NFL Injury Analysis: RB Trouble in Seattle

NFL Injury Analysis: RB Trouble in Seattle

This article is part of our Injury Analysis series.

Odell Beckham

The enigmatic Browns receiver has been lost for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). Beckham becomes the 27th torn ACL in the NFL this season and joins a list of receivers that now includes Courtland Sutton, Jalen Hurd and Dede Westbrook. ACL tears remain a significant injury, despite improvements in rehab and treatment, and Beckham is looking at a lengthy recovery window. Players often return to play roughly nine to 12 months after the injury occurred, though there is a difference in returning to play and returning to previous levels of production. Studies have shown receivers often have a dip in productivity after suffering a torn ACL and — as we have seen this season with Miami's Preston Williams — can be slow to bounce back. Williams suffered a torn ACL in Week 9 of the 2019 season and was cleared to return in time for Week 1 of the 2020 season. However, he is just now beginning to show signs of life, catching touchdowns in back to back weeks.

Unfortunately, Beckham's injury history complicates his specific case. He's missed an average of 4.3 games a season since his rookie year (roughly 26 percent of his eligible games) due to an assortment of injuries. His laundry list of injuries includes multiple hamstring strains, a high ankle sprain, a fractured left ankle, a significant quadriceps hematoma and core muscle surgery. He will enter the 2021 campaign with a high degree of inherent injury risk,

Odell Beckham

The enigmatic Browns receiver has been lost for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). Beckham becomes the 27th torn ACL in the NFL this season and joins a list of receivers that now includes Courtland Sutton, Jalen Hurd and Dede Westbrook. ACL tears remain a significant injury, despite improvements in rehab and treatment, and Beckham is looking at a lengthy recovery window. Players often return to play roughly nine to 12 months after the injury occurred, though there is a difference in returning to play and returning to previous levels of production. Studies have shown receivers often have a dip in productivity after suffering a torn ACL and — as we have seen this season with Miami's Preston Williams — can be slow to bounce back. Williams suffered a torn ACL in Week 9 of the 2019 season and was cleared to return in time for Week 1 of the 2020 season. However, he is just now beginning to show signs of life, catching touchdowns in back to back weeks.

Unfortunately, Beckham's injury history complicates his specific case. He's missed an average of 4.3 games a season since his rookie year (roughly 26 percent of his eligible games) due to an assortment of injuries. His laundry list of injuries includes multiple hamstring strains, a high ankle sprain, a fractured left ankle, a significant quadriceps hematoma and core muscle surgery. He will enter the 2021 campaign with a high degree of inherent injury risk, and an expected decline in production, making him a risky investment.

Chris Carson and the Seahawks RBs

The Seahawks backfield took multiple hits on Sunday night when Carson limped off the field with a foot injury followed shortly by Travis Homer and then Carlos Hyde.

Carson's ailment has been diagnosed as a midfoot sprain and is likely to result in a multiweek absence. Like its name suggests, the midfoot is situated at the apex of the arch of the foot. Here the five metatarsal bones align with the assorted tarsal. The bones articulate (move on one another) creating the five tarsometatarsal joints of the foot. By design, this area provides more stability than actual movement, largely in part to the multiple ligaments that fortify the region.

Like all ligaments, the ligaments of the midfoot can be stressed beyond their yield points and sprained. A sprain in the midfoot can impact the entire foot and limit a player's range of motion and ability to push off the foot. Injuries to the area can be very limiting and slow to heal. As a result, those invested in Carson should prepare for him to miss at one week, if not more. 

Hyde's injury was listed as a hamstring injury, and he will enter the week with a high degree of uncertainty. Coach Pete Carroll did appear to downplay the severity of the issue when he described it as tightness rather than a strain, but look for Hyde to be limited throughout the week ahead.

Homer suffered a knee contusion, though an MRI failed to uncover structural damage. That report suggests the contusion is a soft tissue injury and not a bone contusion. While not as severe, soft tissue bruises can still be problematic if they are functionally limiting.

Given these mounting injuries, and the Seahawks opting to handle Rashaad Penny's recovery from a torn ACL with the utmost care, DeeJay Dallas may be the feature back by default. Consider making a play for the rookie if you need help at running back.

Andy Dalton

The Cowboys quarterback sustained a concussion on the late hit from Washington's Jon Bostic and must complete the league's mandated return-to-play protocol before he can suit back up. All concussions should be treated as significant, but Dalton's injury was particularly scary. When he was hit, Dalton appeared to display a symptom known as the fencing response. The fencing response is a neurological motor reflex that causes the hands to go rigid and extend outward following a head injury. It is often seen in boxing and UFC fighters. Dalton's posturing was more subtle, but it appears to occur just as he absorbs the hit from Bostic. Furthermore, Dalton later admitted that he does not recall the hit. Determining the severity of a concussion is difficult as multiple grading scales exist. However, amnesia and abnormal posturing are often assigned to more moderate to severe classifications on these assorted assessments. As a result, it would not be surprising to see Dalton miss Dallas' upcoming contest with Philadelphia. Rookie Ben DiNucci projects as the starter for the time being but looked overmatched on Sunday, finishing 2-of-3 for 39 yards after taking over. More notably, DiNucci was sacked three times as Dallas' injury-riddled offensive line provided him with little protection. Look elsewhere for the week ahead, and downgrade all of the Cowboys offensive weapons, including Amari Cooper, Ezekiel Elliott and CeeDee Lamb.

Turf Burns

Kenyan Drake: A moderate ankle sprain is expected to keep Drake out for multiple weeks. The injury has been described as a partial tear which is indicative of a Grade 2 sprain. Chase Edmonds will now takeover for the Cardinals and instantly becomes a valuable fantasy option. Edmonds has been successful in a reduced role, including Sunday when he finished with 58 rushing yards on five carries while collecting seven receptions for 87 receiving yards. Look for the Cardinals to consider sending Drake to the injured reserve for the next three weeks, though it remains unknown what role he will assume when he returns. The Cardinals are on a bye for Week 8.

Diontae Johnson: The Steelers wideout appears to have avoided picking up another major injury this season. Johnson's impressive Week 7 was cut short by a mild ankle injury that Johnson described as a "little ankle bruise." It sounds like Johnson will be available when Pittsburgh takes on Baltimore, but keep an eye on his status throughout the week.

Aaron Jones: Green Bay's offense appeared fine without Jones, though the team would love to have its top RB back in uniform. Jones suffered a calf strain in a practice leading up to Sunday's contest and was unable to play. Muscle injuries of the lower extremities are tricky to manage for running backs and receivers, even the mildest of strains. This is especially true with the calf as it plays a vital role in explosive movements and acceleration. Consider him questionable for Sunday's meeting with the Vikings. 

Deebo Samuel and Jeff Wilson: The Niners continue to be one the most snake bitten teams regarding injuries this year, and now both Samuel and Wilson are expected to miss time. Samuel suffered a strained hamstring, and the team has indicated he will miss at least two games. As we have seen with other receivers, like Julio Jones and Sammy Watkins, hamstring strains can linger and be easily aggravated. Given Samuel's previous injuries, look for them to take a conservative approach with his recovery.

Wilson appears bound for the IR after suffering a high ankle sprain, an injury that is becoming all too familiar in San Francisco. High ankle sprains have already forced Jimmy Garoppolo and Raheem Mostert to miss extended time this season and now Wilson will, too. Jerick McKinnon will assume a heavier role in the offense after the team opted to limit his usage against the Patriots.

Phillip Lindsay: Like Dalton, Linday suffered a concussion in Week 7 and will need to pass all phases of the league's concussion protocol in order to play in Week 8. Lindsay missed three weeks earlier in the season with a toe injury.

Christian McCaffrey: The Panthers could get their star running back for Thursday night if he can manage to log a full practice. McCaffrey was a limited participant in Monday's practice but would need to complete a full practice on Tuesday or Wednesday for coach Matt Rhule to consider taking him off the IR. McCaffery has missed five consecutive games with a high ankle sprain.

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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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