Monday Injury Rounds: Week 8

Making rounds on this weekend's injuries, including updates on Fred Jackson, C.J. Spiller, Calvin Johnson and A.J. Green

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.


It's not happened often this year, but the primary storylines are not injury related this week. Peyton Manning's record-breaking 509th touchdown pass, the unexpected Percy Harvin trade and, yes, the Cowboys are all driving today's news cycle.

There were two significant injuries on Sunday. Unfortunately, both were suffered by Buffalo running backs.

fred jackson | strained groin | month-to-month

Jackson went down late in the first quarter Sunday with an injury that looked eerily similar to what Montee Ball suffered recently. He was very emotional on the field, carted to the locker room, immediately ruled out for the game and taken for an MRI before the game ended. Nothing about that suggests a low grade injury.

After the MRI, there were multiple optimistic reports about Jackson's condition, including:

Those tweets illustrate how difficult it can be to get a read on injuries in the first 24 hours. Simply put, they don't add up. If the earliest timetables given suggest a 2-4 week absence, it's not a low grade injury. Grade 2 groin strains are often 4-6 week injuries for skill position players. The "worst case" scenario here is clearly longer than four weeks.

Jackson provided critical additional details this morning.

This confirms the injury is a Grade 2 strain. It's a borderline Grade 3 injury, in fact. Though it's been decided Jackson will not need surgery, at least part of the tendinous insertion to the pelvic bone is detached. Jackson himself says it's a four week injury.

Could Jackson return in three weeks for the Week 10 game against Kansas City? It's a very tough ask, but possible. We've seen Danny Amendola and Jay Cutler return in that timeframe. But Cutler isn't a great comp for a running back who must be explosive and powerful and Amendola still isn't the same after trying to return from his torn adductor.

The Week 11 matchup for the Bills is a Thursday night game in Miami. That game is also less than four weeks away. Jackson would have to recover well enough to start the reconditioning process and return to practice within two weeks. I think it's unlikely he'll play in that game either. Set the over/under at Week 12 for Jackson and hope he recovers quickly.

c.j. spiller | broken collarbone | month-to-month

In his first carry of the game, shortly after Jackson was carted off, Spiller ripped off a 52-yard run and went to the turf hard on his shoulder. He immediately grabbed for the front of his chest. It was a typical mechanism of injury for a broken collarbone and that diagnosis was quickly confirmed.

Though there were early reports Spiller was in surgery on Sunday afternoon -- which would have been a concerning development and a possible sign of a more severe injury -- later reports confirmed Spiller's surgery will take place on Monday. There's been no timetable given for Spiller's recovery yet, but we may hear anything from 4-6 weeks or 8+ weeks.

Surgically stabilizing a clavicle fracture lessens the risk of poor healing, but it doesn't necessarily shave multiple weeks off the recovery. The unbelievably quick three week recovery from Marques Colston years ago still breeds optimism, but this is an injury that -- even in the most straight-forward injuries -- needs a minimum of six weeks to heal. Often, the recovery is closer to eight weeks.

I'll have more after Spiller's condition is updated after surgery.


I'm still closely watching the recovery of three stud skill position players. One -- Jimmy Graham -- tried to play through his injury and was ineffective. Another -- Calvin Johnson -- clearly wants to rest until he's near full strength after trying to play through his injury and being ineffective. The third -- A.J. Green -- seems to be growing more frustrated with his recovery with every passing day.


Graham played 30 snaps on Sunday, was targeted twice and did not catch a pass. He played exclusively on third downs, around the red zone and in two minute situations. Brees rarely looked for him as a first option in his progressions. The good news is Graham didn't take any obvious painful hits to his shoulder and hopefully did not set his recovery back by playing. The not-so-good news is Graham's practice participation isn't likely to increase this week, making his usage and status a difficult handicap again.

calvin johnson | high ankle sprain | week-to-week

Johnson caused a brief stir on Sunday morning after videos of him warming up in shorts before the game yesterday were posted on Twitter. He was listed questionable and the videos prompted speculation Johnson may try to play. Albert Breer said Johnson "just laughed" when asked if he would be active, however, and there was never any realistic chance Johnson would play.

This week is a different story.

Jim Caldwell has continually left open the possibility that Johnson would be held out through Detroit's Week 9 bye. Johnson has been adamant he'll travel with the team to London this week to face the Falcons. Johnson has also acknowledged lingering pain in the ankle and a close look at the Instagram video posted yesterday morning shows Johnson may not yet be comfortable running in a straight line.

I wouldn't bet against Johnson returning this week, but I think there's more than enough evidence to suggest he'll rest until Week 10. Expect Johnson to test his ankle on Tuesday or Wednesday and decide whether or not to prep for Week 8 or take the extra healing time.

a.j. green | toe sprain | week-to-week

Green is not a happy camper. He bristled when reporters asked him if he'd rest through the Cincinnati Week 4 bye, played and then aggravated his toe condition after the bye. Now, after watching his team struggle for two weeks, he's apparently thinking about playing whether he's close to recovered or not.

That may be nothing more than post-game frustration, but it's telling for two reasons. First, I think it means Green is close to getting clearance to practice. It's a decision that hasn't been made yet, but I think Green has been told he's improved enough to be ready soon. Second, it's worrisome to hear Green may again be willing to push the limits of an injury he's already twice aggravated.

I'd bet on Green practicing this week and I think there's a good chance he'll play in Week 8. Hopefully, he's recovered enough to not suffer another aggravation or a cascade injury as he compensates for any lingering discomfort in his toe.

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

This is a big week for Griffin. He and the team have clearly circled the Week 8 matchup against Dallas for his (hopeful) return. Griffin has been doing conditioning and agility work, without any reported setback, for two weeks. 

It's still 50-50 at best Griffin will be ready for game contact this week, but if he's close I think he plays. Washington will not want to head to Dallas with Colt McCoy under center if Griffin is healthy enough to play. And the Monday night matchup gives Griffin an extra day of practice to ready himself.

ryan mathews | sprained mcl | week-to-week
rashad jennings | sprained mcl | week-to-week

Both Mathews and Jennings should be cleared to run this week. If not, neither have a realistic chance of returning in the next week (or for Week 9 in Jennings' case). Players with multi-week injuries generally need more than a week of conditioning and practice time to get back to full strength.


I'm also watching for news on Trent Richardson (hamstring), Alfred Morris (ankle), DeSean Jackson (leg), Pierre Thomas (shoulder), James Starks (ankle) and Reggie Bush (ankle). All six missed snaps on Sunday. Richardson and Thomas may be at highest risk of missing time, but I'll be monitoring Bush's status closely through the end of the week.

There were two more major offensive line injuries on Sunday. Daniel Kilgore (broken leg) and Peter Konz (knee) are likely out for the rest of the season. Jonathan Goodwin (leg) may also miss extended time. Defensive injuries of note include Paul Posluszny (torn pectoral - out for season), Vontaze Burfict (neck), Brian Orakpo (torn pectoral - out for season), Kyle Fuller (hand), Jon Beason (toe) and Brandon Flowers (concussion), among others.

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.