The Training Room: Week 15 Injury Updates

The Training Room: Week 15 Injury Updates

By Russell Manalastas (Injury Expert), last update Dec 10, 2013

Russ Manalastas's picture

Russ is a Board Certified Sports Physical Therapist and Clinical Director at Lattimore Physical Therapy in Rochester, NY. He has a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University at Buffalo as well as his Bachelors Degree in Exercise Science. His board certification credentials in sports is what is required for PT's that work at the NFL level. Russ provides a unique perspective on NFL injuries as they relate to fantasy football.

Follow Russell Manalastas on Twitter: @RussPT.

Fantasy football playoffs are in full swing and the anxiety levels of managers couldn't be higher. Mother Nature decided to make things interesting, which not only hurt team's abilities to put up points, but put players at more risk for injuries. Everyone crosses their fingers hoping that if they advance, everyone on their team stays healthy so they can make a deep run at the crown. Unfortunately, there were some injuries that will have major implications to owners who own the players we'll discuss, as their season could take a sudden turn. Let's get into the injuries heading into Week 15. 


Rob Gronkowski

Torn ACL/MCL - The ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) is the main ligament in the knee that helps prevent rotational/twisting motions and prevents the lower leg from moving excessively on the upper part of the leg. The MCL (medial collateral ligament) is the main ligament on the inner aspect of your knee. Injuries to both of these ligaments in combination usually occurs when the leg is planted in the ground, and an outside force is delivered to the outside portion of the knee, causing it to buckle inward. 

Gronk took a low hit to the knee (similar to the hit Adrian Peterson took in 2011) after catching a pass and was immediately down on the field, unable to get up. MRI's have confirmed a torn ACL/MCL which will require surgery to repair. 

Bottom Line - It's a tough blow for both Gronkowski and the Patriots as they have clearly been a different team since he has returned from his back surgery. If the MCL needs to be repaired, it could complicate matters when it comes to rehab as they'll need to progress a little slower to allow proper healing. Gronk again will be racing against time to get ready for the start of next season as recovery from an ACL/MCL can range from 8 to 10 months, with most players not feeling back to normal till around a year after the surgery. Gronk owners should look to grab Dennis Pitta, Garrett Graham, Delanie Walker or Heath Miller off their waiver wire (in that order).


Adrian Peterson

Sprained Midfoot - The main role of the midfoot/forefoot is to help stabilize the foot to help dissipate forces as the foot lands and pushes off the ground.

AP was tackled as he was going out of bounds, and as the defender fell onto his feet, Peterson was in immediate pain. He was carted off the field and did not return. MRI's have ruled out a Lisfranc injury and he is considered day to day. 

Bottom Line - For those thinking Peterson will be ready sooner just because he avoided a Lisfranc injury, you might want to think again. Midfoot sprains are still a painful injury to deal with, especially for a running back who runs as violently as Peterson does. It will take a miracle for him to be able to suit up this upcoming week and possibly even next week if you're able to advance without him. After seeing his recovery from his knee reconstruction, it's tough to doubt his healing capabilities, but this might be a little too much even for him to overcome in such a short period of time. LeVeon Bell dealt with a midfoot sprain early in the year and it took him over a month to recover from it. Toby Gerhart could be a good add but he's dealing with a hamstring pull as well so keep an eye on his status. 


Eddie Lacy

Ankle Sprain - An inversion sprain is often referred to as "rolling" your ankle. The ligaments/tendons/muscles on the outside of the ankle get overstretched and cause pain/swelling

Lacy rolled his ankle on the last play of the first half against the Falcons. After the game he admitted that he had difficulty trying to push off the ankle due to pain. 

Bottom Line - Lacy was pretty productive given the fact that he was played the entire 2nd half with the ankle sprain. He'll most likely be limited in practice this week to give his ankle time to rest and recover for an important game against the Cowboys. Barring any setbacks, and given the uncertainty about Aaron Rodgers, the Packers are going to need as many playmakers available to get a win. I would expect Lacy to play this week but be sure to check back and make sure he's practicing, especially later in the week. 


Tavon Austin

Sprained Ankle - See Eddie Lacy

Austin's ankle was pinned underneath Karlos Dansby as he was being brought to the ground, and he immediately rolled around on the ground in pain. He was able to walk off the field under his own power and is considered day to day. 

Bottom Line - Depending on how Austin's foot/ankle was positioned when it was pinned under the ground could determine if it was just a normal sprain or a high ankle sprain. Since Austin was seen moving around without any issues a few plays after the injury occurred, it looks like he may have avoided a high ankle sprain. Austin is the true definition of a boom or bust player. He possesses game changing ability, but is underutilized in the Rams current offensive scheme. With Kellen Clemens at the helm, Austin can't be trusted to provide consistent production unless you are absolutely desperate and need a home run type of player. 



Concussions are an insult to the brain from direct trauma. The brain suffers microtrauma and scarring with a variety of symptoms presenting, depending on where the trauma is located


Wes Welker 

As Welker was being tackled, his head bent awkwardly to the side, which forced him out of the game. He was evaluated for a concussion which was later confirmed and was ruled out the rest of the game. 

Bottom Line - With the Broncos playing this Thursday night against the Chargers, and given that this is Welker's 2nd concussion in the last month, he will be very doubtful to play. The rest of the Broncos offense will get a boost with Welker being out but keep an eye on his status for Week 16 to make sure he's progressing through the concussion protocol without setbacks. Multiple concussions this close together leaves players at risk for symptoms to be more severe and take longer to clear if trying to progress too quickly through protocol. 


Lamar Miller

Miller took a hard tackle in the 3rd quarter and was shortly ruled out of the game after that. 

Bottom Line - The Dolphins running game has been pretty poor during the season due to poor blocking and inability to find holes. Miller will have to pass all the necessary tests to be able to play Sunday against the Patriots so check back to see what his status is later in the week. Daniel Thomas looked surprisingly good against the Steelers defense so he could be a spot start against the Patriots this upcoming Sunday. 


John Carlson

Carlson exited the game after catching only two passes against the Ravens with a concussion which was later revealed by Coach Frazier. 

Bottom Line - The Vikings currently have Kyle Rudolph sidelined as well due to his fractured foot so they are hurting at the TE position. Carlson shouldn't be considered an option this late in the season. I would look elsewhere for TE help. 


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