Monday Injury Rounds: Week 1 - Footballguys

Early expectations on Doug Baldwin and Saquon Barkley. Thoughts on when Carson Wentz will return. Projected Week 1 availability for every key offensive and defensive player.

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. 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 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

Jerick McKinnon | Right ACL tear | Out for 2018 season

It was expected to be a quiet week of practice before all 32 teams began preparing in earnest for Week 1. Unfortunately, on the last play of the final weekend practice leading into the 53-man roster cutdown, McKinnon suffered a non-contact knee injury and was quickly confirmed to have suffered an ACL tear.

There were no reports of additional injuries to the knee, which bodes well for an early 2019 offseason return for McKinnon. The Niners will now rely on a combination of Alfred Morris and Matt Breida.


Follow-up Appointments

Carson Wentz | Left ACL reconstruction / LCL repair | Week-to-Week | Out Week 1

The Eagles continued to allow Wentz to participate in team drills last week but did not clear him for contact, essentially ruling him out for Thursday night's opening game. On Sunday, Doug Pederson gave no indication Wentz would gain clearance this week. Barring an injury to Nick Foles in Week 1, the ongoing caution with Wentz's practice participation makes it doubtful we'll see him in Week 2.

Earlier this offseason, multiple Philadelphia coaches -- and beat writers who often know things but can only hint around them -- suggested Wentz would not return until he was recovered to pre-injury form. In other words, the team had no plans to play Wentz until he was cleared to play inside and outside the pocket. Despite a smooth rehab to date, the added complications of Wentz's LCL repair extend the usual ACL recovery timetable. Players with Wentz's injury need nine months or longer to recover. With that timetable, Wentz shouldn't be expected to return until sometime in September -- at the earliest.

So, we're now on a week-to-week vigil with Wentz that may eventually remind us of the frustration over Andrew Luck's unknown return last year.

That's not to suggest Wentz may be unable to return this year. Barring an unexpected setback, Wentz will play in 2018. But if the Eagles don't crash and burn with Nick Foles, it's now clear Philadelphia will not clear their franchise quarterback to play until the reward well outweighs the risk.

Monday Update: Albert Breer posted thoughts on Monday morning after speaking to orthopedic surgeons familiar with the type of rehab Wentz is working through. Breer didn't get any closer to an answer than we currently have, noting that the Eagles medical and training staff are continuing to strike the best balance between the time Wentz's knee would be anatomically full strength (as long as 18 months post-surgery) and when the stabilizing muscles are strong enough to limit his risk of re-injury.

We have no way of knowing where Wentz is along that continuum. It's reasonable to believe he's close or the Eagles would not be allowing him to run positional drills which involve planting and twisting.

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