Finally! It feels like we have been talking about the start of this football season ever since, well, the end of the last one. Along with real football comes fantasy football … and injuries. Injuries that dominated the football conversation throughout the offseason (thank you, Robert Griffin III and Rob Gronkowski) and those that cropped up shortly after many fantasy teams drafted (yes, we’re talking to you, Andre Brown) will all have an impact, potentially as early as Week 1.
With that in mind, here are the official injury report designations for tonight’s season kickoff game.
Wes Welker, WR, Denver Broncos (P): Welker is expected to play Thursday, which doesn’t come as a big surprise. Welker sprained his right ankle in the Broncos’ second preseason game, and the team has been cautious with him since. He was never really in doubt for the season opener since the injury was originally characterized as mild. Still, seeing him listed as a full practice participant this entire week inspires more confidence that the injury should not hold him back.
Ed Dickson, TE Baltimore Ravens, hamstring (P): Dickson is expected to play after practicing fully every day this week. With Dennis Pitta out following a hip dislocation in the preseason (now on IR/designated for return status), the Ravens were hopeful Dickson’s hamstring would recover in enough time for him to start the season. It appears that will be the case. Dickson injured his right hamstring early in training camp, sustaining what the Ravens described as a “slight tear” at the time. He did not appear in any preseason games, so he has not tested his leg at game speed, but he has been back in practice for the last two weeks, gradually increasing the intensity of his workouts without a setback. Thursday night’s game will be a big test. If he emerges unscathed, there will be more confidence about his status going forward.
Champ Bailey, CB, Denver Broncos, foot, (OUT): Bailey was ruled out of Thursday night’s game due to lingering discomfort with his left foot. Bailey sprained his foot in practice two weeks ago and was listed as a nonparticipant in practice throughout the week. According to ESPN.com, Bailey says his foot is feeling better but notes it still bothers him when moving laterally or backpedaling. Given the demands of his position, straight-line running isn’t enough to allow him back on the field. Working in his favor, there are 10 days until the Broncos’ next game, and for a 35-year old defensive back (who, it should be noted, played in all 16 games last season), time is a good friend.