Jimmy Graham is tough as nails, but game-time decisions for young players who have missed multiple games make me nervous. Guerry Smith of CBS Sports says that Graham's availability for the team's Sunday night game with the Denver Broncos won't be known until kickoff.
Graham hasn't played since October 7 due to an ankle injury he suffered against the San Diego Chargers.
The New Orleans Saints are in the midst of a nightmarish 2-4 start, and Graham would certainly give Drew Brees back his favorite target, but offense hasn't been this team's problem. They haven't scored less than 24 points in a game, and their passing offense is tops in the NFL.
Granted, the rushing attack is dead last, but Graham isn't counted on heavily for his run blocking. Rushing him back on the field doesn't address the team's defensive issues.
Graham is just 25 years old, and he figures to be a premier tight end in the NFL for the next five to seven years. Playing on a tender ankle could worsen the injury and possibly create a reoccurring situation. The Saints certainly don't want that to happen.
Graham told Smith:
If it were up to me, I'd play. I tried to play last week, but they decided to rest me because they didn't want me to have any long-term effects. I think I'm ready now, and hopefully they'll allow me to play.
That's very encouraging, and some fantasy owners will jump on this. However, you must consider almost every player says this in this situation. The team's medical staff will have the final determination.
Remember, we're talking about the Saints.
While it may not be exactly related, player health has to be a huge focus for this organization in light of the bounty scandal. It wouldn't surprise me if extra precautions were taken.
Graham may play this Sunday, but even if he does, fantasy owners have to wonder how close to 100 percent he'll be.
Unless your WR/TE situation is in dire straits, I'd wait a week to put Graham back in the starting lineup.
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