Fantasy football injury notebook - Week 4

Houston has a great pair of wideouts, as long as Andre Johnson (No. 80) can stay on the field. Donald Miralle/Getty Images

Here's a look at some key injuries in the fantasy football world that we'll be following ahead of Week 4 of the NFL season.

C.J. Spiller, RB, Buffalo Bills (quad): Originally, Spiller's injury was reported as a "knee" issue, but Bills coach Doug Marrone told reporters on Monday that Spiller was dealing with a "quad" injury. Marrone also said of Spiller, "I believe he'll be fine." For his part, Spiller told reporters he wasn't exactly sure how the injury happened, but he knew there was a problem when he was limping. He wanted to try to return in the second half but said he "couldn't get power, explosiveness" off that leg. As he acknowledged, he did not want to put the team in jeopardy if he couldn't perform, and he also needed to protect himself, hence the decision to remain out for the rest of the game. Spiller says he is taking it day by day, and hopes to return Sunday. However, the first true test will come in practice this week.

Andre Johnson, WR, Houston Texans, (shin): After suffering a concussion in Week 2, Johnson progressed well enough through the week to play in Week 3. Unfortunately, he didn't last the entire game for the second week in a row after suffering a shin bruise in the second quarter. Initial X-rays taken at halftime were negative, and Johnson attempted a return in the second half. His inability to run normally was the deciding factor in his removal for the remainder of the contest. As ESPN.com's Tania Ganguli reported, the coaches spotted it right away, but even Johnson was forced to acknowledge he was not himself.

"I know when I went out there I couldn't play the way I am capable of playing," Johnson said, adding, "You see the film -- I'm limping around out there trying to play."

It's not surprising that Johnson's running was impaired. Any bruising or swelling in the leg area will inhibit the muscles that control the foot and ankle. On Monday, coach Gary Kubiak labeled Johnson as day-to-day, and the Texans are again hopeful that he will progress well through the week and be ready for Sunday.

Vincent Jackson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (ribs): Jackson could be seen on the sideline during the third quarter of Sunday's game sitting on the bench with his jersey elevated, a member of the medical staff gently poking and prodding the rib cage and abdominal area. That was our first clue that Jackson was likely dealing with a rib injury, something that was confirmed on Monday. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, a league source indicates the injury is not serious, but Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano said Monday he is unsure of Jackson's availability for Week 4. In the absence of a major injury, this will likely come down to how well Jackson will be able to function in the presence of pain, especially reaching and twisting. Even breathing hard can be painful with a rib injury, potentially making even straight-line running difficult. Expect Jackson to get rest early in the week, with a decision potentially being postponed until closer to game day.

Miles Austin, WR, Dallas Cowboys (hamstring): Austin has now hit the trifecta. This latest episode marks three consecutive seasons of dealing with some form of an injury to his hamstring, although this incident is not believed to be serious. It really is unfortunate, since both Austin and the Cowboys have tried various methods of training and practice regimens to help prevent this type of thing from happening. The fact it has happened anyway reminds us how difficult it is to completely prevent these injuries, especially in an individual who seems to be prone to them.

As far as this particular setback, Austin strained his left hamstring in the third quarter of Sunday's game, but as ESPN.com's Todd Archer reported, the Cowboys do not believe this injury is serious. Head coach Jason Garrett offered this assessment: "We don't think it's a severe hamstring injury, but we'll take his injury day to day and see how he progresses as the week goes on." Whether he returns this week or not, the confidence level in Austin's ability to avoid an exacerbation of a hamstring problem is perhaps at an all-time low.

Terrelle Pryor, QB, Oakland Raiders (concussion): Pryor suffered a concussion late in Monday night's game. As is the case with all players, Pryor will need to progress through a structured protocol before he can be eligible to return. It is worth considering that he has one fewer day to do so, given that his injury occurred on a Monday night. Fantasy owners should consider the possibility that he may be sidelined.