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NFL Injury Analysis: Diggs Should Be Back After Bye

Jeff Stotts

Jeff Stotts works as a Certified Athletic Trainer (MAT, ATC, PES, CES). He won the 2011 Best Fantasy Football Article in Print from the Fantasy Sports Trade Association.

Stefon Diggs

The Vikings receiver was stellar in Weeks 1 and 2 before cooling in Weeks 3 and 4. The reason for the drastic drop in productivity appears to be a groin strain that kept Diggs out of the lineup in Week 5. Despite the general belief otherwise, the groin isn’t a specific muscle but instead a group of muscles known as the adductors. As a unit, the adductor muscles are primarily responsible for pulling the leg inward toward the body in a direction known as adduction. It’s essential in both lateral movement and sudden start-stop movements. For a receiver, particularly one dependent on his speed, even a mild groin strain can be limiting and negatively affect his ability to move up field, and run in and out of routes. Furthermore, groin strains can lead to muscle imbalances and alter core stability, increasing the chances of an additional injury occurring. As a result, it’s not surprising to see the Vikings take a conservative approach with Diggs’ recovery. Sitting him in Week 5 with a Week 6 bye on the docket should provide him ample time to rest and recuperate. Look for Diggs to return to the lineup following this week’s off-week and to take the field in Week 7 against the Eagles. Diggs’ absence did allow Adam Thielen to start the first game of his career. Thielen took advantage of the opportunity by hauling in seven receptions for 127 yards and a touchdown. The third-year pro could be worth a speculative add in deeper leagues.

Latavius Murray

Despite three rushing touchdowns, Murray has been a bit of a fantasy disappointment through the first quarter of the season. He’s seen a limited number of carries each week and failed to rush for more than 60 yards in a game. Now Murray is dealing with a nagging injury that kept him out of the lineup in Week 5 and could be an issue for a while. Murray is suffering from turf toe, an injury that occurs when the big toe of the foot is hyperextended. The resultant force sprains the ligament and capsule of a joint known as the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint. Most often the damage is isolated to these structures, though the sesamoid bones of the big toe may be involved in more severe cases. These tiny bones located at the base of the big toe assist with weight-bearing and toe motion. If the forced hyperextension is significant enough, the sesamoids can break, or their associated tendon can be strained.

Murray’s case of turf toe is reportedly mild, hinting the sesamoids are fortunately not involved. However, even a low-grade case of turf toe can be limiting and painful, particularly when a player is trying to push off the foot when accelerating up field. Furthermore, turf toe tends to linger and is easily aggravated. As a result, downgrade Murray’s overall value for the foreseeable future, even if he is able to play in the weeks ahead. DeAndre Washington would remain the starter if Murray is out. Washington failed to impress in Week 5, totaling 23 yards on nine carries. He did manage to haul in five receptions, increasing his productivity in PPR leagues, but fantasy owners would be more comfortable using the rookie if he could display a bit more consistency overall.

Eddie Lacy

The Packers running back was having one of his better games of the season on Sunday, amassing 81 yards on 11 carries. However, an ankle injury early in the third quarter ended his night and raised questions about his Week 6 status. The team is downplaying the severity of the injury and will treat the area throughout the week. Look for Lacy to see limited action in practice this week with a game-time decision likely looming. Lacy does have a history of ankle injuries, though his previous injuries occurred to the opposite leg. Owners reliant on Lacy should consider adding James Starks as insurance policy.

Turf Burns

Randall Cobb: Cobb suffered what appeared to be a significant injury following a violent collision with Giants safety Landon Collins. Fortunately, he wasn’t severely injured and was cleared to return to the game. The team reported he was experiencing some neck soreness but thinks he’ll play Sunday against the Cowboys.

Jeremy Hill: The Bengals running back struggled against the Cowboys and suffered a shoulder injury in the process. Hill entered the game with a chest issue but it was the shoulder that forced him to the sideline. The injury appeared to involve his AC joint, though no official diagnosis has been reported. The two injuries could be linked if his chest injury involves part of the pectoral girdle, but again Cincy has been limited on specifics. All signs point to Hill playing in Week 6.

Cam Newton and Carson Palmer: Both quarterbacks missed Week 5 with concussions sustained in their previous outings. However, both appear to be progressing through the league’s mandated return to play protocol and are on track to be back in uniform on Sunday.

Tony Romo: Despite Dak Prescott’s impressive start to the season, the Cowboys insist Romo remains the starting quarterback when healthy. Out since suffering a compression fracture in his back during the preseason, Romo is currently targeting a Week 8 return. Dallas is off in Week 7, giving the team two weeks to prepare for his potential return. However, an MRI revealed a bit of swelling around the injury site, and the team admitted he may need extra time to improve his conditioning. Look for Prescott to remain the starter through Week 8 with a potential quarterback controversy on the horizon.

Trevor Siemian: Despite the short week ahead, the Broncos are preparing for Siemian to return to the lineup. The quarterback took part in limited practice Monday and should be back after suffering an AC sprain in his nonthrowing shoulder. Denver travels to San Diego on Thursday to take on the injury-ravaged Chargers.

Charles Sims and Doug Martin: The depth of Tampa Bay’s backfield has been tested by injury, though Jacquizz Rodgers filled in admirably on Monday. Rodgers’ start was forced after Martin’s hamstring failed to significantly improve and Sims was placed in the injured reserve with a knee injury. The Buccaneers have a bye week in Week 6 that should allow Martin to return to the starting lineup. Look for Rodgers to receive the carries Sims was getting prior to his injury.

Steve Smith: The veteran receiver suffered an ankle injury in the team’s loss to the Redskins. He appeared to roll the ankle following a first half catch and didn’t return. Smith likely will be limited throughout the week and will be a big question mark entering Week 6 against the Giants.