The Training Room: Week 14 Injury Updates
Before getting into the Week 14 Training Room report, I want to say a quick congrats to the fantasy players who have used our website to get them in the playoffs. Kudos to you guys for continuing to stay on top of your team and utilize every means necessary to get you to this point. With that being said, there is still work that needs to be done!
The Training Room is somewhat quiet this week which is good for your team, as most of your players will be healthy heading into the playoffs. We will exclusively cover concussions in this Training Room column as the players that suffered injuries were primarily head injuries.
With the growing evidence and concern over repetitive head trauma and the effects it has on the brain long-term, there is more urgency for health care professionals to be present at games to assess, diagnose, and manage concussions. Although it may seem like concussions are pretty cut and dry, they are one of the toughest conditions to manage due to the varying amount of symptoms a player can have.
To be clear, when someone suffers a head injury, they either have a concussion, or they don't, there is no in-between. If they do suffer a concussion, then they need to go through the NFL's extensive concussion protocol to truly test the athlete, to make sure they are able to handle the mental and physical stresses of playing in an NFL game. Here is a look at the NFL's concussion protocol to give you a better idea of how in-depth it is:
Reed experienced increased symptoms from his concussion in the form of a headache as he was warming up before the Giants game. He was immediately ruled out and there hasn't been any update on his status this week.
Bottom Line - Reed is the perfect example of why concussions are difficult to manage. He was able to go through the concussion protocol and pass every test, yet his symptoms came on when most weren't expecting them to. Check back to see what his status is, but he'll have a difficult matchup against a Chiefs defense who doesn't give up many points to TE's.
Bell took a hit at the goaline at the end of the Ravens game that caused his helmet to fly off his head. He immediately displayed the fencing response (a response when the arms either flex or extend and are held in the air for a short period of time) that is associated with a concussion. He was able to walk off the field under his own power, but was clearly woozy heading to the sideline. He later stated he does not remember the play when it happened.
Bottom Line - Scary Stuff. The only consolation when it comes to fantasy football is that he suffered the concussion on Thursday, which gives him 10 days to get ready for an elimination game against the Dolphins. Bell has been cleared for exercise as he was seen running on the sidelines during practice on Monday, so that is always a great sign. It would be a big downgrade for the Steelers if he is not able to suit up, but so far his progress is encouraging that he'll be able to play. Have a backup plan just in case, but things look positive for him to play.
Weeden was diagnosed with a concussion following Sunday's game against the Jaguars. There wasn't any indication as to when he suffered the concussion but did report symptoms of a head injury after the game.
Bottom Line - With Jason Campbell close to returning from his own concussion, there's some doubt as to whether or not Weeden will be able to pass through protocol in time to be considered to start. Josh Gordon seems to have better games with Weeden, so it might be a slight downgrade for him if Campbell starts, but you're obviously still starting him.
Walker seemed to have suffered a concussion when he fell after attempting to make a catch that was later ruled incomplete. He went to the locker room and was later ruled out in the 3rd quarter with a concussion.
Bottom Line - Just when Walker was starting to put together a string of solid games for the Titans, this concussion happens. With the TE position being somewhat thin, check back later this week to see if he plays. He has developed a good connection with Ryan Fitzpatrick so he could continue to be productive if he is able to play, especially against a Broncos defense that does not defend TE's well.
There was no indication as to when Fasano suffered the concussion.
Bottom Line - Fasano has turned into a boom or bust TE, relying on the touchdown in order to be productive. Look elsewhere at the TE position for production that will help you during your playoff run.
Bottom Line - Ponder continues to show inconsistent production for the Vikings, which is not something you need at this point in the season. There are plenty of other reliable QB options that you can use if you are desperate for a QB. Check out Patrick Fitzmaurice's Week 14 Waiver Wire Watch column to put you in the best position for that W.