The Training Room: Week 17 Injury Updates
To those who have played the championship game last week and have been crowned a fantasy football champion: congratulations! For those who like to live on the wild side and are playing your title game this week, things could get really interesting with a lot of regular starters either sitting or being put on I.R. due to an injury. Week 17 can bring about a lot of different scenarios, and trying to figure out how much volume or productivity a player is going to have can be difficult, but we will try and sort through some of the injuries that have occurred to give you a better idea of what to expect this weekend. Also be sure to check out Brandon Niles' Week 17 Waiver Watch.
On The Mend
Melvin Gordon (Sprained Hip/Knee): Gordon got a few limited practices in earlier this week but it sounds like he could've had a setback as he didn't practice on Friday and then was ruled out for this Sunday. Projection: Out Week 17. Gordon made the most of his opportunity to be the lead back when Danny Woodhead got hurt and will finish just three yards shy of one thousand. It'll be interesting to see what the Chargers do at the running back position next year, but regardless Gordon will be on a lot of people's radar in the early rounds next year.
Randall Cobb (Sprained Ankle): Cobb hasn't practice this week and although he's considered a game time decision, and even if he is active, he could be in a situation where game flow will determine how much he plays or is needed. Projection: Active Week 17. In a must win game for the Packers, having Cobb active, even if it's in a limited fashion, gives them another option for Rodgers in the red zone. I would expect the Packers to use him sparingly, if at all, to reduce risk of re-aggravation. He's not someone I would have in my lineups as there is too much risk.
Spencer Ware (Strained Ribcage): Ware is dealing with some sore ribs and is shaping up to be a game time decision. He has been limited in practice all week. Projection: Starts Week 17. The Chiefs have an opportunity to grab the second seed in the AFC so it is likely they will want their best running back available to run the offense they are accustomed to. The fact that Ware has practiced in a limited fashion this week makes him more likely to start than to be inactive.
A.J. Green (Strained Hamstring): Green was on track to play this past weekend against the Texans early last week, but as the weekend approached, Green became more iffy and ultimately was ruled out. Whether or not ownership had any say in his availability is unknown, but the Bengals did the right move and put Green on I.R. to start his offseason sooner to get his hamstring right. Projection: Out Week 17. The Bengals have nothing to play for, so they won't put their superstar in a position to re-aggravate his hamstring or possibly sustain another injury. Green was having a great season until he strained his hamstring and remains a solid option heading into next season.
Theo Riddick (Sprained Wrist): Riddick continues to be sidelined with a wrist injury that has been nagging him for the past few weeks. His wrist hasn't progressed enough to the point where the Lions have put Riddick on I.R., making him ineligible for the playoffs should the Lions make it. Projection: Out Week 17. The Lions desperately need a win to keep their playoff hopes alive, but they'll have to do it with Zach Zenner and Dwayne Washington leading the backfield against the Packers.
Jordan Reed (Sprained AC Joint): Reed missed last weekend's game due to an aggravation to his AC joint and has been ineffective in the games he has tried to play through the injury. The Redskins will face the Giants this weekend with their playoff hopes on life support, so it sounds like everyone could be available depending on how the game flow goes. Projection: Starts Week 17. Although Reed will likely be very limited this week during practice, I believe he'll try and play to give the Redskins the best chance to win. Unfortunately, since his productivity has really taken a hit since the shoulder injury, he will be difficult to trust.
Lamar Miller (Sprained Ankle): Miller didn't practice all week last week and remains highly questionable heading into Week 17. The Texans have already locked up the AFC South, so Week 17 shouldn't be imperative to have all their starters playing if they are dealing with injuries. Projection: Misses Week 17. The smart move here would be to hold Miller out one more week to get his ankle right so that he can be ready for the wild card round the following week. Ankle sprains can linger, so giving Miller another week to recover is the smartest move the Texans could make at this point.
Ladarius Green (Concussion): Green missed this past Sunday's game against the Ravens due to a concussion. Although he returned to practice in limited fashion this week, he has been ruled out for Week 17. However, he seems all but certain to be ready for the playoffs. Projection: Out Week 17.
Jordan Matthews (Sprained Ankle): Matthews has been dealing with his ankle injury for the past few weeks, and although he was able to practice in a limited fashion later this past week, things aren't shaping up for him to be a factor against the Cowboys if he plays. Projection: Misses Week 17. Ankle sprains can be re-aggravated easily, so there's a good possibility the Eagles don't take any chances and just have Matthews sit in the finale.
The Training Room
Bottom Line: Carr suffered the ankle injury in the fourth quarter and had to be carted off the field in an air cast. He has since underwent surgery.
Projection: Misses rest of season, possibly ready for training camp. Ankle fracture/dislocations require a long recovery period when it comes to rehab and re-establishing strength and stability. Carr will likely miss OTAs, but could be ready for training camp. Normal timetables for recovery from this injury is anywhere between 6-8 months.
Bottom Line: Mariota suffered an ankle injury when he was trying to scramble away from pressure and was tackled from behind. He was put in an air cast on the field and was carted off. He'll have surgery within the week.
Projection: Misses rest of regular season and possibly ready for training camp. Mariota's ankle fracture/dislocation is very similar to Carr's, so the recovery timetable will be similar. The fracture itself won't be the issue, which will instead be improving the strength and stability of the ligamentous structures around the foot and ankle. This normally takes longer due to poor blood supply to those regions.
Robert Griffin III
Bottom Line: RGIII sustained the head injury late in the first half and did not return in the second half. He has been cleared through the concussion protocol and will start this upcoming weekend.
Projection: Starts Week 17. It seems the Browns want to give RGIII another extended look to determine if he is going to be part of their 2017 plans. He's not a recommended option, but does have some sneaky appeal if the Steelers do plan on sitting their starters to prevent them from getting hurt before the playoffs.
Bottom Line: Hyde sustained the injury in the fourth quarter this past weekend against the Rams. He had an MRI which revealed a higher grade MCL sprain and is out of the season.
Projection: Misses rest of the season, fine for 2017. Higher grade MCL sprains usually don't require surgery, so it's just a matter of letting the ligament heal, then working on re-strengthening the leg and improving stability in the knee. Hyde has dealt with a number of injuries so far in his career, so even though he's been productive when he's on the field, he remains a risky proposition heading into next year.