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Inside the Tent - Week 3 NFL Injury Insight

At RotoBaller, we can't stress enough the importance of keeping up with injuries and playing your best lineup week after week. Players are going to get injured, that's an unavoidable fact. What's avoidable though is making the wrong roster decisions based on the injuries surrounding your fantasy squad. If you want to dominate your leagues and win some dough in daily contests, you have to be proactive with injury research.

That's where I come in to serve you, the readers! I'm Aaron Burger, a Doctor of Physical Therapy in Pittsburgh, PA. About a year ago, I decided to combine my love, fantasy football, with what I've been learning for years now, injuries and the human body. Each week, I'll be checking in on fantasy's biggest injuries to keep you informed.

Be sure you also have RotoBaller bookmarked and follow us on social media to catch all the latest NFL news updates.

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Inside the Tent Updates

Joe Mixon, RB - Cincinnati Bengals

Mixon was able to play in Week 2 but if you look at the stat line, you really can’t tell the difference. The Bengals have struggled running the ball through two weeks and this of course effects Mixon. The Bengals now face a Bills Defense which is good overall and has some talent but has been soft against the run this year.

Sterling Shepard, WR - New York Giants

Making his way back from a concussion, Shepard is slated to play on the road in Tampa this weekend with Daniel Jones now behind the wheel of the Giants offense. Shepard comes back to an offense that seriously needs some WR help as Evan Engram has just been gobbling up targets (22 through two games). Shepard could have a nice day if Pat Shurmur gets Jones in a rhythm and is able to get open on some intermediate routes against a soft Tampa secondary.


Week 3 Injury Updates

Drew Brees, QB - New Orleans Saints

  • Injury: Brees suffered an UCL (ulnar collateral ligament) sprain in his right thumb in Week 2 against the Rams. This ligament helps to add stability to the thumb and is crucial for grip strength. Considering this injury required surgery and Brees wasn’t even able to pick up a football on the sidelines, this was likely a Grade III sprain, or complete rupture.
  • News: Surgery was performed by Dr. Steven Shin on Wednesday, September 18th to repair the ligament. Dr. Shin has also performed surgery on the likes of Mike Trout, who too ruptured his UCL in 2017. The Saints have elected not to place Brees on IR so they aren’t counting this as a lost season for Brees.
  • Outlook: The timelines surrounding Brees right now are all saying 6 weeks return to play time. I wouldn’t be shocked if we don’t see Brees until Week 10. The Saints have a bye in Week 10 and this is not an injury to rush back from. Another possibility is Week 9 at home against the Cardinals.

Ben Roethlisberger, QB - Pittsburgh Steelers

    • Injury: Roethlisberger sprained a ligament in his throwing elbow Week 2 against the Seahawks. Considering he had to undergo surgery to repair the ligament, it was likely a Grade III sprain, or complete rupture. The most commonly involved ligament in the elbow is the UCL, or ulnar collateral ligament.
    • News: Surgery will be performed to repair the ligament, which may or may not be the UCL. Ian Rapoport reported that Roethlisberger is not undergoing Tommy John surgery which is the surgery used to repair a ruptured UCL. Other ligaments that could be involved are the radial collateral ligament or annular ligament.
    • Outlook: Roethlisberger won’t be out an entire year which is typically the case for baseball players that undergo UCL reconstruction surgery. If the ligament involved is not the UCL, the return will somewhere closer to 6-9 months and we should see Roethlisberger in Week 1 next year (if he continues to play).

Devin Singletary, RB - Buffalo Bills

  • Injury: The running back in Buffalo that seemingly everyone was high on going into the season, Devin Singletary, unfortunately suffered a hamstring strain in Week 2 against the Giants. The hamstrings are actually three muscles that are on the back of the thigh and help bend the knee, extend the hip, as well as decelerate athletes after sprinting. Muscle strains are graded I, II, and III with I being a mild strain and III being a complete rupture of the tendon.
  • News: Singletary did not practice at all this week and has been ruled OUT for Week 3.
  • Outlook: How much time the electric back from FAU misses really depends on how severe the strain is and where the strain actually occurred in the muscle. If it is a Grade II strain, which is truly possible since he didn’t practice all week, this would sideline him for 4-6 weeks. If it is a Grade I strain, which I suspect, he will be out 2-4 weeks. If the strain occurred within the muscle itself, instead of the tendon, it will heal much faster considering there is better blood flow to the muscle belly compared to the tendon.

James Conner, RB - Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Injury: Conner is dealing with a bone bruise in his left knee as a result of it being hyperextended. When the knee hyperextends, or becomes too straight, this is when concern for an ACL sprain or rupture arises. Thankfully though, the ACL was strong and did not rupture. Because the ACL was so strong though, it pulled where it attaches and caused the bone to bruise within the knee. These can be extremely painful to play through.
  • News: Conner is set to play in Week 3 but I wouldn’t expect his normal, full workload. 
  • Outlook: Don’t be surprised if Jaylen Samuels and Benny Snell Jr. get more run this week against San Francisco. The pain that accompanies these injuries will likely lead to Mike Tomlin using more of Samuels and Snell to keep Conner fresh. If Conner’s knee pain flares up during the game, he could be out and you wasted a roster spot. Proceed with caution this week if Conner is in starting lineups. 

Josh Jacobs, RB - Oakland Raiders

  • Injury: Jacobs is dealing with an adductor, or groin, strain. The adductor muscle group runs along the inside of the thigh and allows the legs to move closer to one another and also assists in lateral movements. This is likely a Grade I strain for Jacobs.
  • News: The Oakland bell-cow was able to turn in limited practices on Wednesday and Thursday and was even able to practice fully on Friday. 
  • Outlook: Jacobs should be good to go for Week 3 but as with all soft tissue injuries, there is a chance of re-injury. The Raiders will play the Colts who have been quite stout so far this year against the run, allowing 3.9 yards per attempt.

Damien Williams, RB - Kansas City Chiefs

  • Injury: Williams is dealing with a right knee contusion he suffered Week 2 against the Raiders. A contusion is a bruise but depending on where the contusion is, whether it’s on a muscle or bone, it can be extremely painful when performing football activities.
  • News: He wasn’t able to practice at all this week and has been ruled OUT for Week 3 against the Ravens.
  • Outlook: This is likely a one week absence for Williams unless there’s something more going on that hasn’t been reported.

LeSean McCoy, RB - Kansas City Chiefs

    • Injury: McCoy suffered a left ankle sprain during Week 2’s game against the Raiders. The anterior talo-fibular ligament (ATFL) is the most commonly involved ligament during ankle sprains and these sprains occur when the foot is rolled inward. 
    • News: An MRI was done to determine if ligaments within the ankle were ruptured and thankfully the MRI came back clean. McCoy was able to practice in a limited fashion on Thursday and fully on Friday. It looks like he’ll be playing this week against the Ravens.
    • Outlook: It’s looking like McCoy will play this week but as I’ve stated countless times before, soft tissue injuries (anything involving muscles, tendons, or ligaments) can be re-injured quite easily. The medical staff for the Chiefs will have McCoy’s ankle secured with tape and he should see a lot of run with Damien Williams sidelined with his own ailment.

Alshon Jeffery, WR - Philadelphia Eagles

  • Injury: A mild calf strain is the newest injury to add to Alshon Jeffery’s list. The calf is made up of two muscles, the gastrocnemius and soleus. These muscles help athletes sprint and are crucial for agility and jumping as well.
  • News: Jeffery didn’t practice at all this week which is never a good sign. Also not a good situation is that the Eagles have a short week and play on Thursday as well,
  • Outlook: There’s some optimism surrounding Jeffery that he may be able to play this weekend but that optimism certainly isn’t coming from me. Jeffery should miss Week 3 against the Lions and there’s a good possibility he doesn’t play on Thursday as well.

Tyrell Williams, WR - Oakland Raiders

  • Injury: The new Oakland Raiders WR1, Tyrell Williams, suffered a hip pointer in Week 2’s loss against the Chiefs. A hip pointer is simply a bruise that occurs as a result of a direct blow to the hip bone where there are plenty of muscular attachments. These can be pretty painful and certainly require rehab to decrease pain and inflammation.
  • News: Williams was able to practice in a limited fashion on Wednesday and Thursday and was even able to practice fully on Friday. He should be ready to roll in Week 3.
  • Outlook: Because of the nature of this injury, the risk of re-injury is high. If he takes one blow to that hip or falls on it the wrong way, he will likely have to exit the game to get the pain under control. It’s a tough situation but if you’re willing to risk it he’s been a fine play thus far.

Michael Gallup, WR - Dallas Cowboys

  • Injury: Michael Gallup, who has looked great through two weeks, unfortunately tore his left meniscus and will require surgery. The meniscus is a ring of cartilage within the knee joint that acts as a shock absorber and adds surface area to the joint.
  • News: Gallup underwent surgery to trim the meniscus and generally “clean up” his knee joint. If the meniscus was left alone, the frayed portion can cause pain and decrease range of motion.
  • Outlook: With Gallup sidelined anywhere from 2-4 weeks, we should see a lot more Devin Smith who has made his way back from his own injuries. Also, expect to see more Randall Cobb in a revamped offense under new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore.

DeSean Jackson, WR - Philadelphia Eagles

    • Injury: Desean Jackson suffered an abdominal muscle strain in Week 2 against the Falcons. The abdominal wall is made up of layers of muscle including the rectus abdominis, internal obliques, and external obliques. These muscles, just like a hamstring or calf, can be strained when the strength of their contraction is too much for where they attach.
    • News: Jackson did not practice this week and has been ruled OUT for Week 3.
    • Outlook: The Eagles are hurting for wide receivers right now. Alshon Jeffery may miss Week 3 and Jackson has been ruled out already. This could be the JJ Arcega-Whiteside breakout we’ve been waiting for. Obviously, Nelson Agholor and Zach Ertz will see their target share increase without these two WRs. 

David Njoku, TE - Cleveland Browns

    • Injury: Njoku sustained a concussion as well as a fractured wrist in Week 2 against the Jets on Monday night. He was upended and actually landed on his neck which was certainly a scary sight. 
    • News:  He was placed on IR and will not return until later this season. It’s being reported he will not undergo surgery to repair his wrist which is always good news.
    • Outlook: Without Njoku, expect even more work for Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, and Rashard Higgins. This is unfortunate as Baker Mayfield has done quite well in 12 personnel (1 RB, 2 TE, 2 WR) but hasn’t done so well with 11 personnel (1RB, 1 TE, 3 WR) surprisingly.

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