Rash of injuries tax depth charts
There's a tough balance in this job. First and foremost, I have to give you good information. I'm not perfect, but I hope you readers get some value out of this column. Judging from conversation on Twitter, many of you are. Second, I have to educate you. I have to explain why a specific injury is a problem, why it affects a player in a certain way, and I have to help you understand how it affects your favorite team or your fantasy team. Sometimes that's harder than others. I'll often feel like I'm repeating myself over and over -- "a sprain is a tear" comes to mind -- but with each new reader that comes in every week, they might not have heard that. So this week's theme is "injury stack." An injury stack is a series of injuries at one position or unit that taxes the depth of a unit and puts pressure on the already overtaxed medical staffs of a team. There's several of them around football and how teams deal with them can make or break seasons. Let's take a closer look:
With the increased notice of concussions, it's a bit ironic that Rodgers' happened on the last real play of an overtime game. The big hit and the cumulative effect of a defense's knocks on a QB might both be factors. Rodgers' didn't seem to lose consciousness for any significant time, but as of Thursday morning, he still hadn't passed through the necessary tests. It's still possible that he'll start on Sunday, but that assumes that everything goes well between now and then. Even then,
This one will be a true GTD with a bias toward playing Rodgers. Look for him to be cleared Thursday and practicing as soon as Thursday afternoon. The worry then becomes
The Packers lost two TEs on Sunday, a real problem for a team that's made so much use of their TE on the passing tree, specifically the Coryell "20" patterns that occupy a zone defense. Finley has been the TE1 for the Packers and for many fantasy teams this year, but knee surgery this week found significant damage to his knee, necessitating a more involved surgery. In the day and age where a meniscectomy is as routine as wart removal, Finley's knee could keep him out for more than the two or three weeks we're normally seeing.
What could have been found in his knee that would create such a disparity between expected and actual results? First, the medial meniscus was severely damaged, and instead of being repaired, it was able to be repaired, likely using a technique called
Addai left last Sunday's game with what was described as a "neck/shoulder" injury, leaving
The Browns have the very definition of injury stack at QB, sharing not only the same position, but also the same injury. Not only does Delhomme have a sprained ankle, but he was forced into last Sunday's game when Wallace sprained his ankle. Worse, Wildcat QB
Wallace's high ankle sprain is more serious, being both fresher and attached to a QB that relies on mobility. There's very little chance that Wallace will be able to play this week. Moreover, this is an injury that could linger and cost Wallace a month or more.
That leaves Cribbs, who was limited last week by a sprain and a lack of passing, who could see more time in the Wildcat, to protect McCoy some, and who would be a nice target in the short game for McCoy, assuming his ankle sprain clears up. We'll have to watch the practice reports closely on Cribbs, but facing the Steelers is no easy assignment for any team, let alone one so banged up.
The injuries aren't just at QB for the Browns. They're also dealing with a quad strain to their RB1, Hillis. The initial strain happened last week during a Thursday practice. The Grade I strain wasn't a big deal, described by Hillis as a "tightness," but during Sunday's game, the strain was aggravated and Hillis had to come out. The Browns seem to be thinking that Hillis will be in much the same situation this week, and given the timeline, that's reasonable. Hillis went from Thursday to Sunday able to play, so a full week of treatment should help. The team did make a deal for
There's some interesting data regarding players who miss training camp and injuries. This week, while calling about something else, an NFL FOT (front office type) whom I speak with regularly asked whether anyone had ever looked at the injury rate for players coming off suspension. Did missing time with the team raise the risk? It was an interesting question, but not one I had (or have) a good answer for. It makes sense on one level, but even the old-school "have to get used to being hit" mantra still doesn't hold water with me. Maybe 20 years ago, but in today's NFL, players have personal trainers, personal chefs, workout facilities and all the powers of sports science on their side. Why would all that that create a level of risk that being around a team and taking hits wouldn't? One of the problems with facts is that they don't come with an instruction manual. We just don't know. I'm not saying that Roethlisberger or any of the players that come back are more risky, but there's also no reason not to at least consider it.
Johnson has a shoulder injury that's limiting his ability to reach out and raise his right arm. The Lions aren't saying exactly what the injury is, but something on the AC sprain spectrum is the reasonable suspect given how he landed on it. Padding, strength and a little luck saved him from a more significant injury. Johnson's ability to reach has a pretty big impact on his ability to effectively play WR and the Lions have a bye week coming in Week 7, so they could be a bit more conservative than normal. Still, we're seeing a bias to playing at all levels and Johnson has been practicing. If he's effectively "one handed" but can't do more damage, he could be used as a decoy at worst. Whether it's
The most interesting part of this week's story on Revis' injury has been the dialogue
I couldn't let this pass, not this week.