It's week 11 in the National Football League, and the action will get started on Thursday night in South Beach as the Dolphins welcome the Buffalo Bills to Miami.
Week 10 was business as usual on the injury front. Some players managed to beat the odds and make it to the field in time for kickoff, while others weren't so fortunate. Once the week came to an end with the Eagles' 45-21 win over the Panthers on Monday night, a whole new spate of notable injuries emerged from another physical week of football as crunch time for playoff posturing begins to take shape.
Without further ado, here is your Week 11 Injury Roundup:
Both Sammy Watkins (groin) and Fred Jackson (knee) have taken the necessary steps towards playing in week 11 at Miami on Thursday night. Watkins was limited in Buffalo's week 10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, catching 4 passes for just 27 yards. He was, however, the recipient of a team-high 10 targets. The targets will be there for the talented rookie, but a short week combined with a nagging muscular injury and a difficult matchup in the form of Dolphins' corner Brent Grimes may have owners looking at other options.
Like Watkins, Jackson was also limited against the Chiefs. He played on 26 of the Bills' offensive snaps, but touched the football just 7 times, good enough for third on the totem pole behind Bryce Brown and Anthony Dixon. Jackson totaled 3 carries for 10 yards and 4 catches for 39 yards. He could likely draw another start in Miami on Thursday, but factoring in the quick turnaround and the nature of the injury, the 33-year-old is likely to be involved in another timeshare with both Brown and Dixon in week 11 against a capable Dolphins defense. Both Jackson and Watkins were taking part in practice as of Tuesday afternoon. Sammy Watkins looks set to play, but has a difficult week 11 matchup on his hands.
Speaking of the Dolphins, Lamar Miller (shoulder) looks likely to be limited once again this week. Miller initially suffered the injury during week 9, and played sparsely during his team's week 10 loss at Detroit, as Daniel Thomas and Damian Williams helped shoulder (pardon the pun) the load. Furthermore, the Dolphins signed LaMichael James off of their practice squad, further bringing Miller's status into question, though he did practice on Tuesday. Chances are, the 23-year-old will be limited again, as Miami eyes an extended break to get Miller prepped for week 12.
Reggie Bush picked up another knock during the Lions' week 10 win over Miami. Bush appeared to re-injure the ankle that has bothered him for over a month. The injury affected Bush, limiting him to just 5 touches in week 10. For a player who relies on quick changes and bursts of speed, Bush needs to get healthy, though Detroit does have both Joique Bell and Theo Riddick to call upon if the former USC star is forced to miss time or continues to see himself limited by the lower-body ailment. Keep an eye on Bush's practice status this week. The Lions will face the Arizona Cardinals in week 11.
On that note, one player who definitely will not be available when Detroit and Arizona tango this weekend will be Cards' QB Carson Palmer, after it was confirmed that the veteran signal-caller did, indeed, re-injure the ACL in his left knee. Palmer originally hurt the ligament as a Cincinnati Bengal in a January 2006 playoff loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The 34-year-old had only agreed to a new contract with Arizona just days earlier. Palmer is not an elite quarterback by any stretch at this stage in his career, and his ability to get on the field was very much in question earlier in the year as he battled through a nerve issue in his throwing arm. However, his veteran presence has been instrumental in helping guide Bruce Arians' charges to an 8-1 start, and the team will surely miss having him at the helm. Carson Palmer (ACL) is done for the year.
In the meantime, Drew Stanton will take over for Arizona. Stanton performed admirably while Palmer sat earlier this season, but does not quite possess the experience, leadership or other intangible traits that Palmer brings to the table. Rookie Logan Thomas will back up Stanton.
Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman is battling a dreaded mid-foot sprain, though the injury is believed to be mild in nature. An initial 2-3 week timetable has been slapped on the former San Diego State standout, which could possibly re-open the door for Montee Ball, poised to make a week 11 return after missing the last 5 games with a groin injury. C.J. Anderson may be the safer week 11 play for owners looking for a plug-and-play option, as Ball will likely be eased back into action. Anderson is fresh off of a 13 carry, 90 yard performance on the ground against the Oakland Raiders in week 10, adding 4 receptions for 73 yards and a touchdown. The Broncos' coaching staff loves Anderson and his skill set. Ball and Juwan Thompson could see carries, but Anderson is shaping up as the best week 11 play as Denver battles the St. Louis Rams.
The New Orleans Saints brought in a gaggle of free agent running backs including Mikel Leshoure and Andre Brown for workouts early this week, as they continue to wait on injured duo Pierre Thomas (shoulder) and Khiry Robinson (forearm). Neither player suited up in the team's week 10 loss to the 49ers, leaving most of the groundwork to Mark Ingram. Thomas was initially handed a 2-3 week timetable, while the team has been less forthcoming with details regarding Robinson's injury. Given that big backs such as Leshoure and Brown were worked out, it could suggest that Robinson, a bigger back himself at 6-0 220, is the one furthest away from a return. For now, Ingram looks set to continue his fine 2014 season, with a reeling Bengals defense up next for New Orleans.
Check back with Fantasy Knuckleheads for any further updates and news regarding week 11 injuries. Good luck to all this week!