Rob Gronkowski – TE NE
Gronkowski was taken off the field on a cart, and diagnosed with a knee injury. He did not have his foot planted, but he did take a direct hit to the medial side of his right leg. The injury has been described as a “bruise”. Good luck getting updates from the Patriots about it. The mechanism didn’t appear to show a significant twisting or bending of the knee that would make a ligament injury a concern. Based on Gronkowski’s reaction after the injury, he appeared to be in significant pain. At first, I wasn’t particularly concerned about the video of the injury. He was able to walk on his own after the game, and that would suggest a significant injury such as a fracture is not likely. If he had a fracture, I doubt he would be allowed to walk on his own without crutches or some sort of a cast. Adam Schefter reported Gronkowski could miss multiple games. A deep bone bruise can take a few weeks to heal. Unfortunately for dynasty players, we will need to wait this one out. Hopefully we will get more news from the Patriots, but head coach Bill Belichick hasn’t been generous with injury updates.
Jimmy Graham – TE SEA
Graham suffered a brutal injury, tearing a patellar tendon. That is a tough injury to overcome, as dynasty owners of Victor Cruz can attest. The injury commonly occurs when a lower extremity is maximally extended and the quadriceps muscle pulls on the patella with great force. Surgery is undoubtedly next up for Graham. Recent data suggests return to play is possible in 80-85% of cases, but he is looking at a minimum of 4-6 months to rehabilitate this injury, and some athletes aren’t able to return 12 months or longer after surgery. The best example of an NFL player returning with some level of production with a torn patellar tendon is Cadillac Williams, but other players like Ryan Williams were never the same and Cruz still hasn’t returned to play since tearing his patellar tendon in the 2014 season. Needless to say, this is a significant hit to the dynasty value of Graham, and I wouldn’t recommend buying him at a discount. His ability to contribute in fantasy formats for the 2016 season is questionable. Luke Willson takes over at TE for the Seahawks.
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Ben Roethlisberger – QB PIT
Roethlisberger was removed from the game after a head injury. Roethlisberger took a helmet-to-helmet hit that drew a flag, but may have cost the Steelers a win, as he was removed and unable to mount a final drive to win the game. He will be enrolled in the NFL concussion protocol, and will need resolution of concussion-related symptoms and clearance from medical personnel before returning to play. Initial reports are promising, and he may be able to play week 13. Roethlisberger has demonstrated a Rasputin-like ability to return faster than expected from a multitude of injuries in the past, and if anyone can return quickly from a concussion, it’s him. Still, every concussion is different, so we’ll have to monitor this one. Roethlisberger shredded a tough Seahawks defense on the road (36 completions, 456 yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions, 18 yards rushing). Markus Wheaton went nuts, catching 9 passes for 201 yards and a touchdown, thus proving this is an offense to invest in for contenders.
Chris Johnson – RB ARI
Johnson left the game with a described knee injury, but concerns are he may have a fractured tibia. Stress fractures in the tibia can take 4 to 12 weeks or longer to heal sufficiently. Outcomes are generally good but if he has a fractured tibia, his 2015 season is likely over. Johnson could only manage 12 carries for 17 yards against a spirited 49ers defense. David Johnson got the only score for Cardinals running backs on the day, and he is the likely candidate to get more snaps.
Andre Ellington – RB ARI
Ellington has sustained another injury, this time to his foot. He has been diagnosed with turf toe. Turf toe can be a nagging injury, and return to play depends on severity. For grade 1 or 2 injuries, athletes can return to play in a few days to 2 weeks. More severe injuries can require a longer recovery (1-4 months or longer). AJ Green was hampered by a turf toe last year. Eddie Lacy has showed that turf toe doesn’t have to be career-ending, but Ellington may be limited for a few weeks, if not the rest of 2015. We are awaiting updates from the Cardinals. Ellington has had a tough time staying healthy in his NFL career, and earlier this year missed time with a PCL injury. Ellington finished the day with five carries for 24 yards and three receptions for 22 yards. With Chris Johnson nursing a knee injury, David Johnson may be thrust into a starting role. Ellington can’t stay healthy and unless he is super cheap, I’m not a buyer.
Tyler Eifert – TE CIN
Eifert was removed from the game with a stinger. After the game, he described himself as “okay”. A stinger occurs when a nerve is stretched or compressed from an impact, such as when the neck is bent laterally while a shoulder is pushed downward. This can place traction on the brachial plexus and a stinger is usually felt as pain, tingling, electrical sensations or other discomfort in the arm. Similar pain can occur if a disc compresses a nerve as it exists the spinal canal. The most important factors will be resolution of his symptoms and normalization of strength/range of motion. Stingers are common injuries (70 percent of college athletes reported having a stinger in their careers), and hopefully Eifert will be able to return soon. If his symptoms have resolved with 24 hours, and his neurological examination is normal, he stands a good chance to play next week but monitor this one closely. A history of stingers can increase likelihood of future stingers, but I don’t think this injury should adversely impact Eifert’s dynasty value. He reportedly does not have structural damage in his neck, and that is great news. I’m still a buyer in dynasty formats.
Allen Hurns – WR JAC
Hurns sustained a concussion and was removed from the game. He will be enrolled in the NFL concussion protocol and will need resolution of his concussion-related symptoms and clearance from medical personnel before returning to play. Hurns had four receptions for 42 yards before departing. Hurns has had a difficult time staying healthy and is hard to rely on as a dynasty asset. I’m not a buyer.
Jeremy Hill – RB CIN
Hill left the game with a sprained ankle. The injury looked more like a lateral ankle sprain, and it didn’t have the look of a serious injury. Monitor his practice participation and we’ll see if Hill can play next week. After the game, Hill said he was “okay”, so that’s encouraging. Hill had 16 carries for 86 yards and one reception for 14 yards.
Justin Houston – LB KC
Houston suffered a sprained knee and was unable to return. Houston reportedly has a PCL sprain. It’s possible he could be back in 1-4 weeks, but we’ve also seen players like Breshad Perriman sit a lot longer with PCL sprains. Houston is an LB2 this year in IDP leagues with big-play scoring, so his loss would be felt. Hopefully it’s not a severe sprain and he will be back soon, but this situation is one to monitor closely. PCL recoveries are generally good and I don’t expect this injury to adversely impact his dynasty value.
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- The Dynasty Doctor: Week 15 - December 20, 2016