Doc Talk: NFL Week 4 injuries
Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons
Falcons WR Julio Jones (hand)
Jock to Doc take: Jones suffered a lacerated hand during last week’s game against San Diego and was limited this week in practice, according to the Atlanta Falcons’ official website. Atlanta's young receiver most likely will be on the field to assist Matt Ryan’s efficient passing attack, but fantasy owners should realize that even the stats of a superstar receiver may be affected by a hand laceration.
Health Rating: Julio Jones @ 80%
New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills
Patriots TE Aaron Hernandez (ankle)
Jock to Dock take: Following a low ankle sprain against Arizona in Week 2, the second half of the Patriots’ explosive TE tandem was given a 4-6 week timetable on his return and will not be on the field in Buffalo. Before owners drop Hernandez from their roster, they should be aware that the Patriots’ release of veteran TE Kellen Winslow coupled with reports that Hernandez is getting around “fairly well” on his ankle may mean that he will return sooner than previously thought. We will examine his status next week for a more accurate timetable.
Bills RB Fred Jackson (knee)
Jock to Dock take: Jackson, who was expected to play this week following C.J. Spiller’s left shoulder sprain, said that he felt sore on Thursday and was not as optimistic about playing against New England as he was earlier in the week, according to WGR550.com. He claimed that his injury was “a little more sore than expected, but not too much,” which means that Jackson owners should be cautious about a small workload for Jackson’s 2012 debut.
Bills RB C.J. Spiller (shoulder)
Jock to Dock take: Spiller, one of the hottest fantasy players at this point, suffered a left shoulder sprain during Sunday’s win over Cleveland, but according to the Bills’ official website, he participated in Thursday’s practice to a greater degree than he did Wednesday. This bodes well for his Week 4 status. It was previously thought that Fred Jackson’s return meant that Buffalo could rest Spiller, but since Jackson is still highly questionable, it is unclear who the Bills will use most in their rushing attack. Regardless of who plays this week (which may be told by Friday’s practice reports), the Bills might have found themselves a dangerous RB tandem.
Health Ratings: Aaron Hernandez @ 0%, Fred Jackson @ 65%, C.J. Spiller @ 60%
Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions
Lions QB Matt Stafford (hip)
Jock to Doc take: Stafford worked with the first-team offense during the media access portion of Detroit’s Thursday practice, according to the Detroit Free Press. Sources say that it did not look like Stafford was being affected by his hip ailment suffered last game, so it looks like he is on track to start against the Vikings this Sunday.
Health Rating: Matt Stafford @ 80%
Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans
Titans WR Kenny Britt (ankle)
Jock to Doc take: The Tennessean reported that Kenny Britt was absent from Wednesday’s and Thursday’s practice. Owners should monitor his workload during Friday’s practice and be aware that if Britt does not practice, it is doubtful that he will play against a relentless Texans defense.
Health Rating: Kenny Britt @ 65%
San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs
Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe (thigh)
Jock to Doc take: Coach Romeo Crennel said that Bowe has a thigh injury and will be limited in practice Thursday, the Kansas City Star reports. The Chiefs wideout was not listed on Wednesday’s injury report, so this issue is presumably new. Because Dexter McCluster and Steve Breaston are banged up as well, it is possible for Bowe to get playing time despite his apparent ailment.
Health Rating: Dwayne Bowe @ 60%
San Francisco 49ers at New York Jets
Jets WR Stephen Hill (hamstring)
Jock to Doc take: Coach Rex Ryan claimed Thursday that Hill is “looking doubtful” for Sunday’s game against San Francisco. With Ryan’s comments, I recommend owners start another receiver in his spot this week, especially since one of the best defenses in the NFL will be on the other side of the ball.
Health Rating: Stephen Hill @ 50%
Seattle Seahawks at St. Louis Rams
Rams RB Stephen Jackson (groin)
Jock to Doc take: As Jackson continues to nurse his groin injury, he has not practiced this week, according to 101 ESPN. If the Rams starter is present during Friday’s practice, expect to see him leading the team’s rushing attack against a tough Seattle defense.
Health Rating: Stephen Jackson @ 65%
Miami Dolphins at Arizona Cardinals
Dophins RB Reggie Bush (knee)
Jock to Doc take: After Bush ran non-contact drills with the team Thursday, the Palm Beach Post reported, “you’d have no idea he hurt himself (this past) Sunday. Miami trainers will continue to evaluate Bush into the weekend and up until the game, but it is highly possible that Miami will use its starter against a hot Arizona team.
Health Rating: Reggie Bush @ 70%
Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos
Raiders WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (concussion)
Jock to Doc take: The Raiders wideout did not participate in practice all week following a concussion last week, the Contra Costa Times reports. Owners should undoubtedly pull him from their starting roster and look for Derek Hagan or rookie Rod Streater to start with Denarius Moore.
Raiders RB Darren McFadden (shoulder)
Jock to Doc take: McFadden was listed on the injury roster as questionable and was limited in practice this week, but this move is more than likely to keep McFadden fresh for the Raiders’ AFC West matchup with the Broncos. Expect to see McFadden with a full workload on Sunday.
Health Rating: Darrius Heyward-Bey @ 30%, Darren McFadden @ 80%
New Orleans Saints at Green Bay Packers
Packers WR Greg Jennings (groin)
Jock to Doc take: Jennings, who has been fighting a groin injury suffered a couple weeks back, was limited during Wednesday’s and Thursday’s practice, according to the Packers’ official website. Jennings will likely play on Sunday against a desperate New Orleans team, for he told ESPN that regardless of soreness, he will play at a high level.
Health Rating: Greg Jennings @ 73%
Washington Redskins at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Redskins WR Pierre Garcon (foot)
Jock to Doc take: While the Redskins starting wideout was limited in practice this week according to the Redskins’ official website, coach Mike Shanahan acknowledged this week that Garcon is getting better. Barring any setbacks during Friday’s practice, the Redskins and RGIII should have Garcon in their arsenal in Tampa Bay this Sunday.
Health Rating: Pierce Garcon @ 70%
New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles
Eagles WR Jeremy Maclin (hip)
Jock to Doc take: The Eagles’ official website reports that Maclin practiced in full this week, and he should be on the field as one of Michael Vick’s weapons on Sunday.
Health Rating: Jeremy Maclin @ 75%
Chicago Bears at Dallas Cowboys
Bears RB Matt Forte (ankle)
Jock to Doc take: Coach Lovie Smith was optimistic Thursday when discussing Forte’s availability for Monday Night Football. According to the Chicago Tribune, the Bears dynamic back was limited in practice this week while backup Michael Bush practiced without restrictions. It it is likely that Bush starts, while Forte has a a decreased workload.
Health Rating: Matt Forte @ 60%
Health Ratings: So what do the numbers mean?
100-85% = NFL players are tough and despite injuries still perform at a high level. Let’s be honest, when is an NFL athlete really physically 100%...practically never. With a rating in this range expect players to perform at peak levels.
70-85% = In this range a players performance will be affected but they can still get the job done.
55-70% = Players with a rating this low will require assistance to do their jobs. The team might be better served by placing these warriors on the inactive list. Only some All-Pro’s can get the job done when rated this poorly.
40-55% = These players need some more time to heal. Unlikely to be active unless miraculous healing occurs or my rating was based on erroneous information.
25-40% = Players will not play but show signs of recovery opening the door for a return to the active roster the following week.
< 25% = Players will not play and there is concern that additional games may be missed.