Monday Injury Rounds: Week 14

Making rounds on this weekend's injuries, focusing on Rob Gronkowski and Andrew Luck, with updates on Tyler Eifert, Marshawn Lynch, C.J. Anderson, and many others

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.

followup appointments

This was the first weekend in months where we've not had a serious injury to a stud offensive talent. Here's hoping the quiet start to December continues. Without a major injury to discuss, I'll instead focus on players currently recovering from injury.

rob gronkowski | knee injury | week-to-week

This time last week, there was reason to fear the worst after watching Gronkowski react to his injury. The news was better on Monday after his imaging studies, but it was exactly clear. Which, of course, isn't unusual for a New England injury. Gronkowski's condition has been reported as a sprain, strain, and contusion. We've heard day-to-day, week-to-week, and multiple weeks. Gronkowski himself released a statement that sounded very similar to his comments in the last stages of his recovery from multiple arm surgeries -- i.e. "I have an injury, I'm working hard to come back, I can't tell you when I'll come back, and thanks for staying out of my personal affairs until I do come back."

Without knowing specifics, it's very difficult to handicap Gronkowski's return to play timetable. The tone of the latest media reports sounds like Gronkowski will miss Week 14. With the Patriots struggling in consecutive losses and currently the #3 seed in the AFC, Gronkowski and the Patriots may be more likely to push the early end of whatever his timetable may be. For now, consider him doubtful for Week 14 and questionable for Week 15.

Despite Gronkowski's statement, local and national media members will absolutely be after more details on his injury this week. Whether Gronkowski or the Patriots crack and give up something meaningful remains to be seen. I won't be counting on it.

andrew luck | kidney laceration / rib injury / abdominal strain | week-to-week

Ian Rapoport reported Sunday morning that Colts' owner Jim Irsay told him Luck could be back for Week 15, with Week 16 a worst case scenario. That fits neatly into what was always the most reasonable timetable for his return -- 6-8 weeks -- and is a realistic expectation. Luck still needs to be cleared for contact, however, which will depend on whether a future CT scan shows full healing of his kidney laceration. This is likely, but not assured. Luck's rib injuries will likely have healed well enough to allow him to play by then, and his abdominal strain should not be a major limiting factor either. One final confounding factor: Should the Colts fall out of playoff contention before Week 15-16, Luck and the team could decide not to take any risks with his injury and not return.

marshawn lynch | abdominal surgery | week-to-week

If Jay Glazer is correct, Lynch has a chance to return in Week 15. If that's to happen, Lynch will need to be back in Seattle doing meaningful conditioning and rehabilitation this week. I think that's unlikely. With Thomas Rawls playing well and the offense scoring without difficulty, expect Lynch to take every bit of the 4-6 weeks most players need to recover from this surgery. Look for Lynch to return to limited duty in Week 16 at best, with a brief Week 17 cameo the most likely scenario.

tyler eifert | pinched nerve | week-to-week

The Bengals hinted they had held Eifert out of last week's game as a precaution. As we found out once again this week, that's usually not the case. Many stingers -- a contusion to the major nerves coming out of the neck causing pain and weakness -- resolve within minutes and players can be quickly cleared to return to play. Others take hours to days to weeks. Any nerve injury that takes more than a few minutes to resolve can become a longer term concern.

When the Bengals sent Eifert for an MRI on Monday, red flags went up. When Eifert wasn't cleared to practice on Wednesday (then Thursday or Friday), those flags grew larger and more crimson. Cincinnati beat writers were still preaching the patience and caution talk with Eifert on Sunday, but don't take comfort yet. Nerve injuries heal slowly. If Eifert isn't cleared to practice on Wednesday, this could easily become a multi-week absence. 

andre ellington | turf toe | week-to-week

Turf toe is a painful injury for running backs and Ellington likely has more than a very low grade sprain. Adam Schefter tweeted Sunday morning Ellington was likely to rest again this week, with Arizona playing on Thursday night. Week 15 looks like Ellington's earliest return date.


Allen Hurns (concussion), Willie Snead (calf strain), Karlos Williams (shoulder sprain), Heath Miller (ribs), and Ryan Mathews (concussion) were all inactive this week. I'll have more on these players if any news breaks on Monday or after Wednesday's practice participation report.


INJURY ROUNDS

Heading into Monday Night Football, there's only one new injury to monitor closely this week.

c.j. anderson | ankle | day-to-day

The television broadcast showed only the live angle of Anderson's injury. On the far side of the field with multiple tacklers converging on his lower body, it's hard to pinpoint a clear mechanism of injury. Anderson looked like he was hit on the outside of the lower leg, was seen to hobble off on his toes, and the team reported an ankle injury. Anderson was allowed to talk to the media in the locker room after the game and told reporters he didn't believe the injury was a big deal. Unfortunately, it took weeks for Anderson to look like his former self after early season ankle and toe injuries. The Wednesday practice participation report will be key here.


Stevie Johnson has battled soft tissue strains all season and left early in this week's game with an aggravation of a groin strain. It may be difficult for him to play this week. Crockett Gillmore left in the first half with a back injury. More on these and other yet-to-be-reported injuries tomorrow as needed.

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.