Welcome back to Matt’s Medical Tent Talk. This weekend saw another round of injuries, as will next weekend, and the weekend after that, and so on. Injuries are INEVITABLE, just like the late great Marvel villain Thanos. That being said, not all injuries are necessary. What do I mean by that? Well, I’m basically speaking to every tight end in the NFL right now that thinks they’re hurdlers on a track team, instead of football players, BIG football players, with much smaller football players attempting to tackle them. Use those big bodies and truck those cornerbacks that don’t want to tackle you anyway! A successful hurdle may get a player extra replay reps, who knows they might even get lucky and score a touchdown, a la Vernon Davis week 1. BUT, a failed hurdle can cost much more than those replays are worth. The best-case scenario is a shot to the manhood, a worst-case scenario is T.J. Hockenson’s scary fall on Sunday evening which resulted in a concussion and potential shoulder injury (more on him later). So please, Tight Ends, use those big bodies the man upstairs gave you. And, if you MUST hurdle, try it against someone other than Tyrann Mathieu because you know what they say about honeybadgers, they just don’t give a……speaking of jumping, let’s pop up the tent and hop in!
Mitchell Trubisky, QB, CHI – Left Shoulder
After attempting to scramble early in their tilt against the Vikings, Mitchell (I’ll call him Mitch) Trubisky fell on an outstretched arm while being tackled from behind. This fall on his outstretched (non-throwing) arm, or a FOOSH as we call it in the field, resulting in a shoulder dislocation as well as a torn labrum. The shoulder will likely be immobilized for 1-2 weeks in a sling, before being reassessed and beginning strengthening of the shoulder girdle to increase the overall stability of the shoulder, hopefully preventing further dislocations. Current reports say Trubisky will not require surgery, which is good news, but realistically they won’t know if surgery is required until he is back on the field and taking hits. If the shoulder holds up, great! If it doesn’t, Trubisky will require season-ending surgery to stabilize the shoulder joint. Even if Trubisky all strengthening and stability goes well enough to play again this season, Trubisky will still require surgery in the offseason to repair the labrum, which is a very common occurrence with dislocations. From a fantasy aspect, I don’t see much of a difference with this offense with or without Trubisky. Chase Daniel has been with Nagy for years and is comfortable in this offense. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if the offense performs better with Daniel at the helm.
Prognosis: 4-6 weeks
James Conner, RB, PIT – Ankle
For the second time this season James Conner is banged up. First, it was the knee, now it’s his ankle. There is very little information at this point on the mechanism of the injury, with Mike Tomlin simply stating Conner will be limited this week. Until additional information is released, Conner owners should be locked into practice logs. News of Conner’s status will surely bump up the auction price for Jaylen Samuels on the waiver wire this week, as he should be rostered in ALL leagues considering the frequency Conner has been injured thus far into his career.
Prognosis: Day to Day
Marlon Mack, RB, IND – Ankle
Last week it was the number one wide receiver in this article, this week it’s their top running back. Marlon Mack suffered an ankle injury in week four and his status for week five is currently uncertain. A good sign indicating that this injury is most likely a low-grade sprain is head coach Frank Reich telling the media that Mack was not actually ruled out of their week four matchup. So basically, Mack was game scripted out in favor of Nyheim Hines’ pass-catching ability. While I don’t think Mack will miss the upcoming matchup, I think it is once again likely that he is game scripted out of the gameplan as the Colts take on the Chiefs. Mack owners should worry more about the matchup than the ankle.
Prognosis: Day to Day
Davante Adams, WR, GB – Foot
Davante Adams was ripping, Eagles’ cornerback, Avonte Maddox apart limb from limb last Thursday to the tune of 180 yards on 10 catches. Unfortunately (if you’re an Eagles fan, fortunately), the party ended early as Adams suffered a turf toe injury late in the game. Turf toe caused by a hyperextension of the big toe of the foot that makes planting and pushing off extremely painful. There are three grades, and based on current reports, Adams seems to be somewhere between a grade one and a grade two injury. A full recovery from a low-mid grade turf toe injury is typically about one month, but I would not expect Adams to be out that long. That being said, if he chooses to play through the pain, this is an injury that historically can linger and severely hinder a player’s ability to run, jump, and cut. Adams is known as an elite route runner and this injury could cut into his ability to create separation down the field. Expect Adams to be back sooner rather than later, but don’t expect him to be fully healthy for at least a month. Adams may be prescribed a foot orthotic to lessen the load on the plantar surface of the foot which could potentially alleviate some symptoms. In the meantime, I expect Geronimo Allison and MVS to co-lead the Packer receiving core.
Prognosis: 1-3 weeks, with potential for lingering symptoms if return too soon
Christian Kirk, WR, ARI – Ankle
The most targeted Cardinals’ receiver, Christian Kirk, went down in an ugly fashion, that looked like it had the potential to end Kirk’s season. While it is possible that there is more to Kirk’s injury, Kingsbury said he’d give an update later, current reports suggest he escaped with only an ankle injury. “Only” is relative as, based on video replay, Kirk looks to have suffered a high ankle sprain as his body was ripped backward with his foot planted and turned out. Typical recovery for high ankle sprains (depending on severity and additional injuries which are still possible) is six to eight weeks, but we many times see a player rush back to play after about one month, similar to the reported timeline for Saquon Barkley. Just as I said for Barkley, players can “play” at a month, but they will not be fully healed, and for a position that requires elite quickness, agility, and speed, it will show that an athlete is not 100%. We’ll have to wait on Kingsbury’s update, but I expect Kirk to be out for one month at a minimum. In an already banged up Arizona wide receiver room, look for KeeSean Johnson to see a significant bump if Kirk is out for extended time.
Prognosis: 4-6 weeks
Tyron Smith, LT, DAL – Ankle
Yes, you read that right, an offensive lineman has invaded my tent. Video replay showed a likely high ankle sprain for the Cowboy’s hall of fame worthy left tackle (oh and he’s only 28) suffered late in the Sunday night loss to the Saints. While return from a high ankle sprain is going to be different for a lineman versus a running back, it will still take just as long to fully heal (6-8 weeks). Smith will likely be back much sooner than that timeline but will be in pain and limited in lateral agility. Unless you are a Cowboy fan, I doubt you care much about what I’m saying about Smith. Well, I am here to tell you that you should care. In three games Smith has missed against good teams, it has been UGLY for the Cowboys – 2017 LOSS 27-7 to Falcons, gave up 6 sacks to Adrian Clayborne alone, 2017 LOSS 37-9 to Eagles, 2018 WIN 13-10 over Saints. As you can see, the Cowboys offense is not exactly “dynamic” when they play quality teams without Smith in the lineup. This week they play the Packers…good team.
Prognosis: 1-2 weeks, w/ injury lingering over the season
Players here are all in the NFL’s concussion protocol and therefore coaches are prohibited from speaking on player progress. All concussions are an individual experience and can have varying symptoms including headaches, double vision, nausea, balance deficits, difficulty concentrating, and fatigue among other symptoms. Because no two concussions are alike, the injury should be treated on a week to week basis based on guidelines from the NFL’s concussion protocol. The protocol has five steps for return to play:
1.) Rest and Recovery – Player is prescribed rest until his signs and symptoms return to baseline.
2.) Light Aerobic Exercise – As soon as able, players will begin LIGHT exercise, for example riding a stationary bike at a low resistance.
3.) Continued Aerobic Exercise & Introduction of Strength Training – Progress aerobic activities as tolerated, and introduce strength training.
4.) Football Specific Activities – Player continues to progress aerobic and strengthening exercises as tolerated, and introduces NON-contact football activities
5.) Full Football Activity / Clearance – Player is cleared by the team physician and examined by an independent neurological consultant (INC). If INC agrees with the team physician, the player may return to full-contact practice and games.
Josh Allen, QB, BUF - After taking a helmet to helmet hit on a scramble, which for the record, I did not think was a dirty hit, though was “technically” a foul, Bill’s promising young quarterback Josh Allen suffered a concussion and is now in the NFL’s concussion protocol. No additional information is available.
Jamaal Williams, RB, GB – On Williams’ first touch of the night, Eagles’ DE Derek Barnett took an unnecessary shot on Williams as he was held up by fellow defenders. Full spinal cord injury protocol was initiated, though I didn’t think it was totally necessary as the mechanism did not demonstrate any potential compromise of the spinal cord, in the name of safety, by all means, bring out the stretcher. For that reason, I think Williams’ injury should be thought of by fantasy owners as no more than a concussion, and if he can get through the protocol, he actually has a chance to play on Sunday.
Jarvis Landry, WR, CLE – A career day for Landry ended abruptly in the third quarter after suffering a concussion. There is no update on his status, other than he is in the protocol, but just want to point out he had 167 yards in THREE QUARTERS. Bless’m. Antonio Callaway may come off of his suspension and slide right into second on the depth chart if Landry misses time and Rashard Higgins continues to be out.
T.J. Hockenson, TE, DET – See the intro for my take on Hockenson’s (and all tight ends) hurdle. Definitely a scary fall, but unfortunately, we have no additional information other than that he his in the concussion protocol. Along with his concussion, it’s also possible Hockenson may have suffered an AC joint sprain in his shoulder. With a bye in week five, look for Hockenson to be able to return in week six assuming no significant shoulder injury.
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