After two weeks with rampant injuries, the injury list for this weekend's NFL slate is relatively short. Nonetheless, there are several players whose statuses are worth monitoring until game time Sunday, for their teams and fantasy owners alike. Here are some of the key injuries, and their impact, for Week 3:
Steven Jackson, St. Louis Rams (groin)
St. Louis at Chicago, 1 p.m.
The oft-injured Jackson, who missed the entire second half of last week's victory over Washington with a groin strain, appears to be headed for a game-time decision on whether or not he'll play against Chicago. Groin injuries are notorious for requiring a lengthy time to fully heal, before which a running back's power, especially when it comes to cutting back, can be significantly limited. The good news for the Rams is that rookie running back Daryl Richardson filled in admirably last week in Jackson's absence, totaling 83 yards on 15 carries. Jackson's fantasy owners may want to consider handcuffing him with Richardson to provide insurance against a potential stint on the sidelines.
Another running back who has spent his share of time on the injury report, Mathews finally appears to be ready for Sunday's game against the Falcons after suffering a fractured collarbone in the preseason. The clavicle, which bridges the scapula (shoulder blade) and sternum (breastbone), serves as a strut keeping the upper limb apart from the midsection and allowing for maximum range of motion of the shoulder. A fractured clavicle, therefore, limits normal motion of the affected side's arm, making it difficult to carry the ball (and impossible to stiff-arm) until fully healed. Mathews has taken reps in practice all week and by all indications should split carries -- at the least -- with Ronnie Brown tomorrow.
The New Orleans receiver, who has gotten off to a relatively slow start this season, has been hobbled with a lingering foot injury that has caused significant pain in both games thus far. According to interim head coach Aaron Kromer, the Saints' training staff will assess Colston during pregame warmups before making a decision. A bit of good news in case Colston is unable to play tomorrow is that wide receiver Devery Henderson, who missed last week's game due to a concussion, has practiced all week. He's likely to play against the Chiefs; he joins Lance Moore as the best fantasy options at the position on the team. New Orleans can use all the help it can get after stumbling out of the gates to a surprising 0-2 start.
Garcon, who had established himself as Robert Griffin III's favorite target in the preseason, injured his foot early in the Redskins' Week 1 victory and hasn't played or practiced since. Now listed as doubtful with worsening pain over the course of this week, it appears that Washington will once again rely on Leonard Hankerson and Aldrick Robinson to fill in for Garcon at wide receiver. Neither is an outstanding fantasy option against the Bengals, although Hankerson stood out last week against St. Louis with a 68-yard receiving touchdown.
Lloyd was expected to provide a legitimate vertical threat for Tom Brady and the Patriots' offense, but he's been somewhat underwhelming through two games this season. Now comes word that Lloyd has been limited in practice this week with a thigh injury. With New England's coaching staff being as tight-lipped as usual regarding the type and severity of the injury, it's impossible to assess the likelihood of Lloyd's missing tomorrow night's AFC Championship Game rematch against the Ravens. However, the fact that he has taken the field three consecutive days in practice is most likely a positive sign.
The Jets' tight end, historically one of Mark Sanchez's favorite targets, missed last week's loss to Pittsburgh with a strained right hamstring and is listed as questionable for Sunday's divisional contest at Miami. That said, as the week has gone on, the optimism about Keller's likelihood to suit up this week has waned, and given the fact that he didn't practice Friday, it appears increasingly unlikely that he will suit up against the Dolphins. The duo of Jeff Cumberland and Konrad Reuland totaled four receptions last week for the Jets, but neither are outstanding fantasy options. Given the lingering effects of Keller's injury, even if he suits up tomorrow, he may not be a great option either.