Just like in Week 2, there were some big-time names who went down with an injury in Week 3. As The Fantasy Footballers’ injury analyst and sports physical therapist, the majority of my content will cover injuries in the NFL. All season long, I’ll be recapping the previous week’s injuries and giving a projected timeline for recovery. Let’s look at the biggest injuries from Week 3.
Right High Ankle Sprain: Out 4-8 weeks
The industry consensus #1 overall pick in drafts, Saquon Barkley, is going to be out for over a month after suffering a high ankle sprain in the Giants win over the Bucs. On a dump-off pass from Daniel Jones, Barkley had a defender wrap up his right ankle and force it to externally rotate as his foot was planted on the ground. This is the classic mechanism of injury for a high ankle sprain. Not surprisingly, Barkely was on crutches and a walking boot and will likely remain in a boot for at least a week. An MRI on Monday confirmed the diagnosis, and now Barkley faces a 4-8 week recovery timeline, but it’s more realistic that he sits out at least 6 weeks. In reality, he could be out until the team’s Week 11 bye and return in Week 12.
Other players impacted: Daniel Jones, Wayne Gallman
Concussion: Day to day
Smith suffered a concussion in Sunday’s loss to the Colts, ending his day early. Smith now enters the league’s concussion protocol and will be monitored as the week progresses. Look for Smith to ramp up practice activity this week, and the training staff will see how he responds. As stated previously, recovery after a concussion is a non-linear process, meaning just symptoms can change on a day to day basis.
Right Ankle Sprain: Week to week
Shady McCoy entered Week 3 on the injury report with an ankle injury and was listed as questionable entering the game. He was actually seen limping into the stadium Sunday morning, so I’m shocked he actually played. Clearly, he wasn’t 100%, as he only played 26 snaps and got 11 touches. Despite being efficient with his touches and scoring 2 TD, McCoy aggravated his right ankle injury and exited early from Sunday’s shootout win over the Ravens. All reports out of Kansas City seem optimistic, but I’m not so sure. Once a ligament injury is aggravated, the recovery timeline gets pushed back. Look for LeSean McCoy to be limited this week in practice. Even if McCoy is active, he won’t be 100% and will certainly be at an elevated risk for re-injury in Week 4.
Quadriceps Strain: Likely out at least one week
T.Y. Hilton entered the week on the injury report because of a quadriceps strain and re-injured the quad just before half time Sunday. He actually pulled himself out of the game, which anecdotally signals a more definitive injury. In other words, Hilton knew something wasn’t right and pulled himself from the game. Unfortunately, the risk of re-injury with a muscle strain is high, even if the strain is mild, but the big takeaway here is that Hilton’s re-injury risk is even worse if he comes back too soon. I’d be very surprised if he plays in Week 4.
Ribs Injury: Day to day
Edelman exited Week 3 early and didn’t return as he left the field holding his chest/ribs. X-rays were taken in the locker room, which was negative, meaning there was no fracture visible on x-ray. Presumably, this is a bruised ribs injury or a ribs cartilage fracture, which is different than a broken rib itself. Regardless of the specific diagnosis, this is simply a pain tolerance issue. The training staff can use injections for pain control and Edelman can also wear a flak jacket for extra protection. He’ll be limited this week in practice, but he is likely to play in Week 4.
Dislocated Finger: Day to day
Gordon dislocated either his ring finger or his pinky finger on his left hand while blocking on Sunday, as seen in this video. On the sidelines, trainers relocated his finger, which significantly decreases pain on the sideline. He returned to the game with his ring and pinky fingers taped together for extra stability, but it didn’t affect his ability to catch, as he hauled in a nice sideline grab during the game. Gordon will battle some swelling and soreness for a few days but his status is not in doubt for Week 4.
Other players impacted: Tom Brady, Julian Edelman, Phillip Dorsett
Concussion: Day to day
Hurns took a nasty shot over the middle from Cowboys’ safety, Jeff Heath. Immediately after the hit, Hurns laid on the turf with a rigid posture, which always signals a concussion. Much like Ito Smith (mentioned above), the recovery is a day to day situation to monitor.
Quadriceps Strain & Groin Strain: Likely out at least one week
Graham entered the week on the injury report because of a groin strain. Despite limited practice, he was active for Sunday’s matchup, but he barely played as he not only aggravated the groin injury, he also strained his quad. On a short week, playing on Thursday Night Football, it is very unlikely that he plays, and even if he does, he’ll be severely limited. He hasn’t caught a pass since Week 1.
Shoulder Injury (Diagnosis Unknown): Day to day
Vance McDonald was overthrown by Mason Rudolph in Sunday’s game against the Niners. As he elevated to try to haul in the reception, he was hit hard by the Niners’ safety, forcing him to the ground. The defender made contact with McDonald’s left shoulder, but he landed on his right shoulder. It’s unclear which shoulder forced McDonald from the game, or the diagnosis, but this is certainly a situation to monitor. Look for more details to emerge over the next few days.