A.J. Green and Giovani Bernard
Green was the most prominent player hurt in what proved to be an injury-marred Week 11. The Bengals wideout was carted off the field with what appeared to be a severe hamstring injury. Fortunately, the injury wasn’t as significant as feared and surgery won’t be needed, though the strain is still expected to keep him out for multiple weeks. Furthermore, the Bengals on-field success could potentially influence the team’s decision if and when Green will return. His inherent injury risk will be elevated upon return, and it’s hard to imagine Cincinnati risking Green’s long-term health if the team has slipped out of the playoff picture. They currently sit just 1.5 games back of both the Ravens and Steelers with matchups against both teams still on the horizon. Rookie Tyler Boyd will see an increase in targets and should be the top receiver added this week.
A season-ending knee injury for Bernard only compounds the problem. Bernard tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in Week 11 and will miss the remainder of the season. He’ll undergo surgery before beginning a lengthy recovery process. Given the timing of the injury, it’s likely Bernard enters next season’s training camp still on the mend. Jeremy Hill will see an increase in his workload and Rex Burkhead will move up the depth chart.
The four-time Pro Bowl running back didn’t play in the second half of Buffalo’s win over Cincinnati. McCoy dislocated his thumb late in the second quarter but wasn’t able to return after the medical team couldn’t reduce (pop back in place) the injured digit.
The thumb comprises three bones: the proximal and distal phalanges and the first metacarpal. These three bones, along with the bones of the wrist, form the three joints that make up the thumb. The carpometacarpal (CMC) joint sits at the base of the thumb where the first metacarpal (the bone in the hand) articulates with a small bone in the wrist. The CMC is saddle-shaped and is the primary reason the thumb is able to move in a wide range of motion.
The second joint is the metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joint that is formed by the proximal phalanx and other end of the metacarpal bone. The MCP joint is stabilized by multiple ligaments and is frequently injured when the thumb gets caught on an object or in a jersey.
The final joint is formed by the two phalanges and is known as the interphalangeal (IP) joint. The IP joint makes up the tip of the thumb and serves as an anchor site for multiple tendons.
Based on images of McCoy’s hand, it appears as though he dislocated the IP joint, meaning the tip of the thumb shifted out of place. This would help explain why the Buffalo medical team had difficulty reducing the injury, as tendons in the area often prevent the bone from being easily realigned. Instead, McCoy was forced to undergo a minor surgical procedure Sunday night to help return the distal phalanx to its normal position.
With the bones back where they should be, McCoy will spend the next few days treating any of the associated symptoms such as pain and swelling. If he progresses smoothly, he does have a realistic chance at playing Sunday against the Jaguars. Look for him to splint or tape the area when he takes the field. Fantasy owners should expect him to be fine moving forward, though a possible limitation in grip strength could increase his odds of fumbling.
The Seahawks’ starting running back position has been filled by a revolving door of players, as injuries and inconsistencies have limited the position. Thomas Rawls was limited throughout the preseason as he recovered from last year’s broken ankle. He was available for the season opener but fractured his fibula in Week 2. Christine Michael appeared to be the answer, but a string of unproductive games resulted in him being waived. Prosise took over in Week 10 and started Week 11 with a 72-yard touchdown rush. However, he later was removed from the game with a shoulder injury. Coach Pete Carroll has since referred to the injury as a “scapula issue,”,hinting the rookie may have fractured his shoulder blade and will miss multiple weeks recovering.
Like most injuries, the severity of scapula injuries is dependent on the location of the damage. The shoulder blade is a flat, triangular shaped bone, with multiple bony prominences. The most prominent is the acromion, located where the shoulder blade meets the collarbone to form the acromioclavicular (AC) joint. Just below the acromion sits the coracoid process, a landmark that serves as an attachment site for multiple muscles and ligaments.
Injuries involving the AC joint are one of the most commonly reported shoulder injuries in the NFL, though sprains of the joint are more frequent than fractures. Coracoid fractures are also relatively uncommon as well though Browns quarterback Robert Griffin III did suffer one earlier in Week 1 of this season. He hasn’t played since. Fractures to the body of the scapula are also possible and may be the best-case scenario for Prosise. Scapular fractures rarely require surgical intervention and can heal as quickly as four weeks. Colts wide receiver Donte Moncrief missed five weeks earlier this year with a scapular fracture.
The Seahawks will further evaluate the injury and potentially release more details in the days leading up to their Week 12 matchup against the Buccaneers. A still healing Rawls will see a bulk of the carries by default, as reserve running back Troymaine Pope also was injured in the win over Philadelphia. Pope suffered a high ankle sprain that likely will keep him out or limited for the immediate future.
Andrew Luck: The Colts quarterback will be hard-pressed to play in the team’s Thanksgiving Day matchup against the Steelers after entering the league’s concussion protocol following Sunday’s win over the Titans. It’s uncommon for a player to complete the necessary steps of the protocol during a short week. Earlier this season Arizona’s Carson Palmer didn’t play in a Thursday night game after suffering a concussion just four days earlier. Based on the unpredictability of concussions and the shortened week, fantasy owners should expect Scott Tolzien to start on Turkey Day.
Luke Kuechly: A visibly shaken Kuechly was taken off the field in Carolina’s win over New Orleans on Thursday and later placed in the league’s concussion protocol. The All-Pro linebacker does have a history of concussions and missed time last year following a head injury in the season opener. Remember the effects of multiple concussions are cumulative, often leading to longer lasting symptoms. Kuechly remains without a timeline and is reportedly seeking other medical opinions on how to proceed.
Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles: The Eagles backfield was left reeling on Sunday as both Mathews and Sproles limped off the field. Mathews, a player with a lengthy history of injuries, suffered a medial collateral ligament (MCL) sprain while Sproles suffered a non-displaced rib fracture. Both are considered day-to-day and have a chance to play Monday against the Packers. Mathews’s availability will depend on the stability of the knee and if he is able to participate in practice. For Sproles, pain management is the biggest limiting factor and as a result he will be held out of practice throughout the week. Fantasy owners depending on either back should consider making a bid for Wendell Smallwood to have a solid insurance policy in place.
Zach Miller: The Bears tight end will miss the remainder of the season after suffering a fractured foot. The team did not specify which bone in the foot was broken though surgery will be necessary. Logan Paulsen becomes the number one tight end in Chicago.
Robert Woods: It sounds like Woods will be doubtful for Sunday’s game against the Jaguars after suffering an undisclosed knee sprain. The injury is not season-ending but he could easily miss a week or two. Sammy Watkins will be eligible to be activated from the injured reserve but it seems unlikely he will be able to step in for Woods. Marquise Goodwin would be most fantasy friendly option in Buffalo though he’s been hit or miss all season.