Fantasy Football: Week 5 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 6 and beyond.
Don’t forget to 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.
Mallet Finger: Out 6 weeks
Russell Wilson injured his middle finger on his right hand on Thursday Night Football against the Rams, suffering an injury known as Mallet Finger. In this injury, the tendon that straightens your finger is torn and as a result, you’re unable to straighten the finger without some sort of medical intervention. As a result, Wilson underwent surgery last Friday and is now set to miss about six weeks. There are early reports that Wilson’s surgeon believes he can possibly return after about four weeks, but that remains to be seen. It seems optimistic, especially given that Wilson’s injury also included a fracture + dislocation. Regardless, this is Geno Smith‘s team for the foreseeable future.
Players impacted: D.K. Metcalf, Tyler Lockett
Left Lateral Ankle Sprain: Out 2-4 weeks
Barkley stepped on a Cowboys defender’s foot, causing him to roll his ankle as is often seen in basketball. Fortunately, this injury did not result in a fracture of the ankle as x-rays were negative following the game despite extensive swelling following the injury and news that Barkley was on crutches with a boot. Barkley will miss Week 6, but he has a small chance to return in Week 7 depending on how his ankle responds to treatment over the next two weeks. However, it’s going to take a few weeks before his ankle is truly 100%. I remain confident Barkley can have a solid second half of the year once this ankle injury is healed, but it’ll likely be November by the team we see the Saquon we’re accustomed to seeing.
Players impacted: Devontae Booker, Daniel Jones
Concussion: Week to week
Jones took a hit to the head at the goal line when trying to run in for a score against Dallas and was reportedly woozy, requiring assistance from the training staff. Following the game, he was said to be in good spirits, but he now enters the league’s concussion protocol. As with every concussion, the recovery process is non-linear and largely dependent on day-to-day recovery and symptoms. If Jones is unable to clear the NFL’s protocol, Mike Glennon will start for the Giants in Week 6.
Players impacted: Mike Glennon, Kenny Golladay, Evan Engram, Sterling Shepard
Hyperextended Knee: Out Week 6
Golladay collided with Cowboys CB Travon Diggs on Sunday and despite trying to play through the injury in the first half, he never returned out of the locker room following halftime. The MRI from Monday showed no structural damage, so Kenny G appears fortunate to escape without serious injury. He’ll miss Week 6 but has a chance to return in Week 7 against Carolina.
Players impacted: Evan Engram, Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton
Right Shoulder Dislocation: Out for the year
Smith-Schuster dislocated his right shoulder with a direct hit from Kareem Jackson, resulting in JuJu being in obvious pain on the field with the training staff unable to reduce the shoulder back into the socket. As a result, the Steelers WR was sent to the hospital to have his shoulder reduced and for further evaluation. The dislocation JuJu sustained on Sunday is rarer and often results in a fracture inside the joint in addition to a torn labrum. He’ll undergo surgery and spend the rest of the season rehabbing, but he’ll be ready for the 2022 season.
Players impacted: Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, Ben Roethlisberger
Rib Injury: Week to week
Harris took multiple shots to the ribs/chest on Sunday in the Patriots win over the Texans. This, combined with a goal-line fumble, led to rookie Rhomondre Stevenson seeing more work. If Harris is limited at all next week, Stevenson could see more work moving forward, especially if Harris ends up in Belichick’s dog house with his fumbling issues early in the season.
Players impacted: Rhomondre Stevenson, J.J. Taylor, Brandon Bolden
Left Knee MCL Sprain: Out 2-4 weeks
Edwards-Helaire sprained the MCL in his left knee in Sunday night’s loss to the Bills and now faces a 2-4 week recovery timeline. We’ll know more about the RB’s short-term outlook based on Kansas City’s decision to place Edwards-Helaire on IR (or not). If they do place him on IR, he’ll miss three weeks at a minimum. Regardless, this is a reliably healing injury that will allow Edwards-Helaire to return to form after a few weeks.
Players impacted: Darrel Williams, Jerick McKinnon
Stinger: Day to day
By definition, a stinger is a transient nerve-related injury in the shoulder that can lead to pain for a few minutes but resolves very quickly. Assuming this terminology is correct, Kelce will be ready for Week 6, but he’s a name to monitor in practice this week. Worth noting, this term is used incorrectly often in the NFL. Elijah Mitchell was reported to suffer a stinger early in the season, yet he missed two games. I’m not saying this will happen with Kelce, but he’s worth monitoring closely on the Chiefs’ practice report ahead of their Week 6 matchup against the Football Team.
Players impacted: Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill
Knee Sprain: Day to day
Hill reportedly suffered a minor knee sprain on Sunday night but is not expected to miss any time per Adam Schefter. As of this writing, specific details about Hill’s injury aren’t available, so he’ll be a name to monitor throughout the week as he’s likely to miss some practice time. Regardless, it sounds like Hill is going to be fine for Week 6 against Washington.
Players impacted: Patrick Mahomes, Mecole Hardman, Travis Kelce, Josh Gordon
Groin Strain: Likely to land on IR
Samuel originally injured his groin during Washington’s minicamp in June and has now aggravated the same injury twice – once at the end of training camp and then again on Sunday against New Orleans. Samuel spent three weeks on IR to open the year, returned in a limited fashion in Week 4 then left early Sunday in Week 5. This is recipe for disaster for the speedy wide receiver’s 2021 rest of season outlook. He’s unlikely to be 100% at any point this year and needs the offseason for adequate time to recovery and rehab.
Players impacted: Taylor Heinicke, Terry McLaurin, Dyami Brown
Left Knee Hyperextension: Week to week
Fields hyperextended his left knee on Sunday in the Bears win over the Raiders, and it appears as though he was fortunate to avoid serious injury. However, when the knee is hyperextended, the concern is for a bone bruise that develops inside the knee joint. As the next few days go by, the typical response is increased stiffness, swelling and pain in the knee. As a result, Fields is a name to monitor over the next 1-2 weeks. George Kittle missed two games last year with a similar injury despite finishing the game.
Players impacted: Andy Dalton, Allen Robinson, Darnell Mooney
Left Shoulder Clavicle Fracture: Likely out the remainder of the season
Cephus injured his left shoulder Sunday while trying to make a catch on the sideline, landing on the top of his shoulder as is the classic mechanism of injury for a fractured collar bone. Cephus will undergo surgery and now faces about a three-month recovery. Cephus has a slim chance to return at some point in December, but assuming the Lions are out of playoff contention, they may choose to keep him out for the remainder of the season.
Players impacted: Jared Goff, Kalif Raymond, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Tyrell Williams (currently on IR)
Right Knee LCL Tear: Out for the year
Williams took a direct blow to the inside of his knee, resulting in his knee caving laterally. This is the mechanism of injury associated with a tear to the ligament that sits on the outside of the knee, and in order to make a full recovery for future seasons, Williams will require season-ending surgery and go on injured reserve.
Players impacted: Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins, Rondale Moore, A.J. Green, Christian Kirk
Left Knee Sprain: Out 1-2 weeks
This injury flew a bit under the radar on Sunday, but Kyle Shanahan informed reporters on Monday that his rookie QB has a left knee sprain and “will miss some time.” However, with the 49ers on bye in Week 6, we likely won’t get much information about Lance’s status for at least a week when the Niners return to practice. Jimmy Garoppolo, who missed Week 5 with a calf contusion, is likely to be ready to return in Week 7 should Trey Lance miss that game.
Players impacted: Jimmy Garoppolo, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk
Concussion: Week to week
Hill was running a route on Sunday against Washington and took a shot to the helmet. He was quickly ruled out after evaluation for a concussion and now enters the league’s concussion protocol. As described above, no two concussions are the same and the recovery from a concussion is non-linear in nature. However, Hill has a strong chance to return in Week 7 as the Saints are on bye in Week 6.
Players impacted: Jameis Winston, Alvin Kamara
Hamstring Strain: Week to week
Harris exited early with a hamstring injury and didn’t return on Sunday against Washington. With the Saints on bye, Harris will have two weeks to be ready for Week 7, but a player like Harris who relies on speed to be effective, there’s no guarantee he’s ready to roll in two weeks. He’s a name to monitor after the bye as any time missed for Harris could open a few targets for other Saints pass catchers.
Players impacted: Marquez Callaway, Jameis Winston
Hamstring Strain: Week to week
Watkins picked up a hamstring injury in the first half on Monday night against the Colts and despite being listed as questionable initially, didn’t return. Watkins does have a history of prior hamstring injuries, which could play a role in his recovery. Research strongly shows that subsequent soft tissue injuries result in more games missed as well as a reduced performance upon return to the field. We should get more information on Tuesday regarding the severity of Watkins’ injury, but he should be considered questionable at best.
Players impacted: Marquise Brown, Rashod Bateman, Lamar Jackson