Over the course of the next few weeks, we will be looking back at the numerous injuries throughout the year that affected big time fantasy players. For the purpose of this series, the emphasis will be placed on players who suffered season ending injuries or those who spent time on injured reserve. In the first part of the series, I recap the notable injuries to the quarterback position and discuss the implications for 2018.
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
The Andrew Luck saga continues. His season ended before it even got started, as he didn’t appear in any games in 2017. Luck underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder in January. Reports out of Indianapolis were positive throughout the process, but as the season grew nearer, the Colts traded for Jacoby Brisett, signaling that they knew Luck was not ready for the season. After weeks of going back and forth, the Colts finally shut Luck down about two months into the season and placed him on IR. After traveling to Europe for additional treatment and rehab, Luck recently returned the U.S. with some positivity and optimism for the 2018 season. The Colts have guaranteed that he will be ready for the 2018 season – stop me if you’ve heard that before. Luck himself has already admitted that he has yet to resume throwing, so until I hear that he is doing this without setbacks, I won’t feel confident in Luck’s long-term health. It’s also possible that Luck will require an additional surgery to relocate his biceps tendon, which is attached to his labrum. Because of its attachment to the labrum in the shoulder, the biceps tendon sees a ton of stress in throwing athletes and can become problematic. Luck’s future in the NFL is certainly in question, but I’m not ready to give up on him yet. We remain in ‘wait and see’ mode with the Colts’ signal caller.
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Rodgers fractured his collarbone in his right shoulder in Week 6 against the Minnesota Vikings. He was placed on IR after having surgery to stabilize the broken bone with a plate and screws. One major advantage of this intervention is that it allows for earlier range of motion and strengthening of the shoulder because the bones are stabilized via the hardware. Rodgers was able to return later this season in Week 15 but was then shut down for the final two weeks after the Packers were knocked out of playoff contention. He did have some soreness upon his return, but this is normal and to be expected once a throwing athlete returns to the field after this type of injury. I have no concerns about Rodgers entering 2018, and he should be 100% by the time OTA’s roll around. Worth noting, Rodgers broke his clavicle in 2013 and returned in 2014 to win his second MVP award.
Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans
It appears as though the Texans have finally found their franchise QB in rookie, Deshaun Watson. Watson set the NFL on fire during the first two months of the season but unfortunately, he saw his rookie year come to an early end after he tore his right ACL in practice heading into Week 9. Recent reports have surfaced that Watson is ahead of schedule, which bodes well for his Week 1 availability in 2018. It’s worth noting that Watson tore the ACL in his left knee during his freshman year at Clemson and underwent surgery to reconstruct his ACL shortly after the season ended, and he was ready to start in Week 1 during his sophomore year. Oh, and by the way, all Watson did was leading Clemson to the national championship that season. He’s proven that he can come back at an elite level, and he knows what the rehab process entails. He should be ready for Week 1, but it’s possible the Texans limit Watson during training camp.
Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles
Carson Wentz played his way into the MVP conversation prior to going down in Week 14 with a torn ACL in his left knee. After a promising rookie year, Wentz proved in year two that he is capable of being a QB1 for fantasy for the next decade without question. Unfortunately, however, given the timeline for Wentz’s recovery, his 2018 season could be cut short by a few games. He underwent surgery shortly after his injury in early December, so he has about 9 months to be ready for the start of the NFL season. Wentz will almost certainly be limited during training camp, and there’s a strong possibility that he could miss the first few weeks of the regular season. Return to the field after an ACL reconstruction surgery takes around one year on average, so owners should plan to be without Wentz for a portion of the season.
Josh McCown, New York Jets
Josh McCown had a surprisingly successful year in New York with the Jets prior to going down in Week 14 with a fractured bone in his hand. In fact, entering Week 14, McCown was the QB8 in fantasy. Shortly after his injury, McCown underwent surgery to stabilize the broken bone in his hand, and he was placed on IR, ending his season. McCown should be 100% for OTA’s, but his future in the NFL is uncertain given his age. If McCown decides to suit up in 2018 for his 15th season, he should be healthy.
Trevor Siemian, Denver Broncos
Siemian’s injury occurred during Thursday Night Football in Week 15 as he saw his season come to an early end. He was sacked, causing him to land on his left elbow. This sent a force through his upper arm and shoulder, causing his shoulder to dislocate in a posterior (backwards) direction. When this happens, there’s a high risk for a torn labrum and damage to the joint’s capsule. As a result, a surgery is often required in order to stabilize the shoulder, especially in a contact sport, such as football. Fortunately for Siemian, this injury affects his non-throwing shoulder, so his recovery and return to the field should be quicker than if the injury happened to his right shoulder. Expect to see Siemian participating in OTA’s in a limited capacity but ready for training camp at full speed this summer.