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Injury Update: Concerns about Steelers Ben Roethlisberger, Chiefs Spencer Ware

Injury Update: Concerns about Steelers Ben Roethlisberger, Chiefs Spencer Ware
Inside Injuries December 11, 2018 9:44PM EST

The latest in-depth injury breakdowns from the team at insideinjuries.com

What an awful week for injuries. With the fantasy playoffs in full swing and a handful of top players already out with injuries, the list continued to grow in week 14. Inside Injuries has the latest on all of the players who went down over the weekend with their outlooks for the rest of the season.

As always, follow us on Twitter for the latest on injuries around the NFL. We will provide analysis on new injuries as well as updates on players who could be returning.

LeSean McCoy RB, Bills: hamstring strain

McCoy is considered day-to-day after leaving Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury. Shady is no stranger to this injury as he had hamstring problems in 2015 and 2016. It’s a tough injury to recover from, and even the mildest of strains needs a full two weeks to heal. A moderate strain comes with a longer four week Optimal Recovery Time. Without much to play for, the Bills could shut him down for the season in hopes that he avoids a long-term injury that could affect him heading into the 2019 season. As we have seen time and time again, hamstring injuries often linger and never seem to fully heal. At 30 and with a lengthy injury history, he needs to be very careful with this one. Right now his Injury Risk sits at 34%, which falls into the High Risk category.

Austin Ekeler RB, Chargers: stinger/concussion

As the Chargers prepare for the Thursday night game, they are left in a tough position at running back. Melvin Gordon could return from his MCL sprain but remains 10 days shy of his Optimal Recovery Time. On top of that Ekeler is now dealing with two separate injuries. He has been battling a neck problem over the last few weeks that is described as a stinger, and he made it worse on Sunday. He is also now in the concussion protocol. Ekeler was evaluated but cleared during their last game. He then reported delayed symptoms on Monday. It’s tough to clear in a week, and even tougher to pass all of the steps in just four days. He is a long shot to suit up on Thursday night and will be at a High Injury Risk if he is somehow cleared to play.

Tyreek Hill WR, Chiefs: heel injury

Hill managed to put up great numbers on Sunday despite hobbling around with a heel injury and possibly another lower body injury. The heel is the main concern. He underwent an MRI on Monday, which showed “nothing significant.” While this is relatively good news, it does hint that something showed up. The Chiefs haven’t revealed an exact injury, but it could be anything from a contusion to plantar fasciitis.

Hill will be in a race against the clock as the Chiefs have a crucial Thursday night matchup with the Chargers. His injury comes with a minimum 2 week Optimal Recovery Time, so his heel issue will definitely still be a problem if he able to play. Hill will be at an Elevated Injury Risk (20%), but a heel injury is easier to play through than a toe or other foot injury. That’s because many lower body movements such as sprinting and cutting don’t really involve the heel. It’s things like landing and decelerating that are associated. Don’t expect Hill to practice this week, and he could be a game-time decision, but for now he is expected to tough it out and play.

Ben Roethlisberger WR, Steelers: ribs injury

Big Ben took a shot to the ribs late in the first half and didn’t return until the Steelers were in desperation mode as they were down with five minutes left. Roethlisberger led them on a long touchdown drive before losing the lead again and took another big hit. He’s incredibly tough, and although any rib injury is painful to play through, expect him to be back out there in week 15. The Steelers season is slowly slipping away, and Roethlisberger has to lead the way if they are going to hold off the Ravens for the AFC North title.

The main concern here is Roethlisberger’s Overall Injury Risk. He was already in the Elevated Injury Risk category due to his lengthy history, but he has now dropped to High Risk (24%).  His Health Performance Factor is also Below Average (52%), an indication that his rib injury will affect his play.

Corey Clement RB, Eagles: knee sprain

Clement suffered an ugly looking knee injury on Sunday, but for now he seems to have avoided a season-ending injury that would require surgery. Early reports are a knee sprain, which can mean a lot of different things. Based on how the injury occurred, there is likely some damage to the PCL or MCL. If that’s the case, his Optimal Recovery Time is around 4 weeks, but that could change if we learn more about the severity. Clement is a long shot to suit up week 15, although we should know more when the Eagles return to practice.

Stephen Hauschka K, Bills: hip injury

 

A blind side hit to Hauschka left the Bills kicker with a back/hip injury, although he was able to finish the game. Scans confirmed that he isn’t dealing with a serious injury, but any time a kicker is hurt it’s a concern. Even a minor injury can cause a slight adjustment to their mechanics, leading to accuracy problems. He may not practice much this week as he reported feeling very sore. If there is some concern later in the week that he may not be able to go, the Bills will be forced to sign another kicker.

Austin Hooper TE, Falcons: knee injury

Late in the Falcons ugly loss to the Packers, Hooper went down with a knee injury and eventually limped off the field in a lot of pain. Scans showed that he is not dealing with a long-term injury, which was welcome news for a banged-up Falcons team considering that was the initial fear. He could play as soon as this weekend, but we are showing a longer 2-4 week Optimal Recovery Time depending on the severity of his knee sprain. His HPF currently sits at 67%, which is Above Average, but his Injury Risk is Elevated, so there is some concern that he would be re-injured if he tries to play in week 15.

Jordan Reed TE, Redskins: foot injury

It’s hard to believe that it took this long for Jordan Reed to suffer a concerning injury this season, but it finally happened. Reed injured his foot on Sunday and could be done for the year. Reed has a history of toe/foot problems (along with many other injuries), and while this one isn’t expected to require surgery, it could come with multi-week recovery time. He was diagnosed with a toe sprain, and our algorithm has calculated a 3+ week Optimal Recovery Time. These injuries are easily aggravated and tough to play through as so many movements, including cutting and sprinting, rely on the foot. With a 23% Risk of re-injury, it’s best to shut him down and hope he can be healthy to start the 2019 season.

Ryan Tannehill QB, Dolphins: ankle sprain

Tannehill left late in the first half when he tweaked his ankle as he was taken down on a sack. He received treatment in the locker room and got taped up to return for the second half. This injury comes with a short one week Optimal Recovery Time. He could miss some practice time this week as his ankle will be sore, but his week 15 availability isn’t in danger. Expect another solid game from Tannehill.

Spencer Ware RB, Chiefs: shoulder injury

Ware was officially listed as DNP on Monday after leaving the game a few times with a shoulder injury. He is also listed with a hamstring injury, although it sounds relatively minor. For now he is expected to suit up on Thursday night, but he won’t be anywhere near 100%. Even a mild hamstring leads to an increased injury risk as it’s an easily aggravated injury. Same for the shoulder, although that shouldn’t have a significant impact on his play as long as he can stay on the field. Ware should again be able to be productive, but he is in danger of aggravating either injury, leading to an early exit. Consider him a high risk, high reward play in week 15.

Isaiah Crowell RB, Jets: foot injury

Crowell wasn’t able to finish the game on Sunday due to a foot injury. It’s likely related to the toe problems that have bothered him in recent weeks, even if it isn’t the exact same injury. Often players try to overcompensate, which leads to a new injury. Crowell’s Overall Injury Risk now sits at 30%, which is very concerning. Elijah McGuire should see a much heavier workload if Crowell isn’t able to go this weekend. Crowell reported feeling “very sore” on Monday, and our algorithm is showing a minimum two week Optimal Recovery Time.

Lamar Jackson QB, Ravens: ankle sprain

Jackson “should be ok” for week 15 after tweaking his ankle against the Chiefs. He rolled his ankle during overtime and was replaced by RG3 as Joe Flacco remained inactive. Jackson underwent x-rays, which were negative. The Ravens will need to see how Jackson’s ankle responds throughout the week before making a decision on who will start against the Bucs. Flacco is expected to be available after missing the last month with a hip injury. Jackson now comes with a Below Average HPF (60%), so if he does get the start we are projecting that his ankle injury would have a significant impact on his performance.

Follow Inside Injuries on Twitter for breaking news and updates on all of these players heading into week 15.

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