Monday Injury Rounds: Week 6

Making rounds on this weekend's injuries, including updates on Calvin Johnson, Jimmy Graham, Montee Ball, Rashad Jennings, Carson Palmer 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.


After a relatively quiet past two weeks -- a welcome respite in any season, but especially so after a brutal first two weeks of injury in the NFL -- we have another long list of injuries to sift through after yesterday's games.

Nearly all of the players injured this week will have imaging studies today, so make sure you're following my Twitter feed for the latest information. I'll also have this feature updated throughout the day.

calvin johnson | ANKLE | WEEK-TO-WEEK

Pregame reports were positive yesterday, with the primary Detroit beat writers noting Johnson was running routes comfortably and looked much better than he did last week. That didn't translate to the field, however. Johnson wasn't targeted until early in the third quarter. That target, a short slant route, was costly, as a low Leodis McKelvin hit aggravated Johnson's ankle injury.

Though Johnson's ankle can clearly be seen in the GIF to the right, I'm not certain the mechanism is clear. There are hints of stress on multiple points of the ankle. Since the mechanism and specifics of Johnson's iniital injury aren't known, it's hard to know whether Johnson is dealing with a high ankle sprain or something else.

Johnson is scheduled for more tests today. For now, though we've seen Johnson try to play through this injury already, it seems sensible to expect him to sit in Week 6.

jimmy graham | shoulder | day-to-day

Graham took a shot to the top of his right shoulder and immediately left the field. The broadcast cut away from Graham lying on the turf on the sideline just as he was to be examined. I think the mechanism of Graham's injury is most consistent with an AC sprain and there were reports last night Graham had a sprained shoulder.

AC sprains have been a common injury for pass catchers this year. Jordan Cameron was limited for weeks on two separate occasions with an AC sprain. Dez Bryant has also been fighting one but playing through it effectively. It's a painful injury. Low grade sprains can often be managed with rest, padding and pain-killing injections. But every sprain is different and it's an area easily aggravated by another hit or fall to the turf. Expect Graham to have more imaging today to determine the severity of his injury.

The Saints have a Week 6 bye, giving Graham an extra week to recover. However, the bye week will make it easier for New Orleans to limit the flow of information on Graham. We may not get much information about Graham's injury today -- or at all. This time last year, Graham had an injury originally reported to be either a knee or ankle condition. It looked to me, and was later reported to be, a foot injury (plantar fascia tear).

There were lots of confusing reports about the exact nature of the injury and whether Graham was having any additional imaging studies, specialist visits, etc. I don't see any misdirection in the current report of a shoulder sprain, but be prepared to not hear much about Graham's injury this week.

montee ball | groin | week-to-week

Ball stepped on a defensive lineman's foot after a chip block, slipped and went down in the third quarter Sunday. He needed help off the field and could be seen grabbing the inside of his right leg on the field. He didn't return with what was called a groin injury. 

Groin injuries can mean lots of things. There are multiple muscles and tendons in the area and some overlap with structures included under the umbrella of sports hernias. Ball's response to his injury looked most consistent with an adductor tear. Depending on the location and amount of bleeding associated with those injuries, players may return soon or decide to have surgery to reattach the muscle/tendon. It's an injury we've seen Danny Amendola and Adrian Peterson battle over the past two seasons.

It's way too early to know which course Ball may choose -- or even if the injury is to the adductors. He'll have an MRI today to better define the severity of the strain and his rehab course. While it's possible Ball may miss only a week or two, the tone of the local media reports last night ("out for a while") and this morning suggest Ball may miss four weeks or more.

rashad jennings | knee | week-to-week

I watched the play on which Jennings was injured frame by frame. He is hit and forced back around his body, but there's no clear view of the left knee as the pile closes around him. Jennings was optimistic in the locker room after the game and told reporters he had a sprained knee. That almost always means the team has no concern for a long term injury like an ACL tear or any other high grade ligament sprain.

It does not rule out a low-mid grade MCL or PCL or LCL sprain, however. Any of those injuries can take 1-4 weeks to rehab, as we've seen with Ryan Mathews and many others over the recent months and years. Jennings will have an MRI today. The competitive local New York media will likely have something for us to discuss later today.

245 PM: Jennings told reporters he has a sprained MCL and wouldn't put a timetable on his return. Running backs often miss 2-4 weeks with MCL sprains and the Giants have a Week 8 bye. There isn't enough information to rule out an earlier return, but Week 9 looks like a reasonable early target for Jennings.

reggie bush | ankle | day-to-day

Television replays aren't conclusive on Bush. I think his injury may have occurred two plays before he left the field for the rest of the day and I think it's possible the injury may be more of a bruise than a sprain. But, that's speculation.

The Lions would only say Bush has an ankle injury and will have further testing today. That doesn't make one injury more likely than another. I'll leave Bush as day-to-day for now. The Lions have been quiet with injury information under Jim Caldwell, but we'll hopefully see the results of his imaging studies reported later today.

zac stacy | calf | week-to-week

Stacy stumbled just before fumbling yesterday and reportedly has a left calf injury. There's been no further information on his injury and I'd expect the Jeff Fisher led Rams to keep things as quiet as possible here. Most likely, Stacy has a strained muscle. Until we know the grade of the injury, it's hard to put a timetable on Stacy's rehab.


We're getting closer to some big name returns, but, as usual, the first reports are likely more optimistic than they should be. The positive reports on Carson Palmer and Robert Griffin III on Sunday are great news, but both players are still in a rehab stage that makes it difficult to put an accurate return date on the schedule.

carson palmer | nerve contusion | WEEK-TO-WEEK

Sunday morning, Jay Glazer had this optimistic report on Carson Palmer:

There's been quite a bit of new information on Palmer's condition in the past few days.

First, Mike Jurecki reported Palmer's injury was an axillary nerve contusion. While more specific than the general brachial plexus injury I've labeled Palmer with in recent weeks, the recovery framework is the same. A damaged nerve heals when it heals and the timetable becomes very difficult to define if the nerve doesn't recover in the first 24-72 hours.

More importantly, though, Glazer's note means Palmer did not significantly set his rehab back by throwing last week. As I've argued since early Week 3, when the Week 2 play on which Palmer was injured was defined by Jurecki, the likely recovery timetable was in the 4-6 week range. Palmer seems to believe he can return in Week 6 (four weeks from his injury) or at the latest Week 7.

While Glazer's report matches the expected timetable, don't bet the farm on Palmer returning by Week 7 just yet. He still has to recondition and strengthen the muscles around his shoulder -- in particular, the deltoid muscle on top of his shoulder -- and avoid any recurrence of swelling and inflammation around the injured nerve. There's more reason for optimism now -- Glazer's "release" comment may mean the nerve specialist was able to relieve pressure around the nerve by surrounding tissues and Palmer's nerve tissue has had an additional week to regenerate.

But Palmer is still receiving treatment away from the team and must prove he can throw with strength and accuracy on consecutive days. I'd tentatively expect to see Palmer in two weeks, but he may be pressed into service a little earlier if Drew Stanton cannot progress through the concussion protocols in time for Week 6.

robert griffin iii | subtalar dislocation | week-to-week

The theme of pptimistic returns for injured quarterbacks continues with Griffin. Ian Rapoport reported Sunday morning Grffin could return before the Washington Week 10 bye.

The Dallas game is Week 8. Griffin's subtalar dislocation occurred in Week 2. Media reports initially gave a 4-6 week timetable. Those I spoke with felt 6-8 weeks was more likely. So, a Week 8 return is not unreasonable. It's still optimistic. According to Will Carroll, Griffin's foot is stable, i.e. his ligaments have healed enough to stabilize the ankle. But it can take a minimum of six weeks for those ligaments to fully heal and Washington will be very careful with Griffin during the reconditioning process.

Circling the critical divisional rivalry Cowboys game makes sense, especially if Kirk Cousins struggles against some tough upcoming matchups, but don't do so in ink yet.

Knowshon Moreno | elbow dislocation | week-to-week

Moreno caused a stir last week when he told reporters he could miss another month. I'm not sure why that caused such concern. While we've seen players recover quickly and return in 3-4 weeks from elbow dislocations, it should not be considered likely. By definition, a dislocated joint means torn ligaments. Players may return sooner, but those injuries usually need close to six weeks to fully heal. Any additional injuries may mean a longer recovery -- see Tyler Eifert.

Moreno's most likely timetable was 4-6 weeks and we were given a nebulous 4-8 week timetable soon after the injury. Moreno was injured in Week 2. It's certainly possible that he'll not return until Week 8.

245 PM: Good news for Moreno this afternoon as he is expected to return to practice as the Dolphins come out of the bye this week. This week may be too optimistic for him but it's now possible we could see him as soon as Week 7.

ryan mathews | mcl sprain | week-to-week

Mathews had a four week recovery timetable initially. We're three weeks out from his Week 2 injury. Kevin Acee reported last night Mathews is still a week and likely two from returning to action. If Mathews is back practicing on Thursday, he'll have a chance to play this week. But expect Week 7 to be his earliest likely return date.

teddy bridgewater | high ankle sprain | day-to-day

Bridgewater may well have played in Week 5 if the Vikings had all week to treat and prep him for a Sunday game. All indications are Bridgewater will be able to practice and play this week. The extra week of treatment and recovery time should help limit his risk of aggravation.


I'll also be watching for news on new injuries to Cordarrelle Patterson (hip), Jake Locker (thumb), Drew Stanton (concussion protocol), Donald Brown (concussion protocol) and Malcom Floyd (calf). Major defensive injuries from Sunday include Calais Campbell (out multiple weeks with MCL sprain), Harrison Smith (ankle), DeMeco Ryans (groin), David Harris (shoulder), Rolando McClain (aggravated groin strain) and Jon Bostic (neck).

Finally, expect follow-up reports on Jordan Reed (hamstring), Eric Decker (hamstring), Vernon Davis (back), Joique Bell (concussion protocol), Marvin Jones Jr (ankle), Cecil Shorts (hamstring strain), Jonathan Stewart (MCL sprain), Derek Carr (high ankle sprain, MCL sprain), Mark Ingram II (broken hand), DeAngelo Williams (high ankle sprain), Vontaze Burfict (concussion protocol), Mychal Kendricks (calf), Mason Foster (shoulder), Jon Beason (toe), and Eric Berry (high ankle sprain) by mid 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.