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Injury Q&A: Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski, Dolphins’ Jay Ajayi

Inside Injuries September 22, 2017 4:41AM EDT

Q: Why isn’t Andrew Luck practicing yet?

A: The Colts are taking his recovery following shoulder surgery very, very slowly. And that’s a good thing. Because they have released very little info along the way, it’s hard to give a good reason why other than he just isn’t ready yet. Luck won’t return to practice this week. Once he does, he will likely need to be out there for two weeks before suiting up on Sunday. Luck is the franchise right now, and making sure he is healthy for the rest of his career is more important than having him on the field right now.

Q: Which injured tight end are you most concerned about?

rob gronkowski

Rob Gronkowski could be at risk for further injury. AP Photo/Butch Dill

A: Many of the league’s top tight ends are currently dealing with injuries, and all of them are fairly concerning. Greg Olsen will be out at least eight weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a Jones fracture. This is a very tricky injury, and many players continue to experience problems even if they miss two months. Don’t expect much from him the rest of the season, even if/when he does return.

Rob Gronkowski looked like he hurt his back in Week 2, but the Patriots are reporting a groin injury (although we still believe his back may also be a concern). He was listed as DNP on Wednesday despite doing some blocking drills, and his availability for Week 3 is now highly questionable. Despite all of their injuries, the Patriots shouldn’t take any risks with Gronk. His injury history and recent back surgery make him a player that can’t afford another setback.

Tyler Eifert is also sidelined with back and knee injuries, both recurring problems. He hasn’t played well this season and 2016 wasn’t any better, so it may be time to drop him in most leagues.

Finally Jimmy Graham has an ankle sprain and is looking more doubtful than questionable for Week 3. If it is a high ankle sprain, as one report speculated, he could be looking at a 4-6 week absence. It’s a tough injury, especially for a player like Graham. This is more of a long-term concern than Gronk.

Q: Should I be concerned about Jay Ajayi’s knee injury?

A: Jay Ajayi did not practice Wednesday, but it sounded like more of a rest day after 28 carries in Week 2. As long as he is a full participant by Friday’s practice there isn’t much to worry about here. He is at an Elevated Injury Risk, though, so the wear-and-tear of being the Dolphins’ workhorse back could eventually come back to hurt him.

Q: And what about Jarvis Landry?

A: There’s a little bit more concern over Landry’s knee injury. He popped up on the Dolphins’ injury report last Friday but played Sunday and had a solid performance (13 receptions on 15 targets for 78 yards). At practice Wednesday he was seen riding the stationary bike, and at this point there isn’t much concern that he will miss a game due to his knee injury. He is an Elevated Injury Risk and our numbers also have him falling into the “Risky Start” category. It is worth considering other wide receiver options this week before plugging Landry into fantasy lineups. It’s a risk that might not pay off.

Q: Is Odell Beckham Jr.’s ankle still a concern?

A: Yes, but he is improving. OBJ played in Week 2 but didn’t do much, catching four receptions on his five targets for 36 yards. While he didn’t look like himself, he also did not appear to cause any more damage to his ankle. Now that OBJ has past the Optimal Recovery Time for this injury, we can start to raise our expectations for him slightly. He won’t be back at 100 percent for at least a few more weeks, and his ankle will affect his explosiveness off of the line and ability to beat defenders downfield. But he should be more involved in the offense and see more targets, which increases his floor in Week 3.

Download the Inside Injuries app for more injury advice and fantasy analysis on every player in the NFL!

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