Eight teams left and seven games to go in the 2022 NFL season! The divisional playoff round is here, and daily fantasy and prop bets will be going off more than ever! The divisional playoff round injury report is here to help guide your decision-making for daily betting. I have no idea how this is possible, but in the Bengals vs. Bills game, there are no players listed on the injury report. Because of this, the divisional playoff round injury report will be quite short!
Jaguars at Chiefs
This one is the exact same report as last week. Trevor Lawrence has been dealing with a left big toe injury for several weeks. This has not forced him to miss any time, and he is playing as good football as he ever has (the first half of last week aside). Since it is his left big toe, this does not impact his throwing motion. If it were his right big toe, it would. The power from a throw starts from the ground up, meaning the push-off from the back foot is vital for power generation. Luckily, it’s Lawrences’ left toe. He will be 100% for Saturday’s game.
Edwards-Helaire has been on the injured reserve since his high ankle sprain in week 11. CEH has been designated to return from the IR and has resumed practicing. This gives Kansas City 21 days to decide if they want to activate him to their roster.
High ankle sprains occur when the ligaments that connect the tibia and fibula bones of the shin get injured, causing the tibia and fibula bones to separate from one another. This causes pain and swelling but also instability within the ankle joint. Usually, the tibia and fibula are held snugly on the talus bone (foot), creating a nice rigid foot and ankle complex to push off the ground to make cuts. When instability is present secondary to a high ankle sprain, the athlete cannot push off the ground with as much force. Less force during a cut means the cut is slower, and the athlete cannot change direction as quickly.
CEH has had 8 weeks to rehab from this injury. That should be plenty for the tibia and fibula bones to have repositioned and the ligaments to heal. Therefore, instability is not a concern. What can be an issue after a significant ankle injury is the development of persisting stiffness. Often times after a major ankle injury, the ankle will never fully regain its mobility. This does not usually impact athletic production, but can predispose to future injury. The reason being, our ankles are one of our main shock absorbers. Without absorbing shock, force goes to other regions of the leg and into the back, which could potentially lead to issues down the road.
That said, I do not expect much negative impact on CEH’s per-play production from this injury. Running backs average no decline in fantasy stats in their first game after a high ankle sprain. The challenge with trusting CEH in DFS or prop bets is the emergence of Jerrick McKinnon, who scored nine touchdowns from weeks 13-18.
Hardman has been out since week 9, dealing with an abdominal and pelvis injury. This is a classic sports hernia, which is a terrible name for the injury because it’s not actually a hernia. Hardman’s injury was originally listed as an abdominal injury but has since been described as a pelvis injury. A sports hernia is an injury to the abdominal muscles or groin muscles. Each of these muscle groups attaches to the pelvis, which is why they very often are injured together with a sports hernia.
I described this type of injury in great detail using the classic beer can analogy a few weeks ago when explaining Lane Johnson’s injury. This can be seen below.
Reports have stated that Hardman has suffered a setback while rehabbing. This happens ALL THE TIME with these injuries. The abdomen and groin muscles are impossible to offload, making it hard to rest and allow proper healing. These muscle groups are also highly involved with every athletic maneuver, making it very easy to re-injure. Often these athletes need surgery, which is very successful but would put Hardman out for the rest of the season.
Kansas City is likely hoping they can get a few big plays from Hardman a game the rest of the season, recognizing that they will not have him at full strength until next year.
Giants at Eagles
Hurts is off the injury report after missing weeks 16-17 with a sternoclavicular joint injury. Hurts threw the ball well in week 18 and are ready for a full workload.
I have stated since the time of his injury that I did not fear this would impact Hurts the rest of the season. In my clinical experience, the SC joint is very easy to treat. It does take some time for the injury to heal, and Hurts has now had a whole month. A month is plenty of time for an injury of this severity to recover fully. The challenge with this injury can be regaining the full range of motion. I talked about this a few weeks ago in a video, which can be viewed below.
The physical therapy techniques for the SC joint are very effective in regaining range of motion, and I am sure the Eagles training staff has been implementing these techniques. I expect no decline in Hurt’s production, and he is a high-upside play in DFS and intriguing for prop bets.
Hodgins is limited to start practice this week as he tends to an ankle injury. Hodgins shared a picture of his ankle on Twitter, which shows significant discoloration and swelling on the inside portion of the ankle.
This tells us the injury is either a high or medial ankle sprain. With the swelling predominately in the foot, I would venture to guess the medial ankle sprain, which is an injury to the deltoid ligament. A medial ankle sprain would actually be more beneficial than a lateral ankle sprain because the medial portion of the foot and ankle is less relied on for cutting. Pain and swelling, however, can impact muscle function. Hodgins played great in the first round of the playoffs, so we know he can play through this injury, but I would not be surprised if this slows him down this week.
Bengals at Bills
No players listed on the injury report
Cowboys at 49ers
Jennings is dealing with a “tweek” of his ankle. This report likely means an ankle sprain. Ankle sprains can slow down a receiver’s lateral agility and sometimes straight-line speed. Receivers average a decline of 1.4 fantasy points compared to their pre-injury baseline in the first game after an ankle sprain. It is unlikely this impacts him much, but Jennings is not very reliable as the fifth option in San Fransisco’s passing attack.