The Training Room: Preseason Week 1 and 2 Injury Updates
Don't look now, but we're halfway through NFL preseason football. Many of the fantasy football drafts will get underway within the next week or so, with many leagues waiting as long as possible to draft to avoid any injuries that could put a damper on the start of their season. So far there haven't been many serious injuries to report, but there are some injuries of concern that we want to go over before you make you final decisions on draft day.
RB Dion Lewis
Bottom Line: News broke over this past weekend that Lewis will require an additional surgery to his surgically repaired knee. The surgery is going to be a clean up procedure, with early timetables stating that Lewis could miss 8-10 weeks. No specifics were given as to what tissue in the knee needed to be addressed, but the ACL that he had reconstructed is intact and not the issue.
Projection: Starts season on the reserve/PUP list, missing the first 6 games, with potential to miss additional time depending on surgical procedure. Whether or not Lewis is ready to come off the PUP when he is eligible really depends on what type of clean up procedure they perform. Many times if it is the meniscus that is causing irritation in the knee, the timetable for that type of procedure is usually 4-6 weeks, so the fact that they are giving him an 8-10 week timetable makes me think there could be something else going on. Some initial thoughts could be a small articular cartilage defect that needs to be addressed. Articular cartilage is tissue that lines the ends of each bone that contact each other to reduce friction and allow the joint to move smoothly. Any defect to the articular cartilage makes the knee more susceptible to degenerative changes and could cause further knee discomfort. Location of the defect, size of the defect, and many other variables are all factors that go into his recovery time. Again, this is all speculation at this point, the Patriots could just be giving him that timetable to be more cautious and allow his ACL to fully recover as well, but for now I would take Lewis off your draft board until we get further information.
RB Matt Jones
Bottom Line: Jones landed hard on his shoulder in the second preseason game and will likely miss the rest of the preseason. There haven't been many updates since his injury, but Coach Gruden did state that he didn't expect Jones to miss much time from the injury.
Projection: Ready Week 1. He'll have 3 weeks before Week 1 to get ready and will likely wearing some extra padding around the AC joint to give him a buffer should he fall on his shoulder again. There's always risk that his AC sprain could be re-aggravated if he falls on it again, but for now the expectation is that he will be ready for the start of the regular season.
WR Larry Fitzgerald
Bottom Line: Fitzgerald sat out the second preseason game due to a slight MCL sprain, but the latest reports were that he has returned to practice.
Projection: Ready Week 1. Keep an eye on his status to make sure he doesn't experience any lingering soreness, but he should be fine to suit up for the third preseason game this upcoming week.
QB Carson Wentz
Bottom Line: Wentz suffered a hairline fracture in Week 1 of the preseason, so he's been limited in what he can do. The latest report from Jeff McLane states that Wentz has returned to some light throwing, but other than that, he hasn't been doing much.
Projection: Ready for Week 1. Wentz wasn't projected to be the starter this year, and although he's missing reps that are needed for a rookie QB, it shouldn't be too much of an issue moving forward. With the fact that he'll likely start the season as a the third-string QB, Wentz should make a full recovery very early in the regular season, as that rib will be able to heal due to the lack of impact it'll sustain.
WR Jordan Matthews
Bottom Line: Matthews suffered the bone bruise in practice at the end of the first week of August. It sounds like Matthews is progressing in his recovery, but his availability is still something to monitor as we get closer to the season. Bone bruises can linger, so rest and recovery is important to reduce overall irritation to the knee.
Projection: Ready Week 1. A four-week timetable since the knee injury would put Matthews to be ready right before the start of the season. The hope is we'll see him participate in practice at some before the preseason ends to make sure he's moving around well, but for now consider him week-to-week.
TE Greg Olsen
Bottom Line: Olsen has been dealing with some lower back spasms over the past week, but the Panthers don't seem overly concerned. Olsen had an MRI on his back which came back clean, so it sounds like the Panthers are just being cautious with one of their top playmakers.
Projection: Ready Week 1. The only way I would be concerned with Olsen's status is if his back pain continues to linger and he continues to miss practice/game time. I've touched upon some risk with Charles Clay with his lingering back issue in one of my other column's here, but Olsen's back pain is not chronic in nature and seems on a much lesser scale. If the regular season were to start tomorrow, I think Olsen would be suiting up.
WR Josh Doctson
Bottom Line: Doctson has been dealing with lingering Achilles pain and soreness since the start of May and has yet to practice in training camp. He has been trying to ramp up his activity, and although reports are that this issue shouldn't be a long term thing, the fact that it's been going on for a few months now is somewhat concerning. The latest report is that the Redskins are considering putting Doctson on the reserve/PUP list to start the season due to the continued achilles discomfort he is feeling.
Projection: Misses 2-3 weeks of regular season with potential to land on reserve/PUP. Doctson is a promising rookie with a really good skill set, but Achilles injuries are tough to recover from, especially since Doctson seems to be having difficulty trying to do higher level activity at this point. There's a chance he could practice before the preseason is over, which would help his cause of him being ready for Week 1, but even then the depth that the Redskins have at WR makes me feel the Redskins will make sure he's 100% before easing him into a role. Lingering Achilles issues can leave players vulnerable to something more significant happening, such as an Achilles rupture, or secondary issues, such as a calf strain, so my bet would be they don't rush Doctson. I'm not completely convinced that they'd try and just stash him on the PUP if he turns a corner and starts to make progress sooner than later, so make sure you can keep an eye on his progress.
WR Jeff Janis
Bottom Line: Janis will miss 4-6 weeks due to hardware being put into his index finger to help expedite the healing process and improve the fracture stability.
Projection: Misses 3-4 games to start the season. Finger injuries are difficult to return from, especially for receivers who rely on their grip strength and ability to catch the ball with their hands. Strength will be the concern for Janis as he returns from the surgery, and it would be tough to say that he would return on the shorter end of the 4-6 week timetable. It doesn't seem like Janis will make much of an impact on the offensive side of the ball when he returns, so Davante Adams could finally either step up into the player everyone thought he was going to be, or continue to disappoint fantasy owners who take a shot on him.
RB C.J. Prosise
Bottom Line: Prosise has been dealing with a strained hamstring that he sustained at the very beginning of August. He returned to practice over the past few days, but the hamstring strain, in addition to the hip flexor issue he had before this hamstring strain has really cost Prosise valuable snaps.
Projection: Ready Week 1. The emergence of a C-Mike has put a damper on Prosise's prospects of contributing right away as a rookie. Prosise will need to stay healthy, which has been a tough go so far, and have injuries occur to the guys ahead of him in order to make an impact this year it seems.
WR Brandon LaFell
Torn Hand Ligament
Bottom Line: LaFell sat out the preseason opener due to hand pain, which was later revealed as a torn ligament in his hand. LaFell has returned to the Bengals latest practice, so all indications are that he is going to try and play through the pain.
Projection: Ready Week 1. The fact that LaFell was back at practice is encouraging, but his status is definitely worth monitoring during the preseason. If the pain continues to get worse that possibly affects his ability to catch or grip the ball, then the possibility of surgery could creep back into the picture, but for now expect him to be on the field.