Injury Updates from the NFL Combine (Fantasy Football)

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Injury update time! It’s been a while since there has been an injury analysis on the site, so it’s time to knock off the rust and get back to keeping the #FootClan up to do date on the latest injury news around the NFL. With the NFL Combine taking place this past weekend in Indianapolis, everyone gets excited about the 2020 rookies and rightly so! We love comparing players 40-yard dash, vertical, and bench press reps, but I would argue the most important part of the NFL Combine is the medical checks that are completed by every team.

Here at the Fantasy Footballers Podcast, our staff is committed to providing the most comprehensive fantasy football analysis possible, and that includes covering injuries. You may not know these rookies very well yet, but when they enter the NFL, you’ll have the upper hand on your league mates because you’re ahead of the curve when it comes to understanding these injury histories.

Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama Crimson Tide

The impressive QB prospect out of Alabama suffered a gruesome injury to his right hip on November 16. He took the snap, rolled to his left, and was taken down on the play just before halftime, suffering a fracture and dislocation of his right hip. The fracture with dislocation is a very serious injury because of the fact that it can actually cause damage to the blood vessels that supply blood to the top of the thigh bone in the socket. If damaged, the top of the femur (thigh bone) dies and a hip replacement surgery is needed.

Fortunately, the medical staff for Alabama is top-notch and rushed Tua to the hospital to have a procedure to stabilize the hip and salvage his NFL future. He underwent surgery on November 18 and began rehab, shutting down his college career.

Fast forward almost four months later, and reports regarding Tua’s hip are glowing. An MRI at the Combine revealed that the blood supply to the hip joint is still intact, and the hip is healing well after surgery. There are some reports out there that Tua will be cleared for all football activities as early as next week, but I’m here to provide a more realistic outlook.

The serious nature of Tua’s injury can’t be overstated. He’s less than four months out from a procedure to essentially save the hip joint from requiring a total hip replacement, so the fact that there are rumors that Tua will be fully cleared right now is probably unrealistic. The recovery to full sports performance after an injury like this typically requires at least one year. I would expect Tua to continue to progress throughout the summer and in training camp, but given his injury, Tua is unlikely to return to form in 2020. 2021 will be the year of Tua Tagovailoa.

Laviska Shenault, Colorado Buffaloes

You could probably argue that Laviska Shenault, the WR out of Colorado, has the most upside in this draft from a playmaker perspective. However, one major knock against him is his lengthy injury history. In his collegiate career, Shenault required surgery for turf toe and surgery for a torn labrum in his shoulder. More recently, Shenault has been battling groin pain, which was first described as Osteitis Pubis. For a full description of what that is, click here.

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However, after withholding from participating in any of the NFL Combine drills besides the 40-yard dash, news broke that Shenault has actually been diagnosed with a sports hernia and will undergo surgery to address the core muscle injury this week. These surgeries typically heal reliably, and the vast majority of NFL players do return to a high level of play. Expect Shenault to be extremely limited during his pro day in a few weeks. Long term, this shouldn’t affect him much, and he will be ready to roll once Training Camp opens.

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Van Jefferson, Florida Gators & Thaddeus Moss, LSU Tigers

Jefferson, a WR out of Florida, and Thaddeus Moss, a TE out of LSU were both diagnosed with a Jones fracture in their foot. A Jones fracture is a broken 5th metatarsal or the long bone on the outside of the foot. Reportedly, both players were battling foot pain while training for the Combine and their medical checks, which included x-rays, showed the broken bone.

Both players will undergo surgery to have hardware placed in the broken bone to stabilize the fracture and begin rehab, which typically requires about 8 weeks. This injury is common in pass catchers and has previously bothered Julio Jones, Julian Edelman, Greg Olsen, Dez Bryant, and others. Research studies suggest there is about a 20% chance that these players might require a second surgery, but the vast majority of these studies look at players coming back from injury in the same season. Given that these rookies will have from March until August to be ready for the season, they have a good chance to progress well throughout the summer and into their rookie seasons. Worth noting, Thaddeus Moss had two procedures to address a Jones fracture in his left foot while in college. This most recent injury was to his right foot.

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