Week 10 Injury Watch: Christian McCaffrey

Read the Week 10 Injury Watch from Kyle Trimble, a licensed physical therapist here to provide NFL injury analysis. 

Week 10 Injury Watch

Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers: Right AC Joint Sprain

A rough season for McCaffrey continues in 2020 with his latest injury, this time to his right shoulder. The team has diagnosed him with an AC joint sprain that right now leaves him week-to-week per head coach Matt Rhule.

The AC joint is where the acromion and clavicle meet at the shoulder. This is similar to how a strut in a car functions and provides stability to the shoulder girdle.

Week 10 Injury Watch: Christian McCaffrey's AC joint sprain could cost him more time
Bony structures of the normal shoulder with ligaments and capsule. (Harvard Health Publishing)

While an AC joint sprain can be played through and many have, there is a concern that the Panthers may sit McCaffrey until he can heal appropriately. He missed 6 games with a high-ankle sprain suffered in Week 2.

He was able to come back nearly 100 percent with 69 yards rushing, 82 yards receiving, and two touchdowns in Week 9 before suffering the shoulder injury against the Chiefs.

AC joint injuries typically take 2-to-6 weeks based on severity to fully recover with most players missing 9.8 days from time of injury to return to play.

But the nature of the injury would typically mean McCaffrey had a Grade I-II and misses at least 2 games, if not more, and comes back with potentially a shoulder harness along with requiring an injection to manage the pain. This would allow for further healing and stability in the area so that he can absorb the hits required for his position.

Still, Carolina is holding out hope that CMC can return in Week 10:

https://twitter.com/RapSheet/status/1326898471924871173

For all those that took McCaffrey first overall in their fantasy drafts, this has been a nightmarish season with light at the end of the tunnel still a ways away.

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Jadeveon Clowney, DE, Tennessee Titans: Meniscus tear

Clowney is dealing with once again a knee injury, something that has plagued him through his career so far.

This time, it is a meniscus tear. Per reports, he is considering all options including surgery.

The meniscus is two C-shaped pieces of cartilage that act as shock absorbers for the knees during running and jumping. This also helps deepen the area that the femur articulates with the tibia.

He has been on the Titans injury report nearly all season, but dealing with the knee injury since Week 5. He has already missed Week 9 due to the injury and the concern is that he misses more. He could continue playing through it, dealing with swelling/pain with the possibility of locking up due to the meniscus catching. He could take some time off to rehab and calm things down to get through the later portion of the season.

Clowney could also have surgery to address the issue. He could elect to trim out the area and return after several weeks with a trip to short-term IR. The other option which is better in the long term for his health and career is to repair the meniscus which would end his season. He has already missed 1 game, but appears to be playing Thursday against the Colts as he practiced in full the past two days, but I question his effectiveness. He could miss future games if he aggravates the knee making his future availability in doubt.

Considering Clowney’s long injury history, specifically with his knees and requiring microfracture surgery, he has to give each intervention strong consideration. The quickest return to the field is surgery, but this could potentially shorten his career more than it already has. Considering this is his 7th season in the league, he is losing effectiveness as a pass rusher and anything that slows him down further may lead to his career-ending before he’s even 30.

The Titans defense is surviving without him but a healthy Clowney for the final stretch of the season is vital if the Titans expect to make another deep playoff run this season.

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Mitchell Trubisky, QB, Chicago Bears: Shoulder Labral Tear

Trubisky’s season went from bad to worse Sunday when he appeared for one snap on a read-option play and injured his shoulder. He was tackled on the run, upon falling, tearing his labrum in his throwing shoulder which assists in providing stability to the shoulder.

This is a devastating injury for a quarterback, especially on the throwing side as placing the shoulder into external rotation and abduction in the throwing motion during acceleration, putting stress on the labrum. This motion can cause further instability, leading to altered throwing mechanics along with pain and inflammation. The instability could worsen with further hits and cause additional damage, leading to further questions about his future along with his already suspect play.

According to research, this type of injury leads to time missed at 2.6 games when not surgically treated. If he were to have surgery now, his season would be over. As he is a backup, he is not worth rostering in a fantasy lineup.

Trubisky sustained the same injury in his non-throwing shoulder last season that eventually required surgery. The previous injury did not contribute to the latest injury, but having this occur to his throwing shoulder may severely hamper finding a new home come 2021.

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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