Monday Injury Rounds: Week 8

Making rounds on this weekend's injuries, with updates on Arian Foster, Dez Bryant, Ben Roethlisberger, and 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.


arian foster | achilles tear | out for season

Foster's body just won't hold up for him. After carefully rehabbing from surgery to repair a core abdominal muscle and successfully returning to his usual elite on-field play, Foster tore his Achilles tendon late in the fourth quarter of a game the Texans fell hopelessly behind in the first quarter. Foster will have more tests, but this isn't an injury that fools an NFL medical staff. Expect to hear confirmation of a complete tear and the need for surgery sometime on Monday.

While minimally invasive surgical techniques and rehab protocols focused on early range of motion have greatly improved recovery rates for NFL players in recent seasons, this won't be an easy recovery for running back entering his age 30 season next year. Foster is facing and 6-8 month (minimum) rehab and recovery. Best case scenario looks like an early training camp return next year, and that's assuming Foster can avoid the reconditioning muscle injuries he's had in each of the past three offseasons. There's a long road ahead for Foster.

vincent jackson | knee | week-to-week

It's difficult to tell exactly what happened to Jackson by video. On the first play of the third quarter, Jackson took a hit to the inside of his right knee while his knee was in the air. There was also a hyperextension mechanism to the left knee when he landed on the same play. Neither mechanism was particularly violent, but it's hard to be specific on the injury. Though I'm speculating, the more concerning of the two possible injuries was the left knee hyperextension. That's a common mechanism for a contusion or a PCL sprain. The next update from Tampa Bay may come on Monday. For now, it's reassuring that there has been no reports of an ACL concern.

joseph randle | back strain | day-to-day

The Cowboys initially said Randle's return was probable after he suffered an in-game back strain. Later, he was called doubtful. Back spasms are often difficult to settle quickly, so that's not surprising. Dallas didn't need to force the issue with Darren McFadden playing well. Unless the spasms were due to an underlying disc/nerve condition, Randle is likely to fully recover this week.

phillip dorsett | ankle fracture | month-to-month

The early timetable on Dorsett is 4-6 weeks. Even though his fracture is likely to the smaller bone at the outside of the ankle, that's a very optimistic timetable. If there's a high grade high ankle sprain associated with this injury or further tests show an injury that will require surgery, that timetable will quickly change. 6-8+ weeks is arguably more likely. I'll update as more infromation is released.

Chris Ivory is likely to be limited in practice after struggling through a hamstring injury on Sunday. Josh McCown may miss more time with a shoulder injury of unknown severity. More on both on Monday if the Jets and Browns provide more information in their respective press conferences.


dez bryant | metatarsal fracture | day-to-day

Bryant was still feeling soreness in his surgically repaired foot during the bye week -- which wasn't surprising -- but he looked very comfortable at half speed jogging and jumping in pregame yesterday. Bryant is adamant he can play through pain and told reporters Sunday night he'd return at less than 100% if he felt he could be effective. Bryant has yet to practice, however, and will need to prove to the team he's reconditioned enough to play. If he's back to a limited practice on Wednesday, it's a clear sign the team is considering allowing him to return in Week 8.


Roethlisberger was nearly able to play this week, but the Steelers medical staff was uncomfortable clearing him at the limit of his possible recovery. He will have another week to recover and get used to the brace he'll wear during games. In the latter stages of rehab from an MCL sprain, the added healing and stability Roethlisberger will get from this extra week of rest is key. There's a very good chance he'll be able to play effectively immediately upon return.

antonio gates | mcl sprain | day-to-day

Though he's played through very painful injuries in past seasons, the combination of pain and likely instability in Gates' knee kept him from returning today. Multiple reports suggested he was close to playing today. Barring a setback this week, Gates looks likely to return in Week 8.

dion lewis | abdominal injury | day-to-day

The Patriots still haven't provided any details on Lewis' actual injury -- and they won't. But his absence this week after trying to play through the injury last week could be a sign of a more severe condition. The most worrisome possibility would be a core muscle strain, or sports hernia. We've seen running backs struggle to rehab and play through these strains before later choosing surgery. Hopefully, this isn't something that will linger and limit Lewis much longer. 

emmanuel sanders | ac sprain | day-to-day

There was minimal concern about Sanders' AC sprain last week. He will have had two weeks to recover before this week's game, but AC sprains can be limiting for some time. We've seen Randall Cobb struggle with a similar injury all season long. Midweek practice participation reports will be our next data point for Sanders. 

jeremy maclin | concussion | day-to-day

Ed Werder, Ian Rapoport and others reported Maclin was cleared by an independent neurologist to play Sunday. Curiously, Maclin was inactive. It's possible the Chiefs were exercising extreme caution with Maclin, but it's odd to send a player for clearance if you're not certain you're comfortable with him playing. Hopefully, Maclin didn't have a recurrence of symptoms this weekend. If Maclin is fully practicing on Wednesday, this is a non-issue. If he's limited or not working, this could become a multiple week absence.

karlos williams | concussion | week-to-week

There seems to be optimism on Williams, and he'll have another two full weeks to complete his recovery before the Bills' next game in Week 9. But it's always worth noting that players who miss multiple weeks with concussions should be considered out indefinitely until we see they've been cleared to practice. Hopefully, Williams will clear that hurdle this week.

marcus mariota | mcl sprain | week-to-week

Mariota was reported to have a Grade 2 MCL sprain. It was no surprise he was unable to practice this week, as mid grade MCL sprains are often 2-4 week injuries. For a mobile quarterback like Mariota, it's even more critical to be certain there's no lingering instability before allowing a return. Consider Mariota questionable at best for Week 8.


Watch for improvements in the practice participation of Davante Adams, DeSean Jackson, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Breshad Perriman, and Victor Cruz. Adams is likely the closest to returning this week. We're also getting closer to the return of Tony Romo (looks likely to be ready when eligible in Week 11), David Cobb (promising reports he'll be ready when eligible in Week 9), and Jay Ajayi (likely to be activated when eligible in Week 9). Kevin White, on the other hand, isn't likely going to be ready to practice this week when he's first eligible to come off Chicago's PUP list. Though his rehab continues to go well, it's still unclear whether he'll recover in time to avoid season-ending injured reserve.

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.