One All-Pro running back looks ready to return for his Week 4 Monday night matchup, while a couple of struggling starting quarterbacks could end up sitting this one out. Here are some key running back and quarterback injuries you need to pay attention to.
Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Pittsburgh Steelers
Probable – Knee
As was expected, Martin did not play against Atlanta on Thursday night last week due to a knee injury he sustained in the season opener. However, he was back at practice this week and is listed as Probable to start against the Steelers. Bobby Rainey, who started the two games Martin missed, will slide back into his backup role and should be viewed as no more than a flex option this week. Martin meanwhile has been a disappointment dating back to last season when a torn labrum ended his season after just six games. A legitimate RB1 as a rookie, Martin looks more the part of a RB2/flex right now, especially given the Buccaneers’ own offensive struggles.
Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs vs. New England Patriots (Mon.)
Probable – Ankle
Even though he was limited in practice it sure sounds like Charles will be back on the field just two weeks after suffering a high ankle sprain. He’s listed as Probable for the Monday night game and all indications are that he will play. The Monday night game complicates matters a little, but unless something changes between now and prior to kickoff of today’s early games, I think you need to plan on starting Charles. One thing to keep in mind though is considering how effective Knile Davis was during Charles’ absence, there’s a chance the coaching staff may try and limit the All-Pro’s touches in his first game back from injury. That said, as long as Charles doesn’t re-aggravate the ankle injury, I think he’s a safe bet for at least 20 touches against the Patriots.
Jake Locker, QB, Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts
Questionable – Wrist
The Titans took their lumps last week against the Bengals and apparently that included their quarterback. Locker injured his wrist at some point in the 33-7 loss and it was sore enough that it prevented him from doing much of anything in practice. Locker is Questionable, but if I had to put odds on him playing, I would place them well below the 50-50 associated with that designation. The other side of the coin is that since a solid Week 1 showing, Locker hasn’t played very well, providing one touchdown compared to four turnovers in the past two games combined. If Locker can’t go Charlie Whitehurst would get the call. Either way, unless you’re desperate or have no other options, I would consider the Titans’ QBs as being on bye this week too.
Tony Romo, QB, Dallas Cowboys vs. New Orleans Saints
Probable – Back
Back tightness continues to be an issue for Romo, who did not practice on Wednesday. But just like last week, he was a full go on both Thursday and Friday and is Probable for tonight’s home date with New Orleans. The Cowboys have depended on the running game early on this season, but the possibility of a high-scoring affair exists with the Saints on tap. Regardless, you are starting Romo, especially this week with six teams on bye.
Josh McCown, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Pittsburgh Steelers
Doubtful - Thumb
McCown got pummeled last week by the Falcons, leaving the game early after suffering a thumb injury. He’s listed as Doubtful for today with the expectation that Mike Glennon will start. The truth is you would have to be pretty desperate to use McCown right now since he’s looked pretty bad thus far. As far as Glennon goes, he was more than respectable (19 TDs, 9 INTs) as the primary starter last season when he was a rookie, so he has a fair amount of experience. The Buccaneers have struggled early on, but with six other teams on bye, I can support someone who wants to take a flyer on Glennon, especially as a QB2.
RBs Already Ruled Out:
Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints – Ingram broke his hand in Week 2 against Cleveland and underwent surgery. He’s expected to miss at least a month. Pierre Thomas will continue to serve as the primary receiving back, while Khiry Robinson will get the bulk of the carries, especially around the goal line.
Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead, San Diego Chargers – Mathews is expected to miss at least a month after spraining his MCL in Week 2 while Woodhead was placed on injured reserve after breaking his leg last week against Buffalo. Donald Brown will carry the load for the time being with undrafted rookie Branden Oliver listed next on the depth chart.
Knowshon Moreno, Miami Dolphins – Moreno is out at least a few weeks after dislocating his elbow in Week 2. He is hoping to return following the team’s Week 5 bye. Lamar Miller will continue to get the starter’s reps while Moreno is out.