Injury Updates for NFL Divisional Playoffs
Chris Hogan WR, Patriots: shoulder injury
Chris Hogan has missed seven of the Patriots’ last eight games with a shoulder injury, but he appears on track to make a return on Saturday. He was limited in practice on Tuesday and Wednesday but was removed from the final injury report after getting in a full session on Thursday. Hogan has reached his Optimal Recovery Time and should be healthy enough to play against the Titans in the Divisional Round. He could be a solid DFS pick, but if the Patriots pull out an early lead over the Titans, the team may choose to sit him early.
Julio Jones WR, Falcons: ankle injury
Julio Jones’ practice statuses are almost irrelevant because he is out there each and every weekend. He missed practice on Tuesday and Wednesday, but a return on Thursday put him on track for Saturday’s Divisional Round matchup with the Eagles. Falcons head coach Dan Quinn said that the team has no injury concerns heading into this weekend, which means Jones should be good to go. Jones does extremely well in the playoffs and has a favorable matchup with the Eagles’ pass defense this weekend.
Antonio Brown WR, Steelers: partially torn calf
Antonio Brown is set to make his return after missing the past four weeks with a partially torn calf muscle. He was practicing in full leading up to Sunday’s Divisional Round matchup with the Jaguars and is expected to be a full-go (although he did miss practice Friday due to an illness). Brown has reached his four-week Optimal Recovery Time according to the Inside Injuries algorithm, but given the lingering tendency of muscle tears, he will still be an Elevated Injury Risk. Brown’s explosiveness and cutting could be affected if he is still experiencing soreness.
Mohamed Sanu WR, Falcons: knee injury
The Falcons limited Sanu’s practice reps this week leading up to the Divisional Round, but he is once again expected to be out there on Saturday. He followed the same routine last week and showed no signs of injury in the Falcons’ win over the Rams. Since the Falcons will likely face trouble running the ball against the Eagles’ defense, Sanu could be a nice DFS option.
Malcolm Mitchell WR, Patriots: knee injury
Malcolm Mitchell has been on IR with a knee injury since before the start of the regular season, but it appears he may be gearing up for a return. He returned to practice on Thursday, which means it’s highly unlikely he’ll be activated for the Divisional Round, but he could return at some point if the Patriots continue to progress through the playoffs.
Rex Burkhead RB, Patriots: knee injury
Rex Burkhead is officially listed as questionable for the Divisional Round after getting in a week of limited practice sessions. The Patriots and the local Boston media seem to believe there is a good possibility Burkhead could make a return after missing Weeks 16 and 17. He reached his four week Optimal Recovery Time according to the Inside Injuries algorithm and has since dropped to a Low Injury Risk. It’s possible that Burkhead is active on Saturday but only gets limited playing time.
Mike Gillislee RB, Patriots: knee injury
Patriots running back Mike Gillislee is also questionable for Saturday’s matchup with the Titans. He returned to a limited practice on Thursday for the first time since injuring his knee in Week 16. Unlike Burkhead, Gillislee has not yet reached his Optimal Recovery Time and is looking closer to doubtful.
James White RB, Patriots: ankle injury
Like Burkhead and Gillislee, James White is also considered questionable for the Divisional Round. White missed Weeks 16 and 17 with an ankle injury. He has reached his four-week Optimal Recovery Time and dropped to a Low Injury Risk. It’s looking like the Patriots’ backfield for Saturday’s game will be what it has been for most of 2017: Dion Lewis, Rex Burkhead, and James White.
Devonta Freeman RB, Falcons: knee injury
Devonta Freeman was limited in practice each day this week, but he is not in danger of missing the Divisional Round game on Saturday. He followed a similar routine last week and looked great against the Rams. This week, Freeman is facing a tough Eagles rush defense that allowed just one 100-yard rusher all season. The fact that he’s a little banged up also won’t help.
Jay Ajayi practiced in full this week and is expected to be relied on heavily against the Falcons on Saturday. Ajayi’s knee injury isn’t a concern in relation to his Divisional Round availability, but it has become a chronic issue. He has dealt with lingering knee problems since college, and periodic rest is part of his maintenance plan.
Kyle Rudolph TE, Vikings: ankle injury
Kyle Rudolph played through a sprained ankle for three games before he finally got a week of rest in the Vikings’ first-round bye. He practiced in full this week and is expected to be a full-go for Sunday’s Divisional Round matchup. Rudolph has passed his Optimal Recovery Time and should be okay coming off two weeks of rest. His performance did suffer in the three games he played through the ankle sprain, as he caught just four passes for 26 yards total. If he’s still dealing with lingering soreness, it will hinder his performance.
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