Stephania Bell: Fred Davis

Jones-Drew leads post-Week 7 injuries

October, 23, 2012
10/23/12
11:43
AM ET


Week 7 is in the books! Another week, another player out for the season. On Monday night, the Detroit Lions lost wide receiver Nate Burleson to a broken leg. Burleson landed awkwardly, then went to the ground and immediately clutched his right leg. Washington Redskins tight end Fred Davis tore his left Achilles early in Sunday's game, and the team wasted no time reaching out to Chris Cooley to replace him. Cooley was a star tight end for the Redskins not so long ago, before his recent injury issues prompted the team to let him go this summer.



Naturally there are other injury situations worth tracking. Here's who we're keeping an eye on heading into Week 8.

Running Backs

[+] EnlargeMaurice Jones-Drew
AP Photo/Marcio Jose SanchezMaurice Jones-Drew will be out at least for Week 8, and maybe more, with a foot injury.
Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars (foot): Jones-Drew, the perennial picture of health at a position where players are virtually guaranteed to get injured, finally appeared to succumb to the inevitable. After playing in every game last season, Jones-Drew was forced to leave in Week 7 because of injury and may be out for an extended period. Jones-Drew injured his foot almost immediately in Sunday's game, and although he has not been definitively diagnosed with a Lisfranc injury, coach Mike Mularkey would not rule out the possibility. Jones-Drew was seen on the sideline with crutches for the remainder of the game -- not necessarily unusual immediately following a foot injury. Still, the fact they did not want him putting weight on the foot does suggest a somewhat elevated level of concern.



Jones-Drew already has been ruled out for Sunday's game, and Mularkey noted when he spoke with reporters Monday that he could miss extended time. More information should emerge in the coming days, but fantasy owners should plan on a multiweek absence. Rashad Jennings stepped in to replace Jones-Drew and probably will be one of the most popular guys on the waiver wire this week.

Trent Richardson, Cleveland Browns (rib): Richardson entered Sunday's game with a right-side rib cartilage injury. Although he was able to practice on a limited basis during the week, the injury made itself known early on and Richardson was essentially benched for the second half. According to The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, coach Pat Shurmur removed Richardson because he "wasn't quite effective," acknowledging the injury likely played a role. Richardson maintains he does not want to sit out and hopes to play this week. The challenge with damage to the rib cartilage is that the tissue is notoriously slow to heal. Many players who suffer this type of injury are dealing with pain that lingers for weeks, although it gradually subsides with rest. Repeated contact can make it more difficult for the pain to resolve. Typically it comes down to how well a player can function in the presence of pain. Richardson saw that firsthand when he tried to go from limited practice to full speed -- his body was not yet ready to cooperate. We'll see how he responds over the course of the week.

Quarterbacks

Blaine Gabbert, Jacksonville Jaguars (shoulder): Gabbert looked to be in significant pain after hurting his left (non-throwing) shoulder and now we might know why. According to ESPN's Ed Werder, Gabbert reportedly suffered a torn labrum and will get a second opinion Tuesday from Dr. James Andrews. There is no word yet as to whether Gabbert will play Sunday.

And we're keeping an eye on

Jimmy Graham, TE, New Orleans Saints (ankle): Graham did not play Sunday after sustaining an ankle injury in Week 5. The fact that Graham did make it onto the practice field last week is certainly an encouraging sign, and it sounds as if the Saints are optimistic about his progress. According to Mike Triplett of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, interim coach Joe Vitt said they would test Graham on Wednesday and that right now they "feel good" about him.



[+] EnlargeGreg Jennings
AP Photo/David StlukaGreg Jennings has just 12 fantasy points in standard leagues this year because of his injuries.
Greg Jennings, WR, Green Bay Packers (groin): Jennings could return to practice at the end of this week, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. First, he will need to test the groin by running, which is slated for Thursday. If all goes well, he could be allowed to progress his activity in practice. These are the logical next steps in what has been a very steady, graded rehab approach for Jennings since aggravating the groin injury earlier this month. Both Jennings and the Packers have said he will not return until he is fully healthy, and it is in both their interests to ensure that to the degree possible. Ultimately, in-game testing is unique in the type of demands it puts on a player, but it certainly appears that Jennings has been guarded against overdoing it thus far. It's too soon to say whether he would be able to return to play this week but a return to practice would signal he is not far off.

Pierre Garcon, WR, Washington Redskins (foot): Last week, we learned the source of Garcon's pain was a sprained capsule (the thicker tissue that covers a joint). This week, there are reports that the damage is more involved. USA Today Sports reports that Garcon is also dealing with a torn tendon, citing a source briefed on the specifics of the injury. The report suggested that Garcon could be held out through the team's bye (Nov. 11). While the news hints at further damage than initially conveyed, it doesn't change the team's approach, which is to have Garcon let the foot rest. The question becomes how much the extended rest will help the condition. Certainly the pain and inflammation should settle down, but one wonders whether it will return when Garcon resumes running and practice activities. Only time will tell. The bottom line for fantasy owners is that it appears it will be several more weeks before Garcon potentially returns.



DeMarco Murray (foot) and Felix Jones (knee), RBs, Dallas Cowboys: Murray missed Week 7 with a foot injury and Jones got the start in his place. Unfortunately, it didn't take long for Jones to exit the field with an injury of his own. On the second play of the game, he injured his neck, but it was deemed to be mild and he later returned. A knee bruise forced Jones to leave the game a second time, and it's not clear whether that will be something that limits him this week. Meanwhile, ESPNDallas.com reports the Cowboys are hopeful Murray can return this week from his sprained left foot. It seems like a quick recovery for a guy who was on crutches and in a boot just last week, but the real test will be at practice, when Murray tests the foot. No word yet as to when that might happen.

Donald Brown, RB, Indianapolis Colts (knee): Brown underwent arthroscopic surgery two weeks ago, and the return timetable indicated two to three weeks. Philip B. Wilson of the Indianapolis Star reported Monday that Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said Brown is close to returning but may not be quite ready for Week 8. Two weeks sounded a bit quick, given that following surgery, even if relatively minor, a key to a successful return is having regained enough muscular strength to protect the joint. It will be interesting to see how much work Brown gets in practice this week.

Frank Gore, RB, San Francisco 49ers (ribs): Gore suffered bruised ribs in the team's Thursday night game and was held out for the final minutes. Their next game is Oct. 29, a Monday night game, and the extra time between games undoubtedly will help. The question then is will Gore's soreness have decreased enough to allow him to play. So far it sounds positive. According to the Sacramento Bee, Gore put in a full practice Monday and expects he will be ready to play in Week 8.

Vincent Brown WR, San Diego Chargers (ankle): Brown suffered a fracture in the preseason and was placed on the new designation of injured reserve/designated to return. He has been largely invisible to the media during his rehab, but the team has insisted that his recovery is on track. However, Wednesday was the first day Brown was eligible to rejoin the team in practice, and he did not. Given Brown's absence and given coach Norv Turner's comments about Brown going "one step at a time" on the team's official website, the earlier hope that Brown could return by Nov. 1 seems to be fading. "He has not been on the field yet. It will be a while before we give you specific timing on when he'll be able to play," Turner said. It's not clear whether Brown has even tried running yet. As of now, it appears he has a ways to go before there is any talk of game action.



In the realm of injuries, this was no Week 7, thankfully. That doesn't mean fantasy rosters escaped unscathed. Oh no, not a chance of that happening.

[+] EnlargeSan Diego's Mike Tolbert
AP Photo/Charles KrupaMike Tolbert missed Monday night's game but he might be the only healthy Chargers running back for next week.
• The San Diego Chargers' running backs are in the injury mix again. Ryan Mathews injured his groin late in Monday night's game and did not return. Mike Tolbert was dressed and running on the field before the game, trying to convince coaches he should play. He didn't. And then there was Curtis Brinkley, who stepped in when Mathews stepped out. He delivered a touchdown, some carries, some catches, then suffered a concussion. His status is now murky as well. With all this happening Monday night, who knows how things will shape up by Sunday? Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune expects Tolbert to be ready to go. The other two backs have fresh injuries, so it's likely a decision won't come until later.



• The Cleveland Browns' running back situation is also a bit messy. Peyton Hillis did not play Sunday despite making the trip to San Francisco. Given his midweek setback with his hamstring last week, there is no counting on him for Week 9, no matter how badly the team needs him. Montario Hardesty will not play for a while, now that he has suffered a moderate strain (Grade 2) of his right medial gastrocnemius (calf) muscle, according to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. Hardesty definitely will miss time but the extent is unknown. These injuries often take time to recover from, and certainly as a running back, push-off requires use of the calf muscle, so there's no getting around it. Plan on him being down a month. How many of you had Chris Ogbonnaya on your roster? I'm not going to lie. As a Hillis owner, I did. I was rewarded with 10 points. The question then is, will Ogbonnaya repeat? Perhaps not, but he might be worth a look if you're hurting. The Browns are glad they took a chance on him since he was handling the load Sunday when Hardesty went down. Also, Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain-Dealer reported via Twitter on Tuesday that the Browns added running back Thomas Clayton to their roster. Clayton was active for the Browns for two games last season.

New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks has a hamstring strain. The Giants are calling him day-to-day, and there appears to be no sense of panic at the moment. According to the Star-Ledger, Nicks is expecting to play this weekend against the New England Patriots. Teammate Ahmad Bradshaw was in and out of Sunday's game, getting X-rays on his right foot. The fact that he returned to the game after getting his foot retaped is a positive sign, and Bradshaw told the New York Daily News, "I knew it was fine. Just being precautious about it." That sounds like a good thing.

Fred Davis has a Grade 1 ankle sprain, according to coach Mike Shanahan. Given that this is the most minor version of an ankle sprain, it does not look like it will keep Davis off the field Sunday, but naturally we'll wait to see how much he does in practice. At least Davis is not part of a tricky shared backfield. Speaking of which, the Washington Redskins have added Tashard Choice to their running back roster, but he will miss Week 9 with a hamstring injury.

[+] EnlargeKevin Kolb
AP Photo/Ross D. FranklinKevin Kolb's first season in Arizona has been up and down, and now he's got a toe injury.
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb has an injured right toe, which might make it difficult for him to play in Week 9. Kolb acknowledged to reporters that the injury to his plant foot made it difficult to throw passes with the same velocity. On Monday, Kolb was in a walking boot, saying he had "no idea" what his status for Sunday would be.

There also are those who were sidelined in Week 8 whose status is of interest for Week 9.

St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford is now out of his walking boot and "walking freely," according to Tony Softli of 101ESPN in St. Louis. Removal of the boot and walking with a normal gait are good measures of progress, as the injured area is stressed with every full weight-bearing step. If there was pain or any instability, Bradford would not be able to walk without a limp. Now let's see whether Bradford can get back to practice and make throws by the end of the week.

• We thought the Houston Texans might have wide receiver Andre Johnson back in the mix Sunday, but he did not feel ready. There is no way the Texans are going to press him into service if he is still experiencing any abnormal sensation in the hamstring. Last week we noted Johnson reported "tugging" in the leg. If he's feeling that while running at less than full speed, there is no way he can accelerate to top speed. Coach Gary Kubiak said Monday that the Texans hope Johnson will be ready for Week 9 but noted Johnson's symptoms were limiting factors this past week.

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones seemed to benefit from the bye week. Jones was back in practice Monday and appears on track to play in Week 9, barring a setback.

• We haven't heard much from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers regarding LeGarrette Blount, but what we're hearing now is encouraging. Coach Raheem Morris told New Orleans reporters that Blount would return for this week's game. It will be nice to see Blount in practice, and see how he's moving following his knee sprain and whether he's wearing a protective brace, but with Earnest Graham done for the season, the Bucs surely could use him.



Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden went into the bye week with a midfoot sprain, but the team seemed optimistic he'd return in Week 9. Well, it's preparation time for Week 9, and McFadden was not in practice Monday. It doesn't mean he won't be on the field by midweek, but until we see him running, there's reason to maintain some fantasy insurance.

We will continue to update these injuries and others as the week progresses.

SPONSORED HEADLINES