New York Jets running back Shonn Greene was knocked out of Sunday's matchup with the New England Patriots by linebacker Brandon Spikes. Greene's injury could have a serious impact on the Jets, and fantasy football owners moving forward.
The injury is unfortunate because it comes only a week after Greene had a breakout game against the Indianapolis Colts when he rushed for 161 yards and three scores. New York had finally found a running back to rally behind, and fantasy owners scrambled to pick Greene up.
After the devastating hit Sunday against the Patriots, Greene later returned after being evaluated by the training staff. According to Jets beat-writer Conor Orr, Greene says he feels fine and is ready for next week:
While it is great to hear how Greene feels, he has yet to be cleared. With a potential concussion, Greene could be very limited, or even inactive for the Jets Week 8 matchup with the Miami Dolphins.
Let's take a look at how Greene's injury impacts both the team and fantasy owners everywhere.
For Fantasy Owners
The injury to Greene is likely horrible news for fantasy owners that made a major move by picking him up two weeks ago after his outstanding performance.
Greene put together a nice body of work against the Patriots before leaving the game, with 16 carries for 54 yards and a touchdown. It's not an eye-popping stat line, but had he come anywhere close to the 32 carries he received against Indianapolis it would have been a much better line.
With Week 8 looming and the potential for concussion-like symptoms to emerge, fantasy owners should steer clear of Greene. The Dolphins are ranked No. 4 in the NFL against the run, giving up only 78 yards per game on the ground.
Greene is a foolish play against the Dolphins without a nagging injury, but now fantasy owners must avoid him like the plague.
For the Jets
The Jets are in serious trouble in Week 8 if Greene cannot carry the load. Backup Bilal Powell is dealing with a shoulder injury that could keep him out through the Week 9 bye.
Joe McKnight was reportedly on crutches following the game against the Patriots Sunday after acting as emergency relief when Greene went down. He had suffered a high ankle sprain in Week 6.
If Greene cannot go, the Jets are going to have to lean on a gimp McKnight and undrafted rookie Jonathan Grimes to carry the load against a Miami defense that is elite against the run.
A safe bet is that the Jets will use a healthy rotation of Grimes and McKnight against Miami, with a little Greene sprinkled in if he is actually healthy enough. The patchwork backfield will be lucky to generate any yards on the ground at all.
As a result, the Dolphins will be able to drop plenty of defenders into coverage to frustrate quarterback Mark Sanchez.
Until Greene is healthy enough to carry the load, the Jets are going to have serious offensive issues once again.