The Training Room: Week 1 Injury Updates
It is almost Christmas morning for Fantasy Football managers as the regular season is upon us! Drafts should be just about finished, and if you're like me, you're counting down the hours until we have some meaningful football!
With the 4th preseason game being notorious for having many starters sit as to not risk further injury, things were relatively quiet on the injury front this week. However, we want to update you on some key injuries to watch out for when the official injury reports come out starting Wednesday. Much like last year, we'll go over the new injuries as they occur, but this week we'll utilize our "On The Mend" feature that we introduced to the Training Room last year.
On the Mend is a quick way to keep track of the players who are close to making their comeback and what we should expect from them this upcoming week. You'll notice in this week's column, the majority of the injuries are of the repetitive use type, which is very common during the preseason. The concern with these types of injuries is whether or not they've gotten adequate time to heal to reduce the risk of them rearing their ugly head again as the season progresses.
On The Mend
Arian Foster (Sports Hernia): I'm sticking to my guns here on Arian Foster even though there are rumors he could possibly return in 4 weeks in a best-case scenario. The key is best-case scenario, which almost never seems to go hand in hand when it comes to Foster's return to the lineup while dealing with an injury. Projection: Foster misses 5-6 games and returns to field against the Jaguars in Week 6, or against the Dolphins in Week 7.
Alshon Jeffery (Calf Strain): The lack of information given to the media concerning the extent of Alshon Jeffery's calf injury usually means the worst for a player. However, a report from Ian Rapoport states Jeffery is making progress, with signs pointing to him playing against the Packers in Week 1. Clearly, there is still concern here, so while he is trending in the righit direction, I wouldn't cement him into lineups just yet. The Bears receiving corps is banged up heading into the regular season, so I would expect Chicago to keep the rest of the season in mind and limit Jeffery's touches in Week 1. Projection: Jeffery starts Week 1, but is potentially on a snap count.
Victor Cruz (Calf Strain): Victor Cruz continues to be sidelined by his calf strain that he suffered on the 19th of August, which was 3 weeks ago. He did not practice Monday and seems unlikely to suit up against the Cowboys in Week 1. Projection: Cruz misses the first 1-2 games of the season.
LeSean McCoy (Hamstring Strain): LeSean McCoy has gone on record stating he will be ready for Week 1 against the Colts. He is participating in individual drills, which is a step in the right direction, but I'd like to see him get some reps in with the team in order to feel fully confident in him suiting up. Projection: McCoy plays Week 1, but his touches might be limited to reduce risk of re-injury.
Roddy White (Elbow Surgery): Roddy White is back at practice, which is a great sign considering he had an elbow procedure only a few weeks ago. As we mentioned last week, there is a good chance White will wear a protective brace around his elbow to reduce impact and strain to it. Projection: White starts Week 1 against the Eagles, but his touches could be limited with Leonard Hankerson seeing extended time.
Mike Evans (Hamstring Strain): Mike Evans did not practice on Monday, but there is hope he gets in some practice time later in the week, which would put him on track to play against the Titans in Week 1. Evans has said multiple times he feels healthy to play if the season started today. Let's hope he's right. Projection: Evans starts Week 1 against the Titans.
Emmanuel Sanders (Hamstring Strain): Emmanuel Sanders has been back at practice without limitations. There is some concern he will also be the team's punt returner, putting him on the field longer and potentially putting him at more of a risk for either re-aggravating the hamstring or sustaining another injury. Projection: Sanders starts Week 1 against the Ravens.
Tre Mason (Hamstring Strain): Tre Mason is looking like a full-blown game-time decision. He has yet to practice since his injury, and with Todd Gurley ruled out already, Benny Cunningham may be forced to get an extended look on Sunday against the Seahawks. Even if Mason plays, he'll see limited touch in order to assure he comes out of the game healthy. Projection: Mason misses Week 1 against the Seahawks, but returns in time for Week 2.
Zach Ertz (Sports Hernia): Zach Ertz was never on my radar to start Week 1 after a sports hernia surgery just four weeks ago. He'll need a little more time to get back into the swing of things. Projection: Ertz misses Week 1, but returns Week 2 on a limited snap count as he works his way back from surgery.
C.J. Spiller (Knee Scope): Ian Rapoport reports C.J. Spiller will NOT play Week 1. I'm not overly surprised as most players who have their knee scopes progress well will usually be back practicing with minimal issues. Spiller's knee has generated no updates since his surgery on the 14th of August, so one has to question what exactly was cleaned up in his knee. I'm not overly confident about his availability for Week 2 at this point either, even though Rapoport states he should be good going forward. Projection: Spiller will continue to be week-to-week unit we hear any further information on his status.