Aaron Rodgers QB, Packers: right clavicle fracture
The biggest injury of Week 6 was to Aaron Rodgers. Linebacker Anthony Barr drove Rodgers to the ground after he rolled out of the pocket, causing him to land on his throwing shoulder. Rodgers was grabbing his right shoulder in pain and had to be carted back to the locker room. An x-ray confirmed the fracture. The next decision is whether or not to undergo surgery. If no surgery, Rodgers could return in around eight weeks, but this also could be a season-ending injury.
In 2013, Rodgers suffered a left clavicle fracture and missed seven games. He did not need surgery. Because this one is to his throwing shoulder, a longer recovery time is expected. Without Rodgers, the Packers face a very tough road to the playoffs. So, even if Rodgers is healthy enough to return in the final few weeks of the season, it may not be worth the risk if they aren’t in contention.
Jameis Winston QB, Buccaneers: right shoulder injury
X-rays on Winston’s right shoulder were negative, but an MRI on Monday did confirm our original speculation of an AC sprain. Winston injured his throwing shoulder early in the game and briefly returned. His shoulder was very sore, so accuracy becomes a concern. He was seen throwing on the sideline in the third quarter but did not re-enter the game. Even a minor shoulder injury can greatly affect a quarterback. Winston didn’t have the same tight spiral and power behind his throws, and he struggled trying to throw a deep ball. The Bucs made the right decision to sit him the rest of the game.
If Winston’s injury is just an AC sprain, he could return in 2-4 weeks depending on the severity of the injury (mild to moderate sprain). If there is any significant damage (torn labrum, torn rotator cuff, etc) it could end his season, but this one didn’t look that serious.
Ryan Fitzpatrick took over under center. He has had quite a bit of experience filling in for injured quarterbacks but has had mixed results. If Winston misses any time, the Buccaneers hope to see 2015 Fitzpatrick, not 2016 Fitzpatrick. After the game Winston said he expects to be back “soon,” but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he won’t miss any games.
Emmanuel Sanders WR, Broncos: right ankle injury
The Broncos had a very rough Sunday, capped off by the injury to Sanders. He suffered a severe inversion ankle injury, which likely resulted in a fibula fracture and/or torn ligaments. X-rays were negative, a positive early sign, but he isn’t out of the woods yet. Sanders is undergoing an MRI on Monday which would show any ligament damage or a smaller fracture not picked up by the x-ray.
Even if this is just a moderate ankle sprain, it could be four weeks before we see Sanders back on the field. If there is ligament damage or a fibula fracture, Sanders’ season could easily be over.
Demaryius Thomas WR, Broncos: lower leg/ankle injury
Thomas was in and out of the game on Sunday night after injuring his lower leg. DT was in enough pain that he was sent for x-rays during the third quarter but later returned to the game. This is an indication that there is no fracture, but he likely still suffered a moderate ankle sprain. There were a few moments in the second half where you could see his ankle roll, forcing him to leave for a few plays.
It was one of the gutsier performances of the year. Thomas finished the night with 10 catches on 14 targets for 133 yards. There wasn’t much for the Broncos to celebrate, but this was the long bright spot. Even though he was able to finish the game, it’s no guarantee that Thomas will be ready to go next Sunday. He will experience a lot of soreness and swelling over the next few days and should be limited at practice.
Trevor Siemian QB, Broncos: left shoulder sprain
Siemian left in the first half with a left shoulder injury. He made a diving play trying to stop a pick-six, landing on his shoulder. The good news is the injury isn’t to his throwing shoulder and he was able to return to the game. The bad news is he hurt this shoulder last season and underwent offseason surgery.
Siemian will likely be sent for an MRI on Monday to confirm that there is no significant damage. Expect a mild to moderate AC sprain (the same injury as last season), which could force him to miss a few games. Even though the injury is to his non-throwing shoulder, he needs to be able to protect himself and hold onto the ball. If the MRI does show a serious injury such as a labrum tear, he can try to play through it and hold off on surgery again until the offseason.
Leonard Fournette RB, Jaguars: right ankle sprain
The Jaguars appear to have dodged a bullet with Leonard Fournette. Their star rookie hyperextended his right leg and was in obvious pain. While this mechanism often causes a knee injury, it was his ankle that was hurt. It looks like a mild (grade 1-2) eversion ankle sprain. Optimal Recovery Time for this injury ranges from 2-4 weeks. The Jaguars say they expect him to suit up next week, but we aren’t so certain that he will play and be effective. Soreness and swelling will need to be managed over the next few days, and he shouldn’t be fully involved in practice this week. He needs to slowly test out his ankle and ramp up his workouts later in the week if his ankle responds well.
Complicating Fournette’s recovery is his history of foot and ankle problems. A recurring ankle injury limited him throughout his final year at LSU, and he missed time during the preseason with a foot injury. He has moved to an Elevated Injury Risk with a Below Average Health Performance Factor, meaning he will be a Risky Fantasy Start at least through Week 7.
Matthew Stafford QB, Lions: ribs, ankle and hamstring injuries
Stafford continues to pick up an injury every time he takes the field. Entering the game against the Saints his ankle and hamstring were a concern. Now he is also dealing with bruised ribs. The Lions offensive line has been a mess, and until they figure out a solution things are only going to get worse for Stafford. He has been sacked 17 times in the last three games (26 on the year). If his line doesn’t protect him, the injuries will continue to pile up and he won’t be able to effectively run the offense.
During his postgame press conference, Stafford said, “Ankle felt great. I feel like I was moving around enough. Got that first down on a scramble early in the game. Was able to move. The bye week, as far as my body goes, is coming at a good time, there’s no question about that.” He’s right- the bye week couldn’t come at a better time. With a two week Optimal Recovery Time for his injuries, it is just what he needs to get close to full health. Right now he is an Elevated Injury Risk with a Below Average Health Performance Factor, a clear indicator that his injuries are limiting his ability to perform at his best.
Golden Tate WR, Lions: shoulder injury
Tate was having a great day before leaving with a shoulder injury in the third quarter (7 receptions, 96 yards). He was hurt after a reception led to a big hit. Tate entered the game an Elevated Injury Risk and has since moved to High Risk. Even if this is a minor injury, he will remain an Elevated Risk for much of the season due to his history.
The Lions have been very quiet about this injury, but if there is any concern that he is dealing with something serious they will send him for an MRI on Monday. The Lions have a bye week now, so he has two weeks to recover. If it is a mild shoulder sprain, he should be back out there for their next game.
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