Derek Carr's dislocated pinkie on the Week 13 NFL, fantasy football injury report
The red-hot Raiders will look to extend their winning streak to six games in Week 13 when the Bills come to town. The team is expected to have Carr under center despite the fact that the quarterback dislocated his right pinkie in two places on Sunday. Carr sustained the injury on a botched snap from center. He briefly left the game but later returned wearing a glove on his injured throwing hand.
Our joints are made up of bone, ligament, muscle and cartilage. The bones of the area form the joint, which are then fortified by the other neighboring structures. Unfortunately, if enough stress is applied to almost any joint in the body, the bones can be forced out of alignment. If the surrounding tissue can quickly correct this malalignment and force the displaced bone back into position it is known as a subluxation. If the bone or bones remains out of position the injury is known as a dislocation. Dislocations often require assistance from a medical professional to reduce or return the involved bone back its normal position. Occasionally, like witnessed last week with LeSean McCoy, surgery must be performed to fix the dislocation.
Once the joint is back in its proper alignment, the extent of the damage to all involved structures must be assessed. The integrity of the bone must be evaluated as well as any associated ligament damage. In extreme cases like an open dislocation, the fragments of bone penetrate through the skin, forcing extra care to mend the resulting soft tissue damage. Fortunately, Carr's injuries were closed dislocations and x-rays performed on the injured digit revealed no fractured bone.
Carr will spend the rest of the week managing the associated pain and swelling while preparing for Buffalo. He will likely wear a glove to protect the area though his throwing style should be largely unaffected by the injury. However, the injury could remain a problem when taking the snap. After the injury occurred, Carr took his snaps, including a kneel down to seal the game, from the shotgun formation. This allowed him to avoid repeatedly hitting the injured pinkie. Hopefully the injury will improve enough to allow Carr to take snaps directly from his center. If not, the injury could have an indirect effect on the Oakland running game and limit the value of Latavius Murray.
The Washington tight end played through a shoulder injury during the team's Thanksgiving Day loss to Dallas. The injury originally occurred in the first half when Reed came down hard on his left shoulder, placing an axial load through the joint. Oftentimes a force like this results in a broken collarbone, though Reed remarkably returned in the second half and managed to grab two impressive touchdowns. Imaging performed following the game revealed the extent of the damage, making Reed's performance even more extraordinary. Reed suffered a Grade 3 shoulder separation, a significant and painful injury.
A shoulder separation indicates an injury to the acromioclavicular (AC) joint. The AC joint of the shoulder is located where the distal end of the clavicle (collarbone) and a bony process of the shoulder blade (scapula) known as the acromion come together. The AC joint serves as a strut allowing for additional range of motion of the shoulder complex, particularly when elevating the arm above the head. The joint is fortified by multiple ligaments, including the acromioclavicular (AC) and coracoclavicular (CC) ligaments.
When the joint is dislocated, these stabilizing ligaments are disrupted. The severity of an AC injury depends on the amount of damage to the involved ligaments and any other nearby soft tissues structures like muscle. The least severe of these injuries is given a Grade 1 designation. Grade 1 injuries are considered minor, as the ligaments are overloaded but remain intact. A more moderate Grade 2 classification is applied to an injury where the AC ligament is torn with the CC ligament sustaining moderate damage. A Grade 3 shoulder separation is considered severe, with total dislocation of the joint and ruptures of both the AC and CC ligaments. With the ligaments torn, the collarbone often is displaced upward.
The degree of movement of the collarbone often dictates the necessary treatment protocol. Grade 3 AC injuries can be treated without surgical intervention if the shift of the collarbone is minimal. However, most AC joint injuries with significant clavicle displacement require a trip to the operating room.
For now, it appears Reed will avoid surgery, though the range of motion in his shoulder is significantly limited. He isn't expected to be an active participant in practice this week and admitted his shoulder is at 30 percent. The odds of Reed playing in Week 13 are slim and he'll be considerably limited even if he does manage to play through the issue. Vernon Davis instantly becomes a serviceable option at tight end if Reed is forced to sit.
Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski
The two key components in New England's offense are suddenly hampered, as both Brady and Gronkowski limped out of Sunday's win over New York.
Brady was limited in the days leading up to Sunday with an undisclosed knee injury. He appeared hampered throughout the game and gingerly moved around on the sidelines and in his postgame press conference. Information surrounding the injury remains unsurprisingly vague. Brady reportedly suffered a quad injury in Week 10 against the Seahawks, but there's been no confirmation that this is the problem currently bothering him. It's worth mentioning that the injured knee is opposite his surgically repaired left knee, and the two are not likely linked. Expect Brady to remain limited throughout practice this week but to try to play against the Rams on Sunday.
Gronk's return from a perforated lung was brief as a new injury forced him out of Sunday's contest. While initial reports indicate his back injury isn't serious, there's plenty of cause for concern here. Gronkowski has a lengthy history of back problems, including surgery to address a herniated disc in his lumbar spine. Like Brady, the team will evaluate his condition throughout the week, but don't count on the notoriously tight-lipped Patriots to offer much insight into the injury. Consider him a game-time decision for now and have a reliable back up tight end readily available.
T.Y. Hilton: The Colts wide receiver suffered a lower back injury in the team's Thanksgiving Day loss to the Steelers. He tried to return in the second half but was unable to continue, spending the rest of the game on the sidelines with his back wrapped. He did not practice Monday, but the team likes his chances of playing this week against the Jets. However, the Colts are the Monday night game, making Hilton a bit of a gamble for Week 13.
Allen Hurns: Hurns' lone reception resulted in a touchdown, but it was a costly grab. The 25-year-old wide out suffered a hamstring strain diving into the endzone. Hurns has struggled mightily since last year's breakout performance and has been limited to 34 receiving yards and four receptions over the last four weeks. A hamstring strain only compounds the problem, making Hurns waiver wire material for the time being.
Chris Ivory: Just as it appeared Ivory was grabbing control of the Jacksonville backfield, the veteran back suffered a hamstring strain against the Bills. Monitor his availability in practice this week to get a better gauge on his status for the weekend. If Ivory is unable to go, T.J. Yeldon, who is dealing with an ankle injury of his own, would become the lead back. As a result, it might be best to avoid Jaguars running backs all together this week, especially with the Denver defense coming to town.
David Johnson: The NFL leader in all-purpose yards also suffered a dislocated finger this week. Like Carr, it appears the Arizona running back avoided any serious complications and he should be fine for Week 13. It could increase his odds of fumbling, but Johnson is a must start regardless.
DeVante Parker: Parker's lower back injury is not considered serious, and he is expected to play against the Ravens. Tread cautiously here as his previous hamstring injuries could play a factor in his recovery, especially if this injury is muscular in nature.
Jeff Stotts works as a Certified Athletic Trainer (MAT, ATC, PES, CES). He won the 2011 Best Fantasy Football Article in Print from the Fantasy Sports Trade Association.