Week 10 is in the books and with it came a slew of new injuries that I can assure you will be affecting your fantasy team. A top 10 quarterback, a top 24 running back, two top 24 wide receivers (one of which is in the top five), and one player who is the top-scoring player at his position, were ALL banged up over the weekend. Can you guess all of these players? With the fantasy playoffs quickly approaching, read on to see how long these guys may be out of your lineup.
Matthew Stafford, QB, DET – Back
While Stafford’s injury technically occurred in week 9, we did not get news of the severity until Saturday leading into week 10. Stafford apparently suffered a fractured transverse process in his lower back in week 9 which kept him out of this past week’s matchup against the Bears. Each vertebra has two transverse processes and one spinous process. The spinous process is the bony part that sticks out directly in the middle of your back, while the transverse processes are on the same plane but are angled in more of a diagonal direction which makes them difficult to feel as they are deeper beneath the surface. While Stafford’s back is “broken”, it is only on a small vertebra at an even smaller space on that vertebra. Current reporting suggests there is no instability or neurological symptoms caused by the fracture which bodes well for Stafford’s prognosis going forward as if there is no threat of the injury worsening or affecting other structures, it becomes a pain tolerance issue. Stafford has played through back fractures before, so it is possible he plays in week 11. I would expect him to be a game-time decision over the next few weeks, so be sure to have a backup plan ready.
Prognosis: Day-to-Day, GTD
Devonta Freeman, RB, ATL – Foot
Freeman suffered a foot sprain in Sunday’s surprise win over the Saints. Early reports already suggest Freeman will likely be out multiple weeks due to the injury which suggests a moderate sprain with some instability in the supporting ligaments of the foot. While we are unsure of the exact area of the sprain, Ian Rappaport reported that Freeman is feeling pain close to his toes, which suggests a mid-foot sprain or turf toe. Regardless, considering Freeman’s significant past injury history, I’d expect the Falcons to play it safe, leaving the backfield WIDE-OPEN for Brian Hill (Ito Smith is on IR).
Prognosis: 2-4 weeks
Giovani Bernard, RB, CIN – Knee
Continuing to be used sparingly, Giovani Bernard suffered a sprained knee on Sunday against the Ravens. While a sprained knee could mean just about anything as it isn’t really possible to “sprain a knee”, it is possible to sprain a ligament in or around the knee which is likely what the report is referring to. Bernard was able to return to the game, but even so, he is not utilized much as long as Joe Mixon is healthy.
Tyler Lockett, WR, SEA – Leg
After being removed from the game with what was called a leg contusion, we learned Lockett would be staying overnight in an area hospital for what Pete Carroll said was a, “pretty severe situation.” It’s been reported that the situation was traumatic acute compartment syndrome, which is where, in a short time, swelling creates excessive pressure in the leg that may cause a loss of sensation or function that, if not treated quickly, can be permanent, hence the hospital stay. If unable to relieve pressure conservatively, surgery is required. Thankfully, it has been reported that Lockett did not require surgery, which is great news as he likely won’t miss any time (week 11 bye).
Emmanuel Sanders, WR, SF – Ribs
As with Lockett, Emmanuel Sanders was also unable to finish MNF. Sanders suffered a rib injury and did not return. The obvious initial concern is a rib fracture and potential complications from it. If there is a stable fracture, bone bruise or cartilage damage, then the injury will be another pain management issue, similar to Matthew Stafford. Sanders will likely be insignificant pain with each breath he takes as the rib cage expands to allow full lung inhalation, which can be exacerbated with a higher respiratory rate during a game. Coach Shanahan reported Sanders would be a game-time decision, and I would agree.
Prognosis: Day-to-Day, GTD
A.J. Green, WR, CIN – Ankle
Green’s flare-up is another injury that did not occur in week 10 but warrants discussion. After it finally looked like Green would be returning, he was unable to make it through one full practice before his surgically repaired ankle swelled up causing pain and discomfort that kept him from participating in any additional practices and then Sunday’s game. At this point, Green’s season is in doubt. Considering, he couldn’t complete even one practice after almost three months of rehab, worries me and says the ankle is still not right and may require another surgery. Even if the ankle was ok and this was a minor setback, why would Green risk it for a team that may not win a game as he goes into free agency this offseason. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Green be placed on IR if no positive progress is seen in the next week.
Prognosis: Week-to-week; Wouldn’t count on a return
Austin Hooper, TE, ATL – Knee
Austin Hooper injured his knee on Sunday which required an MRI on Monday. Results of the MRI revealed a sprained MCL with, thankfully, no ACL involvement. Based on current reports, it is feared that Hooper will be out for multiple weeks as he seeks a second opinion, which tells me he is deciding between surgery or conservative treatment and has a significant sprain (grade 2/3). If this is a grade 2 sprain, Hooper may be out for a few weeks, up to one month. If surgery is required, his season will be over. Will monitor reports going forward for the true injury severity.
Prognosis: Monitor injury reports, conservative estimate of 2-4 weeks
Chris Herndon, TE, NYJ – Ribs
Finally, we get to see Herndon capitalize on the potential from his roo…..oh nope he broke his ribs. In a season that can be considered nothing short of a complete disaster for Herndon, its quite possible his season is now over after just a handful of snaps. After Adam Gase initial told reporters Herndon would be out extended time, leaving open a possibility for return, we have learned Herndon will be placed on IR. Better luck next year.
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