The Training Room: Week 5 Injury Updates

The Training Room: Week 5 Injury Updates

By Russell Manalastas (Injury Expert), last update Sep 30, 2014

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.

We are finished with a quarter of the NFL season already. How is your team holding up so far? Are you sitting pretty atop the standings due to your team hitting on all cylinders and thanks to some nice pickups? (Steve Smith Sr. comes to mind) Or are you on the oppostie spectrum with your team riddled with injured and underperforming players? Regardless, injuries have played a huge factor and are starting to pile up on owners, which makes it difficult to know when to cut bait and free a roster spot in hopes of grabbing someone to plug in each week. I’d say the rate of significant injuries to prominent names has been higher in the first few weeks this season than in years past, which makes it tough to adjust week in and week out. Let's take a look at a few players on the injury report to discuss what your game plan should be heading into Week 5.   


Teddy Bridgewater

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. Bridgewater was carted off in the 4th quarter due to his ankle injury and did not return.

Bottom Line: Bridgewater's MRI on his ankle came back negative which is a good sign, so consider him day-to-day for now. The fact he's playing on Thursday night makes getting his ankle back to 100% tougher, but not out of the question. The concern here for me is re-injury of the ankle, especially on a short week. If Bridgewater plays, it might be tough to sit him against a Packers D who has been vulnerable this year so far.


Andre Johnson

Ankle Sprain: See Teddy Bridgewater. Johnson left the game in the 4th quarter to have his ankle checked out in the locker room and then returned shortly thereafter.

Bottom Line: Johnson said he felt a little pop in his ankle that caused the initial onset of pain. After the game he said it didn't feel as bad, so that is encouraging news. We’ve seen big name receivers say their ankle isn’t bad but then be limited all week during practice, (cough Brandon Marshall, see below) so keep an eye on Johnson's status as the week progresses. Johnson should be fine to play but it sounds like we'll know more towards the end of the week. 


Brandon Marshall

Ankle Sprain: See Above. Marshall has been dealing with an ankle sprain since Week 1 when he sprained it against the Bills.

Bottom Line: Fantasy owners have to be frustrated with Marshall's questionable tag over the past few weeks due to his sprained ankle. Coach Trestman said they will really look into whether or not Marshall could benefit from sitting out a game to get his ankle back up to speed. Chicago's bye week isn't until Week 9, so it seems like at this point it would be tough for Marshall to continue to gut through the pain, especially if he keeps aggravating it when playing. My recommendation at this point would be to have a plan in place if he's not available, but feel good about playing him if he is in the lineup, as he can still be productive (4 TD's the past 2 games). Not sure what they end up doing in the end, but it is looking like if the Bears plan on resting Marshall, this could be the week to do it. Keep a close eye on whether or not he's practicing in some fashion later in the week. 


Calvin Johnson

Ankle Sprain: See Above.

Bottom Line: The fact that Megatron laughed when asked if he was even at 90% health should tell you what he thinks of his current health. Reports are that he didn't aggravate his ankle pain against the Jets, but the fact that he was basically used as a decoy is not what owners want to see. Ankle pain for skilled position receivers is always difficult to manage, especially if they sprain the ankle early in the season, due to having to manage the symptoms the rest of the season. Rest and rehab is the best way to manage the symptoms during the practice week, but at some point you have to wonder if playing in games are hurting his long term health for this season. The problem here is the Lions seem comfortable using Megatron, regardless of how his ankle feels, to make teams prepare for him anyways, so that doesn't help fantasy owners. I wouldn't be too worried yet about Johnson's ankle, as he's played through a number of bumps and bruises throughout his career, but definitely keep an eye on his status as the weekend comes closer. If he's active, you have to start him, despite this last week's result.


Mike Evans

Groin (Adductor) Strain: The adductors are the muscles on the inside of your thigh known as your groin muscles. 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 or inserts. Evans left Sunday’s game in the 3rd quarter as he was running a route and did not return.

Bottom Line: Evans has been ruled out for this Sunday's game and is expected to miss 2-3 weeks due to his strained groin. Groin discomfort is tough on players, as the change of direction and cutting really puts a lot of strain on the tissue that is trying to heal. Evans is a rookie, so he does have youth on his side, but still keep tabs on him moving forward to make sure he's progressing as expected. He should benefit, as will the whole Bucs offense, with Mike Glennon under center. 


Cecil Shorts

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.

Bottom Line: Shorts re-aggravated his left hamstring strain that cost him the first 2 games of the season, in addition to yesterday's game. It's not uncommon for athletes who have chronic hamstring issues to have long term issues as the hamstring just isn't able to withstand the strain the body is demanding of it. Since Shorts has been dealing with this hamstring issue for what seems like forever, it would be tough to see him suiting up in next game or two. Consider him week-to-week.


Theo Riddick 

Hamstring Strain: See Cecil Shorts

Bottom Line: Riddick was dealing with hamstring issues leading up to this game and it seems like he made it worse trying to play. He'll be considered day-to-day for now, but look for the Lions to possibly rest him this week to make sure he gets adequate treatment and prevent any further long term issues. This is of note because Joique Bell suffered a concussion last week, and Riddick would likely have seen a bump in playing time. 


DeAngelo Williams

High Ankle Sprain: The ligaments/connective tissue that lies in between the tibia and fibula (the bones of the lower leg), and just above the ankle, is what is affected in a high ankle sprain. Injury to this tissue is usually caused when the foot/ankle is rotated and the bones of the lower leg are fixed. Williams left the game in the 2nd quarter against the Ravens as he came up lame at the end of a run play. He initially got his ankle re-taped, but then did not return to the game. 

Bottom Line: The fact they called Williams doubtful this early on in the week is a sign that his injury was something more concerning than a normal ankle sprain. After dealing with a quad injury to start the season, Williams will now be out for a few weeks to get his ankle right. There's also a chance he might not return to form, as he's been known to be on the slow side of healing. With Jonathan Stewart still recovering from his knee injury, the Panthers backfield is an absolute mess right now and probably a situation to avoid. Some combination of Fozzy Whittaker, Darrin Reaves and newly signed Chris Ogbonnaya​ will be getting the RB snaps this week for Carolina.


Derek Carr 

High Ankle Sprain/Sprained MCL: See above for high ankle 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. 

Bottom Line: High ankle sprains usually sideline players for 4-6 weeks, with Carr's MCL sprain potentially delaying recovery depending on how severe it is as well. Things are getting ugly in Oakland, and I wouldn't expect the Raiders to rush their rookie QB back to be thrown back into the fire. Expect him to miss at least a month, potentially more, depending on how both his ankle and knee respond. It's unclear if Matt Schaub will return to the team (he was away for unspecified reasons) or if Matt McGloin will take over as starter.


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