The Training Room: Week 9 Injury Updates
With trade deadlines on the horizon in most fantasy leagues, knowing which players are healthy and which are hurt can play a huge factor into whether or not you're able to strike a deal. Players that are close to returning could still hold some value, but those who are still a few weeks away might scare fantasy owners, who would be taking on a big risk for the rest of the season. Let's take a look at players who are making their way back from injury and those who are still struggling to get healthy.
On The Mend
Teams on Bye: Chicago, Cincinnati, Washington, New England, Arizona, Houston
Ben Roethlisberger (Knee Scope): Big Ben surprisingly returned to practice this past Monday and seems to be on track to play this upcoming Sunday. Keep an eye on what his status is later this week, as there is a good chance he's a game-time decision. Projection: Starts Week 9. With a big division game against the Ravens, I'd be surprised if Big Ben wasn't on the field this weekend. He'll still need to clear some hurdles, so if you have him, you need to make sure you have a backup plan just in case he suffers a setback or just doesn't get cleared in time for this weekend.
Thomas Rawls (Broken Fibula): Rawls continues to be week-to-week as Coach Carroll states Rawls is still limited due to his fibular fracture he sustained in Week 2. Projection: Misses Week 9. It's looking to be a wasted season for Rawls with his slow return from ankle surgery in the offseason and now his slow recovery from the hairline fracture. The Seahawks will likely try and ease his way back into snaps when he does return, but it sounds like he is still a week or two away from returning.
Doug Martin (Strained Hamstring): Martin continues to be week-to-week after suffering a setback in his hamstring recovery in Week 7. His return is very cloudy and I wouldn't expect any clarity on this anytime soon. Projection: Misses Week 9. The Bucs are on a short week as they play the Falcons on Thursday night, so Martin will not play this week and will be highly questionable to play next week as well.
Steve L Smith (High Ankle Sprain): The hope is that Smith will return to practice in some manner this week so that he would be on track to return this weekend against the Steelers. He's more day-to-day than week-to-week at this point, but the fact that he has yet to practice when the Ravens are coming off a bye is concerning. Projection: Starts Week 9. This is a highly variable guess, but with the Ravens facing the Steelers this upcoming weekend, having Smith back in the mix will help their chances of stabilizing the offense that has really struggled since he's been out.
Carlos Hyde (Sprained AC Joint): Although Hyde has been practicing in a limited fashion all week, it seems like the 49ers are content with holding him out so that he is 100% when he returns. Projection: Misses Week 9. Hyde will miss a great matchup against the Saints as he continues to recovery from his AC joint sprain. The fact that he has been practicing in a limited fashion this past week should mean he's trending in the right direction for Week 10. .
Dion Lewis (Knee Scope): Lewis returned to practice last week, which means he'll have three weeks to get ready in order for the Patriots to activate him onto the active roster. The Patriots have a Week 9 bye, but it sounds like he'll return after the bye week. Projection: Active Week 10. It's unclear what type of usage Lewis will return to with James White handling the passing down role, but if Lewis shows that he is healthy and near 100%, his role will likely grow quickly. If somehow he's still available, now is the time to pick him up.
LeSean McCoy (Strained Hamstring): Shady has practied in a limited fashion all week and is expected to play this Monday against the Seahawks. Projection: Starts Week 9. The Bills need a win in Seattle and having their best offensive player on the field should help their chances. I would be cautious though as the risk for an in-game aggravation could potentially cause Shady's day to be cut short. The Bills have a Week 10 bye as well so game flow will play a factor in whether or not they deploy McCoy like they normally would.
Corey Coleman (Broken Hand): Coleman has been cleared to return to full practice so barring any setbacks, he looks set to return against the Cowboys. Projection: Starts Week 9. Coleman's return might cut into Terrelle Pryor's usage a bit, but both of them should have high usage against the Cowboys' suddenly banged up secondary.
Tevin Coleman (Strained Hamstring): Coleman is up against the clock as the Falcons face the Bucs this upcoming Thursday. He'll likely be limited if he does return to practice, but I'm not optimistic the Falcons will risk Coleman aggravating his hamstring on a short week. Projection: Misses Week 9. Coleman should have a better chance to return next weekend.
Jared Cook (High Ankle Sprain): Cook returned to practice in a limited fashion late this week, but has already been ruled out for this weekend's game against the Colts. If he continues to practice on a limited basis, Week 10 is sounding more realistic for his return. Projection: Misses Week 9. The Packers will continue to use Richard Rodgers in Cook's absence.
Ladarius Green (Ankle Surgery): Green returned to practice this week, which makes it look like the Steelers are ready to activate him in time for the game this weekend against the Ravens. Projection: Active Week 9. Don't expect much from Green this week as he'll likely be used sparingly as he continues to work into the offense.
Jerick McKinnon (Ankle Sprain): McKinnon was in a boot until last Friday and didn't practice at all last week. He's been able to practice on a limited basis, with McKinnon stating that he'll be ready to play this weekend. Projection: Starts Week 9. Ankle injuries do have a tendency to linger, so keep an eye on his productivity as the game progresses.
Cody Kessler (Concussion): Kessler has passed through the league's concussion protocol and is allowed to return to full practice. Projection: Active Week 9. It's still up in the air as to whether or not Josh McCown or Kessler will start, but hopefully we'll get some more clarity by mid week so you can make the necessary adjustments.
The Training Room
Bottom Line: Smith went out on two separate occasions with head injuries and was evaluated twice for a concussion. The Chiefs are claiming that Smith didn't sustain a concussion, but Coach Andy Reid announced that Nick Foles will be starting Sunday ... okay.
Projection: Misses Week 9. Smith should have enough time to be cleared for Week 10, but this is just another example of how the NFL continues to swing and miss on head injuries.
Bottom Line: Ware was ruled out of this past weekend's game against the Colts with a concussion and did not return. Ware is now going through the concussion protocol and will try and get cleared by Sunday's game against the Jaguars
Projection: Misses Week 9. It's hard to say how Ware will progress through the concussion protocol, so keep an eye on his status as the week progresses to make sure you have all the information you need to make the appropriate adjustments. With Jamaal Charles on IR, Charcandrick West is a must-own.
Bottom Line: Rodgers was forced from last week's game late in the second half and was ruled out in overtime. He was diagnosed with a foot sprain and is considered week-to-week.
Projection: Misses 2-3 games. Foot sprains are normally multi-week injuries, with the latest player to return being Dwayne Washington after missing three games. Antone Smith should see the bulk of the carries for the Bucs, but it's anyones guess how that'll shake out.
Bottom Line: Hilton was being stretched out on the sideline as he appeared to have strained his hamstring. He tried to play through the injury but was clearly limited due to the hamstring.
Projection: Starts Week 9. Hilton will likely miss a few practices this week as the Colts do have a tendency to baby him, but he should be available considering no setbacks.
Sprained AC Joint
Bottom Line: Tamme was forced from the game on the first series of the game and did not return. He has been ruled out already by Coach Dan Quinn for the Falcons' Thursday night game against the Falcons.
Projection: Misses 1-2 games. It sounds like Tamme is dealing with a sprained AC joint, which is normally a week-to-week situation depending on pain and ability to move the arm properly. Rookie TE Austin Hooper will fill in for Tamme and could be an interesting sleeper for those desperate at TE.