NFL Injury Analysis: Jackson Likely Game-Time Decision

NFL Injury Analysis: Jackson Likely Game-Time Decision

This article is part of our Injury Analysis series.

Lamar Jackson

The Ravens quarterback limped off the field Sunday and was eventually carted off the sidelines after suffering an ankle injury against the Browns. Fortunately, further testing revealed no fractures occurred, with the final diagnosis confirmed as a low-grade ankle sprain. Even better, the injury is not considered a high ankle or syndesmotic sprain, and there is a chance Jackson will be cleared to play for Week 15. All things considered, this is probably a best-case scenario for Baltimore, and Jackson will spend the next few days receiving treatment and rehabbing the injured joint. However, the functional limitations that arise from even a mild ankle sprain can negatively impact mobility. This could prove particularly problematic for Jackson, a quarterback who thrives on his ability to move out of the pocket and stretch the defense. Look for this to be a game-time decision, with Tyler Huntley set to start at quarterback should Jackson be unable to play. Huntley was impressive in limited time Sunday, completing 27 of 38 pass attempts for 270 yards and a touchdown and chipping in 45 rushing yards.

Josh Allen

Buffalo's quarterback is also managing a lower extremity injury. Allen suffered a foot injury in the loss to Tampa Bay and was seen leaving the stadium with a protective boot. While Allen has been listed as day-to-day, the exact location of the injury is a bit clouded. Team reports are simply calling the injury a foot sprain, while other reports have indicated he suffered a mild

Lamar Jackson

The Ravens quarterback limped off the field Sunday and was eventually carted off the sidelines after suffering an ankle injury against the Browns. Fortunately, further testing revealed no fractures occurred, with the final diagnosis confirmed as a low-grade ankle sprain. Even better, the injury is not considered a high ankle or syndesmotic sprain, and there is a chance Jackson will be cleared to play for Week 15. All things considered, this is probably a best-case scenario for Baltimore, and Jackson will spend the next few days receiving treatment and rehabbing the injured joint. However, the functional limitations that arise from even a mild ankle sprain can negatively impact mobility. This could prove particularly problematic for Jackson, a quarterback who thrives on his ability to move out of the pocket and stretch the defense. Look for this to be a game-time decision, with Tyler Huntley set to start at quarterback should Jackson be unable to play. Huntley was impressive in limited time Sunday, completing 27 of 38 pass attempts for 270 yards and a touchdown and chipping in 45 rushing yards.

Josh Allen

Buffalo's quarterback is also managing a lower extremity injury. Allen suffered a foot injury in the loss to Tampa Bay and was seen leaving the stadium with a protective boot. While Allen has been listed as day-to-day, the exact location of the injury is a bit clouded. Team reports are simply calling the injury a foot sprain, while other reports have indicated he suffered a mild case of turf toe. Technically both terms could be used to describe the same injury, as turf toe is simply a sprain of the metatarsophalangeal joint of the big toe. Turf toe usually occurs following a hyperextension of the digit. If the ligament damage does not involve the big toe, the integrity of the mid-foot could be at risk. Regardless of location, the trickle-down effects are relatively similar with any accrued damage leading to pain with planting and pushing off, and a decrease in stability. Like Jackson, Allen's mobility would likely be hampered, potentially limiting his overall productivity. Even worse, turf toe can be easily aggravated, elevating his level of injury risk. Allen's ceiling may be too high to ignore, but he's likely to be a volatile play in Week 15.

Tony Pollard

The Cowboys big play machine was inactive Sunday after he tore the plantar fascia in his left foot during a 58-yard touchdown run in Week 13. The plantar fascia is a band of connective tissue that runs the length of the foot, supporting the arch of the foot. It can become inflamed, resulting in a painful condition known as plantar fasciitis. Additionally, the dense fascia can also tear, leaving the foot unstable. It's actually a win for Pollard if he suffered a complete tear, as partial tears can actually be more problematic and elicit more pain. Dallas will look to address his associated symptoms and devise a way to support the arch through bracing, taping or modifying his cleats. He appeared close to playing against Washington, and has a realistic shot at suiting up against New York. However, the Cowboys could opt to give him an additional week of rest after their playoff odds and chances of winning the division dramatically improved after the win over the Football Team.

Turf Burns

Austin Ekeler: Despite Ekeler not practicing Monday, the Chargers are optimistic he will play Thursday against the Chiefs. It sounds like Ekeler's removal from Sunday's win over the Giants was purely precautionary, and the team does not think his ankle injury is serious. Look for him to be active despite the quick turnaround.

Melvin Gordon: The Broncos running back returned to Sunday's game after spraining his thumb. He finished the day with 24 carries for 111 yards and two touchdowns. Denver will likely limit his workload in practice to allow the injured digit to heal, but his availability for Week 15 doesn't appear in jeopardy. Javonte Williams could see an uptick in usage should Gordon be limited in any capacity.

Kareem Hunt: An undisclosed ankle injury forced Hunt out of Sunday's win over Baltimore, and head coach Kevin Stefanski has already stated a return in Week 15 is unlikely. While this is simply another setback in what has been a frustrating season for Hunt, at least fantasy managers can be proactive in looking for a suitable replacement. Nick Chubb remains the feature back in Cleveland, with D'Ernest Johnson moving up the depth chart. 

Terry McLaurin: Washington's top receiver failed to record a catch against a rival Dallas defense and left the game early after sustaining a concussion. He will need to complete the league's mandated protocols before he can return to play. While he will have ample time to do so, remember the recovery from a concussion varies widely, making the time lost difficult to predict. Furthermore, the effects of multiple concussions are cumulative, meaning the associated symptoms often build on one another. McLaurin does have a history of head injuries, having missed time in 2019 with a concussion. If McLaurin isn't able to play, DeAndre CarterAdam Humphries and Curtis Samuel will all see an increase in usage.

D'Andre Swift: The Lions are "hopeful" Swift will be able to play Sunday against the Cardinals. Swift has missed back-to-back games nursing an acromioclavicular (AC) sprain in his shoulder. The AC joint is located at the junction of the collarbone and shoulder blade, and helps directly with scapular motion and overall fluidity of the shoulder complex. It can be braced, and modifications to the shoulder pads can be made to make up for any lost stability. However, this can limit the individual's mobility, and the threat of aggravation or re-injury still lingers. Still, Detroit needs Swift to take the field, with Jamaal Williams in COVID-19 protocols. The three-man committee of Godwin IgwebuikeJermar Jefferson and Craig Reynolds was largely ineffective against the Broncos, with Reynolds, fresh off the practice squad, the lone surprise. Reynolds rushed for 83 yards on 11 carries in the loss and may have earned the right to serve as Swift's backup if Williams remains out.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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.
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