Fitzgerald has been playing through an ankle sprain, and after injuring his knee on Sunday he underwent a precautionary MRI. The team hasn’t released the results, but they remain optimistic that he could suit up on Sunday. That likely means it didn’t reveal any ligament or cartilage damage, but he wasn’t at practice on Wednesday. He may play this weekend, but I think all of his injuries have finally caught up to him. If he is active, keep your expectations low as he battles through knee and ankle problems.
Rob Gronkowski TE, Patriots: punctured lung
Once again, the Patriots are keeping us in the dark on an injury to one of their players. Reports have been conflicting on Gronk’s chest injury- right now it sounds like he’s dealing with a punctured lung, which just means air is leaking out or there’s damage to the lining of the chest. If there’s no rib fracture as well, Gronk could be back in a few weeks, but I don’t think he will play this weekend. The Patriots are sitting pretty at the top of the AFC, and they have enough other offensive weapons that they won’t need Gronk out there to take down the 49ers. The biggest indicator of his Week 11 availability will be if he can fly with the team to San Francisco on Friday.
Lamar Miller RB, Texans: grade 2 shoulder injury, soft tissue ankle injury
The injuries are piling up for Lamar Miller, and the playing time is going down. It’s not a good combination for a guy who is supposed to be the Texans’ workhorse back. Miller injured his shoulder in Week 7 and hasn’t been the same since, and then he tweaked his ankle on Sunday but was able to return, although he played just 24 snaps (38 percent). Much of the blame should land on Brock Osweiler for being incapable of running the offense in Houston, but Miller isn’t the powerful, elusive running back he once was. Maybe if he can get healthy in a few weeks he can get some of that back, but it won’t be this week.
DeMarco Murray RB, Titans: grade 1 toe injury
Murray has been playing through a toe injury for a few weeks and didn’t practice Wednesday, although the move sounds nothing more than precautionary. Murray has been one of the league’s best running backs since joining the Titans, and his toe problems haven’t slowed him down yet, so I don’t think anything will change when he takes on the Colts this weekend. He’s in no danger of missing a game at this point.
Jordan Howard RB, Bears: grade 1 ankle injury
When Howard said, “Nah, I ain’t suffer nothin,” he was right. Howard left the Bears’ Week 10 game because of an ankle/Achilles injury and only played two snaps in the second half, although the team never reported an official injury. He was a full participant at practice on Wednesday and isn’t even listed on their injury report, so any concern that was there is now gone. The impressive rookie will be ready to face the Giants on Sunday.
Sammie Coates WR, Steelers: finger fractures
The news on Sammie Coates’ busted hand continues to get worse. We thought he was playing through a hand laceration and a finger fracture, but it’s actually multiple finger fractures. His playing time continues to drop, and time off seems to be what he needs. It’s especially difficult for a wide receiver to play with a hand injury, and he is only slowing down the recovery process by playing and putting added stress on the injury. Coates has no Fantasy value at this point.
Victor Cruz WR, Giants: grade 2 ankle sprain
Cruz didn’t practice at all last week and missed Week 10 because of an ankle sprain, so his limited practice on Wednesday was a positive sign. Expectations still need to remain low for Cruz, who has a history of serious lower body injuries and setbacks. He’s tentatively on track to return against the Bears, but keep him out of your Fantasy lineups- he’s at elevated injury risk and below average Health Performance Factor.
DeSean Jackson WR, Redskins: grade 3 shoulder injury
Jackson was back at practice on Wednesday for the first time since he played in Week 8. An injury to his left shoulder has been bothering him for over a month, so a few weeks off was necessary to get him closer to full health. I still don’t think Jackson is ready to be effective if he is active against the Packers, especially considering their strong defense against wide receivers. Keep Jackson on your bench until he proves he has recovered from all of his bumps and bruises.
Tyrann Mathieu DB, Cardinals: shoulder injury
After missing one game because of a shoulder injury, Mathieu was back at practice on Wednesday and is on track to play Sunday. Since his 2015 ACL tear, he has struggled to be as explosive and effective as he was the first few years of his career. In the games that he has played through various lingering issues (knee, thumb), he has been quite pedestrian. Mathieu doesn’t need another injury to linger and hold him back, so he needs to get fully healthy before being active again. He is also close to shedding the knee brace, which could lead to improvements both mentally and physically.
Thomas Rawls RB, Seahawks: fibula fracture
Rawls is finally ready for a return after suffering a hairline fracture to his fibula in week 2. He was limited early last week in practice but has been a full participant since Friday with no reported setbacks. Rawls may be eased back into things, especially because C.J. Prosise has stepped up to add a dynamic threat to this offense, but Rawls will certainly have a role. He is past the optimal recovery time, so he is back at low injury risk and peak Health Performance Factor according to the Inside Injuries algorithm.
Download the Inside Injuries to track updates to all of these players throughout the week.