Gameday Injury Expectations: Week 1 - Footballguys

What to expect from this week's injured players

UNDERSTANDING THE NFL'S INJURY REPORT

The injury report released by the NFL is actually two reports. The first is the Practice Participation report, which lists which injured players were able to practice and how much. It also includes players who rested or missed practice for non-injury related reasons. The second is the Game Status Report, which gives the probability a player will play, i.e. Questionable, Doubtful, Out. The Practice Participation Report is released every day of the week (Monday through Saturday). The Game Status Report is released with the Friday participation report (Wednesday for Thursday games, Saturday for Monday games).

In this feature, I'll include the Game Status Listing, my expectation of their likelihood to play, and the player's practice participation throughout the week.

Key:

PLAYER | INJURY | GAME STATUS LISTING | FOOTBALLGUYS EXPECTATION

Practice Participation Listing by Day

* = playing on Monday night

I'll also include a table at the bottom of the article for easy reference.

Here's the latest on every relevant injured player on the practice participation and game status report this week:


QUARTERBACK

Andrew Luck | Shoulder | Not Listed | Expected to Play

Practice Participation: Wed - Not Listed | Thurs - Not Listed | Fri - Not Listed

Nine months ago, it wasn't clear whether Luck would avoid a second surgery on his throwing shoulder and there was growing concern whether he would ever start another NFL game. But the tendinitis in Luck's shoulder calmed and he was finally able to successfully progress through the final throwing phases of rehab. He participated in nearly every preseason practice and completed 20 of 32 passes in three preseason games. Luck practiced without limitation this week and is not listed on the Colts' game status report.

The question now: Can Luck return to his pre-injury form?

I believe Luck can return to form -- but it's going to take time. While it's possible Luck had some typical wear-and-tear in his throwing shoulder earlier in his career, the first hint of trouble came after a partial dislocation of his shoulder in September 2015. It's been three full years of rehab, then surgery, then more rehab. Luck has reportedly rebuilt his throwing motion to limit the risk of recurrent soreness. Although he was cleared to play in preseason games, those 32 passing attempts at game speed are not enough to expect Luck to be able to approach his pre-injury velocity and accuracy. It's also too soon to say he won't return to form in time.

This tremendous feature by Matt Miller at Bleacher Report details the varying opinions of observers around the league.

Unfortunately, the Colts still haven't fully addressed the offensive line issues that likely contributed to Luck's injury in 2015 and left him scrambling in 2016. The Cincinnati defensive line presents a stiff first challenge. With left tackle Anthony Castonzo questionable after only recently returning to practice after an aggravated hamstring strain in early August and Denzelle Good already ruled out.

Expect Luck to miss passes he wouldn't have missed before 2015 and a possible change in how the Colts approach their passing game plan in the early weeks.

Others of note: There were no quarterbacks listed on this week's practice participation or game status reports. Carson Wentz (knee) was inactive on Thursday night. I'll update return to play expectations on all inactive and injured players in Monday's column.


RUNNING BACK

Saquon Barkley | Hamstring | Not Listed | Expected to Play

Practice Participation: Wed - Not Listed | Thurs - Not Listed | Fri - Not Listed

Barkley returned to individual drills three weeks ago and has fully participated in practice for two weeks. The Giants did not limit him this week. Now through the critical 7-10 day window when players returning to practice are at highest risk of aggravation, Barkley is ready to assume a full workload. The Jaguars' defense isn't a welcoming spot to begin his career.

Rex Burkhead | Knee | Not Listed | Expected to Play

Practice Participation: Wed - Not Listed | Thurs - Not Listed | Fri - Not Listed

Burkhead has been fully practicing for weeks after a report of a "tear in the knee" that likely made his injury sound more concerning than it actually was. The Patriots routinely rest veteran players with any injury at risk of aggravation. They chose not to limit Burkhead this week.

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