Week 4 Fantasy Football Injury Recap
As The Fantasy Footballers’ lead injury analyst and sports physical therapist, I’ll be recapping the previous week’s injuries and giving a projected timeline for recovery all season long. Let’s look at the biggest injuries from Week 4 and take a look at what fantasy managers can expect heading into Week 5 and beyond.
If you’re looking for more detailed injury analysis, check out JoinTheFoot.com for additional premium resources, including access to the Injury Blitz Podcast hosted by yours truly. This bonus podcast, available to all #FootClan Premier members, is a short, yet informative injury podcast that drops late in the week in order to provide all the injury updates you need to set your lineup each week.
Left Knee Bone Bruise: Out Week 5, Possible to return in Week 7 after the bye
Pickett injured his left knee Sunday against the Texans when his leg got twisted under a defender while being tackled in the backfield. Fortunately, the Pittsburgh QB avoided a season-ending injury, but he will miss time with what is being described as a bone bruise with a sprain of the MCL. Mild to moderate MCL injuries do heal reliably well without surgery, but they require a few weeks before the athlete is 100%, and bone bruises generally take a couple of weeks to heal. The Steelers have their bye week in Week 6, so at the very least, he’ll miss Week 5 and then spend the bye week rehabbing before having a chance to return the following week. Look for Mitch Trubisky to be under center for Pittsburgh this week against Baltimore.
Right Hip Contusion: Likely to play Week 5
Stafford picked up his hip injury midway through the third quarter on Sunday against the Colts. The injury is being described as a contusion, so this is not serious in any way, but it could affect Stafford’s pocket mobility next week. Anticipate Stafford missing practice time this week, but he is fully expected to play next week against the Eagles.
Fractured Left Middle Finger: Not expected to miss time
Herbert suffered an injury to his left middle finger after it appeared that his finger got caught in a defender’s face mask while attempting a pass Sunday against the Raiders. He exited for a few plays but returned with his middle finger heavily taped and in a splint. Fortunately, this injury happened to his left, non-throwing hand, so this is not expected to impact his availability moving forward. Functionally, we could see the Chargers continue to heavily utilize shotgun formations to avoid haivng Herbert take snaps from under center, and this could impact his ball security to some degree, but as a right handed QB, the effect here is pretty minimal. The Chargers go on bye in Week 5, but when they return in Week 6, Herbert is expected to start.
Hip Flexor Strain: Questionable for Week 5
Williams exited Sunday’s game against the Bears with a hip flexor injury and didn’t return. On Sunday night, Adam Schefter reported that the Williams “is not expected to miss much if any time.” Based on that description, it sounds like a Grade I injury, but even a minor hip flexor strain can affect a player explosiveness and ability to perform in the short term. Expect Williams to be on Denver’s injury report this week ahead of Week 5. He’s got a chance to play, but because of this injury and his continued recovery from his multi-ligament ACL injury, it’s unlikely we see Williams get the bulk of the touches in Denver’s backfield this week if he can go.
WR Tee Higgins
Rib Fracture: Questionable for Week 5, could miss multiple weeks
Higgins exited Sunday’s game against Tennessee after fracturing his ribs. Obviously, this is a very painful injury and one that is difficult to play through. However, it is possible to play with the injury if the athlete and medical team decide to use an injection for pain control. If the team opts to avoid using the injection, it’s likely Higgins misses Week 5 at a minimum, and because the Bengals go on bye in Week 7, it’s entirely possible they hold him out through the bye week. For now, this is an ongoing situation to monitor. For what it’s worth, Tee told reporters on Monday that he doesn’t anticipate missing time – we’ll see.
Tee Higgins says he does not see his rib injury keeping him out an extended period of time.
Could potentially be back this week. Says a matter of soreness and pain tolerance as the rib heals.
— Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) October 2, 2023
WR Mike Evans
Hamstring Strain: Questionable for Week 6
Evans exited Week 4 early with a hamstring injury and did not return. On Monday morning, Ian Rapoport reported that Evans’ hamstring injury is not considered serious, but by now, we know hamstring injuries can linger, especially for WRs who have to open up their stride in order to reach top end speed. One silver lining here is that the injury comes at the perfect time for Evans with Tampa going on bye in Week 5. He’ll have two weeks from the date of the injury to be ready for their Week 6 matchup with the Lions. For now, consider Evans questionable for that game.
Right Shoulder AC Joint Sprain: Not expected to miss time
Adams had a defender land on top of him while trying to make a catch, driving his right shoulder into the ground. He exited for a period of time, likely for an X-ray in the locker room before ultimately returning to finish the game. Following the game, Adams spoke with reporters, confirming he was playing through a decent amount of pain. This AC joint sprain is likely minor, but it’s still possible we see Adams pop up on the injury report ahead of Week 5.
WR Alec Pierce
Concussion Evaluation: Situation to monitor
Pierce exited on Sunday against the Rams for a concussion evaluation but seemingly cleared concussion screening during the game and returned to the contest. Keep an eye on his status over the next few days to ensure no lingering effects as sometimes, concussion symptoms don’t present themselves right away. For now, this is nothing more than a situation to monitor.
Hamstring Strain: Out 2-3 weeks, Questionable for Week 7 after the bye
The Muth is going to miss time after he strained his hamstring on Sunday against the Texans. Freiermuth needed assistance to get off the field, a sign that this injury is more severe than that of someone like Mike Evans. Freiermuth will miss next week’s game against the Ravens and then the Steelers go on bye in Week 6. This injury could certainly take longer to heal, but Week 7 after the bye week is the earliest Friermuth has a chance to return. It would not be surprising, however, to see this injury take several weeks. Expect him back towards the end of October.
Calf Strain: Out multiple weeks
Johnson exited Week 4 in the first quarter against the Bucs and did not return. He’s dealing with a calf strain that is expected to sideline him for multiple weeks. As we’ve seen with someone like Joe Burrow, calf injuries can linger and carry a high re-injury risk. Expect Johnson to be sidelined for the next 2-3 weeks at a minimum. It is worth noting that Foster Moreau has also been battling an ankle injury that forced him to miss Weeks 3 and 4.
Musgrave exited Thursday Night Football for a concussion evaluation and did not return. The Packers TE now enters the league’s protocol, and fortunately for Green Bay, their TE has a good chance to play given the prolonged absence from Thursday to the following Monday, giving him extra time to recover. Of course, this isn’t a guarantee, so we’ll need to monitor Green Bay’s practice reports this week, but I do ultimately expect Musgrave to be available for Monday night’s game against the Raiders.
Wrist Injury: Specifics unknown
At the time of this writing, the specifics on Parham’s wrist injury aren’t known. He picked up the injury on Sunday against the Raiders and did not return. With the Chargers going on bye in Week 5, it’s possible we don’t hear much about the injury, so this will be one injury to track for LA ahead of Week 6.