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.
Aaron Rodgers | Left knee injury | Week-to-Week | Questionable Week 2
Note: This entire entry was re-written on Monday night. Thanks to the readers who asked for clarification of a poorly written set of paragraphs.
Rodgers had his left leg bent awkwardly underneath him on Sunday night. Despite multiple replays, it was not clear what type of injury Rodgers had sustained. Rodgers would leave on the cart for further evaluation -- which prompted concern for a season-ending injury -- only to return in the second half and lead the Packers to a stunning comeback win.
Though Rodgers was effective during the comeback, his movement in the pocket was obviously limited. He was reluctant to rotate over his front plant foot and could not bend his knee to tie his shoes in the fourth quarter. After the game, Rodgers said he was already experiencing swelling in his injured knee. He also reminded reporters he had a procedure to clean up his left knee in 2015, the same knee he had ACL surgery on in college.
Two major injury categories are possible here -- ligament or cartilage.
It's possible Rodgers sprained a ligament in his knee, most likely the medial collateral ligament (MCL) on the inside of his knee. Players sometimes play through low-grade MCL sprains. However, even a low-grade sprain can affect the stability of the knee and put a player at risk of more severe injury. it seems unlikely that the usually conservative Green Bay medical staff would clear Rodgers to return with a ligament injury.
The other possibility is a cartilage or meniscus injury. Injuries to these shock absorbers can be aggravated by playing but won't affect the stability of the knee joint and put other major ligaments at risk of injury. These injuries also lead to stiffness and swelling. Rodgers' post-game comments about wearing a sleeve to keep the joint loose fit a meniscus or cartilage injury more than a ligament sprain. And Rodgers' 2015 surgery likely addressed some leftover meniscus or cartilage issues.
Rodgers likely had an MRI on Monday but the Packers would only say they were continuing to gather information.
It's too soon to handicap Rodgers' odds of playing in Week 2. He's been cleared to play while hobbling through calf and hamstring strains in the past and he's going to push hard to play in a home divisional matchup against Minnesota this week.
However, he's likely more stiff and sore on Monday. The Packers' medical staff was very careful with his recovery from a collarbone fracture in the past and exhibited similar caution with other key players in the past. Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Bryan Bulaga, Jermichael Finley, and Morgan Burnett were all kept from playing until their worrisome injuries were near fully healed.
If Rodgers has a ligament injury to his knee and shows any signs of looseness to the joint, the medical staff isn't likely to clear him. If there are no worries about the stability of his knee, he'll still have to prove he can be mobile enough to protect himself from further injury by the end of the week.
For now, I think Rodgers more week-to-week than day-to-day. While there are no indications of a season-threatening injury, it's possible Rodgers will need more than a week to recover.
Leonard Fournette | Right hamstring strain | Day-to-Day | Questionable Week 2
Fournette told reporters he could have returned to the game after a first-half hamstring strain. However, the team didn't clear him to return to the sideline until late in the second half and the way he grabbed at his hamstring coming off the field raises concern. Expect him to have an MRI on Monday to evaluate the severity of his strain. Fournette will have the benefit of a late afternoon home game in Week 2, but he should be considered questionable until we see how much he does in practice mid-week.
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