Week 5 NFL Injuries: Can Mac Jones, Daniel Jones Play On Ankles?

Written By Will Carroll on October 5, 2022
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As the Tua concussion investigation continues, along with his recovery, let’s take a look at the most significant injury updates to help us handicap NFL Week 5 odds. Two major offensive pieces remain in limbo in the Lions at Patriots game, which would have major ramifications on the closing line. Both New England QB Mac Jones (ankle) and Detroit WR Amon-Ra St. Brown (ankle) are questionable to play.

How well can they play with those injuries? What’s the latest news on other key injuries? Let’s explore.

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Notable NFL Week 5 Injuries

Will Carroll has covered NFL injury news and injuries in sports for more than 20 years and has written four books, including the newly published “The Science of Football”. He also consults with several pro teams. Will is currently the Director of Bioanalytics for Northstarr, a sports science startup company.

Editor’s Note

Colts at Broncos (Thursday Night Football)

JONATHAN TAYLOR RB COLTS (high ankle sprain)

The Colts have ruled Taylor out, but here is the context for future effectiveness if he returns Week 6.

Another high ankle sprain in the NFL? Yes, but let’s be clear. The “high ankle” is not an injury to the ankle. It’s the area above, called the syndesmosis. Just like most people don’t want to type out Tagovailoa over and over, they don’t want to screw up saying syndesmotic sprain on national TV. High ankle, sports hernia, these created names make sense, but also create confusion. Taylor has a low grade sprain, but the schedule works against him.

With the short week, the Colts workhorse is will not play and has been seen at practice in a walking boot Monday and Tuesday. The short week comes with a long week after and if this is as low-grade as the Colts have let on, Taylor should be back on the practice field next week. I wouldn’t be surprised.

Without him, the easy guess is Nyheim Hines will get more touches, but he’s not that kind of back. Maybe Frank Reich decides to throw a lot of short passes or even to go with a “02” package (no backs, two TE), but if the offensive line can’t get Taylor loose, Hines will have an even bigger task. Plus, he’s less helpful in pass protection. 

JAVONTE WILLIAMS, RB BRONCOS (sprained knee including ACL)

Javonte Williams was a hot pick for breakout back, but one awkward step cost him a couple knee ligaments, some other damage inside the knee, and the rest of the season. Functionally, its the ACL that’s the key damage, but there’s other damage that will need to be checked, including his LCL. He will require surgery and his season is over.

Williams’ knee was hit from the inside out, rather than the more common outside in, resulting in the more unusual pattern of injury, including the LCL (lateral = outside of body). The surgery and rehab are a bit more complex, but there’s no reason to think Williams won’t be back and normal in the space of nine months.

With the short week, Melvin Gordon (dealing with a minor neck issue) is going to be the feature, but his fumbling is an issue. The Broncos brought in Latavius Murray for depth, but he likely won’t get a big touch number so quickly. Expect lots of Gordon, some Mike Boone, and a whole lot of Russell Wilson doing what Wilson does against a Colts defense that will be without Shaquille Leonard. What Wilson does this week could really change some lines in upcoming games and create some opportunities. 

Lions at Patriots

MAC JONES QB PATRIOTS (high ankle sprain)
BRIAN HOYER QB PATRIOTS (concussion)

The Patriots get more heat for how they handle injuries than they deserve, but the gamesmanship was on full display last week. Bill Belichik’s press conference was the start, then a clear Mac Jones ankle injury but still having him dress and stand around practice. The Patriots went through a bunch of unnecessary things for no apparent benefit. Jones was not going to play and may not for a significant period.

The Mac Jones ankle sprain is severe, enough so that Jones’ representatives checked in with the Alabama team doctors that have been on the cutting edge of the Tightrope surgery used to repair a severe high ankle sprain. The idea that surgery could even be considered, then have Jones back a week later is ludicrous. What’s likely happening is that the Pats and Jones are taking a couple weeks to see how the healing and treatment works, since the surgery would be season ending either way.

With Jones out and likely out a while, Brian Hoyer stepped in, but quickly found himself in the concussion protocol. As always, we can’t predict how that will go, but we also don’t know yet if what Bailey Zappe did in relief will give him another week and a first start. Zappe was surprisingly good, so regardless of the QB, it appears that the …. Matt Patricia offense, cough … will function the same. That keeps everyone in play, though a week of prep might test Zappe more. I’ll stick to the unders.

AMON-RA ST BROWN WR LIONS (sprained ankle)

Amon-Ra St. Brown missed last week and there’s question about whether his ankle sprain has healed enough for him to go in Week 5 as well, with Dan Campbell saying that D’Andre Swift would be rested to pair with the upcoming Week 6 bye. The extra rest would help, but so would St. Brown right now, if he’s healthy enough to go. No practice yet as of Wednesday, but any will be a very positive sign.

If St. Brown plays for the Lions, the team will have a high degree of confidence, given the teams tilt to rest pairing. That means he’s likely the easy WR1 with TJ Hockensen’s targets going down slightly. This is still Jared Goff’s offense and Goff goes to his guys as much as any QB in the game right now. This is over territory across the board, especially if you get a conservative number on St. Brown.

Very few props are out yet for this game, with the key injuries mentioned above. Check back closer to kickoff for the best odds using our Prop Finder Tool to quickly reveal the best available prices simply by searching a player’s name.

Editor’s Note

Giants vs. Packers (in London)

DANIEL JONES, QB GIANTS (high ankle sprain)

A mobile quarterback and a leg injury is a bad mix. A mobile quarterback and a high ankle sprain is worse, since it affects the stability of the leg. In some cases, that mobile quarterback can drop back and be a pocket QB, but the high ankle sprain takes both those away. Jones had to come back out after Tyrod Taylor’s concussion, but was clearly hobbled. The word is that Jones will play, but expect him to be far less mobile.

With Saquon Barkley playing well for the Giants, the easy solution for Brian Daboll is to just feed the back, but everyone knows that. Jones will need short routes to keep his drop backs equally short and hot receivers rather than his normal scrambles. The defense may learn quickly they don’t need to spy him, another plus for coverage. It’s a real problem for game script and adding in the trip to London doesn’t help. I’m under on Jones, on Barkley, and on points here. 

Falcons at Buccaneers

CORDARELLE PATTERSON RB FALCONS (torn meniscus)

Cordarelle Patterson had been playing through a knee issue for the last couple weeks, but something changed in Week 4 and by Monday, he had a “knee procedure.” While the details haven’t been confirmed by the Falcons, Patterson had a meniscectomy, removing a small part of a torn meniscus. Patterson is on the IR, but he might not miss much more time than that, depending on how his knee responds. My guess is that we’ll see him back at practice in a couple weeks and returning this season, if not the minimum four weeks.

This is a tough blow as Patterson’s odd skill set is impossible to recreate. Tyler Allgaier will get the first chance to take over, with the fifth round back showing good movement over the past couple weeks. Arthur Smith’s offense is still a bit too down on talent to put up bigger numbers and the early lines on yardage seem reasonable. With a tough matchup against Tampa, I’m staying away from anyone on the Falcons this week and taking Tampa and giving the points.

  • Betting Angle: Falcons RB Tyler Allgeier anytime TD prop:

CAMERON BRATE, TE BUCCANEERS (concussion)

While everyone was watching the Tua Tagovailoa saga, Cameron Brate had the misfortune of suffering his concussion in eyeshot of Tony Dungy, but not of the concussion spotter. Between team medical staffs working and standing behind the team on the sidelines and the sheer number of plays, the spotter is in much better position, up in the booth, than anyone else. Unfortunately, an off-ball play happening into a mass of people on the sidelines is easy to miss and spotters are human. 

For Brate, he’s in the protocol and while he could clear it in time for Week 5, there’s simply no way to know. If he’s practicing on a limited basis by Friday, that’s a good sign. The rest of the Bucs WRs are almost as questionable. Breshad Perriman picked up a hamstring strain, while Julio Jones only got two targets before his knee issue took him out of the second half. Tom Brady could find himself a bit lonely (too soon?) and focused on Mike Evans and perhaps Chris Godwin, which is what most expected at the start of the season anyway. The offense seems out of whack still, so I’ll stick with unders here, even against a shaky Falcons team.

Titans at Commanders

TREYLON BURKS, WR TITANS (turf toe)

Last year, the Titans left Lucas Oil Stadium with Derrick Henry out for the season with a foot injury. This year, a bit earlier in the schedule, Treylon Burks left Indy with severe turf toeand there’s a chance his season will be altered as well. Turf toe is a sprain/strain of the great (big) toe and is both very painful, difficult to treat, and lingers. There’s no good way to treat it besides rest or in the worst cases, surgery to repair the damage. That’s not where Burks is yet, but the team may use the IR on him.

I spoke to a Titans player after the game who was livid about the turf. He told me it was uneven and that in places, his feet would “stick” and in others, his feet would “give.” That’s less the turf than the infill underneath, which is often seen on camera as a black puff. Lucas Oil Stadium was long seen as a problem and while new turf had some effect, it’s still clearly problematic. 

Burks was expected to develop and take a key role by the end of the season, though he hadn’t put up big numbers in the first few weeks. Robert Woods – coming off last year’s ACL reconstruction – is back to being the deep threat, but there’s not much depth. Nick Westbrook-Ikhine already had a bigger target share and is the likely solution now, but Josh Gordon lingers on the practice squad like a broken promise. My play is that Derrick Henry will get even more touches rather than re-distributing the passes. 

Eagles at Cardinals

JJ WATT EDGE CARDINALS (strained calf/heart arrhythmia)

I’m not a doctor, but for atrial fibrillation and cardioversion, I’m an expert, having had the procedure a couple years ago. A-Fib is a common but dangerous heart condition that is a problem of rhythm. Cardioversion uses an electrical shock to nudge the heart into rhythm, with the process automatic and quick. Comfortable? No, but the heart is instantly back into rhythm and I was back to my day.

I’m sure JJ Watt was as well, which makes his decision to play understandable. He would have felt far better on Sunday than he had Wednesday, just by having the procedure. There’s no rehab or down time, just the shock and the change.

There’s no way that the doctors would have let Watt play or even practice if they were even concerned. Indeed, it didn’t make the official injury report because they knew as of Thursday that he had less chance to miss the game from that than from his mildly strained calf, which was listed. The OIR is about availability, not injury, and things that don’t affect it don’t need to be listed. Watt should be normal and he showed Sunday he can still affect an offensive game plan.

Quick Hits:

Dak Prescott is back at practice, but doesn’t yet have the grip strength to make NFL-quality throws. He’s close, however, and a source tells me if he makes as much progress daily as he did over the last week, Week 6 isn’t out of the question. Week 5 would be pushing it, especially with Cooper Rush playing well … If Mac Jones could – in theory – return more quickly than Sam Darnold, despite a much more severe sprain, someone will have to explain it to me. Darnold’s not ready yet, but Week 6 is plausible, I’m told  … Russell Wilson banged up his shoulder last week and the short week could affect him. An under play on his yardage and Broncos points could be in order … One of the bigger stories over the next few weeks will be “where will Odell Beckham Jr land?” His knee is medically cleared, but he’s still not back to game shape. He’ll be a late season fit, so I don’t think he’ll sign quickly unless someone offers him bigger money than what he can produce. My guess is he’ll go where there’s poor depth, but a big chance at another ring …  Shaquille Leonard suffered a concussion and won’t have time to clear the protocol by Thursday’s game … Knee surgery is never good news, but Randy Gregory had his go better than expected. He had surgery after a scary looking knee injury and his ACL was intact. He did have a meniscus issue corrected, so he’ll miss a couple weeks … The Steelers have a number of injuries on the defensive side, but the most worrisome is Minkah Fitzpatrick. He’s dealing with an undefined knee issue, which could lead to some big Josh Allen numbers this weekend … Darius Slay was braced up following last week’s game, but I’m told the injury is not major and that he could play as soon as this week. While I couldn’t confirm it, it sounds like Slay has a bone bruise … Myles Garrett was lucky to escape his car wreck with only minor injuries, but the biceps/shoulder issue seems to be the biggest problem. A source tells me he was just too inflamed and weak in the area to be functional. There’s hope another week of treatment will have him back, but its a question mark here mid-week … There was a nice moment Monday Night when, after the 49ers win, both Jimmy Garappolo and Nick Bosa greeted Rams team doctor Neal ElAttrache. ElAttrache fixed Garappolo’s shoulder and Bosa’s knee. ElAttrache works on more athletes than anyone in the NFL, even from opposing teams.

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Will Carroll Avatar
Written by
Will Carroll

Will Carroll has covered injuries in sports for more than 20 years, working at places like ESPN, Baseball Prospectus, Football Outsiders, and FanDuel. He’s written four books, including the upcoming “The Science of Football” and consults with several pro teams. He is currently the Director of Bioanalytics for Northstarr, a sports science startup company.

View all posts by Will Carroll