Monday Injury Rounds: Week 12

Making rounds on this weekend's injuries, including updates on Aaron Rodgers, Wes Welker, LeSean McCoy and Adrian Peterson.

NOTE: This column is a living document. I'll be updating as needed after team press conferences, imaging reports, Monday Night Football injuries, etc. Major changes to the content will be noted in red. I'll also be retweeting any key pieces of news and my own reaction and analysis, so make sure you're following @JeneBramel and checking my timeline on Twitter throughout the week.


lesean mccoy | hamstring | day-to-day

McCoy gave himself up after a long run filled with jump cuts and immediately grabbed the middle of the hamstring muscle, there was good reason to be worried about a strain and one that could be mid-high grade. But the medical staff stretched his leg out on the field rather than immediately examining for a muscle defect and McCoy got up and walked off the field without the usual restriction a player with a higher grade injury shows. It was even more reassuring when the next camera shot showed a trainer who two thumbs buried in the muscle and no other medical staff around. 

Obviously, the most reassuring evidence against a serious strain came when McCoy showed no hesitance in his acceleration, jump cuts, spin moves or quick breaking routes on consecutive plays and series throughout the second half. How McCoy feels this morning will be important. If the cramp occurred in a small area of muscle and didn't take extensive manual manipulation to stop, there should be little soreness this morning and little chance of a cascade injury in practice this week. I think that's the most likely outcome, since McCoy's cramp didn't recur at any point in the second half.

wes welker | concussion | week-to-week

I wasn't on the field last night, didn't hear Welker talk to the medical staff and didn't examine him. But it's hard to see what happened last night as anything other than a failure in the league's eye-in-the-sky monitoring system. On multiple replays immediately after the hit that concussed Welker, you can see him take a hit to the helmet, briefly drop the ball and go limp. He then needs help getting to the sideline and drops to a knee before he gets there. I'm not sure what the Denver medical staff heard during that interaction to allow Welker to return to play without an assessment. So this is the exact scenario in which a player can and should be easily identified to go through a sideline neurologic assessment before returning to play. That assessment takes 15 minutes and must be done off the field. That clearly didn't happen.

Poor administration of the league's protocol aside, Welker is now in the return-to-play protocol. The number of players gaining clearance for contact in less than five days has increased this season, but nothing will be certain with Welker until later this week. 

adrian peterson | groin | day-to-day

Peterson's comments after yesterday's game are notable: He's essentially saying that his strained groin is limiting his ability to explode and change direction. Without knowing the location of the strain and its severity, it's hard to know whether this was a one-week issue and continued rest and limited practice reps will be helpful. With any other back, I'd be arguing that Peterson's play will continue to be affected until he allows the injury to heal. Given Peterson's history of smashing records while playing through a sports hernia, he deserves a little more leeway.

keenan allen | knee | week-to-week

Allen's right knee injury is being called a hyperextension in local media reports but there was no obvious mechanism of hyperextension on replay. Allen's knee looked to buckle to the inside after he stepped on the foot of a defender. That's a mechanism that can cause MCL sprains, medial meniscus injuries and also ACL tears if there's enough rotation involved. No one seemed concerned about an ACL injury in the locker room after the game and Allen was seen leaving the locker room without crutches or a limp. We'll get more information today, but my early speculation is that Allen has a low grade MCL sprain, with a cartilage condition less likely. It's notable that while this injury is to the opposite knee, Allen didn't recover quickly from a PCL strain he suffered last November. Consider Allen week-to-week until we know more.

Julius Thomas | knee | week-to-week

Unlike Allen, Thomas' mechanism of injury was a clear hyperextension. Like many others recently (Fred Jackson, RG3, etc.), Thomas' hyperextension happened with his foot off the ground. That generally lessens the risk of a catastrophic injury, but the whipsaw action can damage any of the knee ligaments. Thomas was cleared to come back to the game, but played only briefly then didn't return. He's scheduled for additional imaging tests today -- read: MRI -- and I'll update as more becomes known on his condition.

330 ET: A media member in Denver has a source saying tests revealed a knee sprain for Thomas. The tweet says "just a knee sprain" and calls Thomas "hopeful" to play this week. The "just a sprain" is reassuring only in that it likely means there's no damage to the ACL and no surgery planned. The hyperextension mechanism puts the other three ligaments -- MCL, LCL, PCL -- on the table. Even a low grade sprain of those ligaments may require a 1-4 week rehab and recovery. We'll know more later in the week.



Rodgers told the host of his radio show last week that he would push to play as soon as he was pain-free and would push his doctors to clear him as quickly as possible. Those comments give an important look at Rodgers' mindset and drove the news cycle last week. But he also said (for the second time) that his return will depend on what the next x-ray looks like. I'm not certain what to make of that.

There isn't likely to be meaningful healing on an x-ray until six weeks after the injury. You might see evidence that the healing process is progressing, but not more. I exchanged emails with an orthopedist today, who told me that an x-ray during this timeframe (2-3 weeks post-injury) would be helpful only if it shows "an absence of bad" signs.

If the Green Bay medical staff uses the x-ray alone to decide when Rodgers can return to play, it will likely be 5-6 weeks before he's cleared. If not, it's Rodgers' examination that will determine his outcome. His doctors are going to push on the area of the break and, if necessary, push and pull on one side of the injury to assess whether or not Rodgers is having pain. If he is, it's very unlikely they'll clear him to play. 

Based on Rodgers' comments last week -- he can put on his socks without an "extreme amount of pain" -- the odds are very long that he'll be able to play this week. It's too soon to handicap his odds of playing on Thanksgiving, but I'd give him no better than a 50-50 chance today. With luck, Rodgers will continue to be candid with his comments over the next week and we'll have a better idea in the coming days.


Though Bryant was on the field today, I expect we'll see the Cowboys limit his practice snaps this week. If last week's successful epidural injection was his first, Bryant should be feeling well enough to play this week. The Thursday and Friday practice reports will be key. If Bryant's participation increases as expected, there's no concern. If not, this week and the rest of the season will be in doubt.


The Seahawks limited Harvin yesterday, allowing him only 19 offensive (37% of total possible snaps) and 2 return snaps. Harvin did not look limited on the field, however, and was very positive after the game. He'll have two weeks to recover from his first live action and continue his cardiovascular rehab. All signs point to him being a full go after the Seahawks' Week 12 bye.


Jordan Reed suffered a concussion yesterday and will be re-evaluated under the team's return to play protocol. I'll be watching the progress of Pierre Garcon (ankle) and Darren Sproles (ankle) closely this week. Joique Bell (foot), Mike Brown (low grade AC sprain), Leonard Hankerson (LCL sprain) and Emmanuel Sanders (foot, not serious per latest report) are also at risk of missing time. I'll have updates as warranted throughout the week.

I'll be updating this feature throughout the day. Footballguys Insiders will get a full update with additional fantasy perspectives on Wednesday, with analysis of the week's game-time decisions early Sunday morning. Follow me on Twitter @JeneBramel for breaking injury news and analysis throughout the week.