The Training Room: Week 16 Injury Updates
The fantasy football season comes down to this. Championship Week culminates everything you’ve worked for this entire season, from countless hours researching, drafting your team and grinding out the waiver wire to put your team in position to win. Championship Week can make people over-analyze and look for confirmation in every corner of the Internet to make sure they are starting the right players and in position to take home the top prize. Unfortunately, nagging injuries are very high at this point of the year, so you want to make sure you have all the information on your guys to guarantee they are going to play and be effective this upcoming weekend. Let’s take you through some injuries that could have big implications this weekend...
On The Mend
Julio Jones (Strained Hip): There seems to be some optimism about Julio Jones' ability to possibly suit up this weekend for a showdown with the Saints. I'm not so sure I share the same optimism, as everything that I saw when Julio Jones got hurt makes me believe he's dealing with a hip pointer. I don't put much stock into Coach Smith's player updates because his reports have not been accurate, with Roddy White's status being a prime example just a few weeks back. Julio needs to practice this week for you to have any confidence using him, and even then he'll most likely still be a game time decision. The fact that he wasn't even able to do any pre-game warm-ups before last Sunday's game indicates that he is still dealing with a significant amount of pain. If he plays you're probably playing him, but be wary of an in-game aggravation, or a snap count that would limit his touches.
Jamaal Charles (Knee/Ankle Injuries): Charles has been banged up the past few weeks, but hasn’t missed much time. The concern here for Charles is the usage heading into the end of the season, as the Chiefs might utilize Kniles Davis a bit more if they are concerned about Charles’ nagging injuries. He’ll still an RB1 for the championships, just realize that his usage could be limited if he continues to deal with these lingering injuries.
Cam Newton (Low Back Transverse Process Fractures): With the Panthers still somehow in contention for the NFC South, it would take a huge setback for Cam not to return this upcoming week against the Browns. It’ll come down to pain management leading up to Sunday, but Cam's played hurt pretty much all season, so I can’t see this preventing him from not trying to give it a go Sunday.
Andre Johnson (Concussion): Johnson was held out of last week's game due failure to clear the NFL's concussion protocol. He should have a good chance to play this Sunday against the Ravens, but concussions are very tricky to put timetables on, especially since Johnson had a concussion just last year. Be sure to check later in the week to see if he gets cleared to practice.
Rashad Jennings (Ankle Sprain): Jennings re-aggravated his ankle injury this past weekend against the Redskins. With the Giants not really playing for anything for the rest of the year, it’s fair to question whether or not he’s going to play again this year. I don’t see him playing this week as there’s just too much risk to put him back out there.
Kendall Wright (Fractured Wrist): Wright was limited last week in practices before being inactive this past weekend, so if he’s able to progress a little more, there’s a chance he could suit up for Week 16. The only problem is the Titans play on Thursday night and they have Charlie Whitehurst under center, which downgrades all of the Titans offensive players. Find another option if you are able to.
DeAngelo Williams (Fractured Finger): Williams was close to potentially playing last week but ended up being inactive. I believe he plays this weekend, which makes the Panthers backfield a situation to avoid.
Colt McCoy (Sprained Neck): This is the 2nd week in a row McCoy suffered a neck injury, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that he’ll be inactive this upcoming weekend. RGIII will start, but he’ll be a very risky proposition for the fantasy championship.
Training Room Week 16
Strained Quadriceps: The quadriceps is the main muscle in the front of the thigh. It helps straighten the leg and stabilize the leg (in addition other muscles) when fully putting weight through the leg. Most quadriceps strains occur either in the middle of the muscle belly or towards the insertion point down by the knee. Manning tweaked his quadriceps in the 2nd quarter but was able to play through the pain.
Bottom Line: The fact that Manning was also dealing with flu-like symptoms and needed fluids via an IV could’ve led to the strained quad. When athletes are dehydrated, there is some risk of muscle cramping which can lead to soft tissue strains. I don’t think there is anything to worry about Peyton moving forward, especially with the Broncos still fighting for home field advantage through the playoffs.
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. Allen hurt his ankle in the 1st half, tried to play through the pain, but ended up having to be brought to the locker room on a cart during the 3rd quarter and did not return.
Bottom Line: Allen is day-to-day for now, until we hear more information on what his MRI showed. Ankle issues that are more severe will usually see more headlines and reports right after the injury, so the fact the Chargers haven't updated his status might be a good thing. He has played better down the stretch, but the ankle could limit his production this upcoming weekend. You'll want to keep tabs on his ability to practice in some fashion before feeling confident in using him.
Strained Hamstring: 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. Hilton didn’t miss any time during the game due to the injury, but did address that he tweaked his hamstring during post-game interviews.
Bottom Line: Hilton’s MRI came back negative, so it seems like he suffered a very minor strain to his hamstring. Still, the Colts will be wise to limit his practice throughout the week to reduce the risk of aggravating the healing tissue. He’s day-to-day for now, and although I’m not sure he really needs any practice time to play Sunday, you want to reduce risk during championship week.
Dislocated Shoulder: A dislocation is when a force causes the joint to come out of place and stay out. A dislocation can cause significant damage to the soft tissue around the joint, which at times requires surgery to help stabilize the area. Locker hurt his shoulder in the 2nd quarter against the Jets and did not return. Reports are that Locker has been placed on I.R. and will require surgery to repair his left shoulder.
Bottom Line: It was only a matter of time that Locker would end up getting hurt filling in for Zach Mettenberger. Locker simply can't seem to stay healthy even when given an opportunity to audition for a potential job next year. He’ll require surgery to improve the stability of the ligaments and cartilage around the shoulder. Since it’s not his throwing shoulder, he should be fine heading into next year, but who is willing to take him on as a QB will be another question.
Fractured Tibia: The tibia is the main bone in the lower leg. Direct trauma or a sudden twist or change of direction can cause stress to the bone that it cannot withstand, which can lead to a fracture. Fitzpatrick suffered the injury in the 2nd quarter and was carted off the field.
Bottom Line: It was an ugly injury for Fitzpatrick who will require surgery to help stabilize the fracture. He shouldn’t have any issues for next season, but add him to the list of another QB who will be looking for a job.
Sprained Knee: There are many structures in the knee that can be injured either from repetitive overuse or from blunt trauma to the knee. Savage hurt his knee late in the 4th quarter and is headed for an MRI.
Bottom Line: The Texans QB situation is getting ugly fast. Once we know the extent of his injury, we can give a better timetable for recovery, but I hope for your sake he’s not an option for you at this point in the year.
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. Gore suffered the concussion in the 1st half and was ruled out the rest of the game.
Bottom Line: Gore will go through the NFL protocol in hopes he can gain clearance before Sunday’s game against the Chargers. With the 49ers eliminated from the playoffs, they might allow Gore to take his time and get through the protocol without any setbacks.
Low Back Injury: Spinal pain can be experienced when going into extreme ranges of motion, particularly when being tackled. There are many structures in the low back that can generate pain, and being forced into a certain position can cause irritation and inflammation which can cause further discomfort. Hyde got injured in the 4th quarter and did not return.
Bottom Line: With Gore in the concussion protocol, Hyde could get an extended look to see what he can do heading into next season. Considering that he’s dealing with both an ankle and a back injury makes him unlikely though depending on the severity of the injury. He’s considered day-to-day for now until we see if he’s able to practice later in the week.