Training Room: Week 4 Injury Updates
Week 3 brought better fortune than Week 2, but it's very rare in the NFL to get through a week where there are no injuries. Some players have already struggled with multiple injuries through the first three weeks, while others are dealing with the same injury that just won't go away. Keep up to date with the latest injury news in our news feed, and be sure to follow me on Twitter (@russmanalastas), as I will normally do real-time updates as information rolls out. I will also be doing Periscope sessions both early and late in the week to give my impressions on what to expect and to advise whether you should make any moves in preparation for a player that may miss time.
On The Mend
Jamaal Charles (ACL Reconstruction): The waiting game continues for fantasy owners who want to deploy Charles into their fantasy lineups. It sounds like Charles has a real chance to suit up this week, although we'll likely keep getting vague answers from Coach Andy Reid until then. Projection: Active Week 4. The wait is over. Charles will likely be on a snap count in his first game back after ACL reconstruction, so he's not a must-start. Keep an eye on if he's practicing with the starters, as he's been practicing with the scout team lately.
Tyler Eifert (Ankle Reconstruction): Reports from Bob Holtzman state that Eifert will not play this Thursday against the Dolphins. Projection: Active next week with limited snap count. Eifert has been trending in the right direction over the past week or two, but to make sure he doesn't suffer any setbacks, he'll likely be on a snap count once he returns to the field.
Arian Foster (Groin Strain): Foster continues to be week to week with his groin strain, but Coach Gase has already ruled him out for this Thursday night against the Bengals. Projection: Misses Week 4. Injury history can't be overlooked, so I believe the Dolphins will give Foster another week to get as close to 100% as possible.
Sammy Watkins (Jones Fracture): Watkins continues to manage the pain and discomfort that he is experiencing from his offseason surgery on his foot. He'll likely continue to be limited during each practice, with the Bills seemingly content with testing out his foot later in the week to see if he's able to give it a go. Projection: Starts Week 4. The Bills came up with a huge win against the Cardinals without Watkins, which allowed him to rest the foot and get healthier. The Bills have another big matchup against the Patriots without Tom Brady in New England, so they'll need Watkins in some form to have a chance to pull off the upset. Projection: Starts Week 4. He'll test his foot out later in the week, so make sure you keep an eye out for the updates as to whether he was able to test his foot out without secondary issues.
Jimmy Garoppolo (Sprained AC Joint): Garoppolo has been able to practice on a limited basis so far this week, so it looks like he's on track to return against the Bills. Projection: Starts Week 4. Garoppolo will clearly not be 100%, but with the Patriots' lack of depth at the position, he'll try and do enough to put the team in position to win. Jacoby Brissett should be available as well, so there could be a chance that they use both to give the Bills a different look.
Virgil Green (Calf Strain): Green was ruled out for Week 3 late last week, with the report stating that he shouldn't miss more than one game. Calf strains can be tricky, so Green will continue to be day-to-day until we find out whether or not he's been participating in practice. Projection: Misses Week 4. Green's inability to participate in practice will sideline him again for another week.
Delanie Walker (Hamstring Strain): Walker was very close to suiting up this past weekend, but the Titans decided to hold him out to make sure he is back to full strength. Projection: Starts Week 4. The Titans passing game has struggled so far this season, so hopefully the return of Walker to the lineup can help provide a spark.
Antonio Gates (Hamstring Strain): There was a report from San Diego beat writer Michael Gehlken that Gates wasn't close to suiting up this past weekend against the Colts. He'll continue to be week to week as he tries to get his hamstring healthier. Projection: Misses Week 4. Gates will sit out another week and will have Hunter Henry replace him.
Kendall Wright (Hamstring Strain): Wright continues to work his way back from a hamstring issue that he's been dealing with since preseason. He looks close to making his debut for this season. Projection: Active Week 4. The Titans will likely limit the amount of snaps he'll see just to make sure there's no re-aggravation. Add in the fact that the Titans have some decent depth at WR currently will also limit Wright's ability to contribute out of the gate.
Rashad Jennings (Sprained Thumb): Jennings continues to be day-to-day with a thumb sprain. He looked to be close to suiting up this past weekend against the Redskins, but the Giants were worried about his ability to contribute in the passing game and also with pass protection/blocking. Projection: Starts Week 4. With the news about Shane Vereen needing season-ending triceps surgery, the Giants will likely make Jennings active and then rotate in Orleans Darkwa and Paul Perkins to make sure Jennings doesn't do more damage to his thumb. With the Giants playing on Monday night, you can look to possibly pick up those RB's just in case Jennings is inactive.
Willie Snead (Turf Toe): Snead was held out of Monday night's game against the Falcons due to a toe issue that forced him to miss practice late last week. He'll likely continue to be limited throughout the week and be a game time decision, so make sure you keep an eye on his practice availability later in the week. Projection: Misses Week 4. With the Saints having a Week 5 bye, there's a chance that they hold out Snead another week to allow him more time to get back to full health.
The Training Room
Bottom Line: Wilson was horse collar tackled in the second half against the 49ers and landed awkwardly on his left knee/ankle. He was checked out on the sidelines and fitted for a knee brace on his left knee, but did not return to the game. Wilson later had an MRI which confirmed an MCL sprain and is considered day-to-day
Projection: Starts Week 4. Wilson will likely have to wear a brace to give his knee better stability and to reduce the risk of causing more irritation to it, but he should be ready to go for Week 4, barring any setbacks.
Tibial Plateau Hairline Fracture
Bottom Line: Bryant was tackled early on in Sunday night's game against the Bears and was forced from the game due to a knee injury. He later returned and was able to play the rest of the game and catch a TD from Dak Prescott. X-rays were negative on Bryant's knee, but an MRI revealed a hairline fracture in the tibial plateau. The tibial plateau is the main weight bearing area of where the femur meets the tibia.
Projection: Returns after Cowboys Week 7 bye. This was worst case scenario for Dez fantasy owners, as now he'll be sidelined for a few weeks to make sure that the fracture heals. The problem with trying to play with a hairline fracture in an area that gets a lot of strain is that the fracture could become worse and then cause a shift in the fracture which would then require surgery to address.
Bottom Line: After missing last week's game against the 49ers due to a shin contusion, Rawls' diagnosis has been changed to a hairline fracture in his fibula. He is expected to miss the next 3-5 weeks.
Projection: Misses 3-4 games. Hairline fractures will normally heal on their own, but Rawls will likely wear a boot for the next week or two to help unload the fracture to allow it to heal properly. From there, he'll go through rehab to get the leg stronger so that he can get back on the field. Rawls' season has not gone well so far, but hopefully with a few weeks off, he will be able to get back into gear for the stretch run.
High Ankle Sprain
Bottom Line: Langford was carted off the field in the second half of Sunday's game against the Cowboys. X-rays were negative on his ankle, but he is dealing with a high ankle sprain.
Projection: Returns Week 10 after bye. Returning Week 10 will give Langford a full six weeks to return from a high ankle sprain, which can be a difficult injury to recover from due to lingering discomfort when trying to ramp up activity. Jordan Howard is the guy to own in Chicago
High Ankle Sprain
Bottom Line: Cook was hurt in the second quarter of this past Sunday's game against the Lions. He had to be carted off the field, and was later seen on crutches and in a boot after the game. Ian Rapoport reported that he is dealing with an ankle sprain and could miss multiple weeks.
Projection: Misses 4-6 games. High ankle sprains that require a player to be carted off the field usually means they are dealing with a pretty severe high ankle sprain, so this injury will likely cost him multiple weeks. The high ankle sprain is also on the same side that he had offseason foot surgery on, so that is something to monitor as well when he starts to ramp up activity. Richard Rodgers will take over starting duties for the Packers while Cook is sidelined.
Bottom Line: Cameron was seen being evaluated for a concussion on the sidelines in the second quarter of this past Sunday's game against the Browns. Although he was never ruled out, he did not return.
Projection: Misses 3-5 games. Cameron has a lengthy history of concussions and has already been ruled out for Thursday's game against the Bengals. Players who have a history of concussions will likely struggle to return in a timely manner, as symptoms can have a tendency to linger longer than expected, especially when trying to progress to higher level activity.