Fantasy Football: Week 11 Injury Recap
Fractured right tibia and fibula: out for the year
Alex Smith’s 2018 season is over after he suffered a gruesome injury on Sunday in the Redskins loss to the Texans. While getting taken down in the backfield, Smith got his right ankle caught in the turf underneath his body. When he rolled over and the image was clear, there was little doubt in terms of the injury severity. Smith broke the two bones that make up the lower leg and ankle, ending his season. He has already undergone season-ending surgery to stabilize these broken bones and will be placed on injured reserve. He now faces a lengthy recovery and rehab process, and there’s no guarantee he’s ready for Week 1 in 2019. Unless there are other roster changes, Colt McCoy will start for the Redskins moving forward.
Fractured right thumb: week to week
The Packers veteran tight end injured his thumb on Thursday Night Football against the Seahawks on a play where he was blocking, engaged with a defender. It’s not uncommon for players blocking to injure their fingers and thumb due to the fact that they are attempting to grip the defender’s jersey and shoulder pads. Graham exited in the first half as he went to the locker room for imaging, which confirmed a fractured thumb. Graham is certainly going to be affected moving forward, and there is a chance he misses multiple weeks. A thumb fracture is more difficult to play through than a pointer finger, for example. This is because of the way the thumb is used to grip objects and catch footballs. It’s unclear exactly how much time Graham will miss, but even if he is active, you can’t start Graham. Catching a football with a broken thumb is extremely difficult to do, even if he is fitted with a splint or a special glove. If you’re relying on Graham, you’ll need to hit the waiver wire for another option.
Stinger: day to day
Mariota has suffered another nerve injury in his right (throwing) arm. He missed several weeks earlier in the season with an ulnar nerve contusion and was finally showing signs over the last two weeks that he is recovering from this injury. However, he sustained a “stinger” on Sunday in the team’s loss against the Colts. A stinger, also known as a “burner,” is basically a low-grade nerve injury in which the athlete can experience numbness, tingling, and sometimes, even weakness. The shoulder of the involved arm generally gets hit in a downward direction while the neck gets forced in the opposite direction, causing a quick stretch across the bundle of nerves as they exit the neck and lead into the arm. This is not a reaggravation of his former nerve injury, but the same ulnar nerve that was involved early in the season is also involved in this case. This time, however, all of the nerves in the arm are affected. Titans coach, Mike Vrabel is “hopeful” that Mariota will start on Monday Night Football, but it’s unclear at this time. I would not rely on Mariota this week given the fact that fantasy owners will be placed in a difficult situation, waiting to see if Mariota is available for Monday night. Watch his practice reports this week.
Left knee sprain: week to week
Kerryon Johnson injured his left knee during the Lions’ big win over the Panthers on Sunday, causing him to exit early in the second half. He was running towards the left sideline and got tackled, causing him to land on his left knee as the defender rolled on top of him. He was able to walk off under his own power before being ruled out. On Monday, Johnson got an MRI, which showed a sprain rather than a complete ligament tear. Per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, Johnson is only expected to miss 1-2 weeks with this injury. Despite the timeline and the MRI, specific details regarding which exact ligament is involved are unavailable at this time. Regardless, Johnson owners will need to plan to be without his services on Thanksgiving and potentially longer. Look for his status to be updated next week.
High ankle sprain: week to week
O.J. Howard had a nice day on Sunday, but he may miss time after he sustained an ankle injury on the team’s final drive of the game. He was seen getting examined by trainers on the sideline and didn’t return. Reports out of Tampa indicate that Howard is getting a second opinion on his injured ankle, so at this point in time, we don’t have specific details. However, given his mechanism of injury, I suspect that Howard is dealing with a high ankle sprain. If this is true, he could miss multiple weeks. Look for more information on Howard later this week.
Torn Achilles tendon: out for the year
LaFell’s 2018 season is over after he ruptured the Achilles tendon in his left ankle. He will undergo season-ending surgery to repair the tendon and be placed on injured reserve. LaFell will rehab his injury and attempt to be ready at some point in the middle of the season next year. Now 32, he will likely struggle to find a free agent contract coming off of an injury that tends to end the career of players who are age 30 and older. His NFL career may be over.