Fantasy Injury Ward - Week 3
Week 2 played out like a typical Frank Miller storyline: slowly escalating drama finished off with absolute mayhem. Only a lucky few NFL teams made it out of Week 2 unscathed, and the same is probably true for most fantasy football leagues.
After the injuries of many marquee players began adding up on Sunday, conflicting reports regarding their outlooks spread through social media like small pox. The dust did not begin to settle until Tuesday, when the results of more thorough medical evaluations were released to the media.
The following is a summary of the available diagnoses and prognoses of injured fantasy relevant players as of Tuesday evening in Week 3.
Robert Griffin III suffered a non-contact left ankle dislocation during Sunday’s game, as initially reported by head coach Jay Gruden. Ankle dislocations generally occur with a fracture—which would require Griffin to have season-ending surgery. Fortunately for him, his MRI came back negative for any fractures, per Mike Jones of The Washington Post. This means that Griffin will likely not need surgery, and he may return to play before the end of the regular season. It also means that Griffin may not have injured his ankle joint at all, but rather dislocated his talocalcaneal joint, the joint distal to the ankle that allows for the foot to invert (tilt inward) and evert (tilt outward).
Griffin’s injury appears to be rare. It is so rare that there is not enough data to accurately estimate his recovery time. His MRI has reportedly been sent to Dr. James Andrews and to an orthopedic foot specialist in Carolina for further review.
Until the dust settles on Griffin’s actual diagnosis, his fantasy owners should assume he would miss at least eight weeks of play. They should also assume that if Kirk Cousins does well in Griffin’s stead, Washington would have little incentive to rush him back to action.
Last but not least, Griffin’s fantasy owners should realize that his fantasy value is largely derived from his mobility. Griffin’s recent injury—in conjunction with his previous knee injuries—will drastically reduce his overall mobility. Without a healthy dose of rushing yards each game, Griffin is no more than a high-end QB2 for fantasy. His fantasy owners are advised to move on to greener pastures.
Shaun Hill sat out on Sunday due to a quadriceps strain he suffered in Week 1. The severity (i.e. grade) of the strain is still unknown. However, because he was a limited participant in Friday’s practice, he is probable for Week 3—barring any exacerbations of symptoms during practices this week.
Carson Palmer missed Week 2 due to a nerve injury in his right shoulder, his throwing arm. Mike Jurecki of Foxs Sports tweeted: “Palmer injured his shoulder [in Week 1] when he was flushed out of the pocket running to left exposed his right shoulder, needed to go down.”
If Palmer’s nerve injury was indeed caused from a collision to his right shoulder, he likely suffered a brachial plexus injury. Acute brachial plexus injuries caused from compression or stretching of the nerves are often called “stingers” or “burners.” Most of these injuries last only a few minutes. Some last much longer. If the symptoms last longer than two weeks, it is referred to as chronic burner syndrome. A symptom of this syndrome is weakness of the involved extremity—similar to the symptoms Palmer is experiencing.
The severity of this injury is categorized into three grades. A grade-I injury lasts from a few hours to at most two weeks. A grade-II injury consists of motor weakness that lasts for longer than two weeks. Typically 80 to 90 percent of the cases recover by six weeks. A grade-III injury consists of extremity weakness that lasts longer than one year, and could involve permanent motor weakness.
If Palmer indeed does have chronic burner syndrome—which is still only an educated guess to his diagnosis—his return to play is difficult to predict. However, if he does not play in Week 3, he likely has a more severe peripheral nerve injury (grade II or III). That would give him a poor prognosis for the rest of his season. If he misses Week 3, his fantasy owners should be ready to hit the panic button.
Jamaal Charles left Sunday’s game in the first quarter with an ankle injury. During the play when Charles was injured, Broncos T.J Ward tackled him high around the helmet while Malik Jackson tackled him low around the ankles. It appeared that Jackson twisted Charles’ legs during the tackle, and that likely was the mechanism of his injury. Charles was diagnosed with a high ankle sprain on Monday. Coach Andy Reid stated that Charles’ ankle sprain was not severe, and NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reported that the MRI of his ankle was “clean”—which likely means there was not a significant finding.
High ankle sprains tend to be a scarier injury than lateral ankle sprains. In general, a high ankle sprain will take twice as long to heal as a lateral ankle sprain of the same severity. In one large study, it was found that 40 days was the mean-average recovery time for a high ankle sprain. Nevertheless, a player with a mild high ankle sprain could return to play within a couple of weeks—albeit with decreased agility and acceleration.
If Reid’s statement is accurate, Charles could realistically be back playing in Week 5. However, considering all of the factors in this case, Week 7 against the Chargers is the most likely game we will see him return. It is the week after the Chiefs’ bye, and it gives him five-full weeks to recover.
Andre Ellington is still suffering from a peroneus longus (i.e. fibularis longus) tendon strain. Expect hims to continue managing the injury conservatively during the week—which includes limited or no participation in practices. Expect him to be on the field in Week 3.
Toby Gerhart left the game in Week 1 with an ankle injury, but was able to play in Week 2. The mechanism of injury from Week 1 is consistent with that of a high ankle sprain. The fact he played in Week 2 is encouraging that the injury is only mild in severity. However, he will likely not be at 100 percent health for quite a while. Expectations for him should be tempered for the near future.
Mark Ingram has suffered a fracture of his hand, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. He is expected to miss at least 4 weeks. Pierre Thomas and Khiry Robinson are expected to take on larger workloads in his absence.
Maurice Jones-Drew fractured his right hand in Week 1, and he underwent a “minor surgery,” as reported by Bill Williamson of ESPN.com. He has been seen without wearing a cast or splint on the right hand—which contradicts the report that he had a fractured hand. He is officially listed as questionable for Week 3.
Ryan Mathews left Sunday’s upset against the Broncos with a knee injury. His MRI results showed an MCL sprain, according to Ian Rapoport. The Chargers are expecting him to miss four-to-five weeks—likely a second-degree sprain. His prognosis is not too bad considering third-degree (severe) MCL sprains take upward of six-to-eight weeks of recovery time. Donald Brown’s workload will be hefty in the coming month.
Doug Martin left Week 1 with a left knee injury. He likely suffered a significant contusion to the left knee region. In Week 2, he was a late scratch for the game. His backup, Bobby Rainey, was impressive in his stead. Martin has been a limited participant in Monday and Tuesday’s practices. All indications are he will suit up on Thursday night against the Falcons. It is unclear what his workload will be.
Knowshon Moreno suffered a dislocated elbow during Week 2. He is expected to miss four-to-eight weeks. However, if he has a fracture at the elbow joint, it could take longer. Lamar Miller will lead the Miami backfield for the time being.
Ben Tate suffered a MCL sprain (knee) in Week 1. He was out for Week 2, and his estimate return time is in Week 5 against the Titans. Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell will be the Brown’s primary running backs until his return.
DeAngelo Williams sat out of Week 2 due to a thigh injury he sustained during Wednesday’s practice. Williams is likely suffering from a quadriceps strain. He has not participated in practices since sustaining the injury, and he was ruled out prior to game warm-ups on Sunday. Until he is able to tolerate at least limited participation in consecutive practices, it’s difficult to trust that he will be ready to play on Sunday night.
Tavon Austin has been diagnosed with an MCL tear (knee), nflspinzone.com reports. He is expected to miss two weeks of play.
Eric Decker left Sunday’s game early against the Packers due to a hamstring injury, and he did not return to play. He finished the day with four receptions for 63 yards. The Jets offense had a hard time moving the ball once Decker left: showing how much he is an integral part of their offense. He likely suffered a hamstring strain, and the severity of the injury is unknown. If the strain is mild, he could be ready to play by next Monday night against the Bears. A grade II (i.e. partial tear) or grade III strain (i.e. full tear) would force him to miss multiple weeks of play. More information regarding the severity of his injury is expected later in the week.
A.J. Green left his Week 2 contest early with what was initially being called a toe injury. Following the game, there were many conflicting reports regarding his injury. According to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport on Sunday, Green left the game due to the onset of “turf toe.” Pro Football Talk reported that Green suffered a “ligament strain” in his foot, but it was not turf toe. On Monday, Geoff Hobson of bengals.com reported that Green’s MRI was negative, and he is not expected to miss much playing time. As of now, it is unclear what type and severity of injury Green sustained. There was one commonality in all of the reports: Green likely suffered a ligament sprain in his foot—as ligaments can never be strained by definition. It’s encouraging that the MRI was negative, and that he left the locking room after the game without wearing a boot or using crutches. Because this appears to be the aggravation of a preexisting foot injury, it’s unlikely Green will be play in Week 3—even though there is still a chance. The Bengals bye week is in Week 4, so it would be make that the Bengals would hold Green out of Week3, let him get two weeks of rest and then have him return to play in Week 5.
Desean Jackson was knocked out of the game on Sunday with a shoulder injury. Jackson suffered an AC joint sprain, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Jackson’s AC sprain appears to be mild. He will likely be limited in practices throughout the week, but he should be active on Sunday. The deciding factor to whether he plays will be his overhead reaching ability, an important function of a wide receiver. Also, this injury can be exacerbated if he lands on that shoulder hard, so his short-term injury risk is higher than usual.
Alshon Jeffery suffered a hamstring strain while playing against the Bills in Week 1. His week-2 status was a game-time decision. He was made active on Sunday, and he finished the night with three receptions for 47 yards. Even though he played the entire game without any visible setbacks in his condition, he looked relatively slow and labored when he reached his top-end speed. It’s clear that the hamstring has not fully healed. However, with another week of conservative treatment and rest, he will look much more like his usual-healthy self in Week 3.
Julio Jones is dealing with a hurt ankle. All indications are that it is a mild injury. He was a limited participant in Monday’s practice, and a full participant in Tuesday’s practice. He will be active on Thursday night against the Buccaneers.
Brandon Marshall suffered an ankle injury in Week 1. He was a last-second activation for Sunday night’s game, and he finished the evening with five receptions for 48 yards and three touchdowns. He was not able to reach his normal top-end speed, but that made little difference in the outcome. With a long week of rest, Marshall’s ankle issue should be even less of a concern when the Bears face the Jets on Monday night.
Cecil Shorts did not play in Week 2 due to a lingering hamstring strain. He was a limited participant in last Wednesday’s practice, had a setback, and then did not participate in Thursday and Friday’s practices. Such a setback is concerning for his availability in Week 3. Until he is able to string together consecutive practice participations, his fantasy owners should assume he will not be available to play.
Roddy White suffered a hamstring strain in Week 2. He did not practice on Monday or Tuesday. Coach Mike Smith indicated that White’s absence from practices has been “all about getting Roddy ready on a short week,” reported NBCSports.com’s Josh Alper. White likely has a grade I (minor) hamstring strain, and will is expected to be active on Thursday night. However, his fantasy owners should start safer options if they are able. White could easily re-injury his hamstring during the game.
Jordan Cameron missed Week 2 due to an AC joint sprain. His MRI showed no structural damage, according to the Browns official website. Nevertheless, Cleveland is being cautious in returning Cameron to play. It is likely that Cameron was held out of Week 2 due to overhead reaching range-of-motion deficits. If he regains adequate function of the shoulder, he is safe to play in Week 3—considering no structural damage was found at the joint. At this time, however, Coach Mike Pettine is doutbful of Cameron’s status for Sunday, reports Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Vernon Davis left Sunday night’s contest early against the Bears with an ankle injury. His injury was initially considered severe when he left the locker room using axillary crutches. However, his MRI results showed only a bone bruise. Without having any significant structural damage in the ankle, Davis will likely only miss a week or two. He dodged the metaphorical bullet.
Tyler Eifert suffered a gruesome-looking elbow dislocation during Week 1. He was placed on the Bengals’ IR/designated to return list. He will be out until at least Week 10.
Marcedes Lewis suffered an ankle injury on Sunday, and he was not able to finish the game. He was later diagnosed with a significant high ankle sprain. His estimated time until return is six-to-seven weeks.
Jordan Reed missed Week 2 due to a lingering hamstring strain. Until he participates in a practice, do not expect him to play in Week 3. He is officially listed as questionable.
Chris Long will soon undergo ankle surgery, and he has been placed on the Rams’ IR/designated to return list. He is expected to miss about 10 weeks of play.
Gerald McCoy suffered a broken hand during Sunday’s game against the Rams. On a short week, he is doubtful to play on Thursday night against the Falcons.
Jeremiah Ratliffe left Sunday’s game with a concussion. He will have to complete NFL concussion protocol prior to returning to full contact participation. He is questionable for Week 3.
John Abraham returned to Cardinals practice on Tuesday following his recent concussion. He is expected to play in Week 3.
Vontaze Burfict suffered a concussion in Week 1, and then suffered a “stinger” in Week 2. He is questionable for Week 3.
Jerrell Freeman was ruled out of Monday night’s game against the Eagles due to a hamstring injury. He is questionable for Week 3.
Koa Misi missed Week 2 due to an ankle injury. He is currently listed as day to day.
Nick Roach missed Week 2 due to a concussion. He is still progressing through the NFL concussion protocol. He is listed as day to day.
Eric Berry left Sunday’s matchup against the Broncos early with an ankle injury, and he did not return. He has been diagnosed with an ankle sprain, and he is listed as questionable for Week 3. All indications are the sprain is mild in severity.
Jonathan Cyprien is still going through the NFL’s concussion protocol. He is questionable for Week 3.
James Ihedigbo sat out of Week 2 due his injured neck and knee. He is listed as day to day.
Charles Tillman left Sunday night’s game early with a torn right tricep. On Monday, he was placed on the season-ending IR list.