Kyle Trimble is a licensed physical therapist here to provide NFL injury analysis. Read Week 16 Injury Watch: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Cam Akers, Raheem Mostert.
Week 16 Injury Watch
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, Kansas City Chiefs: Hip strain/left high-ankle sprain
Edwards-Helaire injured both his left ankle and hip while getting tackled late in the 4th quarter against the Saints. He required assistance in getting off the field, unable to place weight on his left leg. The official report by Ian Rapoport is that Edwards-Helaire suffered a left high ankle sprain and a hip strain.
While it is not clear which side the hip strain is on, the more concerning injury is the ankle. The rookie back will need to rely on a strong first step and ability to pivot in order to be effective in the playoffs. He is expected to miss the final two regular-season games, but with the Chiefs receiving a first-round bye, this will give Edwards-Helaire nearly a month to recover.
During this time, the hip strain will heal, but the left ankle will likely not be fully resolved. However, it could be good enough for him to split carries with Le’Veon Bell (an immediate fantasy football waiver-wire add for championship week) in the divisional round of the playoffs. A deep playoff run by the Chiefs could see Edwards-Helaire become more effective as he recovers.
Derek Carr, QB, Las Vegas Raiders: Groin strain
In the midst of a career season for the Raiders signal-caller, Carr suffered what is termed a significant groin injury that could really derail Las Vegas’ playoff hopes. The groin consists of the adductor muscles which assist with lateral movement and running, both vitally important for a quarterback.
The reported timeline for recovery is 10-to-14 days, which fits roughly in line with the research currently available. It is possible that Carr could return in time to play against the Dolphins since the Raiders last played on Thursday, giving him a few extra days to recover. If he plays, I would expect his mobility to be limited in dropbacks and scrambling. This could allow the Dolphins to capitalize on his injury to move closer to the playoffs and eliminate the Raiders.
Cam Akers, RB, Los Angeles Rams: Left high-ankle sprain
Akers suffered a left high ankle sprain in the 2nd quarter in Sunday’s game against the Jets before returning with his ankle heavily taped up. He wasn’t overly effective, finishing with 63 yards on 15 carries in the loss.
With Akers out at least next week, the Rams can rely on Darrell Henderson and Malcolm Brown in the interim for Week 16. It will be difficult for Akers to return in time for the postseason, though it is not impossible. Even if he does return for the Wild Card round, do not expect Akers to be effective. He will also hope for a deep playoff run if he wants to have a significant role in the game plan.
Raheem Mostert, RB, San Francisco 49ers: High-ankle sprain
Mostert ended his season prematurely due to an aggravation of his previous high ankle sprain back in Week 6. There is the possibility that he requires offseason surgery to repair the damage from this season. The surgery will stabilize the syndesmosis of the ankle in order for the area to heal correctly. If he requires surgery, the expected timeframe for recovery will take roughly 3-to-6 months with a full recovery expected.
Stephon Gilmore, CB, New England Patriots: Left partial quadriceps tear
The reigning Defensive Player of the Year will go to injured reserve as the result of a partial left quadriceps tear. He is expected to have ample time to make a full recovery, but his loss in the secondary should allow the Buffalo Bills to complete their first season sweep of the Patriots since 1999.
Nick Mullens, QB, San Francisco 49ers: Torn UCL in right elbow
Mullens, filling in admirably for the injured Jimmy Garroppolo, suffered a tear of the UCL ligament in his elbow on the 49ers final drive Sunday. This has already been determined to be season-ending with the possibility of surgery including Tommy John surgery to repair the damage. More information will have to be released in order to effectively establish a return-to-play timeline.
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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