Read the Week 12 Injury Watch from Kyle Trimble, a licensed physical therapist here to provide NFL injury analysis.
Week 12 Injury Watch
Kyler Murray, QB, Arizona Cardinals: Left AC Joint sprain
Murray suffered a right AC joint sprain in the loss to the Seattle Seahawks last Thursday. He has downplayed the injury stating that it’s good, but trainers tended to the right shoulder often during the game. On Tuesday, Murray was off to the side rehabbing on his own and not practicing.
I have little concern that Murray won’t play Sunday, but I am concerned about how accurate he will be. Most AC joint sprains take 9.8 days to return from to play, but with QBs, it can take upwards of 17 days on average.
He will likely get an injection for pain and possibly wear a harness for added protection, but don’t expect any Hail Murrays or many deep passes this week.
With the injury, he probably will have difficulty throwing deep, and overall his passes may lack some accuracy, forcing him to alter his throwing motion or potentially missing some targets.
Against a Patriots team fighting for its playoff hopes, I expect Murray to use his legs, the Cardinals running game, and short passes in order to win.
Joe Burrow, QB, Cincinnati Bengals: Left ACL, MCL tear
Burrow’s promising rookie season ended with a torn ACL and MCL with a devastating blow to the knee in the pocket. Reports confirmed additional damage including the PCL and meniscus which could delay surgery until the MCL and PCL can begin to heal.
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This could push the timeline for recovery back, altering his return to the field in 2021. He may not be ready for Week 1, but we have seen athletes defy logic and traditional timelines to return sooner and excel immediately.
This will be a wait-and-see approach in the offseason, though, and Cincy may be in the market for a stable veteran quarterback to hold things down while its franchise player heals.
Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals: Right midfoot sprain
Mixon continues to frustrate fantasy football players with a midfoot sprain that sent him to Injured Reserve to attempt to get right. After missing 2 games along with using the bye week to get healthy, Mixon missed his 3rd game before going to IR for at least the next 3 games.
The team has designated Mixon as dealing with a midfoot sprain, the same injury that Seahawks RB Chris Carson is still battling through. This injury is historically known to be tricky to manage and can be aggravated easily.
It’s not known whether Mixon aggravated it or if the injury is worse than originally thought, but it’s not certain that he will return after the remaining 2 games on IR.
This injury is troublesome because the midfoot is so vital to push off during walking, running, and jumping that it is difficult to allow the area to heal while not stressing the area further during any form of activity.
Grade 2 midfoot sprains can take 36 days to recover though can last upwards of 8 weeks which he appears on track to target. There is a possibility that he could require surgery in the offseason if things don’t improve. While the Bengals are out of the playoff race, Mixon could come back to help play spoiler for several teams still in the playoff race in December.
Looking at fantasy, if you haven’t already, grab Giovani Bernard — or if you miss out, Samaje Perine or Trayveon Williams.
The absence of Mixon along with the loss of Joe Burrow under center may drastically change the offensive identity of the Bengals.
Rex Burkhead, RB, New England Patriots: Right knee injury
While it hasn’t officially been confirmed, Rex Burkhead tweeted out that he will be ready for 2021 indicating that the fears of an ACL tear may be true.
The veteran back went down in the 3rd quarter this past Sunday with a right knee injury that simply did not look good.
As Burkhead is 30 which is ancient in NFL years, he has a long road to recovery to be ready for next season. By now, Damien Harris has been scooped up in most fantasy football leagues, but if you can get ahold of James White or Sony Michel, coming off fresh from IR, they may get enough carries to warrant rostering with the absence of Burkhead if you’re desperate.
Jayon Brown, LB, Tennessee Titans: Left elbow dislocation fracture
Titans linebacker Jayon Brown suffered a left dislocated and fractured elbow as a result of a chip block Sunday. During the play, his feet were knocked out from under him with Brown landing with his left arm outstretched in the classic FOOSH mechanism (Fallen on OutStretched Hand).
Unfortunately, his elbow was locked out resulting in the force of the fall dislocating and fracturing his elbow. This injury ends his season but he should have a full recovery for 2021. This will regrettably be a big loss to the Titans without their leading tackler as they attempt to win the AFC South.
Randall Cobb, WR, Houston Texans: Left toe injury
Cobb may have scored his final NFL touchdown for 2020 while suffering a left foot injury. Reports indicate that the injury is considered significant and he is currently getting a second opinion. When a team designates a toe injury, this is typically turf toe and this fits what is observed on video.
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While toes can be an annoyance to deal with, a turf toe injury is a sprain of the great toe, vital for push off during walking, running, jumping, pivoting. The area can be taped or a stiff sole can be used for support, but a lack of explosiveness and strong first step off the line could really hinder Cobb’s abilities to get open and obtain yards after catch.
Minor turf toe injuries can have timelines of 1-3 games but linger if rushed back too soon. The fact that Cobb’s injury is considered significant signifies that this may be a Grade 3 sprain that could require surgery.
Factoring in the Texans are out of the playoff race with 6 games left, I question whether it would be beneficial to return or if he could within that time frame at all.
Grab Keke Coutee if you need to get a bench wideout for fantasy football.
Kyle Trimble is a licensed physical therapist who also works as an injury spotter for Dr. David Chao. Kyle has extensive experience in outpatient orthopedics, skilled nursing, acute care hospital, and home care. He’s also a member of Bills Mafia and runs the website Banged Up Bills.
Disclaimer from Kyle: My opinions are my own. Any thoughts I have on the injuries are based on media reports, my knowledge of the injury, and speculation based on the information currently available including video and print media. This information is subject to change based on the information released by the team.
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