Dr. Jeffrey E. Budoff is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who wades through misleading coach-speak and vague team injury information to offer advice for your fantasy team.
AJ Green suffered a great toe ligament injury (turf toe) during Week 1’s game. Green finished that game, but it forced him to leave Week 2’s game during the first offensive series. He played Week 3, had the bye Week 4, then played Week 5. Green then aggravated his turf toe in practice leading up to Week 6. He missed Week 6 and will miss Week 7. He has already seen a well-known foot specialist and is returning to see him again this week to determine how much longer he needs to rest. The reports at this time state he does not need surgery.
Turf toe is a serious problem that needs to be taken seriously. Unfortunately, Green, like too many professional athletes, tried to play through it. Predictably, he aggravated it. Turf toe is a ligament injury that ‘takes its own sweet time’ to get better. It’s unpredictable when Green will be able to play again. However, it is highly probable that even when Green plays he will not be 100% for the rest of this year. It’s also possible that this injury could rob him of his top-end speed permanently.
I wasn’t expecting Carson Palmer to play for at least 6 weeks following his Week 1 axillary nerve contusion (ie. bruised nerve that controls the shoulder), which would have been this week. He was still only throwing at 80% of normal (his words, not mine) in Week 6, but was able to use his skills and savvy to play effectively. I’ve now read he considers himself 85%. He “felt great” after Week 6’s game, and had no setbacks from throwing during the game.
Things are looking promising for Palmer. It’s now unlikely that routine use, or the usual in-season overuse, will set him back, and he should continue to improve over time. However, he is somewhat risky as one bad hit that stretches out his nerve again or creates swelling around it could be enough to set him back to where he was after Week 1.
Robert Griffin III
During Week 2’s game, Robert Griffin III suffered, many injury experts believe, a dislocated left subtalar joint (the joint below the ankle that allows the foot to tilt in and out). Griffin has now healed enough to take part in individual drills. He’s throwing and doing agility work. The plan is for him to start practicing regularly next week. Coach Gruden has said he wants a week or two of full practice from Griffin before allowing him to play. If Griffin’s recovery continues uneventfully, this would allow Griffin to play starting Week 8 or 9.
While that timetable may be realistic, it should be noted that Griffin’s mobility and running ability, which was probably still not normal following revision ACL surgery following the 2012 season, will probably be even more limited for the remainder of the 2014 season. He’ll still be able to hand the ball off and throw passes. However, I would assume that his coaches will try to protect him by calling few designed runs and his scrambling should be less effective.
Darren Sproles suffered a medial collateral ligament (MCL) sprain during Week 6’s game. This injury is considered minor and I’ve read that he’s supposed to return in Week 9 or 10, following his Week 7 bye. Some reports suggest he could play as early as Week 8.
MCL injuries rarely need surgery. The amount of rest required depends on the degree of knee laxity felt on physical examination. Therefore, the Eagles’ team physicians should have a pretty good idea of when Sproles can return to play. I’d follow the reports from the Eagles’ camp following their bye week for updated information on when he’ll return to play.