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 14 and take a look at what fantasy managers can expect heading into Week 15 and beyond.
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Rib Cartilage Injury: Week to week
Stafford took a hard hit to his mid section late in the game on a rushing attempt close to the goal line, leading to a rib injury. At this point, it’s unlikely we see Stanford practice at all this week as he rests and tries to get comfortable for a potential Week 15 matchup with the Titans. Regardless of if Stafford is cleared to play, he’ll be playing at far less than 100% and is likely to deal with pain with every throw and any hit he takes to the core.
Right Calf Strain: Week to week
Smith left in the 2nd half with a calf strain on his surgically reconstructed right leg. There is initial optimism that Smith will be able to play among reporters because x-rays are negative, but that literally changes nothing as far as a recovery timeline for this calf strain, as soft tissues aren’t evaluated via x-ray. I would be surprised if we see Smith play, especially considering that this injury is on the same side as his previously injured leg. If he is active, Smith’s mobility in the pocket is going to be affected.
Ulnar Nerve Contusion: Week to week
Watson took a direct hit to the elbow in the location where the ulnar nerve crosses behind inner portion of the elbow. This injury is similar to when you hit your “funny bone,” resulting in numbness and tingling into the hand. Watson was seen on the sideline shaking his wrist and trying to regain feeling in the hand. It’s worth noting a contusion to this nerve can take longer than a week to recovery, so despite the early optimism regarding Watson’s Week 15 availability, his status needs to be monitored as any lingering effects of this could result in grip strength and numbness issues.
Leg Injury (Diagnosis Unknown): Likely Out Week 15
There isn’t a ton of information regarding Devante Parker’s leg injury right now, but my guess is that this is probably a muscle strain of some kind. If that’s the case, it’s unlikely we see Parker in Week 15, note-worthy as Mike Gesicki (shoulder) and Jakeem Grant (hamstring) are also both very likely to sit. The Dolphins are likely to be down their TE1, WR1, WR2 (Preston Williams), WR3, and top 3 RBs when they face the Patriots in Week 15.
Right Shoulder Dislocation: Out Weeks 15 and 16
Gesicki fell on an outstretched right arm and immediately grabbed for his right shoulder before exiting to the locker room. Gesicki is undergoing additional testing on Monday and Tuesday to further evaluate his shoulder injury as the MRI will tell the story regarding the extent of a torn labrum. Depending on the severity of the injury, Gesicki could return in a couple of weeks with a harness or he could require season-ending surgery. Regardless of the Dolphins’ approach to this situation, I would expect Gesicki to undergo surgery in the offseason.
Fractured Pinky: Day to Day
Jones reportedly suffered a fractured pinky but this won’t be an issue moving forward as there are many treatment options to stabilize a small fracture like this. Jones could be utilized less as a receiver, but this shouldn’t affect this ability to carry the ball against the Falcons on Sunday.
Ankle Sprain: Likely Out Week 15
Mostert left Sunday’s against Washington game with an ankle injury and while there isn’t a ton of detail out there regarding the injury severity, it’s worth noting that some beat reporters are suggesting that Mostert is undergoing “additional testing” this week. If this was simply a mild low ankle sprain, that report is likely not made, so this is truly a situation to monitor throughout the week. It’s possible Mostert is battling a high ankle sprain, and Mostert has a lengthy history of prior ankle injuries.
Hamstring Strain: Likely done for the season
Samuel suffered his second hamstring strain of the season on Sunday and is now set to miss multiple weeks. It’s likely we see Samuel placed on IR this late in the season with the 49ers’ playoff hopes all but gone. Samuel missed a handful of weeks earlier in the season for the same injury and needs the offseason to get healthy, especially considering he missed the first month of the season recovering from a broken foot.
Illness: Day to day
Noah Fant left Week 14 due to a non-Covid related illness. His status is worth monitoring throughout the week in order to see how he recovers, but it will be fair to question Fant’s conditioning heading into Week 15, especially if he’s feeling less than 100%.
Back Injury: Week to week
Williams suffered a back injury during the Chargers’ opening drive on Sunday versus Atlanta and didn’t return despite being listed as questionable. He played a grand total of just two snaps before exiting and was reportedly injured while blocking. I attempted to go back review the game film but there was no obvious mechanism of injury. With the Chargers playing on a short week on Thursday, Williams’ availability looks ominous. Jalen Guyton played 84% of the team’s snaps in relief for Mike Williams.
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