The Training Room: Week 6 Injury Updates
Week 5 was much quieter than previous weeks when it comes to the number of injuries that occurred, which is a welcome site, especially after so many injuries occurred during the first month of the season. There are still a lot of players making their way back from injuries sustained prior to Week 5, however. Be sure to stay updated on injuries on our home page news feed and check out Brandon Niles' Week 6 Waiver Wire Watch article here.
On The Mend
Dez Bryant (Knee Bone Bruise): Bryant continues to make progress from the knee injury he sustained in Week 3, but there is still no guarantee he suits up this week. If he is practicing in limited fashion, he could try and give it a go this week, but with the Cowboys having a Week 7 bye, there's a chance they play it safe and sit him out. Projection: Misses Week 6. If the Cowboys weren't playing as well as they are, then I think Dez would try and make a return. For now it sounds like both he and Tony Romo will return Week 8.
Rashad Jennings (Sprained Thumb): Jennings continues to struggle with pass protection and the ability to catch passes, which is why the Giants haven't brought him back yet. He'll continue to be week-to-week, and it's fair to wonder if they put him on a limited workload if he does return to see how his thumb feels. Projection: Active Week 6.
Jonathan Stewart (Strained Hamstring): Stewart will continue to be day-to-day, but all signs point to him making his return this weekend against the Saints. Projection: Starts Week 6. Stewart will make his return after missing the past three weeks. With Cam Newton possibly making his return as well, the Panthers will get a big boost to their offense against a very porous Saints defense.
Tyler Eifert (Strained Back): Eifert sustained a lower back injury last week which delayed his return from offseason ankle surgery. Eifert continues to not practice this week, which makes a return this more and more unlikely Projection: Misses Week 6. The Bengals head to Foxboro to take on a Patriots team that looks as strong as ever since Tom Brady returned. It sounds like whatever back issue Eifert is dealing with is bothering him more than the Bengals first thought.
Arian Foster (Strained Groin): Foster surprisingly got in limited practices last week, but there really wasn't any indication as to when he might return. Foster will likely see the same limited practice sessions this week, but it sounds like he's closer to returning this time. Projection: Active Week 6. There's a possibility that the Dolphins share the workload between Foster and Jay Ajayi as Foster works his way back to into form, but with the way the Dolphins have been playing, it wouldn't surprise me to see the Dolphins try and lean on Foster to help right the ship. The release of Isaiah Pead could also mean that they feel Foster's status is progressing to the point they don't need an extra RB.
Dwayne Washington (Foot/Ankle Sprain): Washington remains day-to-day with foot and ankle sprains he sustained in Week 4. Projection: Misses Week 6. The signing of Justin Forsett give the Lions some time to assess how Washington feels to make sure they aren't rushing him back too soon.
Latavius Murray (Turf Toe): Murray was holding out hope that he could try and play this past weekend against the Chargers, but the Raiders decided to play it safe and hold him out. Projection: Misses Week 6. Murray continues to not practice, and with it being late in the week, he'll need to return to practice in some form in order for the Raiders to consider making him active. Turf toe injuries really come down to how painful it is when trying to run. Some instances, like Devin Funchess', don't require any missed time, but Murray's slower progress makes it sound like he is dealing with more pain. The Raiders are likely trying to fit him with a different insert in his cleat to help protect the toe from constant irritation, so make sure you keep an eye on his playing status to see if he's close to returning.
Virgil Green (Strained Calf): Green was a late scratch this past weekend against the Falcons. He's got a Thursday night game against the Chargers this week, so we should get a better idea of what to expect with injury reports coming out sooner for those teams. Projection: Starts Week 6. I was surprised to see Green inactive last week, but it certainly sounds like he's close to 100%. Trevor Siemian's availability will likely play a factor in how productive Green is this upcoming week.
Trevor Siemian (Sprained AC Joint): Siemian continues to be day-to-day with his AC joint sprain to his non-throwing shoulder. He has been throwing since last week, so he is trending in the right direction for possibly playing Thursday. Projection: Starts Week 6. There is some risk that Siemian reinjures his shoulder should he get tackled or fall on it, but I expect him to start and be effective against the Chargers.
Jay Cutler (Sprained Thumb): Cutler continues to be week-to-week as he works his way back from a sprained thumb. It sounds like he is getting closer to being able to return, but his job might not be there even when he does. Projection: Misses Week 6. This is more about Brian Hoyer's solid play when having to replace Cutler than it is about Cutler's health. It sounds like the Bears are more than content with keeping Hoyer as their starting QB as long as he continues to play well.
Josh Doctson (Strained Achilles): Doctson continues to struggle with pain and discomfort in his Achilles, which has been bothering him on and off ever since the start of training camp. Projection: Misses Week 6. It doesn't look like Doctson is close to returning, which means those in redraft leagues can continue to avoid him on the waiver wire until we get further clarity on his situation.
Cam Newton (Concussion): Newton has been able to perform football-specific activities during practices as of late, which means that he is at the final stages of the concussion protocol. Projection: Starts Week 6. Newton has a great matchup to return to against the Saints and could be in for a big day.
Carson Palmer (Concussion): Palmer was cleared through the concussion protocol Tuesday and all expectations are that he starts without limitations. Projection: Starts Week 6. The Jets pass defense has really struggled this year, so Palmer could have a field day through the air.
Eric Decker (Partially Torn Rotator Cuff): Decker was placed on injured reserve Wednesday after he continued to struggle to get his shoulder pain under control. There's a good chance he will require season-ending surgery. Projection: Misses Rest of Season. Fantasy owners can cut bait since Decker was placed on IR as the length of time it takes to recover from a rotator cuff repair is much longer than the rest of the fantasy football season lasts.
Josh McCown (Collarbone Fracture): McCown is set to return to practice this week after missing the last four weeks dealing with a fractured collarbone. Projection: Active Week 6. Depending on how Cody Kessler progresses this week with his own injuries, there's a chance that the Browns could start McCown.
The Training Room
Steve Smith Sr.
High Ankle Sprain
Bottom Line: Smith Sr. hurt his ankle in the first quarter this past Sunday against the Redskins. As he was being tackled, his foot got caught under the defender and Smith seemed to have his ankle rolled up on. Smith was seen on the sidelines trying to try and work through the ankle injury, but was later ruled out.
Projection: Misses 1-2 games. It looked like a high ankle sprain from first look, and the fact that Smith was trying to work through the pain but ultimately couldn't get back on the field makes me think it's more of a high ankle issue than an inversion ankle sprain. Pain can always change after the initial injury, so it sounds like Smith Sr. is still having trouble when trying to run and cut off the ankle.
High Ankle Sprain
Bottom Line: Lacy was hit in the third quarter of this past weekend's game against the Giants and suffered the ankle injury. He was seen with his ankle wrapped heavily. Coach McCarthy states that Lacy's ankle injury isn't considered serious, but he doesn't know what Lacy's availability will be this upcoming weekend.
Projection: Active Week 6. Game flow might determine how much work Lacy will see this upcoming weekend, and if the Packers are up, they might just choose to use James Starks more to help reduce Lacy's risk of reaggravating his ankle. Possible production dropoff: ~5%.
Bottom Line: Kessler was knocked out of this past Sunday's game against the Patriots with chest/rib discomfort. X-rays were negative and he is considered day-to-day.
Projection: Starts Week 6. Pain management becomes the biggest issue when trying to return from chest/rib injuries, and although I think Kessler will start, I do not feel good about his chances of being productive. Josh McCown is also supposed to be active for this game, so there's a chance he makes an appearance if Kessler gets hurt or is ineffective.