Monday Injury Rounds: Week 17

Making rounds on this week's injuries with followup on long term injury concerns

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.

Scroll to the bottom of this article for a quick look table of the week's most pressing injury situations and a review of the skill position players on injured reserve / PUP / NFI.


Week 17 came as quickly as ever this season. While this will be the last weekly inseason Injury Rounds, I'll have injury coverage on our Injury Blog page throughout the offseason. Headlining that coverage will be a regularly updated table with player injuries and expected recovery time, followed by short updates with more context when news breaks. I'll also post separate single features on critical injuries and rehab stories over the next few months. 

I'll also remain active on Twitter and Periscope after the regular season ends. Make sure you're following me there if you're interested in offseason discussion. And thanks to everyone for reading this season. I hope you found the features and Periscope sessions helpful. As always, I appreciate any feedback and suggestions to improve our injury coverage.

Unfortunately, Week 16 was not quiet. Derek Carr's injury will greatly impact the AFC playoffs, but there were many other injuries that will affect the offseason.

Derek Carr | Fibula fracture w/ high ankle sprain | 4+ Months | 2017 Return

Marcus Mariota | Fibula fracture w/ high ankle sprain | 4+ Months | 2017 Return

Both Carr and Mariota suffered the same mechanism of injury and the severity of their injuries are similar. While being tackled, each quarterback had his foot forcefully rotated away from his lower leg. This is the mechanism for a high ankle injury. There are varying grades of high ankle injuries, which involve, at minimum, stretching of a tough membranous ligament between the two lower leg bones. Unfortunately, both Carr and Mariota had enough force applied to the joint to cause a full tear of this ligament and a break in the outside bone of the leg. This injury also often involves tearing of the ligaments on the inside of the ankle.

In short, both quarterbacks have broken leg bones, multiple ligament tears, and an unstable ankle joint and will need surgery.

Though we've seen players return within eight weeks -- Terrell Owens and Donovan McNabb attempted to return for playoff games -- this is an injury that sometimes requires 4+ months of rehab if both bone and ligament repairs are necessary. If there are no ligament repairs around the ankle, rehab and recovery could be less than three months. Thankfully, both players should be able to recover to pre-injury form next year. That includes Mariota, the more mobile quarterback and running threat of the pair. There's an outside shot one or both players will start camp on the PUP list, but it's unlikely.

Carlos Hyde | MCL sprain | 4-6+ weeks | 2017 Return

Hyde has been ruled out for Week 17 with an MCL sprain. There was some rotation in his injury mechanism -- which is often concerning for ACL injury -- so an MCL sprain is the best case scenario. The Niners did not report any associated meniscus or cartilage damage and there's no indication Hyde's sprain is severe enough to require surgery. Hopefully, that remains the case. That would be great news for Hyde, who would then be expected to be ready for offseason activities heading into a contract year.

Spencer Ware | Rib injury | Day-to-Day

The Chiefs told reporters Ware was unable to retun to last night's game with a rib injury but provided no additional information. I'll update today with any news.

Donte Moncrief | Shoulder injury | Awaiting Information

Moncrief was in on most plays in the third quarter and showed no obvious limitation but was ruled out with a shoulder injury in the fourth quarter. I'll continue to watch for news and will review the game again for a mechanism of injury today. I'll update here or Wednesday with news from Indianapolis.

Thomas Rawls | Shoulder injury | Day-to-Day

Rawls looked to suffer a shoulder injury midway through the second quarter, but the mechanism was obscured. He could be seen rotating his shoulder throughout the second quarter but continued to play before returning to the sideline in a sling after halftime. Pete Carroll -- somewhat unusually -- left Rawls' timetable open after the game, calling the injury a "bruise." I'm expecting the Seahawks to send Rawls for imaging on Monday. We'll hopefully hear more in their Monday press conference.

Tyler Lockett | Tibia/Fibula fracture | 6+ Months | 2017 Return

Lockett suffered a both-bone lower leg fracture that will require surgery and long months of healing and rehab this offseason. Many players have recovered fully from similar injuries but rehab often takes longer than expected to fully regain strength and change of direction. Lockett may be healed at six months, but his rehab could last into training camp and beyond.

Ryan Mathews | Cervical disc herniation | 3-4 Months | 2017 Return

Mathews suffered a disc herniation at the base of his neck (C7 per report) and will need surgery to stabilize his injury. He is expected to return to play next season. I'm tentatively listing Mathews' rehab timetable at 3-4 months, and will update after details on his surgical procedure are reported.

Others of note: Cameron Brate (back injury) hopefully has a minor contusion and muscle spasms but watch today's developments carefully to be sure there are no bone or organ concerns. Bryce Petty (shoulder subluxation) will have an MRI today to evaluate for labrum or ligament injuries and is unlikely to play in Week 17. Petty was confirmed to have a torn labrum this afternoon and has been placed on injured reserve. Robert Griffin III III (concussion) is also doubtful to play this week.



There's likely a ton of context to Green's past two weeks. Green's side of the story was tweeted in detail by Bob Holtzman over the weekend. The Bengals, as usual, aren't likely to share much of theirs.

Holtzman essentially said: Green felt good enough to play and had been preparing to return for two weeks. The Bengals included him in position drills, team meetings, and, presumably the game plan throughout the week before ownership decided it was better for Green not to play. Green was upset, his team surprised, and Green asked to return home rather than stay in Houston for Saturday night's game.

While I'm fascinated by the behind-the-scenes aspect of this and I'm sure all involved would like to have handled it better in hindsight, there will ultimately be little of long-term concern here. Green had a high-grade hamstring strain near (or including) a harder to heal and more likely to scar tendon. That's usually a 6-8 week recovery and it was always a stretch to see Green recover in time to play this season. I think his rehab was accelerated as much as possible to give him a chance to contribute if the Bengals remained in playoff contention. Once the Bengals were eliminated, it really didn't make much sense to risk an aggravation and the potential for longer term issues around that tendon. While his attempts to return were admirable, it was in Green's best interests to rest and continue rehab.

Don't expect Green in uniform in Week 17. I'll be surprised if does much in practice.

Jordan Reed | AC sprain | Week-to-Week

As of Monday morning, Washington needs help but remains in the playoff picture. I doubt the week of rest did much to change Reed's prognosis -- it's still a 4-6 week injury that has been aggravated by multiple hits -- but it's likely he'll do whatever he can to rehab and play this week if Washington has a chance at a playoff game. Regardless of his team's status, Reed should still be considered doubtful and would be limited at best if he chooses to play.


Gordon did not practice last week despite some initial optimism that he'd miss just one week. Unless his knee exam is entirely normal and Gordon is feeling no looseness, I don't think the Chargers will risk aggravating either injury or putting one of their core young offensive talents at risk of a compensatory injury. Consider Gordon doubtful for Week 17.


Miller's injury was consistent with a low grade high ankle sprain rather than an aggravation of an earlier injury last week. It was no surprise to see Miller miss last week's game after his inability to return to practice by Thursday. Had the Texans needed all available players to push for a playoff spot this week, Miller may have tried to practice and return in Week 17. But the Texans have clinched and this week's game has no playoff implications. I don't expect Miller to practice much, if at all, and he'll be inactive this week.

Randall Cobb | High ankle sprain | Day-to-Day

Cobb rested last week after trying to play through his injury in Week 15. The Packers remain in a must-win situation this week and the extra rest likely helped Cobb. Consider him questionable and probably limited for now, but Cobb has a chance to return this week.

Tyler Eifert | Back injury | Week-to-Week

Earlier this season, Eifert missed time with a back condition. The Bengals tried to minimize his injury by using words like scans and specialists. That sent my spidey senses tingling obviously and they're tingling again after Eifert missed practice time and a game the week after Cincinnati was eliminated from the playoffs. Once again, I'm freely speculating here, but the timeframes involved match up with a symptomatic disc herniation that improved after a cortisone injection earlier this year and a recent decision that Eifert would be better off not risking any additional injuries this year. I don't expect Eifert to play this week, but it would be a very reassuring sign if he does.

Monday Afternoon Update: Eifert was placed on injured reserve today.

Monday Evening Update: Marvin Lewis told reporters today that Eifert "should be okay for next season with disc issue to be resolved" per Geoff Hobson on Twitter. We'll see if Eifert chooses to medically rehab his injury or take a surgical approach. It's possible Eifert could choose surgery if medical rehab doesn't go as planned.


Tannehill is reportedly no longer immobilized in a cast and there is optimism he'll be able to return from his multiple ligament knee injury soon. While the Dolphins may be accelerating his rehab, he's still just two weeks removed from an injury that left his knee joint unstable. If there was minimal damage to his ACL (which seems unlikely given the immediate concern on exam) and his MCL rehab goes extremely well over the next week (also a tough ask because he has two weeks of stiffness and muscle asymmetry to treat), Tannehill could push to play in the team's Wild Card game. But it's very difficult to see the Dolphins clearing their franchise quarterback to play through an unstable knee injury that's very unlikely to have fully recovered. While it was a different injury, I can't help but remember Robert Griffin III III's outcome in the 2013 playoffs, a situation I believe Dr. James Andrews wasn't comfortable with at the time.


Green missed last week's game while recovering from a concussion. Regardless of what Mike Tomlin says, Green's past history of prolonged recovery likely puts him in a different recovery timeline. The Steelers clinched a playoff spot and are not likely to push Green's recovery. Consider Green doubtful even if he practices this week.

Others of note: Adrian Peterson (meniscus recovery, groin strain) and Matt Forte (torn meniscus, shoulder injury) are very unlikely to play this week. Theo Riddick (wrist injury) is doubtful to play Monday night and the Lions have yet to provide any information on his injury. Austin Hooper (knee sprain) reportedly has a chance to return this week. Danny Amendola (high ankle sprain), James Starks (concussion), and C.J. Prosise (scapula fracture) continue to rehab injuries and are not likely to play this week. I'll update with any news after Monday's press conferences and again on Wednesday's practice report.

Quarterbacks Injured But on the Active Roster
Player Injury Date Player/Team Says FBGs Expects Notes
Derek Carr Fibula fracture w/ high ankle sprain W16 Out for Season 4-6 Months / 2017 Return  
Marcus Mariota Fibula fracture w/ high ankle sprain W16 Out for Season 4-6 Months / 2017 Return  
Ryan Tannehill ACL sprain / MCL sprain W14 Week-to-Week 2017 Return  
Bryce Petty Shoulder subluxation W16 IR 2017 Return  
Robert Griffin III III Concussion W16 Week-to-Week 2017 Return  
Running Backs Injured But on the Active Roster
Player Injury Date Player/Team Says FBGs Expects Notes
Melvin Gordon III Hip injury / MCL sprain W14 Day-to-Day Week-to-Week  
Lamar Miller Ankle sprain W15 Day-to-Day Week-to-Week  
Adrian Peterson Meniscus recovery / Groin strain W15 Week-to-Week 2017 Return  
Carlos Hyde MCL sprain W16 Week-to-Week 2017 Return  
Spencer Ware Rib injury W16 MRI pending Day-to-Day  
Matt Forte Meniscus tear / Shoulder injury W14 / W15 Week-to-Week Doubtful W17  
Thomas Rawls Shoulder injury W16 No timetable given Day-to-Day  
Theo Riddick Wrist injury W13 Day-to-Day Day-to-Day  
Ryan Mathews Cervical disc herniation W16 Out for Season 2017 Return  
James Starks Concussion W14 Week-to-Week Week-to-Week  
C.J. Prosise Scapula injury W11 Multiple weeks 4-6+ Weeks  
Wide Receivers Injured But on the Active Roster
Player Injury Date Player/Team Says FBGs Expects Notes
A.J. Green Hamstring strain W11 Week-to-Week Doubtful W17  
Randall Cobb High ankle sprain W14 Week-to-Week Week-to-Week  
Donte Moncrief Shoulder injury W16 No timetable given Awaiting Information  
Tyler Lockett Fractured tibia/fibula W16 Out for Season 6+ Months / 2017 Return  
Danny Amendola High ankle sprain W13 No timetable given Week-to-Week  
Tight Ends Injured But on the Active Roster
Player Injury Date Player/Team Says FBGs Expects Notes
Jordan Reed Grade 3 AC sprain Aggravated W15 No timetable given Doubtful W17  
Tyler Eifert Back injury W16 IR Doubtful W17  
Cameron Brate Back injury W16 No timetable given Awaiting Information  
Ladarius Green Concussion W15 No timetable given Week-to-Week  
Austin Hooper Knee injury W15 Week-to-Week Week-to-Week  
Notable Quarterbacks on PUP/NFI/IR
Player Injury Date Player/Team Says FBGs Expects Notes
Teddy Bridgewater Left knee dislocation/ACL tear/+ Late August IR 2017 return possible  
Jay Cutler Shoulder injury W11 IR 2017 Return  
Brian Hoyer Forearm fracture W7 IR 2017 Return  
Geno Smith ACL tear W7 IR 2017 Return  
Notable Running Backs on PUP/NFI/IR
Player Injury Date Player/Team Says FBGs Expects Notes
C.J. Anderson Meniscus tear / surgery W7 IR 2017 Return  
Eddie Lacy Ankle sprain / surgery W6 IR 2017 Return  
Jamaal Charles Arthroscopic knee surgery W9 IR 2017 Return  
Gio Bernard ACL tear W11 IR 2017 Return  
Ameer Abdullah Left foot sprain W2 IR 2017 Return  
Danny Woodhead Right ACL tear W2 IR 2017 Return  
Shane Vereen Triceps tear W15 IR 2017 Return  
Chris Johnson Core abdominal strain / surgery W4 IR 2017 Return  
Wendell Smallwood Knee sprain W14 IR IR | 2017 Return  
Keith Marshall Left UCL sprain PS W3 IR 2017 Return  
Notable Wide Receivers on PUP/NFI/IR
Player Injury Date Player/Team Says FBGs Expects Notes
Keenan Allen Right ACL tear W1 IR 2017 Return  
Eric Decker Rotator cuff strain / Labral tear W3 IR 2017 Return  
Kevin White High ankle sprain / fibula fracture W4 IR 2017 Return  
Vincent Jackson ACL sprain W7 IR 2017 Return  
Josh Doctson Achilles tendinitis W7 IR 2017 Return  
Eddie Royal Toe sprain W12 aggravation IR 2017 Return  
Torrey Smith Concussion W14 IR 2017 Return  
Marquess Wilson Groin strain W13 IR 2017 Return  
Bruce Ellington Hamstring strain PS W3 IR 2017 Return  
Markus Wheaton Shoulder injury Preseason IR 2017 Return  
Notable Tight Ends on PUP/NFI/IR
Player Injury Date Player/Team Says FBGs Expects Notes
Rob Gronkowski Back surgery W12 IR 2017 Return  
Zach Miller Foot fracture W11 IR 2017 Return  
Julius Thomas Back injury W11 IR 2017 Return  
Vance McDonald Shoulder injury W14 IR 2017 Return  
Jacob Tamme Shoulder injury W8 IR 2017 Return  
Jordan Cameron Concussion W3 IR 2017 Return vs Retire  

I'll be updating this feature throughout the day. Footballguys Insiders will get a full update from Craig Zumsteg with additional fantasy perspectives on Wednesday and 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.

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