Key Injury Outlooks from insideinjuries.com
James Conner RB, Steelers: concussion
One of the best stories of the season is the emergence of Conner. He has done nothing but impress as a replacement for Le’Veon Bell. But now he is dealing with a concussion that he picked up last Thursday night. The good news here is that he doesn’t have a history of concussions, and he has three extra days to recover before their next game. But the bad news is that concussions have a cumulative effect, and going forward he will be at a higher risk of suffering another head injury.
We won’t know much about how Conner is progressing through concussion protocol until the Steelers return to practice on Wednesday. The team is “optimistic” that he will be able to play in week 11. That likely means he has been at the team facility and isn’t experiencing concussion symptoms anymore. The next hurdle will be returning to participate in non-contact drills at practice. If he can get through that without a setback, he will be cleared for a full practice. If all goes well he will clear concussion protocol ahead of their matchup with the Jaguars. Just keep in mind, recovery from concussions can be unpredictable. We never really know how long it will take a player to heal from a head injury.
Cooper Kupp WR, Rams: torn ACL
Week 10 started out as a relatively slow injury week, until Kupp went down with a non-contact left knee injury. Kupp was running a route when he went down clutching his knee in extreme pain. He had to be helped off of the field, and an MRI confirmed the grave diagnosis. Kupp will now undergo surgery but should be ready at the start of the 2019 season.
Whether mental or physical, Kupp’s past MCL sprain played a part in his ACL tear. Kupp suffered the MCL injury in week 6 and went on the miss the following 2 games. Our algorithm indicated he returned too soon, and his Injury Risk remained Elevated at 21%. If his MCL was still a bit weaker as it continued to heal, that could have been the difference in a torn ACL vs. a very mild tweak that he could have bounced back from. There’s also the mental aspect. If he didn’t fully trust his knee, that could have left some doubt in his mind and caused him to cut or move a bit differently than he normally would. Either way, Kupp is now looking at surgery to repair the ACL, and there is likely some damage to the MCL as well.
Jordy Nelson WR, Raiders: quad contusion
Rumors were swirling after yet another Raiders loss that a veteran was going to retire mid-season. The speculation was that Nelson was fed up with the team and was frustrated with his injury. Fortunately it is just a quad contusion. While it’s possible it sidelines him for a game, this isn’t a long-term injury. For now the retirement talk is nothing more than a rumor, so we expect to see Nelson back on the practice field at some point this week to test out his quad. We don’t know what’s going on behind closed doors, but from an injury perspective this isn’t a huge concern. Nelson’s Overall Risk of Injury remains Elevated, while his HPF sits at Below Average. He hasn’t played well this season, and the quad injury will affect his explosiveness and speed over the next few weeks. Even when he is healthy, Nelson isn’t worth a spot on fantasy rosters.
Martavis Bryant WR, Raiders: torn PCL
The injuries to Bryant and Nelson could leave the Raiders very thin at WR after trading away Amari Cooper. Bryant’s injury is a more long-term concern, though. He suffered a torn PCL, but the severity of the tear remains unknown. This is an injury that can require surgery if it is severe enough, and that would end his season. If it’s a minor tear he could go the rehab route, but it would still be a lengthy absence. The minimum Optimal Recovery Time is four weeks, which means he shouldn’t return until early December.
Kenyan Drake RB, Dolphins: shoulder sprain
Drake left week 10 after aggravating a shoulder injury but was able to return and finish out the game. He practiced in full last week despite being listed on the injury report. His Injury Risk currently sits at 13% (Elevated), while his HPF is Above Average. Going forward he doesn’t have much value, but his injury isn’t the main concern. It’s how he fits into the offense and how he is used alongside Frank Gore. Keep an eye on his practice status throughout the week; for now his shoulder injury isn’t what should stop you from playing him.
Julian Edelman WR, Patriots: ankle/foot sprain
Edelman has been battling an ankle injury over the last few weeks but has yet to miss a game. He aggravated the injury on Sunday, and this one seems much worse than before. An MRI showed no significant ligament damage, but he should still be considered week-to-week. The Patriots have a week 11 bye, and it’s no guarantee he will be ready to go week 12. Our algorithm is picking up a grade 2 injury, which comes with a 4 week Optimal Recovery Time. With an eye on the playoffs, he should sit until mid-December so this doesn’t become a lingering problem that will hamper him when it really matters. Right now his Injury Risk is High, and his Below Average HPF shows he won’t perform well if he tries to tough it out and play following the bye.
DeVante Parker WR, Dolphins: left shoulder AC sprain
Parker is week-to-week after an MRI showed an AC sprain in his left shoulder. He avoided a season-ending injury, but this could still be a multi-week absence. Parker was seen leaving the locker room with his left arm in a sling. According to our algorithm, two weeks is the absolute minimum amount of time he should miss. His Injury Risk is very High at 34% (it was already at a concerning level before his shoulder injury, previously 21%). Parker isn’t worth holding onto in most fantasy leagues.
Marvin Jones WR, Lions: knee bone bruise
An MRI on Jones’ knee confirmed that he did not suffer any ligament damage, which is great for his long-term outlook, but he is dealing with a bone bruise. This can be a painful injury that takes anywhere from 2-6 weeks to heal depending on the severity. While he may not recover in time to play week 11, he shouldn’t miss more than a few weeks. It will be painful to play through if he returns too soon, but there isn’t a high risk of suffering a more serious injury. The team is calling him day-to-day, so it will be important to monitor his practice participation throughout the week.
Jones’ Below Average HPF (Health Performance Factor) is a sign that he won’t play well if he tries to go on Sunday. But his Optimal Recovery Time is just 2 weeks, so his injury numbers should improve quickly.
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