Week 5's Sunday was another terrible one on the injury front, highlighted by season-ending injuries to Odell Beckham, J.J. Watt, Whitney Mercilus and Sterling Shepard. In the SI.com fantasy injury report for Week 6, we'll take a look at the players who will return this season.
Travis Kelce, TE, Chiefs
The timetable for recovery from concussions have increased over the years as the medical personnel have gotten better at assessing and addressing issues associated with head trauma. Due to the fact that Kelce suffered the head injury on Sunday night, it might make it more difficult to be cleared in time for this upcoming Sunday’s game against the Steelers. While you can never completely rule someone out until the team makes him inactive, Kelce will need to get cleared by Saturday in order to have a chance to play on Sunday.
DeVante Parker, WR, Dolphins
Injury: lateral ankle sprain
Parker exited early in Week 5 against the Titans and didn’t return. After the game, he was seen on crutches not putting any weight on his foot. Fantasy owners shouldn’t be too concerned with the fact he was on crutches, as that’s a typical precautionary measure the medical team will take to reduce the amount of stress on the healing tissue. Reports are that Parker’s ankle injury is minor and that he could be available this upcoming weekend, but keep an eye on his practice status this week to help determine how close to 100% he will be, assuming he is able to suit up in Week 6.
Bilal Powell, RB, Jets
Injury: strained calf
Powell exited the game during the first half and never returned. Even though reports are that Powell’s calf strain is minor, they can be very difficult to manage, regardless of the severity. Calf strains have high risk for aggravation due to the constant force that needs to be generated through the muscle when running and sprinting. Another concern is that players dealing with calf strains could be more vulnerable to have their Achilles tendon injuries if they try and rush back too soon because of the way those are connected. Powell will likely end up being a game-time decision this weekend, but don’t be surprised if the Jets decide to sit him for a week.
Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots
Injury: thigh contusion
Gronkowski will have had 10 days to recover from the thigh contusion that made him a surprise inactive against the Buccaneers this past Thursday by time the Patriots take the field in Week 6. The expectation is that Gronk will return to the lineup this week against the Jets, but keep an eye on his status to make sure he doesn’t experience any setbacks. His injury falls in line with Jordy Nelson’s thigh injury a few weeks ago, and he ended up not missing any time. It’s reasonable to expect to see Gronk back on the field on Sunday.
Sterling Shepard, WR, Giants
Injury: lateral ankle sprain
A lateral ankle sprain is what happens to you, the layperson, when roll your ankle stepping off the side of a curb. The ligaments on the outer aspect of the ankle get overstretched, which causes microtears and results in pain, inflammation, swelling and some stability issues, depending on the severity of the injury. Shepard is considered day-to-day with the sprained ankle, but will likely be limited all week and could potentially be a game-time decision depending on how the injury responds to treatment. His availability becomes even more important with both Odell Beckham and Brandon Marshall out for the season.
Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions
Injury: strained hamstring, high ankle sprain
Sustaining two injuries to the same leg is a hard task to accomplish, but Stafford did just that against the Panthers in Week 5. Stafford looks like he is dealing with a high ankle sprain and a strained hamstring, as both areas were heavily taped to allow Stafford to finish the game. He’ll likely miss some practice time this week, but I can’t see Stafford missing Week 6 unless he has a setback.
Adam Jones/Dre Kirkpatrick, CBs, Bengals
Injury: back injury/sprained shoulder
Both Jones and Kirkpatrick sustained injuries in the first quarter against the Bills in Week 5 and did not return. Although we are unsure of the severity of each injury, losing both of them for any extended amount of time could make the Bengals vulnerable on the defensive side of the ball, especially against the pass. They do have a bye this week, however, so it’s reasonable to think they’ll be out there for the Bengals next game in Week 7.