Monday Injury Rounds: Preseason Week 3 - Footballguys

How to realistically judge preseason injury timetables, thoughts on Carson Wentz's return to practice, and predictions on the Week 1 availability of injured players around the league

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

Later this week, I'll have an article examining which injured offensive players carry too much risk at their current ADP and which players look safe to draft.

But the early preseason -- which I judge to run through the third preseason game -- can be the toughest time to get a read on an injured player. Teams have little incentive to put an injured player at risk 3-4 weeks before the regular season begins. Veteran players on teams with established offenses, no major personnel changes around them, and little playbook turnover are better served by recovery and conditioning than risking aggravations. Even rookies who could use an extra day of repetitions likely benefit from recovery time.

There's also little incentive for teams to provide specific details on a player's diagnosis or recovery timetable. There are no required practice participation reports or injury designations until the very end of the preseason. Teams have until the 53-man roster deadline to put players on the injured reserve or reserve-PUP lists.

So, determining whether a player's soft tissue injury or recovery from early offseason surgery is significant enough to threaten his playing time during Week 1 isn't easy.

My default stance tends to be optimistic in the early preseason weeks.

Unless...

***A player's known surgery has a recovery timetable that may extend into the regular season.

We know Carson Wentz's injury -- anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACL) and lateral collateral ligament (LCL) repair -- often takes over nine months of rehab time. We know Alshon Jeffery's rotator cuff repair requires at least 5-6 months of recovery time. Both timetables leave the player little room for error. As detailed below, Wentz's progress allows for progressively more optimism about a Week 1 return. Jeffery may not yet be there.

***There is visible evidence of a longer-term injury occurring during the preseason weeks.

This is difficult. It's rare to get multiple angles of an injury occurring during a preseason practice. But most preseason games have multiple high definition angles for review. The video of Saquon Barkley's hamstring strain was suspicious for more than a low-grade strain. A review of Samaje Perine's injury suggested a low-grade high ankle sprain. Both can be considered more than day-to-day recoveries.

***There is no imminent plan for an increase in practice participation.

No news is not good news for D'Onta Foreman and his Achilles recovery. There's reason to worry when coaches seem to have little idea when Rishard Matthews and Vance McDonald and Sony Michel may return to practice.

Finally, next week is different.

A decade ago, nearly every NFL team used the third preseason week as a dress rehearsal. Starters would play two quarters and a series into the third quarter. While still relatively common, many teams won't risk injury to their key players in any preseason week -- including the third. However, while I don't worry as much if a player misses the third preseason game, it's a clear red flag if they aren't ready to practice the following week.

Injured players need to get back into football condition. The final stage of injury rehab is full football-related activity at speed. Get through this stage without an aggravation and a player can be considered fully recovered. Coaches need to see their players pass this stage to be confident there will be no surprises after they decide upon and install a weekly game plan.

It's possible for a player not to return to practice until the Wednesday before Week 1 games, then fully practice and considered at full strength. But I won't feel confident about those players until 48 hours before game time, if then.

Reference tables with quick notes on all the notable quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends follow extended analysis on the most challenging injury situations.

T.Y. Hilton | Left shoulder sprain | Preseason Week 2 | Day-to-Day | Probable Week 1

Hilton left last week's preseason game with a shoulder injury. He was seen with a wrap on the sideline but follow up reports have all been reassuring. Shoulder injuries can be difficult for receivers to play through but all indications are Hilton has a minor and short-term injury. He's expected to return to practice this week.

Rashaad Penny | Surgical fixation left index finger | Preseason Week 1 | 3-4 Weeks | Questionable Week 1

Pete Carroll was optimistic about Penny's recovery after the running back had surgery to fixate a broken bone at the base of his index finger last week. Carroll told reporters he expects Penny to have a chance to return in two weeks but allowed the recovery could take longer. Currently, Penny is in a splint but could be cleared to return and play quickly. His ability to grip, catch, and pass block will determine how quickly he'll return. Week 1 is a strong possibility.

Delanie Walker | Toe injury | Preseason Week 2 | Day-to-Day | Probable Week 1

Walker suffered a toe injury during a joint practice with Tampa Bay last week. Observers said the injury occurred when a defender landed on him during a tackle. Sometimes this mechanism is suspicious for a Lisfranc injury. However, Walker's injury has been called a big toe injury, there has been no report of additional imaging or specialist visits, and the early timetables sound more day-to-day than week-to-week. All are positive and reassuring factors. A quick return to practice for Walker would confirm him as probable for Week 1.


Follow-up Appointments

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

Wentz has been cleared to return to team drills this week, a necessary step for him to have any chance at a Week 1 return. Though there has been much discussion about Wentz's recovery in recent weeks, I think this was the timetable all along.

The Eagles allowed Wentz to participate in 11-on-11 work in their June mini-camp, elected not to put him on the PUP list in late July, and have allowed him to participate in everything short of contact drills over the past three weeks. There has yet to be any indication the team's medical staff is worried about Wentz's rehab progress. For Wentz to be deemed ready to play in Week 1, he'll have to show the medical staff he's ready to protect his knee in contact situations and he'll need to show the coaching staff exactly how comfortable he is inside and outside the pocket.

Nick Foles seems to have avoided a serious throwing shoulder injury last week and remains in the mix to start Week 1.

However, I think the team wants Wentz in the huddle. It's unlikely Wentz is healthy enough to be a consistent factor as a runner when a play breaks down or on designed rushes, but he should be a capable pocket passer until his comfort level outside the pocket returns. I still have Wentz listed questionable for Week 1, but he's trending more probable than doubtful. A week of practice without concern would move him to probable for Week 1.

Doug Baldwin | Knee soreness | Early preseason | Week-to-Week | Questionable Week 1

Baldwin is again running full speed and his rehab is progressing as planned. Baldwin is likely to do more football-specific rehab this week as the Seahawks determine whether he's ready to return to contact practices the following week and the usual practice and Week 1 preparation in two weeks. There can be no setbacks for Baldwin to play in Week 1. Any delay in his recovery will put early-season playing time at risk and could mean trouble for the rest of his 2018 season.

Rex Burkhead | Knee injury | Preseason Week 1 | Returned to practice | Probable Week 1

Beat writer Jeff Howe was the first to report specifics on Burkhead's previously undisclosed injury, tweeting Burkhead was rehabbing a "slight tear" in his knee. That still leaves a wide range of diagnosis -- from low-grade ligament sprain to a worrisome meniscus injury. Reassuringly, Burkhead was back to practice last weekend. While it won't be surprising to see the Patriots limit Burkhead's practice reps over the next few days, his return to practice rules out many of the most concerning injuries. He's looking probable for Week 1.


INJURED PLAYERS ON ACTIVE ROSTER

Quarterbacks Injured | On the Active Roster
Player
Team
Injury
Date
Player/Team Says
FBG Expects
Notes
Phi
Left ACL reconstruction / LCL repair
Mid-December 2017
Started 11-on-11 work
Day-to-Day
Questionable Week 1
Phi
Right shoulder strain
PS Week 2
Returned to practice
Day-to-Day
Buf
Fractured collarbone
PS Week 2
6+ Weeks
6+ Weeks
Additional testing pending
Running Backs Injured | On the Active Roster
Player
Team
Injury
Date
Player/Team Says
FBG Expects
Notes
NYG
Left hamstring strain
PS Week 1
Week-to-Week
Week-to-Week
Probable Week 1
LeSean McCoy
Buf
Groin strain PS Week 2 Day-to-Day Day-to-Day Probable Week 1
SF
Right calf strain PS Week 1 Week-to-Week Week-to-Week 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
NE
Fluid aspiration knee joint PS Week 1 2-4 Weeks 2-4+ Weeks Questionable Week 1
NE
Knee injury
PS Week 1
Returned to practice
Day-to-Day
Probable Week 1
Sea
Fixation left index finger fracture
PS Week 1
3-4 Weeks
3-4 Weeks
Questionable Week 1
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
Day-to-Day Day-to-Day Probable Week 1
NYJ
Concussion
PS Week 1
Returned to drills
Day-to-Day
Probable Week 1
GB
Ankle sprain
PS Week 2
Day-to-Day
Day-to-Day
Probable Week 1
GB
Hamstring strain
Early preseason
Returned to practice
Day-to-Day
Suspended through Week 2
TB
Right knee sprain (? MCL)
PS Week 2
Day-to-Day
Week-to-Week
Probable Week 1
Was
Left high ankle sprain
PS Week 2
Week-to-Week
2-4 Weeks
Questionable Week 1
Phi
Left leg injury
PS Week 1
Day-to-Day
Day-to-Day
Dal
Hip injury
PS Week 2
Day-to-Day
Day-to-Day
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
Day-to-Day Day-to-Day Probable Week 1
NYG
Left high ankle / fibula fracture w/ surgery
Early October 2017
Practicing Day-to-Day Probable Week 1
Sea
Knee condition / soreness
Early preseason
Week-to-Week 3-4 Weeks Questionable Week 1
Ind
Left shoulder sprain
PS Week 2
Day-to-Day Day-to-Day Probable Week 1
Den
Wrist injury
PS Week 2
Day-to-Day Day-to-Day Probable Week 1
Phi
Right rotator cuff repair
Mid-February 2018
Active / PUP Week-to-Week Questionable Week 1
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
Sea
Toe injury
PS Week 2
Day-to-Day Day-to-Day Probable Week 1
Mia
Left ankle/calf injury
PS Week 1
Day-to-Day Day-to-Day Probable Week 1
Dal
Groin strain
PS Week 2
Day-to-Day Day-to-Day Probable Week 1
NYJ
Fractured ankle fixation / Hip strain
May 2018
Week-to-Week Week-to-Week Probable Week 1
Mia
Finger fracture
PS Week 1
Week-to-Week Week-to-Week Probable Week 1
Ari
Foot injury
PS Week 2
Day-to-Day Day-to-Day Probable Week 1
GB
SC sprain
PS Week 2
2-4 Weeks 2-4 Weeks Questionable Week 1
Hou
Hamstring strain
Early preseason
Week-to-Week Week-to-Week Questionable Week 1
Tight Ends Injured | On the Active Roster
Player
Team
Injury
Date
Player/Team Says
FBG Expects
Notes
Was
Sesamoidectomy?
? January 2018
Day-to-Day
Day-to-Day
Probable Week 1
Ten
Toe injury
PS Week 2
Day-to-Day
Day-to-Day
Probable Week 1
Cin
Microdiscectomy
Late October 2017
Day-to-Day
Day-to-Day
Probable Week 1
Chi
Right ankle sprain
PS Week 2
Day-to-Day
Day-to-Day
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
Ind
ACL tear
PS Week 1
Injured reserve 2019 return
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.