Below is a no-nonsense quick-hitting analysis of current player injuries that could impact performance on game day. For any questions related to this article such as “should I drop [player A] for [player B]?” please refer to the staff’s weekly projections. In reality, there isn’t much information available yet; however, definitely bookmark this as it will be updated and fleshed out through Sunday morning. This first version is primarily players who should be on your injury radar before waivers run with more analysis to come.
*Note this first version of the injury report only includes players who were injured on Sunday. It will be updated to include all other players later this week. This article will be updated as more information becomes available.
Saquon Barkley - ACL
Barkley tore his ACL and is done for the season. Average return to sport time for these injuries is around ten months so long as it’s an isolated ACL tear.
Final Update: Barkley will reportedly need to wait on surgery as damage was extensive and included the MCL and meniscus. This will extend his recovery to at least 10 months the way it did for Rashaad Penny.
Christian McCaffrey - Ankle/foot
It’s not quite clear what happened to CMC, but reports say he will receive an MRI of his ankle this week after he exited the game for the entire 4th quarter after scoring a touchdown. Unfortunately, the video assessment wasn’t clear either, so I’ll lay out all of the possibilities:
- All ankle-related physical tests on the sideline were painful for CMC, so in order to get a true idea of structures involved that might be damaged, Carolina will image his entire foot and ankle.
- The tests specific for either a high ankle sprain or a lateral ankle sprain (but not both) were positive and the team wants a clear picture of exactly how much damage there is. The average return to play time for a lateral sprain is seven days. The average return for a high ankle sprain is 15 days.
- A much less likely scenario is that McCaffrey has turf toe. It’s not an uncommon injury among RBs but considering all reports are of the ankle and his ankle was taped on the sideline, this is just to cover our bases.
So what’s going on with CMC? Your guess is as good as mine. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
Final Update: It’s a high ankle sprain. Before the “McCaffrey was seen at practice” tweets flood my mentions, no he won’t play in Week Three. However do expect him to be back before the reported four to six week timeline. Over the last couple of years Saquon Barkley, Tevin Coleman, Matt Bredia, Alvin Kamara, Christian Kirk - all had a high ankle sprain. None of those players missed more than 2-3 games. Now, that’s not to say CMC won’t miss four or five games. Especially if he has a setback, that’s within the realm of possibilities. However, allow me narcissistically quote myself from my Ankle Sprain injury article.
“Despite the commonly cited four- to six-week recovery timeline for high ankle sprains, the mean return-to-play time for NFL players is 15 days. The mean range of missed time is between 5 and 27 days. In fact, this study found that the average missed time in NFL athletes after a high ankle sprain was one to three weeks.”
The flip side is that the same study did say that players tend to play through pain and as a result their production suffers. That can be scary when Barkley and Kamara from 2019 are thrown out as examples but it’s important to keep in mind how terrible the Giants’ offensive line was (is) and the fact that Kamara was also dealing with an MCL sprain last year. All in all, the plurality of evidence indicates two findings: 1. This injury likely won’t sideline CMC longer than 2-3 weeks. 2. His production could take a hit, but what’s a 10-15% production dip to a generational fantasy player? Assess your risk tolerance and act accordingly. As I mentioned in the Discord chat for premium subscribers, I’m actively seeking to acquire CMC on the downswing from owners who are panicked about the six week timeline.
Raheem Mostert - MCL
Mostert’s injury is to his MCL but the hope is the MRI doesn’t show extensive damage and he can be back within a week. The typical return to play time for an MCL sprain is 23 days. Last year Austin Hooper missed three games due to an MCL injury. Make sure to monitor Mostert’s practice status leading up to Week Three.
Final Update: Mostert has been ruled out by Shanahan already making it sound like he might miss the next couple of weeks as well. Keep an eye on this one.
Tevin Coleman- Knee “sprain”
This is the most frustrating injury to assess this week. After Shanahan spoke at length about injuries to Jimmy Garoppolo and Raheem Mostert, he mentioned that he was “concerned” about this injury but didn’t explain why. He also said Coleman will miss “multiple weeks” from the injury. Some potential time frames are 23 days for a grade II MCL, 8 weeks for a meniscus tear, 2-3 weeks for a severe contusion. The point here is that the possibilities are literally unpredictable at this point so if you missed out on the Jerrick McKinnon you still might be able to snag JaMycal Hasty in some leagues if you’re desperate.
David Montgomery- Head/neck
Monty was flipped on his head Sunday and was taken to the medical tent for evaluation. Even though he was cleared for a concussion (presumably) these types of injuries are scary and late onset symptoms and neck pain are possible. Additionally, it’s important to remember that “passing” the NFL’s concussion protocol on one day doesn’t guarantee passing it the next day. He’s at risk for a new/worse neck injury in Week Three.
Cam Akers - Ribs
Akers was ruled out of Sunday’s game with a ribs injury. Depending on whether or not there’s significant cartilage or bone damage, he could be out a couple of weeks. However, if damage is minimal it becomes a pain tolerance issue and Akers could play next week. If that’s the case, there’s no way I’m trusting him as these injuries are notoriously brutal and his ability to take contact will definitely be limited.
Update: McVay came out and said Akers is dealing with separated rib cartilage. If that sounded painful to read, that’s because it is. If he plays I expect his snaps and usage to be way down. But that would mean the medical staff would need to even be comfortable deploying him. Monitor his status.
Davante Adams - Hamstring
At age 27, Adams’ hamstrings are ripe for the picking. He didn’t return in Week Two, but don’t panic just yet. Although he would be volatile, he could still play next week. Check back in with me later this week but keep in mind if Adams sits, it would plummet the Green Bay offense.
Update:LaFleur told the press that he isn’t too concerned about Adams’ hamstring injury but he’s somebody to watch this week for cash games and bettors.
DJ Chark - Chest
Chark’s estimated participation was “limited” on Tuesday given the short week. That’s not something you love to see necessarily, but I wouldn’t panic yet. However, if Chark is limited again (or worse sits) then sees limited snaps and minimal routes run on Thursday- this pain tolerance injury will likely be the culprit. Watch his status tomorrow, but the chances of you having better options is likely limited in most leagues. If he’s active, which is expected, you gotta fire him up.
Courtland Sutton - Knee
The hope here is that the issue doesn’t go beyond cramping and he gets hydrated/re-conditioned for Week Three. Worst case scenario this issue is much, much more serious. Standby for more clarification.
Final Update: Sutton is out with a significant knee injury. Not many details but he’s been ruled out for 2020.
Parris Campbell - MCL
Campbell escaped catastrophe on Sunday and will have an MRI to view the extent of the damage. See the Raheem Mostert section for analysis.
Update: Campbell is “out indefinitely” with a combination PCL injury (rare) and MCL injury. His options are to have surgery that will undoubtedly knock him out the rest of the year or try and rehab this thing which will hold him out at least 11 weeks. However, it’s important to note taht at times, players surprise us as their injuries are not as severe as teams initially report.This is of course speculation based on the reports as of today, but don’t plan on having him back any time soon.
Will Fuller - Hamstring
Fuller, yet again, was seen on the sideline performing stretching techniques specifically designed to reduce hamstring tightness. If you have shares of Fuller, just hang in there. As of today, he’s already a volatile Week Three option. For more information on managing hamstring strains, read this. If you want to read Fuller’s entire injury profile, that’s here.
Sammy Watkins - Concussion
Watkins suffered a nasty blow to the head on Sunday and was diagnosed with a concussion. He has one other documented concussion from 2017. As of today, Watkins’ chances of returning by next Monday is a coin flip. The extra day definitely helps but monitor his practice activity.
Breshad Perriman- Ankle
Perriman suffered an ankle injury. Read about potential scenarios here.
Final Update: Perriman will miss time according to Badam Gase.
Drew Lock - AC Joint
Lock reportedly has an AC joint sprain. Operating under the assumptions that’s true, he could miss approximately 17 days to recover. Now, there is some skepticism whether this was a true AC joint injury as the video analysis doesn’t show a traditional mechanism of injury. Nevertheless, direct reporting is almost always more reliable than the naked eye when it comes to these things. An alternative hypothesis would be a collarbone fracture similar to the 2019 injury Nick Foles sustained but we likely would have heard about that by now. Plan to be without Lock for the foreseeable future.
Final Update: Fangio said Lock will miss three to five weeks. In reality this absence is likely closer to the three week mark as long as his rehab goes smoothly.
Jimmy Garoppolo - High Ankle
Jimmy G suffered a high ankle sprain that looked like a knee injury for a split second. Depending on the severity he could be out the average amount of time which is about 15 days or longer. In reality, a barely-mobile QB like him can likely come back before that and still function well enough. For example, Matt Ryan had a similar ankle issue last year that only cost him one game. The hope here is that the MRI comes back clean.
Update: The Niners team is absolutely depleted as Kittle, Mostert, Coleman, Bosa, Jimmy G etc. are all on the mend. They decided to stay on the east coast this week, so they very well could simply start their second team (not even trying to be cute here- it’s closer to a JV team than a first team at this point) and live to fight another day. Or since it’ll be a pain tolerance issue for Garoppolo as the reports say the damage isn’t bad, they can elect to trot him out there. As a barely mobile QB, this could work with the help of a pain injection, so monitor his activity. Last Year Matt Ryan missed one week due to this injury.
Tyrod Taylor - Rib/Chest
Taylor was taken to the hospital on Sunday, which is scary but he seems to be okay now. He had trouble breathing and chest pain which could be independent to the chest injury Taylor nursed all week, an exacerbation, or a combination of both. Strangely, Anthony Lynn claims when Taylor is healthy, he’ll remain the starter. If that’s the case, Taylor should be available next week given how close he was to playing today. Then again nothing is guaranteed when a player can’t breathe.
The last two guys to monitor are Julio Jones who battled a hamstring injury all week then grabbed his leg on Sunday after dropping a pass he usually catches in his sleep. Tyreek Hill also pulled up lame after running a route in the fourth quarter despite no contact. He finished the game but he also had a pre-season hamstring issue and at age 26, he’s at risk.