Monday Injury Debriefing

Most of the critical injuries this week were to offensive linemen, with Andrew Whitworth (concussion), Harvey Dahl (torn biceps muscle), Chris Snee (aggravation of torn labrum in his hip), Will Montgomery (MCL sprain), Tyler Polumbus (concussion), and Jonathan Scott (hamstring) all suffering injuries that could leave them questionable for Week 16 and beyond. There’s also reason for concern with the elbow injury suffered by Justin Smith last night.

Despite the continued protests of Robert Griffin III, it’s not surprising that he was not cleared to play yesterday. That was evident Saturday afternoon, when the NFL Network’s Albert Breer reported that the Redskins were not going to play Griffin if the medical staff felt there was a risk of further injury to his LCL. Even though the sprain was low grade and Griffin looked comfortable in a brace during light practice work during the week, there’s no way the medical staff could guarantee that Griffin would finish the game without aggravating the injury. Since further injury to the LCL could also involve other critical nearby structures, it was likely an easy call. The decision may be much more difficult this week. Griffin’s injury isn’t likely to be fully healed, but it will be much closer than it was yesterday. Expect Griffin to be limited in practice again this week and for the same decision-making process to be applied next Friday or Saturday. The strong play of Kirk Cousins yesterday could offset some of the vocal push we’ll continue to hear from Griffin and it’s too early to say for certain, but I think I’d bet on Griffin playing this week.

There were no surprises with Dez Bryant yesterday. As the decision-making process dragged into Wednesday, it was clear that Bryant was strongly leaning toward avoiding surgery and attempting to play through the injury. Though the Cowboys’ medical and training staff devised a way to tape and splint his finger in a way that it would not interfere with catching passes, Bryant fought the ball most of the day. Whether that was a conscious or subconscious decision to avoid additional trauma and pain during the game is difficult to say, but it’s something that’s likely to continue. While there’s still some risk of further injury that pushes Bryant to reconsider surgery, what we saw from Bryant yesterday is what we’re likely to see until his season ends.

The Patriots may have been close to activating Rob Gronkowski last night. There have been no indications that Gronkowski’s injury or surgical repair was unusual and his rehab is clearly going as well as expected. Now four weeks after his surgery, Gronkowski is within range of the five week return to play precedents set by a number of defensive players in recent seasons. We may only see Gronkowski in limited, high-leverage situations, but there’s a good chance he’ll dress against Jacksonville next week.

In my FBG Insider column on Wednesday, I wrote that Roddy White didn’t look like himself for much of the Week 14 game against Carolina and that I didn’t notice any specific injury earlier in the game. One of my readers smartly pointed out a play late in the fourth quarter of that game, however, in which White’s right knee was twisted back and on itself and very likely was the mechanism of the injury that bought White an MRI last week. There were no replays shown, but the live angle was decent enough to speculate that White’s injury could be an MCL sprain or a meniscus injury. White was clearly not 100% yesterday, but neither did he look significantly limited. With another week of limited practice time and rehabilitation, White should be more effective in Week 16.

Ryan Mathews suffered yet another serious injury yesterday on what appeared to be a relatively innocuous hit, fracturing his clavicle in a similar fall to the one that fractured his other clavicle this preseason. The latest injury is sure to spark another round of discussion on the validity of the injury-prone label. Though Mathews will be fully recovered well before training camp next year, it’s a label that Mathews will find very difficult to overcome.

It’s looking likely that LeSean McCoy will be cleared by an independent neurologist early this week for contact and return in Week 16 if he has no setbacks during practice. Ahmad Bradshaw’s status as he recovers from a sprained knee is less certain. Torrey Smith will have to progress quickly through the return-to-play protocol to play after suffering a concussion yesterday.

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1 reply

  1. With all things being equal, what is the expected downtime if Bryant has surgery. Wouldn’t it be worth it in the long run?
    thx
    -Ron

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