The Training Room: Week 12 Injury Updates
As the playoff picture begins to come into focus, I know there are a number of owners out there frustrated with injuries. Let’s take a look at some injuries that could impact your roster this week and potentially longer:
On The Mend
Giovani Bernard (Hip Pointer): Bernard was seen warming up pre-game with the wide receivers this past weekend, which is a good sign for his possible return in Week 12. Make sure he’s practicing this week to feel confident inserting him back into your lineups. Jeremy Hill’s strong performance since Bernard has been out could limit Bernard’s upside, especially since the Bengals will more than likely want to reduce the strain on Bernard’s hip early on. It’s unsure what type of player Bernard will be when he returns, as hip issues do have a tendency to linger. Owners can only hope they’ll get back the player they spent a high draft pick on.
Fred Jackson (Groin Strain): Coach Marrone stated that if the Bills had played this past Sunday instead of playing on Thursday that Jackson would’ve played. Regardless, the minor aggravation that Jackson suffered against the Chiefs seems to be improving, with signs pointing to him returning against a stout Jets run defense. The fact that the Bills have 2 other running backs in Dixon/Brown will hopefully preserve F-Jax’s health for the stretch run, but it also might reduce his overall touches.
Arian Foster (Groin Strain): As his previous injury history has shown, it’s no surprise Foster has taken longer to recover from a soft tissue injury. All indications are that Foster will be available against the Bengals this upcoming weekend, but I would need to see Foster practicing before I can feel comfortable making any recommendations. With the way the Texans have handled Foster so far this season, I wouldn’t be surprised if they made him a game time decision. There's always a chance Foster could aggravate one of the many soft tissue injuries he has, but you can’t sit him if he plays.
Pierre Thomas (Sprained Shoulder): Thomas has yet to resume practicing and is in danger of missing his 5th straight game. The Saints don’t play till Monday night against the Ravens, so if he does start to practice, he’ll have a little more time to get ready. He’s still week-to-week at this point.
Mike Tolbert (Hairline Ankle Fracture): Eligible to come off of IR, it looks like Tolbert will return to the Panthers in Week 13 after their Week 12 bye. Tolbert has been out since Week 3, but should have no issues returning to an already frustrating, crowded backfield.
Training Room Week 12
Groin Strain: The adductors are the muscles on the inside of your thigh that make up the groin. Sprinting, cutting, and twisting motions can cause the muscle/tendon junction to fail causing pain in that region. Higher grade strains of the adductor muscles can lead to partial tearing of the muscle off the bone, either where the muscle originates on the pelvis, or where it inserts into the lower leg. Ball re-aggravated his groin injury on the first play he came in on, tried to play through it, and then was ruled out due to the pain.
Bottom Line: It’s never good when you go from our On The Mend section of our column back to the Training Room section the very next week. The Denver Post reported Ball will miss 2-3 weeks, which is best case scenario for him considering aggravated groin strains can be difficult to return from depending on the severity. They will not rush him back, which makes Ball dispensable in most formats.
Inversion Ankle Sprain: There are different types of ankle sprains, but the main ones that occur in football are either high ankle sprains, or inversion ankle sprains. A high ankle sprain involves the ligaments between the bones of the lower legs (tibia and fibula), whereas the inversion sprain involves the ligaments on the outer aspect of the ankle. Thomas is apparently suffered an inversion ankle sprain in the 1st quarter against the Rams and did not return.
Bottom Line: Reports from the Denver Post state Thomas is not in a walking boot, and the injury he suffered is minor. That is great news, but one still has to wonder if the sprain was as minor as they say it is, why he didn’t return to the game this past Sunday. He’ll be day-to-day heading into this weekend’s game against the Dolphins. The hope is that he’s able to practice on a limited bases at some point this week to allow owners to have some sort of game plan on Sunday. The availability of Emmanuel Sanders might play a factor as well, where if Sanders isn’t able to go, Thomas might feel more inclined to try to suit up. Keep a close eye on this situation as the week unfolds.
Inversion Ankle Sprain: See above. Allen had to be carted off the field in the 2nd quarter and did not return.
Bottom Line: Coach Pagano states that Allen is day-to-day for now with his availability unknown most likely until later in the week. There’s a chance he practices in some capacity this week, but odds of him being a game time decision are high. Colby Fleener had a career game when Allen went down with the injury, so he should be on the radar if you are in need of a TE.
Broken Fibula: The tibia and fibula are the bones that make up lower leg. The fibula is the bone on the lateral aspect of the lower leg that is an attachment point for many muscles, tendons, and ligaments. A fracture to the fibula usually occurs when the ankle is put into an extreme range of motion that the bone can’t handle. Bradshaw suffered the injury in the 4th quarter and did not return. He was seen after the game in a boot and on crutches. Coach Pagano confirmed a fibula fracture for Bradshaw and will see other specialists to determine severity.
Bottom Line: It was a tough night for the Colts, as they lost two key players who have helped their offense become one of the top threats in the league. When looking closely at the replay of the injury, Bradshaw’s foot was planted and turned out as he was being tackled at the goal line, which is never a good position for the foot to be in when you have multiple players landing on top of it. He more than likely will be done for the season, with more testing being done to determine if any surgical intervention is needed. His timetable will be determined based on if he is able to manage his fracture conservatively or if he’ll need surgery. Dan Herron figures to see work behind Trent Richardson if the Colts don't add a running back.
Concussion: 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. Sanders took a massive shot when trying to dive for a ball in the 3rd quarter and had to be helped off the field.
Bottom Line: He’ll enter the NFL’s concussion protocol and will have to go through the necessary steps to gain clearance before Sunday’s game against the Dolphins.
MCL Sprain: The medial collateral ligament (MCL) is the main ligament on the inside part of the knee that helps with stabilizing the knee. Ligament sprains occur to this region when an external force is applied from the outside of the knee, which causes the knee to buckle in towards the other knee. Report from Kent Somers states that Fitzgerald will play through a grade 2 MCL sprain.
Bottom Line: Grade 2 ligament sprains are usually more significant in terms of pain and swelling which usually requires at least a one game absence. How a player feels right after a game compared to the next day is completely different, so I’m not as confident in Fitzgerald’s knee responding as fast as he thinks it’s going to. Players have been on the longer side of MCL sprains this year, with Rashad Jennings and Ryan Mathews being prime examples, so be sure to keep tabs on Fitzgerald this week. I’d be making other plans not only due to his knee injury, but also due to the fact that he’ll be going up against the Seahawks secondary.
Rib Injury: Direct Trauma to the ribcage area can cause pain, irritation, and bruising to the muscles and cartilage that help support the area. There was no report of Rivers suffering a rib injury until after the game.
Bottom Line: This is the first that we’ve heard of Rivers dealing with a rib issue this season. He hasn’t been on the injury report in the past, and a report from Ian Rappaport states that Rivers is dealing with bruising and possible cartilage involvement. Consider Rivers day-to-day for now, but many quarterbacks have played through rib issues and I would expect Rivers to do the same.
Hamstring Strain: The hamstring muscle is the primary muscle in the back of the thigh responsible for bending the knee and extending the hip. When it relates to sports, it's a very important muscle in aiding to accelerate/decelerate the lower body to allow proper running and cutting. Reed did not miss any time during this past weekend's game, but was listed on the post-game injury report.
Bottom Line: Luckily for Reed he strained his right hamstring and didn't aggravate the balky left hamstring that has given him so much trouble this year. He's been on the slow side of recovering from soft tissue issues so he'll be day-to-day for now, with there being some risk that he misses this upcoming week's game against the 49ers.