Fantasy Football: Week 8 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 9 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.
Jones Fracture: Out 8-12 weeks
The 2021 rushing leader left early to get his foot looked at on the sideline but returned to the game and finished with 28 carries, which is why Monday morning’s news hit so hard. Henry will undergo surgery for his broken foot and attempt to return later this season, but beware of the reported 6-10 recovery timeline for the reasons outlined below in my tweet. This is a slow healing bone with poor blood supply, and this is a large, large man attempting to return in the same season to the tune of 25-30 touches per game. Data suggests if an athlete returns before 10 weeks post-operatively, the risk of re-fracture is about 20%. It drops to less than 10% in athletes who wait at least 10 weeks to return. It’s an uphill battle for Henry to return to form at any point in 2021.
Reported 6-10 week timeline on Derrick Henry following surgery on his Jones fracture may be misleading
*Area of fracture has poor blood supply = slower healing rates
*If rushed back, risk of re-fracture is higher
*Workload ramp up must be gradual to account for slow healing
— Matthew Betz (@TheFantasyPT) November 1, 2021
Left Knee Torn ACL + MCL: Out for the year
Jameis Winston was tackled from behind, resulting in his left knee buckling inward. The injury caused Winston to tear his ACL and his MCL in his left knee, resulting in an early end to his 2021 campaign. Winston’s ACL surgery may be delayed a few weeks to allow the MCL to completely heal, but regardless, he’ll be ready for Week 1 of 2022.
Left Knee Torn ACL: Out for the year
Tonyan’s ACL injury happened on Thursday Night Football when he got a reception from Aaron Rodgers across the middle of the field. As with most ACL injuries, Tonyan’s was a non-contact injury with his left knee buckling as he attempted to plant and cut. Fortunately for Tonyan, he did not suffer any additional damage, suggesting this is a “clean” ACL tear. Look for Tonyan to be ready for Week 1 next year.
Hamstring Strain: Week to week
Hopkins entered Week 8 on Thursday Night Football Questionable with a hamstring injury and was active, yet only caught two balls as he barely played. Hopkins aggravated the same injury in the first quarter on a long reception down the sideline then only played a handful of snaps the rest of the game. It’s unlikely Hopkins will be 100% entering Week 8 and is at an increased risk of further injury if he returns too quickly.
Left Medial Ankle Sprain: Questionable for Week 8
Murray picked up a left medial ankle sprain when his foot got caught under a defender’s body while being tackled. Fortunately, his ankle didn’t stay trapped on the ground, which likely would have resulted in a high ankle sprain. Either way, Murray should be considered questionable for Week 8 due to this left ankle injury. If he’s active, his mobility out of the pocket will be limited.
Bruised Heel: Week to week
Robinson left early with what was originally called an ankle injury. Despite being listed as questionable, he never returned. Then after the game, Urban Meyer told reporters Robinson is dealing with a bruised heel. While this injury won’t affect him long term, it may affect his Week 8 availability. He should genuinely be considered 50/50 to suit up next week against the Bills.
Concussion: Out Week 9
Hilton picked up a concussion on Sunday against the Titans and did not clear protocol to return to the game. Now playing on a short week, Hilton has already been ruled out, which isn’t surprising given the requirements from the NFL concussion protocol. Worth noting, Hilton underwent surgery this summer to address a disc issue in his neck, so any time a head injury is involved, it’s important to monitor the neck as well.
Concussion: Week to week
Darnold took a huge hit to the head and neck area while rushing the football and left early with a concussion. Early reports from team is that they are optimistic he’ll clear protocol by next week. Of course, it’s way too early for any of that speculation. He will attempt to progress through the league’s protocol and should be considered questionable for Week 9. He has until Saturday to be cleared.
Sprained Left Ankle: Likely Out Week 9
Reagor took a pop pass jet sweep to the left side of the line near the goal line. When he tried to cut off his left leg, he twisted his ankle inward, similar to Miles Sanders in Week 7. Look for Reagor to miss practice time this week as he has an uphill battle to be ready for Week 9. However, this injury does not appear to be serious, so I wouldn’t expect Reagor to miss much time beyond Week 9.
Knee Injury (Diagnosis Unknown): Situation to monitor
Williams actually started the game for the Bears Sunday but left early with a knee injury. He was listed questionable to return but finished with just two carries as his day was done when he left with the injury. The Bears did not provide any details on Williams’ knee, and there wasn’t much on video, so it’s difficult to speak to his prognosis. For now, monitor his status ahead of Week 9. Worth noting, the Bears are on bye in Week 10, so it’s possible Chicago keeps him out until then.
Players impacted: Khalil Herbert
Back Spasms: Week to week
Gronk was only used in certain situations on Sunday as he was still recovering from fractured ribs that had kept him out in Weeks 4-7. Speaking after the game, Bruce Arians told reporters Gronk was playing at far less than 100% and probably shouldn’t have played. It’s possible Gronk’s back pain is related to compensation/movement patterns related to playing through fractured ribs. Worth noting, Gronk does have a significant injury history in his low back, namely multiple back surgeries to address prior disc injuries. The Bucs head to the bye week in Week 9, but his status is one to monitor going into Week 10.
Left Quad/Hip Flexor Strain: Out multiple weeks
Shepard went down on Monday Night Football, holding his left thigh/hip as he tried to open up his stride off the line of scrimmage. He was down on the field writhing in pain for a bit before being helped off the field and ruled out shortly thereafter. This is another muscle strain for Shepard as he’s already missed three games with his hamstring strain already this year. This injury looks like it will be a multi-week absence. New York is on bye in Week 10, so the earliest he’ll be back is Week 11.
Left Thumb Injury (Diagnosis Unknown)
Toney was tackled along the sideline last night and shortly after was seen holding his left hand pacing the sidelines in pain. He was taken to the locker room for further evaluation and listed questionable to return but never did. Specifics of this injury are unknown at this time, but speaking to reporters after the game, Toney said he got stepped on and “didn’t remember” why he went to the locker room. However, the injury on the field looked like he injured his thumb when attempting to brace this fall with his left arm. Regardless, this is an injury to monitor ahead of Week 9.