Monday Injury Rounds: Preseason Week 2 - Footballguys

How to approach preseason injury reports, what to make of Doug Baldwin and Sony Michel knee injuries, updates on Andrew Luck, Carson Wentz, Alshon Jeffery, and much more

NOTE: During the regular season, this column is a living document through Tuesday morning. 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.

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


Footballguys will have close and detailed coverage of all injuries this season. Here's a look at my expected schedule. I will do my best to stick to this. Work and family responsibilities may sometimes cause brief delays.

Monday Injury Rounds: Posted Sunday night, updated through Tuesday AM. Detailed analysis of the week's injuries with table for quick review. Offensive injuries will be live Sunday night. Critical defensive and offensive line injuries will be added throughout the day on Monday. I'll be updating with news and analysis through Tuesday.

Midweek Injury Expectations: Posted Wednesday night and updated Thursday. Analysis of the practice participation report with a table including my projection of each injured player's likely game status. Will include discussion of any major breaking injury news.

Sunday Gameday Expectations: Posted by Saturday afternoon, updated through Sunday morning inactives. Will include individual player blurbs with detailed thoughts on the week's injury news and my speculation on player availability and limitations. Will include table highlighting each day's practice participation, official game status, and my availability expectation.

I'll also be contributing to our waiver wire podcast (Tuesday release) and our live Sunday morning pregame show (10 ET Sunday on YouTube). I will also be retweeting 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.


INJURY ROUNDS

A recent tweet nailed the NFL's current injury situation perfectly. The league is now squarely in, "Please don't get hurt" season.

From January to July, updates on the league's marquee players recovering from injury were nearly uniformly optimistic. After almost 18 months of concern over Andrew Luck's throwing shoulder, he's barely a blip on the injury radar now. Although there are over 50 offensive players I'm tracking closely right now (see tables below), only four started camp on the PUP list. Just one key offensive contributor -- Hunter Henry -- entered August with an injury severe enough to keep him out of action until 2019.

Unfortunately and expectedly, the list of injury concerns is lengthening by the hour.

Derrius Guice and Deon Cain suffered torn anterior cruciate ligaments (ACLs) during the first full preseason week. They will miss the 2018 season. Alshon Jeffery looks questionable for Week 1 as continues to rehab his surgically repaired rotator cuff strain. Doug Baldwin and Sony Michel have knee conditions that will significantly limit how much they can do this preseason.

Many players are missing practice time with a variety of soft-tissue injuries. And, while I recognize many of you will be drafting rosters in best-ball and season-long leagues soon, patience is key here. Without practice participation reports to reference, it can be very difficult to gauge which players have a higher-grade injury likely to keep them out multiple weeks and which players are simply getting extra days of rest.

Let's start with some deeper analysis of the league's most critical or confusing offensive player injuries. Scroll down for more comprehensive tables and early Week 1 expectations.

Doug Baldwin | Knee soreness / procedure | Late July | Week-to-Week | Questionable Week 1

Baldwin has reportedly been working through knee soreness for weeks but started camp on the active roster. Shortly after camp began, however, Baldwin's knee again flared up and the Seahawks have chosen to "give him a couple of weeks" off before returning him to practice. Pete Carroll told reporters Baldwin was "doing some special treatments," a phrase suggesting Baldwin may have undergone the same anti-inflammatory injection many Seattle players had last season to address joint concerns.

There aren't enough details to be certain, but the timeline is suspicious for a cartilage condition in Baldwin's knee. While not a reason to panic -- many players have degenerative knee changes and can be managed successfully without significant inseason limitations -- it's worrisome that Baldwin couldn't make it through a week of preseason practice without requiring extended rest. Carroll would later tell reporters Baldwin would "for sure" play in Week 1. Although not essential, it would be most reassuring to see Baldwin return to workouts in advance of the pregame Week 1 practices.

Sony Michel | Knee joint aspiration | Preseason Week 1 | 2-4 Weeks | Questionable Week 1

Multiple pre-draft reports raised concern for a bone-on-bone condition in Michel's knee. The Patriots didn't appear to flag Michel as a serious medical concern and were comfortable drafting him at the end of the first round. The knee flared on Michel early in the preseason, however, and the rookie running back had a procedure last week.

Initially, there were conflicting reports on Michel's prognosis. One report suggested Michel would miss the rest of the preseason and put his availability for the early weeks of the regular season in jeopardy. That report was quickly walked back, however, with follow up reports defining Michel's procedure as draining fluid from the joint and shortening the timetable for recovery to 10-14 days.

Don't expect any helpful details from New England. The reports from local writers are reassuring enough to believe Michel will be available in Week 1. But this is similar to the Baldwin situation. Michel is starting the regular season with an inflamed joint that required more than a brief period of rest. If his knee responds well to drainage and rehab, this may quickly become a non-issue. But it's a clear setup for chronic inflammation resulting in reduced practice participation (and possibly more) during the regular season.

And, like Baldwin, the sooner Michel can return and recondition in practice, the better.

Matt Breida | Acromioclavicluar (AC) sprain | Preseason Week 1 | 1-4 Weeks | Probable Week 1
George Kittle | AC sprain | Preseason Week 1 | 1-4 Weeks | Probable Week 1

Imaging studies were reassuring for both Breida and Kittle. Neither appears to have suffered high-grade shoulder sprains. The 49ers are expected to limit their practice participation throughout the preseason but consider both probable to return for Week 1.

Antonio Brown | Quad strain | Early preseason | Week-to-Week

Saquon Barkley | Left hamstring strain | Preseason Week 1 | Week-to-Week
Jerick McKinnon | Right calf strain | Preseason Week 1 | Week-to-Week
Marlon Mack | Left hamstring strain | Preseason Week 1 | Week-to-Week
Rex Burkhead | Undisclosed | Preseason Week 1 | Day-to-Day

Preseason muscle strains are tricky to read. Teams tend to hold players out of practice as long as possible during the preseason. But it's not always because the muscle strain is a higher-grade injury. Aggravated muscle strains are common -- nearly one in three players suffers a setback in the first 7-10 days after returning -- and the aggravations are usually worse than the initial injury. So, it makes sense for teams to look for the sweet spot in recovery where a player may get some extra time to heal but still has enough time to return to playing shape. With nearly a month until the season starts, you can expect Barkley, McKinnon, and Mack to get multiple days to recover even if their injuries are minor strains.

Brown left practice again on Monday with a limp but was later seen dancing on the sideline. His injury earlier in the preseason has been reported as both a quad strain and hip flexor strain.

For now, it's reasonable to expect these players to be ready for Week 1. Should any of them not return to practice for individual work prior to the final preseason game, it's time for concern.


Follow-up Appointments

Andrew Luck | Right shoulder labrum repair | Mid-January 2017 | Full participation

What a difference a month makes. In July, it wasn't clear whether Luck was throwing a regulation football and the Colts were tentatively planning to limit him to throwing two out of every three practices. We're now over two weeks into training camp. Luck continues to throw regularly in practice. He played two series of the Colts' first preseason game. Player comments and beat writer reports have been consistently positive and there have been no notable accuracy or velocity concerns. Most importantly, Luck has reported no soreness and the Colts haven't restricted his practice more than planned.

It's hard to believe after such a long and frustrating rehab but Luck is edging closer and closer to his pre-injury form.

Carson Wentz | Left ACL reconstruction / LCL repair | Mid-December 2017 | Limited Participation | Questionable Week 1

The Eagles continue to limit Wentz to individual drills. While Wentz is frustrated, this shouldn't be a surprise. He's just now reaching the nine-month mark in his rehab from reconstructive knee surgery that addressed tears to multiple ligaments and required weeks of immobilization. With rare exception, reports on Wentz's movement in 7-on-7 drills remain reassuring.

There are no indications the Eagles plan to expose Wentz to contact this week and are not expected to play Wentz in preseason game action. It's likely an abundance of caution -- Wentz did work in 11-on-11 drills during mini-camp and the team didn't appear to seriously consider the PUP list for him. Still, until he's named the starting quarterback for the league's Thursday opener, consider Wentz questionable for Week 1.

Update: During a radio interview Tuesday morning, Wentz said his availability for Week 1 was still unknown. Wentz told the host, "It's going to be close," and suggested the coaches and medical staff would make the final decision. Doug Pederson has repeatedly told reporters Wentz (and other injured Eagles' players) would not play unless they were 100% ready. Obviously, 100% is an unrealistic goal for most players on an NFL roster at any point in the season. However, we're hearing a consistently cautious theme from everyone in Philadelphia this offseason.

Don't take this as an indication the Eagles have ruled out Wentz for Week 1. The next two weeks are critical here, however. Wentz needs to be cleared for contact and full team drills by the end of the month. The preparation time for a Thursday season opener is accelerated and Wentz won't start Week 1 unless he proves his knee is ready well in advance. With Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles ready to play, the Eagles can give Wentz the time he needs to get close to full strength. If Wentz hasn't increased his practice participation by the week after the third preseason game, he'll move clearly to the doubtful side of questionable for Week 1.

Alshon Jeffery | Right rotator cuff repair | Mid-February 2018 | Active - PUP | Questionable Week 1

Jeffery's rehab continues to progress on schedule, and he's reportedly into the strengthening phases of his recovery. However, it generally takes at least six or seven months to return to play after rotator cuff repairs. Jeffery's surgery was in mid-February. Even a quick progression through the final phase of rehab would put Jeffery's return into the second half of August. It could easily be longer. Already on the PUP list, the Eagles will not activate Jeffery until they're certain he's been cleared for contact and 1-2 weeks from returning to game action. Though Doug Pederson has been optimistic, Ian Rapoport tweeted Monday Jeffery could stay on the PUP list as the season begins. Unless there is good news soon, Jeffery may not be ready for Week 1.

Randall Cobb | Ankle surgery | Mid-June 2018 | Limited participation | Probable Week 1

Cobb had a fragment of loose cartilage removed two months ago after participating in most of Green Bay's offseason workouts. He recovered and was cleared for camp, then missed practice last week with soreness in the joint. Cobb has since returned to practice but it's something to watch carefully.

Tyler Eifert | Microdiscectomy | Late October 2017 | Limited participation | Probable Week 1

Eifert started camp on the PUP list, rightfully prompting concern about another slower-than-expected recovery from surgery. Eifert was adamant he was ready to practice and had no setbacks, however. His optimism proved accurate and his stay on the PUP list was short. Although the Bengals have been cautious with him, Eifert has participated in team drills and been dominant at times. It's possible he'll participate in this week's preseason game.

It's great news for Eifert. Players are often given 6-12 week recovery timetables after similar back surgeries. While they may be anatomically stable in three months, most players acknowledge it takes 6-9 months to regain core strength. If Eifert is cleared for full participation and preseason action soon, it's a good indication his recovery is complete.

Chris Thompson | Right fibula fixation | Early December 2017 | Limited participation | Probable Week 1

Thompson told reporters he did not expect to be fully recovered until later this year, citing some pain around his surgical site with certain movements. He also acknowledged some apprehension when running in traffic and making hard cuts. Washington isn't limiting his practice participation much, however, and observers haven't reported concerns about his physical appearance. With Guice out with an ACL injury, Thompson should see enough opportunity to feel more comfortable by the end of the preseason.


INJURED PLAYERS ON ACTIVE ROSTER

Quarterbacks Injured | On the Active Roster
Player
Team
Injury
Date
Player/Team Says
FBG Expects
Notes
NE
Back soreness
PS Week 1
Day-to-Day
Day-to-Day
Ind
Right shoulder labrum repair
Mid-January 2017
Full participation
Full participation
Phi
Left ACL reconstruction / LCL repair
Mid-December 2017
Limited participation
Limited participation
Questionable Week 1
Hou
Right ACL reconstruction
Early November 2017
Full participation
Full participation
Pit
Concussion
PS Week 1
Week-to-Week
Week-to-Week
Phi
Upper back / neck muscle spasm
PS Week 1
Day-to-Day
Day-to-Day
Running Backs Injured | On the Active Roster
Player
Team
Injury
Date
Player/Team Says
FBG Expects
Notes
NYG
Left hamstring strain
PS Week 1
Day-to-Day
Day-to-Day
Min
Left ACL reconstruction
Early October 2017
Full participation
Full participation
SF
Right calf strain PS Week 1 Day-to-Day 1-2 Weeks Probable Week 1
Was
Left ACL tear
PS Week 1
Injured reserve (exp)
Injured reserve | 2019 return
Ind
Left hamstring strain
PS Week 1
Week-to-Week
2-4+ Weeks
Questionable Week 1
KC
Right PCL / LCL repair
Early September 2017
Full participation Full participation
NE
Fluid aspiration knee joint PS Week 1 2-4 Weeks 2-4 Weeks Questionable Week 1
NE
Undisclosed
PS Week 1
Day-to-Day
Day-to-Day
SF
AC (shoulder) sprain
PS Week 1
2-4 Weeks
2-4 Weeks
Probable Week 1
D'Onta Foreman
Hou
Left Achilles repair
Late November 2017
Active / PUP
Month-to-Month
Doubtful Week 1
Was
Right fibula fixation
Early December 2017
Limited participation Limited participation Probable Week 1
NYJ
Concussion
PS Week 1
Week-to-Week
Week-to-Week
Probable Week 1
GB
Hamstring strain
Early preseason
Limited participation
Limited participation
Suspended through Week 2
Phi
Left leg injury
PS Week 1
Day-to-Day
Day-to-Day
Sea
Hip flexor strain
PS Week 1
Day-to-Day
Day-to-Day
Probable Week 1
NYJ
Foot fracture fixation
Late July 2018
3-6 Weeks
6+ Weeks
Doubtful Week 1
Wide Receivers Injured | On the Active Roster
Player
Team
Injury
Date
Player/Team Says
FBG Expects
Notes
Pit
Quad flexor strain
Early preseason
Full participation Full participation
NYG
Left high ankle / fibula fracture w/ surgery
Early October 2017
Full participation Full participation
Sea
Knee condition / soreness
Early preseason
Week-to-Week 3-4 Weeks Questionable Week 1
Phi
Right rotator cuff repair
Mid-February 2018
Active / PUP Week-to-Week Questionable Week 1
GB
Ankle surgery
Mid-June 2018
Limited participation Limited participation Probable Week 1
Chi
Left ACL reconstruction
Mid-September 2017
Full participation Full participation
Ten
Undisclosed
May-June 2018
Active / PUP Week-to-Week Questionable Week 1
Phi
Undisclosed
Early preseason Day-to-Day Day-to-Day Probable Week 1
Mia
Left ankle injury
PS Week 1
Day-to-Day Day-to-Day Probable Week 1
NYJ
Right thumb injury
Early preseason
Day-to-Day Day-to-Day Probable Week 1
Ten
Undisclosed
Early preseason
Limited participation Limited participation Probable Week 1
Was
Left heel contusion
Early preseason
Full participation Full participation Probable Week 1
NO
Undisclosed
Early preseason
Week-to-Week Week-to-Week
NYJ
Fractured ankle fixation / Hip strain
May 2018
Limited participation Limited participation Probable Week 1
Mia
Finger fracture
PS Week 1
Week-to-Week Week-to-Week
Hou
Hamstring strain
Early preseason
Week-to-Week Week-to-Week Questionable Week 1
Ind
ACL tear
PS Week 1
Injured reserve (exp) Injured reserve | 2019 return
Tight Ends Injured | On the Active Roster
Player
Team
Injury
Date
Player/Team Says
FBG Expects
Notes
Was
Sesamoidectomy?
? January 2018
Limited participation
Limited participation
Probable Week 1
Cin
Microdiscectomy
Late October 2017
Limited participation
Limited participation
Probable Week 1
Pit
Right foot injury
Early preseason
Week-to-Week
Week-to-Week
SF
AC (shoulder) sprain
PS Week 1
2-4 Weeks
2-4 Weeks
Probable Week 1
LAR
Shoulder injury
Early preseason
Week-to-Week
Week-to-Week
Ari
Right Achilles repair
Late December 2017
Active / PUP
Active / PUP
Doubtful Week 1
LAC
Right ACL reconstruction
Late May 2018
Injured reserve (exp)
Injured reserve | 2019 return
Offensive Linemen Injured | On the Active Roster
Tackles
Team
Injury
Date
Player/Team Says
FBG Expects
Notes
Coming Week 1
Guards
Team
Injury
Date
Player/Team Says
FBG Expects
Notes
Coming Week 1
Centers
Team
Injury
Date
Player/Team Says
FBG Expects
Notes
Coming Week 1
Defensive Players Injured | On the Active Roster
Edge Rushers
Team
Injury
Date
Player/Team Says
FBG Expects
Notes
Coming Week 1
Defensive Linemen
Team
Injury
Date
Player/Team Says
FBG Expects
Notes
Coming Week 1
Linebackers
Team
Injury
Date
Player/Team Says
FBG Expects
Notes
Coming Week 1
Defensive Backs
Team
Injury
Date
Player/Team Says
FBG Expects
Notes
Coming Week 1

Injured Players Not on Active Roster

Notable Quarterbacks on PUP or NFI or IR
Player
Team
Injury
Date
Player/Team Says
FBG Expects
Notes
Notable Running Backs on PUP or NFI or IR
Player
Team
Injury
Date
Player/Team Says
FBG Expects
Notes
Notable Wide Receivers on PUP or NFI or IR
Player
Team
Injury
Date
Player/Team Says
FBG Expects
Notes
Notable Tight Ends on PUP or NFI or IR
Player
Team
Injury
Date
Player/Team Says
FBG Expects
Notes
Notable Offensive Linemen on PUP or NFI or IR
Tackles
Team
Injury
Date
Player/Team Says
FBG Expects
Notes
Guards
Team
Injury
Date
Player/Team Says
FBG Expects
Notes
Centers
Team
Injury
Date
Player/Team Says
FBG Expects
Notes
Notable Defensive Players on PUP or NFI or IR
Edge Rushers
Team
Injury
Date
Player/Team Says
FBG Expects
Notes
Defensive Linemen
Team
Injury
Date
Player/Team Says
FBG Expects
Notes
Linebackers
Team
Injury
Date
Player/Team Says
FBG Expects
Notes
Defensive Backs
Team
Injury
Date
Player/Team Says
FBG Expects
Notes

Check back for more injury analysis throughout training camp and follow on Twitter @JeneBramel for breaking injury news, commentary, and analysis of injury news around the NFL.