In Week 5, another star quarterback went down with a concussion, a wide receiver who signed a new lease on his playing life after switching teams saw his season end prematurely, and a top-10 tight end is out for some time due to knee surgery.
The Green Bay Packers are faced with the prospect of potentially starting Matt Flynn this week after Aaron Rodgers suffered a concussion on his last offensive play during overtime Sunday. When speaking to reporters on Monday, head coach Mike McCarthy said that Rodgers "at a minimum will miss some practice time this week." His progress throughout the week will determine whether Rodgers can play in Week 6.
Meanwhile, the St. Louis Rams will have to make do without Mark Clayton, who had been their top receiver. Sadly, Clayton ruptured his right patellar tendon during Sunday's game and will need surgery to repair the tendon, followed by a lengthy rehab process. He is done for the season.
One of my favorite prospects for this fantasy season, Packers tight end Jermichael Finley, will be missing some time after injuring his right knee Sunday. Finley is scheduled to undergo arthroscopic surgery Tuesday to address a meniscus tear. According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Finley is expected to be out anywhere from three to six weeks. The time frame is broad, because much depends on the extent of the damage inside the joint and what exactly surgery entails. That in turn will drive how quickly Finley is able to resume football activities, including running and cutting. At this point, fantasy owners should mentally prepare for a lengthier absence and choose a replacement wisely. Don't look to Finley's teammate Donald Lee for relief; he left the game with a shoulder injury and is expected to miss some time as well. (Matthew Berry has a list of potential replacements on the waiver wire.)
Here's who else we're talking about after a rough-and-tumble Week 5:
Joseph Addai, RB, Indianapolis Colts: Addai made an early exit from Sunday's game after appearing to injure his shoulder. He did not participate in the team's light practice Monday. The Indianapolis Star reported Addai suffered a right-sided neck/shoulder injury after being slammed into the ground by Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Glenn Dorsey. According to the Star, Addai said Monday that "turning to the left is kind of sore," which would certainly be consistent with an injury to that region. While the first official injury reports will not come out until Wednesday, it is worth noting that Colts general manager Chris Polian appeared Monday night on the radio show of his father, Bill, and said that Addai was feeling better and hoped to play Sunday night against the Washington Redskins.
Meanwhile, as Tom James of the Terre Haute Tribune-Star noted, the Colts did have some good news on the running back front. Donald Brown, who has been out for two weeks with a hamstring injury, returned to the team's walkthrough practice Monday. He could be available this week. We should get a better picture of the running back situation as the week progresses.
Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions: If you were among those wondering whether Johnson could have come back in the game Sunday after injuring his shoulder in the fourth quarter, he gave the Detroit News a definitive answer, "No." Johnson didn't have to say much to indicate that there's some cause for concern. Johnson left the game after landing hard on his right shoulder while making a big catch and was later seen on the sidelines with the shoulder wrapped in ice.
Johnson reportedly underwent tests Monday and, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, head coach Jim Schwartz said, "I'm very concerned about his shoulder but we'll see how it goes this week. It's probably too early to make any determinations." Schwartz often limits his comments when it comes to injuries, so this expression of concern is certainly enough to make fantasy owners pay attention. The Lions have a bye in Week 7 so if there is any reason to be cautious, Johnson might be resting in Week 6. Stay tuned.
Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars: If you were watching this game, the sight of Jones-Drew in significant pain was very distressing. Just ask his teammates. According to Tania Ganguli of the Florida Times-Union, Jaguars quarterback David Garrard described the scare this way: "He [Jones-Drew] comes out and it looks like the season's over with his hand, the way he was screaming on the ground there," said Garrard, adding, "But he comes back in the game and is tough as all get out." Even coach Jack del Rio acknowledged that the usually quiet Jones-Drew "making a little noise" had him concerned. Del Rio went on to say that X-rays were negative and that there's "no issue" for Jones-Drew.
Ganguli reports that Jones-Drew had his hand on the ground to balance himself but was hurt when a group of defenders piled on top of him. With so many small bones in the wrist interconnected by numerous ligaments, this type of mechanism of injury is typical for a wrist sprain, but Jones-Drew is lucky that he did not suffer a fracture or dislocation, which could have resulted in missed time.
Fantasy owners have to be aging quickly as each week presents the threat of a new and serious injury for Jones-Drew, yet he keeps plugging along. So far this year MJD has dealt with a knee ailment that caused him to miss time in the preseason, a sore ankle that has limited him occasionally in practice and now the wrist. For the time being it appears that Jones-Drew remains safely on track to play this week.
Other quick hits
• Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy did not appear to be hindered much by his rib fracture when he put up 92 rushing yards on the San Francisco 49ers. Given his performance and the fact that he came out of the game feeling good, expect McCoy to be in the lineup for Week 6. It's too soon to say much of anything about McCoy's teammate Michael Vick, who is dealing with a rib cartilage injury. Given that rest is the best medicine, it's hard to accelerate the healing process for Vick and it is an exceptionally painful injury. It would not be a surprise if he is out this week again.
• Detroit Lions running back Jahvid Best had a better performance in Week 5 than the week before. Is it safe to say the toe issue is behind him? It's too soon to say that he's in the clear, as these types of injuries are easy to aggravate even weeks later. And there were times where Best still looked less than Best-like, but his stock is definitely on the rise again after this last outing.
• Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson emerged from Sunday's matchup no worse for the wear. Johnson, though sore, managed to scrape together 95 yards and, most importantly, did not suffer any setbacks. His teammate, running back Arian Foster, was banged up a bit during the game and had a sore knee. Coach Gary Kubiak told reporters Monday that Foster was able to run with the team and called his prognosis for Week 6 "good."
• Oakland Raiders quarterback Bruce Gradkowski left Sunday's game near the end of the first quarter with an injury to his throwing (right) shoulder. He did attempt to re-enter the game but he clearly could not play through the problem. The Contra Costa Times reports Gradkowski underwent further tests on his sprained AC joint Monday but those results will not be released until Wednesday. It's worth mentioning that Gradkowski had already been limited to some degree in practice during the week because of his right shoulder. Although coach Tom Cable has indicated that Gradkowski will remain the starter if healthy, his status is very iffy at the moment.
• The Cleveland Browns may find themselves starting rookie quarterback Colt McCoy this weekend, by injury default. Jake Delhomme sustained further injury to his already injured ankle. Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer reports that Delhomme now has a low ankle sprain in addition to the high ankle sprain he was already nursing. Delhomme entered the Week 5 game when backup Seneca Wallace went down with a sprained ankle of his own. The most significant fantasy player in Cleveland has to be running back Peyton Hillis, who entered Sunday's game with a quad strain. He delivered a gutsy performance, but his intermittent limping showed he was not at full strength. Hillis further aggravated the injury during the third quarter. At this point, there is no word from the team as to his Week 6 status, which will warrant watching as the week goes on.
• Denver Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno was not among those players listed head coach by Josh McDaniels as out for this week's matchup against the New York Jets. We will need to see what he does in practice this week before having confidence that he will indeed play, but at least there is some room for hope.
We will continue to update these injuries and others as the week progresses.