The Training Room: Week 3 Injury Updates

Sep 27, 2021
The Training Room: Week 3 Injury Updates

Everyone remembers when they got their driver’s license. It’s one of the best feelings in the world as a teenager. Freedom. Unlimited possibilities. Transitioning into adulthood before you really grasp the magnitude of that responsibility. It really did not matter what type of car you drove, you were just happy to be driving. However, the experience had to increase tenfold if you had a nice whip. I was not lucky enough to drive a brand new car when I first started driving (looking back at my teenage self thank goodness) but I did have a friend who was gifted a brand new 2010 Ford Mustang for his 16th birthday.

He could not have been more excited to get to the DMV to pass his driving test. As my friend drove home, he ignored the speed limit signs that were very likely on his driving exam. He could not have been more than five miles from the DMV when he was pulled over. As the police officer approached his vehicle, he asked for identification. When my buddy handed over his driver’s license the officer held it, looked at my friend, and said “how long have you had this? It’s still warm.”As you can imagine when my friend’s parents found out, that sweet Mustang was taken away. Gone so soon. I never really understood that feeling until I drafted Chrisitan McCaffrey this year. I’d imagine the feelings are similar.

Christian McCaffrey, RB Carolina Panthers

Injury: hamstring strain

Timetable for recovery: 3 weeks

Potential Replacement(s): Chuba Hubbard

Initial Thoughts:

Thursday was a tough start to Week 3 for many fantasy managers. Christian McCaffrey exited the game vs. the Houston Texans early with a hamstring injury. McCaffrey immediately removed himself from the game and soon after the Panthers announced he would not return. Prior to getting word about the severity of McCaffrey’s hamstring injury, I tweeted about expected timelines and production for CMC when he returns.

It sounds like McCaffrey avoided a major hamstring strain. For grade-I strain (minor) the expected time missed is 1-3 weeks. Recurrence rates for a hamstring strain is 20%, but that number increases slightly to 25% for players who miss 3+ weeks. For RBs who missed 1-2 weeks with a hamstring injury, fantasy points per game decreased by 10% in their first game back. This decline doubles for RBs who miss 3+ weeks. These numbers make sense considering the more serious the injury the higher the risk of re-injury and the longer the recovery which in turn affects production. Carolina is not expected to put McCaffrey on IR so there’s a real chance he could return in week 6.

Dalvin Cook, RB Minnesota Vikings

Injury: ankle sprain

Timetable for recovery: 1 week

Potential Replacement(s): Alexander Mattison

Initial Thoughts:

Dalvin Cook injured his ankle late in the Viking’s Week 2 matchup with the Arizona Cardinals. Despite injuring his ankle in the fourth quarter, Cook was able to return to action and finished the game. As a result there was speculation that Cook would suit up this past week, however that did not turn out to be the case. Inversion ankle sprains have historically not resulted in multi-week absences. The average since 2018 has been <1 game missed. It’s likely that Dalvin Cook is starting next week.

Darrell Henderson, RB Los Angeles Rams

Injury: Rib cartilage injury

Timetable for recovery: 1-2 weeks

Potential Replacement(s): Sony Michel

Initial Thoughts:

Darrell Henderson was unable to go in Week 3 after his rib injury. We got confirmation that Henderson did not have a fracture, but still missed this week. This type of injury will come down to pain management. There is a good chance that Henderson is able to play next week.

JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR Pittsburgh Steelers

Injury: rib injury

Timetable for recovery: 2-6 weeks

Potential Replacement(s): James Washington

Initial Thoughts:

For whatever reason there have been a plethora of rib injuries this season (this will not be the last rib injury addressed in this article). Smith-Schuster left Sunday’s game early with a rib injury and did not return. If it is a contusion or injury to the cartilage, this would be a similar situation to what Henderson is dealing with and JuJu could have a 50/50 shot of playing next week. A fracture might mean a longer absence for the Pittsburgh wide out.

Sterling Shepard, WR New York Giants

Injury: hamstring strain

Timetable for recovery: 2-4 weeks

Potential Replacement(s): Collin Johnson, Kadarius Toney

Initial Thoughts:

Along with rib injuries, hamstring injuries have been at a premium early in 2021 as well. Giant’s WR Sterling Shepard exited early with a hamstring injury and did not return Sunday. Average length of time missed for WRs with hamstring strain is 3 weeks.

A.J. Brown, WR Tennessee Titans

Injury: hamstring strain

Timetable for recovery: 2-4 weeks

Potential Replacement(s): Chester Rogers

Initial Thoughts:

Titans’ wide receiver AJ Brown also sustained a hamstring injury and left the game early this Sunday. This prognosis at this point is similar to Sterling Sheppard (above) - the average recovery time is 3 weeks. The severity of this injury will dictate how long Brown sits. Typically we can gauge the degree of the injury if the team places the player on IR. It’s possible that Brown is unavailable for the next few weeks.

James White, RB New England Patriots

Injury: hip injury

Timetable for recovery: 6 weeks - end of season

Potential Replacement(s): J.J. Taylor

Initial Thoughts:

James White needed to be carted off the field after injuring his right hip while being tackled by a Saints defender. Reviewing the video, it would appear that James White sustained a similar injury to Ryan Fitzpatrick. The mechanism of injury fits a hip dislocation/subluxation. Fitzpatrick dodged any cartilage damage or a fracture with his hip injury, leaving the door open for a return. If White tore his hip labrum or fractured his hip, his season would likely be over. In White’s absence, J.J. Taylor led all RBs in targets. Taylor could be the stand-in for the James White role.

Tyler Lockett, WR Seattle Seahawks

Injury: knee sprain

Timetable for recovery: 2-4 weeks

Potential Replacement(s): D’wayne Eskridge, Freddie Swain

Initial Thoughts:

Tyler Lockett’s left knee twisted awkwardly during a play in the 4th quarter of Sunday’s game. Lockett was able to walk off the field but did not return to action. Video of the play suggests that Lockett sustained an MCL sprain or a possible meniscus tear. Either injury would mean that Lockett could miss 2-4 weeks and possibly be placed on IR. Freddie Swain has been playing as Seattle’s #3 WR, but D’wayne Eskridge might be returning to the field after recovering from a concussion the past two weeks.

Rob Gronkowski, TE Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Injury: rib contusion

Timetable for recovery: 1-2 weeks

Potential Replacement(s): OJ Howard, Cameron Brate

Initial Thoughts:

Rob Gronkowski took a blow to his lower ribs during a reception and briefly left the game. Reports suggest that x-rays were negative, but Gronk will likely have further testing done this week. It was a great sign that he was able to return to action but keep an eye on him. We already have a few examples of rib injuries progressing during the week and players not being able to play through the pain. I like Gronkowski’s chances of playing but only time will tell.

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