Fantasy Football Week 2: Latest Injury Roundup and Analysis
I never root for injuries, but I do like to stay busy. This week's report seems light, though, because it is. If I have nothing to do but talk about minor injuries or even just fantasy football this season, I'll be okay with that.
The bulk of injuries will happen by the end of Week 2, and while the "rust" we saw from Robert Griffin and Ahmad Bradshaw might indicate that the preseason is necessary, it's nice to think we've seen some shift down.
We have very few major injuries, with Maurkice Pouncey out with a massive knee injury being the most notable one. The rest won't miss much time, but it's important to stay in the know for fantasy and fandom purposes.
One thing I did note is that at this point in the season, when the heat is still in effect and conditioning can be a bit hit or miss, we didn't see much in the way of cramping. Here and there, sure, but it seems medical staffs hit the right balance. I'll be curious to see if conditioning and sports science give any advantage to the teams using it, especially the Eagles, as they play a rushed tempo on offense.
Let's dig through the injuries coming out of Week 1 as we prep for Week 2. Remember, I'll be back with updates on Thursday, and then comes the liveblog on Sunday along with #FantasyLive on Sunday morning. If you miss any of them, your opponents will surely be reading.
INJURY: bruised ribs
OUTLOOK: expected to practice, no missed time
In any hit, something has to give—usually, it's simple gravity. A player goes down, the play is over, and aside from maybe a bruise or a mild soreness, the play is forgotten completely until film study. Bigger hits leave bigger impressions, and this one gave Romo's ribs nowhere to go.
But the question is, what gave?
More importantly, why did it have to give? Romo was wearing typical old rib protectors. While I could not see the brand, it doesn't really matter. It's foam and plastic, attached to the shoulder pads and laced in front. It works and has worked for 50 years.
As protection for past rib injuries, Romo wore an advanced Kevlar padding made by Unequal. I'm not sure why Romo would switch back, but we've seen players shift from advanced pads and helmets back to the standard before—it's a move I just don't get.
It may have cost Romo and the Cowboys here. Romo may have escaped a fracture, according to Cowboys VP Stephen Jones, via USA Today, but something like an intracostal cartilage strain can be just as painful and limiting. Romo moved more gingerly late in the game—the sign of a painkiller wearing off—so even with the Monday reports, I'm not sure that he is going to come out of this clean.
INJURY: high ankle sprain
OUTLOOK: unlikely to play Week 2, two- to four-week recovery normal
The last-minute news that Roddy White was dealing with a more serious ankle sprain hit fantasy wires like fire. While the back-and-forth between scoopsters never arrived at a solid answer, White's performance on Sunday told me all I needed to know.
As expected, he couldn't get open or make hard cuts. That left Matt Ryan looking elsewhere, but Ryan finds open receivers as well as anyone, so once White is back, the targets will come back quickly. The issue is whether White has a high ankle sprain, from which it will take longer to return.
While White is telling fantasy players not to play him if he doesn't practice—a novel, postmodern touch—the lingering nature of ankle sprains, high or low, is tougher to judge. This reads like a high ankle sprain, which will likely keep him sidelined at least a couple weeks.
In the meantime, Julio Jones is a must-play, and Tony Gonzalez and Harry Douglas will be more involved while White is limited. It's also clear that even when he does return, we'll have to be a bit wary of putting White back in the lineup.
INJURY: bruised quad
OUTLOOK: no missed time
Jamaal Charles flipped, landed on his head and ended up with just a bruise on his thigh. It's that simple, though it was nice seeing that the new sideline concussion protocol worked. The independent observers saw Charles land on (or apparently on) his head and asked for a test. Charles cleared it, and there's no further issue.
Seeing him removed from play, just for a couple minutes, can be frustrating, but it could have made all the difference in managing a concussion. The quad bruise will take only some ice and some time, but not enough that he should even miss much in the way of practice time.
Charles' use was a big plus for his fantasy owners and for the new Chiefs offense. This injury shouldn't keep him from playing well going forward, while the concussion check should make sure Charles and the rest of the NFL is just a little bit safer.
INJURY: dislocated thumb, strained groin
Reggie Bush has always been defined as much by what he can't do as what he can. When teams let him do those things he can, he's solid. Miami did an okay job with him last year, and the Lions are in the same situation.
Of course, if he's not healthy, it goes by the wayside and we get to figure out whether Joique Bell's flashes of brilliance are anything more.
Bush dealt with both a dislocated thumb—an exceptionally painful injury—and a strained groin on Sunday. The dislocation was quickly reduced, and the only worry is that there's pain and swelling that will linger a few days. Bush told the media that he didn't think the groin was a big deal and pointed out that he played through it.
The worry isn't so much that he'll miss time; it's that he'll see his split of the touches shift over to Bell outside of the red zone. Bush certainly seemed to fit in perfectly, so monitor his practice this week to make sure he'll be ready Sunday (or you can just let me do it, and I'll tell you on Thursday!).
INJURY: fractured wrist
OUTLOOK: surgery, will miss two to four weeks
Shane Vereen found his niche, and while his numbers weren't gaudy, they did give Pats fans and fantasy owners something to dream on. Unfortunately, they also got a rude wake-up call with the postgame news that Vereen had a dislocated bone in his wrist, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, and would need surgery.
In the long term, this is nothing. He'll come back from it well and quickly. If Vereen played defense, he could be back quicker, but the need to catch the ball and hold it tightly is paramount, so it could range toward a month before he's fully ready.
If there's a positive sign, it's that Vereen did it on his first play, which means it might not be affecting his grip as much as it could. Once he's back, there shouldn't be any further issue in him being used as normal.
But it will be a new normal. Stevan Ridley should take the touches back, but will Julian Edelman continue to play the part of Wes Welker? Will Rob Gronkowski's return in the interim change the mix, especially in the red zone? While Vereen is like none of these players and should get his role back, it's much more unclear if Tom Brady will use him in the same way once he's back on the field.
Bonus note: Danny Amendola's minor groin strain is just that: minor. Amendola and the Pats' medical staff are well aware of his reputation for fragility, so they were merely being extra careful in checking the injury before it became something more significant. Unfortunately, it looks like the short week might work against him, with a report from ESPN's Ed Werder saying that Amendola will not play this week. I'm still not convinced of that, but have Plan B at the ready.
INJURY: post-surgical foot fixation
OUTLOOK: no missed time
Ahmad Bradshaw didn't have the touches I expected, but he didn't seem disappointed. On WRTV 6 in Indianapolis after the game, Bradshaw seemed pleased and was focused on the big picture, telling my pal Dave Furst that Week 1 was a "good first step."
Bradshaw wasn't held back by the surgically repaired feet as much as he was by the team needing those feet healthy all season. They'll let him (forgive me) get his feet underneath him and lean on Vick Ballard until Bradshaw and the medical staff make sure they have the maintenance program down.
This might be the time to try to steal Bradshaw from an owner who isn't paying attention. While we're unlikely to see 25 touches for Bradshaw in this offense in any week, it is reasonable to think we could find him at 15 to 20 by midseason, and that should mean production.
Bonus note: Dwayne Allen injured his hip on a late fall in the first half. On the play, you could see him land and immediately grab it. It's not likely to be significant—a nasty bruise, probably—but combined with the foot injury that's still slowing him, the Colts have to make sure that he doesn't end up with a cascade injury to his legs.
Robert Griffin III: Griffin didn't look like himself in the first half, but much of that seemed due to lacking confidence and a bit of discomfort with the knee. Monday Night Football color analyst Jon Gruden pointed out that he wasn't stepping fully into his throws, but he appeared to adjust later in the game. He showed good cutting ability and acceleration and seemed okay with stepping out of bounds rather than taking hits. That's maturity.
Arian Foster: Arian Foster looked fine when he was running. He was fluid, changed directions well and showed no real deficits. I would have liked to have seen him push the pile, showing the calf has that kind of strength as well, but that's never been his game anyway. It was a positive among a lot of Texans negatives.
Blaine Gabbert: Gabbert's horrible, no-good start can't be entirely chalked up to a bad thumb. But a laceration on his throwing hand is enough to quickly rule him out for Week 2 and maybe beyond. Chad Henne will take the start, but either way, it's unclear whether anyone else on the Jags will be a valid fantasy option, and that includes Maurice Jones-Drew and Cecil Shorts.
Mark Sanchez: Mark Sanchez is heading to see Dr. James Andrews on Tuesday. The good doctor will see how much, if any, damage there is inside the shoulder after his separation. Expect anything beyond the very mild to equal an IR designation.
Darrelle Revis: Revis was a binary player. I wanted to see him do certain things, and during the game, he did all of them. I can't speak to the function, but all the skills are there, which is impressive given the track record of most defensive backs coming back from an ACL injury. I saw no negatives from Revis' function.
Rob Gronkowski: Before you even ask—no, he's not playing this week.