance of being active for the game. Questionable means the player essentially has a 50-50 chance of playing. Doubtful means the player has less than a 25 percent chance of playing.
Robert Griffin III suffered an apparent dislocation of the subtalar joint in Week 2. He will need to rehabilitate his ankle for another one-to-three weeks before he would be appropriate to participate in the team portion of practices. However, Griffin is expected to take part in individual drills this Wednesday. If he doesn’t suffer any setbacks during his return to play, he could be game ready as early as Week 9. However, since the Redskins are on bye in Week 10, they are more likely to delay his return until Week 11—especially if they are no longer in playoff contention.
Jake Locker suffered a right thumb injury in Week 5. The x-rays on his thumb were negative of any fractures. Locker did not participate in any practices last week, and he was inactive for Sunday’s game. His Week 7 status remains to be unclear. His participation in this week’s practices will be the best indicator of his availability for Sunday’s game against the Redskins.
Josh McCown injured the thumb of his throwing hand in Week 3. McCown hit his thumb on the helmet of a defender during the end of his throwing motion. Adam Schefter of ESPN reported McCown has a torn ligament in his thumb.
The ligament is most likely the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) of the thumb. If that were the affected ligament, the stability of McCown’s thumb would be compromised. Also, the normal healing time for such an injury is four to six weeks. If surgery is required, it could take McCown upward of four months to return to play. However, it is just speculation that McCown tore his UCL.
McCown was inactive in Week 6, and he is considered day-to-day at this time. Once he does return to play, McCowns will likely back up Mike Glennon.
Montee Ball suffered a groin injury in Week 5. Ball strained his hip adductor muscles (i.e. groin muscles) when he made a cut move out of the backfield while running on a passing route. Generally speaking, if he significantly tore muscle fibers in his hip adductors (i.e. grade II strain), he could be out for a total of four to six weeks. If a small part of a tendon was torn off the bone, he could miss only two to four weeks. Reports have indicated he will not need surgery—which eliminates a complete tear from his possible diagnoses.
Ball has yet to return to practice—which was expected. He will likely not be on the field any sooner then Week 10. Upon his return, he will likely need to reclaim his starting spot from Ronnie Hillman. He will also need to avoid suffering another groin strain when he returns to play—which he is now at an elevated risk. His fantasy outlook for the remainder of the year is murky.
Giovani Bernard temporarily left Sunday’s game with a shoulder injury, but he was able to return to play. He finished the day with a career-high 137 rushing yards. At this time, his shoulder injury does not appear to be anything significant. He is expected to play in Week 7 against the Colts. Nevertheless, his fantasy owners should check his practice participation throughout the week just to be sure his shoulder injury is not exacerbated.
Donald Brown suffered a concussion during Week 5. He will need to complete the NFL concussion protocol prior to being cleared to play. He was inactive in Week 6, and he is questionable for Week 7.
Reggie Bush suffered an ankle sprain in Week 5. He did not participate in any practices last week, and he was inactive for last Sunday’s game. Following Sunday’s game, Bush stated that he would definitely be ready to play in Week 7, per Dave Birkett of Detroit Free Press. Regardless of what Bush has recently said, his participation in practices throughout this week will be the best indicator of his availability for Sunday. More will be known later in the week.
Toby Gerhart was inactive for Sunday’s game due to a foot injury. Little is known about the type and severity of his injury. Gerhart will be re-evaluated on Wednesday, per Florida Times-Union’s Hays Carlyon. As of now, he is questionable for Week 7.
Shonn Greene was inactive for Sunday’s game due to a hamstring strain. He suffered the injury last Wednesday at practice. If it is a grade-I strain, he has a chance of playing this week. If the strain is more severe, he will likely need another one-to-two weeks of recovery time. If he does not log consecutive days of practice this week, he will likely not be active on Sunday.
Mark Ingram has suffered a fracture of his hand, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. He is still on schedule to return in Week 7, the week after the Saints’ bye.
Rashad Jennings suffered a sprained MCL (knee) during Week 4, per Bill Pennington of the New York Times. Skill players typically need two to five weeks to return from such an injury. Week 8 is the Giants’ bye week, so Week 9 is when Jennings will likely return to play.
Ryan Mathews sprained his MCL (knee) in Week 2. Due to the severity of his sprain, he is expected to miss a total of five to six weeks. He was inactive in Week 6, and he has yet to resume running. He is at least two weeks away from returning to full participation.
Knowshon Moreno suffered a knee injury on a third-quarter screen pass during Sunday’s game. Moreno has since been diagnosed with an ACL tear, and he was placed on the Dolphins’ season-ending IR. Lamar Miller will now lead the Dolphins backfield—like he did when Moreno missed two games earlier this season due to a dislocated elbow.
Stevan Ridley suffered a gruesome-looking right knee injury during Sunday’s game against the Bills. During the play he was injured, Ridley’s knee was hyper-extended when a defender tackled him low while his foot was planted in the ground. Ridley has since been diagnosed with a torn ACL and MCL, per MRI findings. Ridley will be out for the rest of the season. The Patriots will likely look to Brandon Bolden and James White to contribute more in future contests.
Darren Sproles suffered a MCL (knee) sprain during Sunday’s game. A low-grade sprain usually takes a running back two to four weeks to return to play. Sproles’ knee will need to be stable enough to withstand high-speed lateral movements prior to returning to full participation. He has a small chance of returning in Week 8, after the Eagles’ bye. However, he will likely be out until Week 9 or 10.
Jonathan Stewart suffered a MCL (knee) sprain in Week 3. This is the same ligament that he sprained last season, and caused him to miss the entire month of December. He was a limited participant in last Friday’s practice. He reportedly was close to being made active for Week 6, but was a last-second scratch. He is expected to be a full participant in Wednesday’s practice. He is probable for Sunday’s game in Green Bay.
DeAngelo Williams was inactive in Week 3 due to a hamstring injury. Then, in Week 4, he suffered a high ankle sprain. He recently had the cast removed from his foot. He is doubtful for Week 7. His most likely return date will be in Week 9.
Jarrett Boykin has been inactive since Week 4 due to a groin injury. Coach Mike McCarthy said Boykin’s injury was worse than originally expected. Boykin appears to have suffered a grade-II strain, and he will likely return to practice soon. Until he logs consecutive full practices, his fantasy owners should not expect him to be active for games. For the time being, Davante Adams will continue to occupy the Packers’ WR3 role.
Victor Cruz suffered a non-contact knee injury during Sunday’s game. Cruz ruptured his patellar tendon when he leaped for a pass in the corner of the end zone. The patellar tendon attaches the quadriceps and kneecap to the tibia bone. A ruptured patellar tendon inhibits the person’s ability to straighten his knee—which makes running and jumping impossible. Cruz had his tendon surgically repaired on Monday, and he was placed on the Giants’ season-ending IR. The rehabilitation process for this injury is long and intensive. He will likely be ready for OTAs, but it’s difficult to predict how good he will look upon his return.
Harry Douglas injured his foot in Week 3, and he has been inactive ever since. Coach Mike Smith has indicated that the imaging of Douglas’ foot came back negative, per the Falcons’ official website. His exact diagnosis is still unknown. He did not participate in any practices last week, and he was ruled out for last Sunday’s matchup against the Bears. He is questionable for Week 7.
AJ Green made headlines last week when his chronically injured right great toe suffered a setback. He was spotted wearing a walking boot during the Bengals’ practice last Friday. He was then inactive on Sunday. Coach Marvin Lewis expressed optimism that Green would be ready to play on Sunday against the Colts, per the Bengals official website. His practice participation throughout the week will indicate his availability for Week 7.
Green’s great-toe injury will certainly be a chronic problem for the remainder of the year. Over 60% of his generated force is transmitted through the great toe when he is sprinting and jumping—and even more during change-of-direction cuts. Due to the instability of this toe, he will likely lose significant power production. Additionally, his symptoms can easily be exacerbated during play. His fantasy owners should consider reasonable trade offers at this time.
Calvin Johnson was inactive in last Sunday’s game due to an ankle injury. Johnson reportedly suffered a mild-high ankle sprain in Week 3, yet he continued to play until his symptoms were exacerbated in Week 5.
The Lions will likely hold Johnson out as long as it takes to ensure the joint connecting the tibia and fibula (the two lower leg bones) is stable when he returns. If that joint remains to be unstable, and he returns to play, his performance will continue to be significantly impacted—in addition to the injury being exacerbated further. Johnson’s injury is comparable to the one that plagued Roddy White throughout the 2013 season: not a pretty site.
The Lions’ bye is Week 9. It is reasonable to expect Johnson to be rested through the bye, and then return to face the Dolphins in Week 10. He could return earlier than that, but Week 10 appears to be the most probable return date. Nevertheless, his owners should continue to monitor his practice participation in the coming weeks.
Eddie Royal suffered a rib injury during Sunday’s game. A source told U-T San Diego’s Michael Gehlken that Royal’s injury does not appear to be significant. He is status is day-to-day.
Jimmy Graham suffered a right shoulder injury in Week 5. Graham appeared to have been injured by a shoulder-to-shoulder collision he had with a Buccaneers linebacker. He left the game to be examined on the sidelines, and then returned to play temporarily. He has since been diagnosed with a “shoulder sprain”, per NFL.com.
A “shoulder sprain” is a general term. Graham likely suffered an AC sprain, the same injury currently effecting Jordan Cameron. If Graham indeed did suffer an AC sprain, it is likely not severe—as evident in the game film. In Graham’s last play against the Buccaneers, Brees targeted him in the end zone. The ball was thrown high over Graham’s head, and he was able to reach overhead with this right arm in an attempt to catch it. The fact that he could still reach overhead with little-visible effort is a good sign that his injury is not severe.
Over the weekend, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported that Graham is expected to miss two-to-three weeks after their bye. If his source his correct, Graham likely has a moderate AC joint sprain. The joint would need time to heal in order for it to become stable. If he returned to play too early, a hit to the shoulder could exacerbate his symptoms, and he could lose range of motion in that arm—especially with overhead reaching.
At this time, all reports should be seen as speculation. On Wednesday, the Saints will have to release their first practice report since their game in Week 5. Graham’s practice participation could shed some light onto the true severity of his injury. In the mean time, his fantasy owners should find a competent backup for him in case he does miss significant playing time.
Calais Campbell suffered a MCL (knee) sprain in Week 5. He is expected to miss a total of one to three weeks of play. He is questionable for Week 7.
Lance Briggs was inactive in Week 6 due to a rib injury. He is questionable for Week 7.
Bruce Carter suffered a quadriceps strain in Week 4. He will be out a total of two to four weeks. He is questionable for Week 7.
Jadeveon Clowney has begun performing linear running following his knee surgery performed on September 8. Coach Bill O’Brien stated Clowney has a fifty-fifty chance of playing in Week 7. His fantasy owners should take that under on those odds, and assume he is closer to being doubtful for Week 7 than he is probable.
Chad Greenway is healing from a rib injury. He was inactive on Sunday, and he is questionable for Week 7.
Dont’a Hightower was inactive on Sunday due to a knee injury. He is questionable for Week 7.
Emmanuel Lamur suffered a left shoulder injury during Sunday’s game. He is questionable for Week 7.
Jerod Mayo suffered a knee injury on Sunday, and he is out for the season, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
Nick Roach has missed the past four games due to a concussion. He was placed on season-ending injury reserve last Wednesday.
Ryan Shazier suffered a MCL (knee) sprain in Week 3, and he has been inactive ever since. He is day-to-day at this time.
Danny Trevathan suffered a knee injury on Sunday. His MRI results indicated he has a fracture in his distal femur. He has been placed on the Broncos’ IR/designated for return.
Eric Berry suffered a severe left ankle sprain in Week 2, and he has been out ever since that time. However, he returned to practice on Monday. He is probable for Week 7.
Aaron Williams was inactive in Week 6 due to a wrist injury. His status is day-to-day at this time.
Tramon Williams suffered a sprained ankle during Sunday’s game against the Dolphins. He is questionable for Week 7.
Shareece Wright suffered a knee injury in Week 4, and he was inactive in Week 5 and 6. He is probable for Week 7.