You’ve consumed dozens of TV dinners while going through multiple tins of discount coffee (President’s Choice the best). Rest your weary head, because the Robert Griffin III watch is slowly, maybe, mercifully coming to a conclusion.
Griffin practiced today as expected, and shortly Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan will step behind a press conference podium and tell us exactly what his level of participation was. But if you’re prone to rapid, unhealthy breathing that’s prompted by excitment, don’t read the very positive reports from the portion of today’s practice that was open to the media. Rich Campbell of the Washington Times observed Griffin “moving fine” and planting his right leg, while also rolling out and completing a variety of passes.
So for the final edition of Five Questions for the 2012 fantasy season I checked in with Jene Bramel again. Bramel, a pediatrician with emergency department, urgent care and primary care experience, provides excellent injury analysis for the Football Guys, and he thinks there’s a better than 50-50 chance that we’ll get a Griffin sighting on Sunday.
1. Mike Shanahan has essentially said that Robert Griffin III won’t start until he’s 100 percent healthy. Is there any confidence that he’ll be fully healed by Sunday?
I doubt Griffin will be fully healed by Sunday, but it’s something of a semantic argument. I don’t think he has to be fully healed to be cleared to play. I think two things need to happen. First, his followup exams need to show that Griffin’s knee joint is stable. Second, Griffin has to prove to the medical team that he doesn’t feel any residual looseness in the joint. To do that, he’ll have to ramp up his practice time and make football-related movements under stress without limitation. If he shows that he can protect the knee in a game situation, the ligament doesn’t necessarily have to be in pre-injury condition for him to play. I think there’s a better than 50-50 chance he returns this week, but it’ll be up in the air until later in the week. The Redskins have – correctly – already shown they’ll be cautious with him.
2. If Shanahan backs away from that and Griffin is allowed to play at something less than full health, how concerned should his owners be about his mobility? Much of his fantasy production (specifically, about 40 percent of his fantasy points) has come on the ground.
I’ll be surprised if they clear him to play and then restrict the game plan to keep him in the pocket and shelve the designed zone-read running plays for a week. It’d be inconsistent with their rehab plan until now and Kirk Cousins played well enough to afford them the opportunity to allow Griffin to fully heal. But I’d want to see Griffin do more than limited individual work before I put him back in the elite QB1 fantasy tier this week.
3. Let’s move on to arguably the most concerning player not named Griffin. Roddy White appeared to be at least somewhat limited this past Sunday. Should we expect him to be at full health this week?
He’ll be at less than full health, but he should be more effective than last week. It didn’t appear that White suffered any setbacks last week and he was moving well enough to expect that another week of rehabilitation and limited practice should get him near full strength. A favorable matchup (at Detroit) makes him a safer bet to hit this week, too.
4. Looking at the defensive side of the ball, what’s your outlook for Justin Smith? The reports from San Francisco have been vague, but it seems he likely didn’t suffer a torn triceps. Russell Wilson owners will be watching this injury closely after the Patriots scored 28 points when Smith left the game Sunday night.
The Niners have been very vague on this one. I still think there’s reason for concern – Smith tried to get back in and play while his adrenaline was pumping in a huge nationally televised game and could not – despite the reportedly negative MRI and positive spin from Jim Harbaugh earlier this week. And there’s reason for the Niners to put a positive spin on Smith’s injury with a tough divisional matchup this week. I think Smith is probably more likely to play than not, but it won’t surprise me if this develops into a game-time decision. Regardless, it seems likely that Smith will be at less than full strength and that’s good news for the prospects of the already hot Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson.
5. Mike Mularkey likely fed Maurice Jones-Drew owners false hope when he hinted at the possibility of his running back returning over the final two games. For those in leagues where the playoffs extend to Week 17, is there any realistic chance that Jones-Drew is a meaningful fantasy player again this year?