Week 14 reminded us just how quickly things can change in the blink of an eye as a result of injury, as both Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski and Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu were lost for the season following devastating knee injuries.
Gronkowski suffered a contact injury to his right knee, tearing his ACL and MCL. Last year, it was a re-fracture of his forearm which prematurely ended his season; this year, it’s his knee. There has been no word yet on when or where Gronkowski will undergo surgery, but one thing is certain: There will be much discussion about his status throughout the offseason. The Cardinals lost Mathieu for the remainder of the season to a torn ACL and LCL, putting a long road of recovery in his path. Even Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians said he does not expect Mathieu to be ready for next year's training camp, according to the Arizona Republic.
For both players, it is hard to project a recovery timetable with any degree of accuracy until surgeons have the opportunity to see the inside of the players' knees. Only then will they be able to definitively determine how extensive surgery will be, which ultimately dictates the rehab plan and prognosis. In short, stay tuned -- these are two injury stories that will be discussed for quite a while.
In the interim, there is a 2013 season to finish. The majority of injuries from the past weekend were not season-ending but they may have been enough to end (or threaten to end) the seasons of numerous fantasy owners. With the fantasy season perhaps hanging in the balance, here are a few names to keep an eye on in Week 15.
In Week 14, we noted the number of players whose status was impacted by recent concussion injuries. That list continues to grow as we head into Week 15. Suffice it to say that each situation is unique, with no player having definitively been ruled out for this week’s games. There are some hints as to which players are faring better early in the week, but Jordan Reed’s late inactive status in Week 13 reminds us that changes can happen right up until game time. Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker, who on Sunday sustained his second concussion in four games, is likely to miss Thursday night’s game, as ESPN.com’s Jeff Legwold notes. For additional details on other players dealing with a concussion, click here.
Other key injuries
Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings (foot): Peterson left Sunday’s game on a cart, not a sight anyone wanted to see. He was in obvious pain after getting his foot rolled on by Ravens linebacker Arthur Brown. “I just felt it pop a couple of times and the pain was excruciating,” Peterson told reporters after the game. While multiple tests -- which included X-ray, MRI and CT scans -- revealed no significant injury, when a player describes feeling a “pop” and talks of “excruciating pain,” it indicates there was some tissue trauma, even if ultimately minor in scale. Peterson is currently in a walking boot and is unlikely to play this weekend, as reported by ESPN.com’s Ben Goessling. For more details on the considerations the Vikings face when determining when or if to return Peterson to competition, click here. And for more on why a midfoot injury is particularly difficult for a running back, click here.
Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers (collarbone): Rodgers’ status will have much more clarity Wednesday after he meets with team doctors. Rodgers acknowledged still having some pain when he returned to practice last week, but it’s hard to imagine him sitting another week as a result, unless that pain prevents him from functioning at a high level. The most critical piece of this puzzle remains whether Rodgers’ physicians are satisfied with the healing of his collarbone -- literally the evidence of repair within the bone. They have to be comfortable that the risk incurred by placing him on the field to potentially absorb contact, possibly with the weight of another player on top of him, is small enough to warrant clearing him to play.
Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay Packers (ankle): Lacy injured his ankle in the first half of Sunday’s game and was late returning to the field in the second half as he tested it out in the locker room. James Starks started the second half at running back for the Packers but Lacy ultimately made his return to the field, proving his toughness in playing through a painful ankle injury. On Monday, coach Mike McCarthy would only say it was too soon to tell about Lacy’s status for Sunday. While it is clearly a good sign that he was able to return to last week’s game, the effects of an injury are sometimes greater a day or two removed from when it occurred. Judging on toughness alone, it would seem likely that Lacy will lobby to play regardless of the pain level.
Reggie Bush, RB, Detroit Lions (calf): Fantasy owners who set their lineups and then went about their day once the Lions announced their Week 14 inactives must have been shocked and/or frustrated to learn the closest Bush got to the game was the sideline. He aggravated his calf injury in pregame warm-ups -- purportedly a consequence of the deteriorating weather conditions -- and did not play a single snap. Bush did not speak with reporters after the game and on Monday coach Jim Schwartz announced his status this week as day-to-day. Given that the Lions do not play until Monday night, meaning there is no formal injury report required until Thursday, it may be difficult for fantasy owners to gauge the likelihood of Bush playing. Even if he does practice late in the week on a limited basis, there will be uncertainty heading into Monday’s contest against the Ravens. The only thing that won’t be in question is the weather, since the Lions will host the game indoors at Ford Field.
Keenan Allen, WR, San Diego Chargers (shoulder): Allen exited Sunday’s game in the second quarter with a shoulder injury but later returned, a positive sign. On Monday, the Chargers did not practice but Allen was listed as a full participant, a projection offered for the early practice report in a short week. Every indication is that Allen will play when the team travels to Denver for the Thursday night game.