It’s the first Sunday morning of the NFL season, which means fantasy football owners across the country are getting ready to unveil their 2013 squads in full force. Throughout the season, SB Nation's Medical Expert, Dr. Ali Mohamadi, will provide his insights on the most notable injuries in the fantasy landscape and how they might affect your roster decisions on game day.
Here are some key injuries, and their impact, for Week 1:
JAC vs. KC, 1 p.m.
Gabbert, who had a solid start to the preseason at QB for the Jaguars, has been recovering from a hairline fracture of the right (throwing) thumb suffered in the team’s Aug. 17 contest against the New York Jets, but will start today’s game against Kansas City. The Jacksonville signal-caller suffered the injury when striking his thumb against a defensive player’s helmet, and he missed the team’s final two preseason games as a result of the injury. Gabbert finally were the two most likely.
HOU vs. SD, Monday 10:10 p.m.
Many fantasy owners chose Foster with one of the top 5 picks of their draft and have been holding their collective breaths regarding his right calf strain and its impact on his early-season playing time. Foster suffered the injury during the team’s organized team activities in late May. An MRI was negative, he has experienced enough soreness for the team to be cautious with the pace of his recovery. This is not a bad idea as a whole, as calf strains are notoriously prone to re-injury, especially if the muscle is overworked before having fully recovered. All indications are that Foster will share the workload Monday night with backup Ben Tate, making both viable fantasy options at running back.
Santonio Holmes, New York Jets, foot
NYJ vs. TB, 1 p.m.
Holmes suffered a Lisfranc injury to his left foot in Week 4 of the 2012 NFL season, the severity of which required surgery last October, ending his campaign. The Lisfranc joint is the point at which the metatarsal bones (the long bones that lead up to the toes) and the tarsal bones (the bones in the arch of the foot) connect. The Lisfranc ligament is a tough band of tissue that joins two of these bones, and it is important for maintaining proper alignment and strength of this joint.
There are three types of Lisfranc injuries, which sometimes occur simultaneously:
- Sprains: The Lisfranc ligament, as well as other ligaments on the bottom of the midfoot, are stronger than the ligaments on the top of the midfoot. Therefore, when they are weakened through a sprain (a stretching of the ligament), patients experience instability of the joint in the middle of the foot.
- Fractures: A break in a bone in the Lisfranc joint can be either an avulsion fracture (a small piece of bone is pulled off) or a break through the bone or bones of the midfoot.
- Dislocations: The bones of the Lisfranc joint may be forced from their normal positions.
Athletes who suffer an "unstable" Lisfranc injury as Holmes did, where the bones become misaligned, can take 9 months or more following surgery for a full recovery and return to action, so the lengthy recovery in his case is not unusual. However, the greatest concerns following treatment of a Lisfranc injury are whether the player can regain his pre-injury mobility and, over time, whether arthritis of the joint may occur. Holmes is officially listed as questionable for today’s contest at Tampa Bay, but if he is unable to play, Stephen Hill and Jeremy Kerley would be rookie QB Geno Smith’s most reliable targets at wide receiver.
ATL vs. NO, 1 p.m.
The Falcons’ receiver, who has not missed a game in his eight-year NFL career, sprained his right ankle in Atlanta’s Aug. 15 preseason contest at Baltimore, and is listed as questionable for today’s divisional matchup against New Orleans. White has practiced on a limited basis this week. Indications are that he will get the start this afternoon. His effectiveness, however, is a question given the relatively high risk of re-injury with ankle sprains. If White is unable to play or exits the game early, Harry Douglas would likely get the majority of snaps at WR alongside Julio Jones.
Ed Reed, Houston Texans, hip
HOU @ SD, Monday 10:10 p.m.
Although it seemed likely when Reed had surgery last April to repair a torn labrum that he would heal in time for the Texans’ regular season opener, the veteran safety’s recovery has been slower than expected. His availability is very much in doubt for Monday night’s contest in San Diego. Head coach Gary Kubiak has already announced that Houston’s high-profile free agent acquisition won’t start, with Shiloh Keo getting the nod at free safety, but could see some action against the Chargers.
The labrum, a band of tissue surrounding the hip socket, is responsible for holding the upper leg bone (femur) in place within the joint. A tear can result in significant pain and a "catching" sensation upon movement of the leg, with arthroscopic surgery reserved for cases in which rest, anti-inflammatory medications, and physical therapy do not provide relief. The typical recovery time from surgery is 4-6 months, with Reed now right in the middle of that window. Reed has participated in practice this week, which is an encouraging sign, although it would appear unlikely that he will be able to perform at his accustomed level of play over the first weeks of the season, at least.