It’s only Week 2 of the NFL season and the injuries are already piling up. Perhaps no game will be more affected than the Steelers-Jets contest tomorrow afternoon. New York's cornerback Darrelle Revis has already been ruled out, and other stars like Pittsburgh's safety Troy Polamalu may end up joining him on the sidelines. Here are some key injuries, and their impact, for Week 2:
Stewart, who missed last week’s loss to the Buccaneers with a sprained ankle, participated fully in practice Friday and is expected to make his season debut tomorrow against the Saints, despite being listed as questionable on the team’s injury report. Stewart’s return would be a welcome sight for Carolina, which rushed for a franchise-low 10 yards against Tampa Bay, although his fantasy value is limited by how he will share carries with DeAngelo Williams.
The Tennessee receiver, who will see the field for the first time in 2012 after tearing his ACL and MCL in Week 3 last year and serving a one-game suspension for an offseason DUI last week, is expected to play Sunday at San Diego but will likely be limited to just 15-20 plays. When back to full strength, Britt is the Titans’ most explosive wide receiver, but if Tennessee's coaching staff follows through with its plan to limit his playing time, he's an iffy option for this week.
Garcon, who had 109 receiving yards and a touchdown in the first half alone last week against the Saints, suffered a foot injury in the second quarter and did not see action for most of Washington’s 40-32 upset victory. Head coach Mike Shanahan has been typically evasive when answering questions about Garcon’s availability this week, only saying that it's a "pain tolerance" issue, which has been significant enough to limit his participation in practice this week. If Garcon cannot play at St. Louis, a sleeper fantasy pickup is unheralded second-year man Aldrick Robinson, who scored a touchdown last week and is the fastest among Washington’s receiving corps.
Jackson appears to be a dreaded "game-time decision" against Baltimore due to a hamstring injury. However, although it was looking less likely that the Eagles’ top receiver would play earlier this week, Jackson did practice in a limited role Friday, which has raised hopes that he may be able to suit up Sunday afternoon.
Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia Eagles (hip)
PHI vs. BAL, 1 p.m.
To add to the Eagles’ worries at wide receiver, Maclin has been limited this week in practice due to a hip pointer injury, but despite being listed as questionable on the team’s injury report, he assured the media yesterday that he will be in Philadelphia's lineup against the Ravens. A hip pointer occurs when a traumatic force, commonly due to a hard tackle or fall, is applied to the iliac crest (hip bone), resulting in bruising, swelling, and significant pain. This is a particularly common injury in football due to the relative lack of padding in the area. On occasion, bleeding can extend into the hip and abdominal muscles, causing decreased range of motion on top of the pain and swelling. Treatment is conservative, with rest, ice, compression, and anti-inflammatory medications.
Nicks has been limited in practice since last Wednesday’s season-opening loss to Dallas, and he's listed as questionable against the Buccaneers with a right foot injury, the same one that required offseason surgery. The Giants’ top wide receiver struggled through a four-catch, 38-yard performance against the Cowboys, and many questioned whether his lack of impact was due to lingering effects from the injury and his lack of practice time as a result. While it appears Nicks is likely to play tomorrow, it may take several games and more consistent practice time before he returns to his 2011 form.
Steve Smith, Carolina Panthers (knee)
CAR vs. NO, 1 p.m.
Cam Newton’s favorite target has been limited in practice this week due to soreness arising from a bruised knee. Although head coach Ron Rivera voiced optimism that Smith will be able to play on Sunday against New Orleans, the wide receiver is officially listed as questionable on the team’s injury report.
Nate Washington, Tennessee Titans (calf)
TEN @ SD, 4:25 p.m.
Although it appears that teammate Kenny Britt is ready to rejoin the Titans’ receiving corps this week, Washington – Jake Locker’s favorite target thus far – has missed practice the entire week due to a calf contusion. With Britt unlikely to see full-game action, if Washington is out tomorrow against the Chargers, Locker may need to rely on rookie wide receiver Kendall Wright and tight end Jared Cook in the passing game.
The Falcons wide receiver has been limited in practice all week due to a groin injury, which is an unfortunate sign for an Atlanta offense that may find itself in a shootout with Peyton Manning and the Broncos. The Falcons have not officially released their injury report, but White’s injury only adds to the value of teammate Julio Jones, who had a monster, two-touchdown performance in Atlanta’s victory in Week 1 over Kansas City.
The oft-injured Gates finds himself yet again on the injury report this week against Tennessee, this time due to a rib injury sustained in San Diego’s Week 1 win over the Raiders. The good news for fantasy owners is that Gates returned to practice yesterday and, as long as he is able to manage the pain associated with this type of injury, should be able to go tomorrow against the Titans. With Tennessee’s struggles to cover tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez last week (although who doesn’t?), as long as Gates does not suffer a setback in practice Saturday, he should be a solid fantasy play this week.
Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh Steelers (calf)
PIT vs. NYJ, 4:25 p.m.
There have been differing reports regarding Polamalu’s status for tomorrow’s game against the Jets due to a strained right calf. He hasn't practiced yet this week due to lingering soreness, and given Mike Tomlin’s propensity not to allow players to suit up on weeks in which they haven’t practiced, it appears quite possible that Polamalu may join teammate James Harrison on the sidelines.