Updated: Nov 1
Andrew Leduc, & Brian Scott, MEd, PA-C, ATC-Ret.
It’s week two and time for our chat with Brian Scott, host of The Injured List Podcast. With Brian’s unique view and experience, we are allowed a rare view inside the medical tent. Some critical injuries occurred in week one, and some key “bust” performances could be explained by injury. Let’s recap a little and see how they affect our teams moving forward to this week. Join us inside the medical tent.
Andrew Leduc: While watching some of the surprising slow starts in week one, do you think any of them were because of injuries?
Brian Scott: Yes, I do think that some of the injured guys who played were slowed by their injuries. Most notably, and I guess not surprisingly, were the several guys dealing with groin/hamstring (soft tissue) injuries. Although these guys were not found inside the medical tent, Zach Ertz and Russell Gage both only accounted for four receptions and 37 yards combined. Isaiah McKenzie scored a touchdown but only caught two receptions for 19 yards. Also, tight end Irv Smith Jr who played four weeks after suffering a fractured thumb, played and was never targeted. I’m not sure how much Matthew Stafford’s elbow was a factor, but he had a rough day with three interceptions, and his longest completion was only 28 yards.
Andrew Leduc: What is the outlook for Elijah Mitchell after yet another knee injury?
Brian Scott: The 49ers did not waste any time designating Mitchell to the IR, thus allowing them to make a roster move and fill the void from his 8-week projected absence. This tells me that it was a significant injury, likely a grade 2 sprain of the MCL (medial collateral ligament) of the knee. This ligament is a broad ligament on the inside part of the knee, and although most of the time it does not require surgery, it does take significant time to heal. It’s going to be a minimum of 4-6 weeks of protected weight bearing. Then it will be anywhere between 6-8 weeks of rehab and working his way back into the lineup. If you hope to retain fantasy value, he definitely should go to the IR.
Diagnosis: This is no surprise. After yet another knee injury for Mitchell, it is quite simply “next man up” time in San Francisco. I do not think this will be a huge change for the team and others’ fantasy values. Jeff Wilson should see the majority of the touches, but Jordan Mason is someone to look at for value. He can be involved in the passing game and should get some runs as well. The team likes to use two running backs anyways, so I can see both of these guys becoming useful.
Andrew Leduc: It was reported that Mac Jones needed an x-ray on his back after the game Sunday. Should we be concerned?
Brian Scott: Right off the bat, I was encouraged by the fact that Mac finished the game and only afterward required attention for his back injury. Most significant acute back/spine injuries are quite debilitating, so that was a good early sign. Reports Monday said he was feeling much better, and his spasms improved as well. All indications are that he is working through this and should be a full go by the weekend. I see no reason at this point to think otherwise.
Diagnosis: The health of Mac Jones has been a concern in New England all off-season with how poorly the offensive line has looked in training camp and pre-season. Right away, we saw the results of this with Mac developing spasms. It does seem like he avoided major injury, so you should be safe starting him, but I would consider having a backup plan for him. The spasms could return with one big hit and this could be an issue that lingers for him off and on all season.
Andrew Leduc: Another season, another major injury for the Cowboys’ signal caller. What is the time table for Dak Prescott to return?
Brian Scott: Well, on Monday, Jerry Jones said that Dak will not be placed on injured reserve, and there’s hope that he could be available in four weeks. I agree with Jerry on this one. There is a chance, albeit slim, that he could be ready. Drew Bree’s had a similar injury and had surgery in 2019. He missed five games and returned playing with a brace on but admitted that his thumb was not completely healed. Jimmy Garoppolo had off-season surgery to address a torn ligament and bone chip fracture in his thumb in 2021. Matthew Stafford also had a ligament injury and fracture to his throwing hand several years ago. The point is it can happen. I’m not sure it will be four weeks, maybe closer to five to six, but Dak already had the surgery Monday, so let the healing begin.
Diagnosis: First up is Cooper Rush. Rush can manage but definitely will not be able to carry this team if Dak’s absence is closer to the six-week mark. If Rush does not perform well this week, I could see the Cowboys making a move for Jimmy Garoppolo or another veteran quarterback. If you have a deep league bench and can afford to stash Garoppolo, I would consider it. The Cowboys offense still has CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup, and Ezekiel Elliot. Whoever is quarterback will have the tools to have fantasy success.
Andrew Leduc: Keenan Allen got an early hamstring injury after a pretty good start in the first half of week one. Can we expect him back soon?
Brian Scott: He injured his hamstring in the first half of the game and did not return. MRI showed no major damage, but he did miss the Thursday night game. I expect him to return in week three if feeling better and working back into practice.
Diagnosis: Luckily, it seems like not too much to be concerned about here. No surprise he did not play on the short week, but with the extra rest now, there is hope he will be back to a full go for week three. If he gets back to a somewhat normal practice schedule this week, I expect him to be locked in for a wide receiver one performance at home against Jacksonville.
Andrew Leduc: I was surprised Chris Godwin suited up in week one and also got involved. What does his new injury mean to his status going forward?
Brian Scott: Not sure why he played in the first place, seeing as how he was limited in practice all week, and only on Wednesday did he take off his brace and practice without it. Based on that, it seemed to me that he may still be dealing with some weakness or some functional instability. Then he got injured and did not play the rest of the night. So hindsight is 20/20. The Bucs are saying that he avoided major injury but will miss “a few weeks.” I think they realized their mistake and are doing the right thing by giving him more time. I expect him to be out anywhere between 2-4 weeks, but Tampa Bay has not officially said how long.
Diagnosis: This was a clear “rush back” in my eyes which is a perfect example as to why just because a player is active does not mean we should trust the health without more research. Chris Godwin could very well be out longer than he would have been if they just let him miss the first game or two. This means Mike Evans is back to gaining targets and the resurgence of Julio Jones, who looked surprisingly well in week one. I expect the two of them to carry the passing offense from Tom Brady.
As always, when it comes to being inside the medical tent, one door closed is another door open. The most obvious replacement is not always the one who will step in to fill a roll. For instance, if Clyde Edwards-Helaire were to get hurt, it does not mean that Jerrick McKinnon will get the majority of the rushing work moving forward just because he is number two on the depth chart. McKinnon plays a specific role on that offense, and that would continue. For me, Isiah Pacheco would step into Edwards-Helaire’s role. Sometimes you need to think deeper about a situation and really watch how an offense uses its players to find the real opportunity.
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