The First In-Depth Week 1 Injury Roundup from insideinjuries.com
Find out which injured players have a shot to play Week 1, and which ones you should avoid.
Marlon Mack RB, Colts – hamstring strain
As Week 1 approaches, Marlon Mack looks to be on the doubtful side of questionable. While the Colts
aren’t required to report his practice status until Wednesday, reports indicated that Mack did not participate in practice on Monday. It’s not a good sign with less than a week until the start of the regular season. Mack suffered the hamstring strain in the preseason opener, and Inside Injuries gave him a 5 week Optimal Recovery Time. He will reach that deadline by Week 2. Mack will be an Elevated Injury Risk and have a Below Average Health Performance Factor if he does try in suit up on Sunday.
DeVante Parker WR, Dolphins – finger fracture
DeVante Parker still has not been cleared to catch a football. Inside Injuries projected a 7 week Optimal Recovery Time when Parker broke his finger earlier in August, which means he won’t be healthy until Week 4.
Adam Thielen WR, Vikings – lower leg injury
There are still a lot of questions surrounding Adam Thielen’s leg injury, so we are considering him questionable for Week 1 until proven otherwise. Thielen limped off the practice field last Tuesday, and we haven’t received an update since. The Vikings don’t seem to think there is cause for “long-term concern,” but our algorithm projected a 3 week Optimal Recovery Time. That means Thielen won’t be healthy by Week 1. While this leg injury is still a concern, at least Thielen didn’t aggravate the spinal fractures that he suffered at the end of last season.
Sony Michel RB, Patriots – knee surgery
We knew the minute the Patriots drafted Sony Michel that he would be an injury risk. Michel has a long and concerning history with knee injuries, so the clean-up procedure he underwent earlier this summer wasn’t a surprise. Unfortunately, the procedure just confirmed our thoughts on his lack of durability. The good news for fantasy owners is that Michel seems to be progressing in his recovery and returned to positional drills on Sunday. The overall consensus seems to be that Michel will sit out Week 1, and we agree that missing the start of the season would be the right decision based on his current health.
Evan Engram TE, Giants – concussion
Engram suffered a concussion in the Giants’ third preseason game. He was able to do some work with trainers only two days later, suggesting he was progressing well through the league’s concussion protocol. He was seen with a helmet on, catching passes last week and was upgraded to a limited participant in practice on Monday. Engram will have to be cleared by an independent neurologist before he can clear protocol and return to practice. It may come down to the wire, but we think there is a good chance he plays Week 1. The major drawback here is Engram’s Elevated Injury Risk and his higher likelihood of suffering another concussion down the road.
Nelson Agholor WR, Eagles – lower body injury
Agholor has been sidelined for the past three weeks with a lower body injury and should be considered day-to-day. With Alshon Jeffery out for at least the first game of the regular season (and likely longer), we would be surprised to see Agholor sit for the season opener. We don’t have much information about Agholor’s injury, but a mild to moderate lower body injury generally takes 2-4 weeks to fully heal. Agholor has already improved back to a Low Injury Risk, so if he is active he needs to be started in all leagues.
Vance McDonald TE, Steelers – foot injury
Vance McDonald’s six year career has been riddled with injuries, and this year appears to be no different.
He suffered a foot injury early in training camp and has yet to return to practice. Even if McDonald is able to start practicing this week, it’s highly unlikely that the Steelers would give him a full workload Week 1. McDonald missed 6 games last season as he dealt with 4 separate injuries. Needless to say, McDonald’s durability is a major concern.
Matt Breida RB, 49ers – shoulder injury
Some good news came out of the 49ers camp over the weekend when Matt Brieda was cleared to practice. He sat out the final three preseason games with a shoulder injury, but the 49ers seem confident that he will be ready to go for Week 1. With Jerick McKinnon (torn ACL) out for the season, Breida will have a much clearer role. Breida has reached his 2 week Optimal Recovery Time and is back at a Low Injury Risk.
Jermaine Gresham TE, Cardinals – Achilles tear
Jermaine Gresham avoided the reserve/PUP list and returned to practice Monday, but it’s still highly unlikely that he plays in Week 1. Returning from an Achilles tear takes at least 9 months, and Gresham is a few weeks off from that mark. We don’t expect him to take the field until at least Week 4 or 5.
Rashaad Penny RB, Seahawks – broken finger
Rashaad Penny is reportedly “on track” to start the regular season after undergoing surgery to repair a broken finger. Penny has progressed quickly, returning to practice only two days after surgery. He practiced in pads only a week after the procedure ,and Pete Carroll has said repeatedly that he expects Penny to be ready for Week 1. According to our analytics, Penny won’t be completely healed from his finger fracture until the beginning of October and will be playing at High Risk if he is active Week 1. Ball security and pass-catching are the biggest concerns.
Rex Burkhead RB, Patriots – partial knee tear
Burkhead returned to practice last Sunday, which we think is too soon to return from a partial knee tear. The Patriots have said they only held him out this long as an “abundance of caution,” but we aren’t so sure. It’s extremely likely that this bothers Burkhead all season. The exact injury isn’t known, but it is likely a tear to the meniscus (which could eventually require surgery) or MCL (typically heals on its own within a few months).
Jay Ajayi RB, Eagles – foot injury
Ajayi is reportedly all systems go for Week 1 after he returned to practice this week. He missed the past two weeks while battling a foot injury. We don’t know the extent of the injury at this time, but he was likely dealing a mild to moderate sprain. The Inside Injuries algorithm calculated a 2 week Optimal Recovery Time, which he has now met. Ajayi has a long history of knee injuries that seem to pop up every year, but a foot injury is new. He will start the season as an Elevated Injury Risk.
Doug Baldwin WR, Seahawks – knee injury
His knee will be an issue all season, but he isn’t expected to miss Week 1. The Seahawks never gave us an
exact diagnosis, but this sounds like a meniscus tear. This injury typically lingers and is likely to eventually require surgery to clean up.
LeSean McCoy RB, Bills – groin strain
McCoy is eligible to play, but his long injury history could mean this groin injury lingers longer than expected. He has a concerning list of muscular strains and other lower body injuries, so he is a High Injury Risk.
Josh Gordon WR, Browns – hamstring strain
The Browns expect Gordon to play in Week 1,but not start as he returns from time off due to his mental health and a hamstring strain.
Andrew Luck QB, Colts – foot injury
Luck returned to practice on Monday, and the Colts expect him to play Week 1 as he comes off a foot injury. If he plays Week 1, it will be the first regular season game Luck has played since January 2016. He remains an Elevated Injury Risk due to a combination of his past shoulder/biceps problems and his latest foot injury.
Delanie Walker TE, Titans – turf toe
The Titans are confident Walker will play Week 1, barring a setback. Walker is known for his ability to play through injuries, but turf toe is very painful and often lingers for weeks and weeks. He is an Elevated Injury Risk with a Below Average Health Performance Factor.
George Kittle TE, 49ers – separated shoulder
Kittle returned to practice last Tuesday and is on track for Week 1. He is back at a Low Injury Risk and has reaching the Optimal Recovery Time following his shoulder injury in the first preseason game.