Matt Jones, Larry Fitzgerald on the training camp injury report

Matt Jones

Washington’s top running back made an early exit in Friday’s preseason game win over New York. Jones injured his left shoulder in the game, an injury that was later referred to as a shoulder separation.

By describing the injury as a separation, Washington revealed the specific area of the shoulder affected in Jones’ injury. The shoulder is composed of multiple joints and articulations. The primary shoulder joint is the glenohumeral (GH) joint. When it’s forced out of alignment, the medical diagnosis is a subluxation or dislocation. The term separation is used to describe an injury to a different joint all together. The acromioclavicular (AC) joint of the shoulder comprises the distal end of the clavicle (collarbone) and a bony process of the shoulder blade known as the acromion. The AC joint acts a strut for the arm and allows us to raise our arm above our head. To insure its stability, the joint is fortified by multiple ligaments, including the acromioclavicular (AC) and coracoclavicular (CC) ligaments.

A separated shoulder is simply a sprain of the ligaments of the AC joint. The severity of an AC sprain is assigned a grade based on the amount of damage to the involved ligaments and any other supporting structures. A Grade 1 sprain is considered mild and is marked by overstretching and microtearing of the ligaments. A Grade 2 sprain involves a tear of the AC ligament but minimal damage to the CC ligament and is often referred to as a moderate sprain. Injuries that receive a Grade 3 or higher are considered severe and are marked by a rupture of the stabilizing ligaments and an upward shift of the collarbone. These injuries generally include additional damage to the surrounding muscles and often require surgery.

Jones’ AC sprain was given a Grade 2 ranking and will keep him out for the remainder of the preseason. A return Week 1 remains a possibility though he would likely need to wear a protective brace on the area. If the necessary brace restricts his range of motion Jones could be limited in his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, downgrading his value and overall productivity. Furthermore the injury increases his already elevated level of injury risk and fantasy owners should bump him down a few spots on their draft boards. Rob Kelley and Keith Marshall will see an increase in workload over the final few preseason games with Chris Thompson remaining the primary option on passing downs.

Larry Fitzgerald and John Brown

The Cardinals receiving unit is collectively ailing with two of their top three receivers sidelined by injury. Fitzgerald is nursing a low-grade medial collateral ligament (MCL) sprain that kept him out of the team’s preseason game on Friday. The MCL ligament is capable of healing without surgical intervention and it appears Fitz’s issue is minor. He did return to practice over the weekend, but the team opted to follow that up with an additional day of rest. The former Pro Bowler should be fine by Week 1.

Brown has also returned to practice after missing a significant portion of camp with a concussion. He has yet to resume contact but it’s nice to see Brown back on the field after three weeks away. He doesn’t have a lengthy history of concussions and, if he continues to progress, should get a chance to build on last year’s breakout season.

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Turf Burns

Ameer Abdullah: In Detroit, Abdullah has finally shed the red jersey and begun to fully participate in practices. The Lions’ lead back has spent the majority of the summer recovering from surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder. He’s previously been able to take part in noncontact portions of practice but will now ramp up his workload in anticipation of the regular season. Abdullah may even see a few preseason snaps, though Detroit hasn’t divulged their plan just yet.

Tom Brady: The Patriots quarterback is already set to miss the first four games due to his suspension for Deflategate but a scissors mishap nearly extended his time on the sidelines. Brady sliced his right thumb while cleaning his cleats prior to the team’s preseason game against the Bears. The injury isn’t considered serious, suggesting it’s a simple laceration and didn’t damage any underlying nerves or tendons. New England remains unsurprisingly vague in their details, but it doesn’t appear this will affect Brady in the long-term or delay his suspension.

Ezekiel Elliott: The rookie running back continues to be drafted as a first-round talent despite the fact that he has yet to make his professional debut. Elliott returned to practice Monday after positive progress in his treatment for a hamstring strain, and Dallas remains optimistic he will play Thursday in the team’s third preseason contest. The Cowboys often treat this game as a dress rehearsal for the regular season, so a strong showing by Elliott would serve as validation for those gambling on him already.

Doug Martin: Martin didn’t play Saturday against the Jaguars as the team opted to treat his bruised ribs conservatively. The move was labeled as precautionary and he should be ready for Week 1 against the Falcons.

Jordy Nelson: Green Bay was happy to welcome back Nelson to the practice field. The 31-year-old receiver hasn’t played since tearing his ACL last August. His return was pushed back after he developed tendinitis in his opposite knee, a common occurrence following ACL reconstruction. It remains unclear if he will see any preseason action, making a high-round investment in Nelson a bit of a gamble.

Jordan Reed: The Washington tight end suffered a sprained thumb during the early days of training camp and hasn’t played in the team’s first two preseason matchups. He has been practicing and is expected to suit up Friday against the Bills. A thumb injury can obviously be limiting for a tight end or receiver, but it appears as if Reed should be unencumbered moving forward. A lengthy history of concussions continues to make Reed a precarious pick, though those willing to run that risk can now enjoy worrying about one less injury.

Stotts works as a Certified Athletic Trainer (MAT, ATC, PES, CES) and is a former winner of the Best Fantasy Football Article from the Fantasy Sports Trade Association.

Follow @RotowireATC on Twitter.

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