Week 6 NFL Injuries: Why Russell Wilson Got A Shoulder Injection

Written By Will Carroll on October 12, 2022
russell wilson

Another week, and some more quarterback injuries headline uncertainty surrounding some NFL Week 6 odds. Most notably, Dak Prescott has returned to throwing a football for the Cowboys, the return of Mac Jones remains a mystery for the Cowboys and a news leak that Russell Wilson went to get an injection during a mini-bye after a brutal home Thursday Night Football loss to the Colts.

What do these injuries and others mean for their productivity either in Week 6 or when they return? Let’s examine.

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Notable NFL Week 6 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

Commanders at Bears (Thursday Night Football)

JAHAN DOTSON, WR COMMANDERS (strained hamstring)

Jahan Dotson has been a bright spot for the Commanders, but the difference between good and great in the NFL is often durability. Dotson left his Week 4 game and missed last week with a hamstring strain, but he’s still not back at practice and is OUT. Thursday Night Football odds have been in disagreement with Dotson out on who should be the slight favorite.

Dotson’s snaps went almost completely to Cam Smith, but the targets didn’t. Some of that is on Carson Wentz, but Dotson showed that when healthy, he can get open and give Wentz a deep option. The depth of target numbers are a bit deceiving, with some big plays late in games and go-for-it plays from Wentz skewing the numbers slightly, but it’s clear he can make those plays. That can be inconsistent, absent huge speed like a Tyreek Hill, but Dotson’s showing enough to think it’s possible.

The Commanders have been under the team total for three weeks and without their deep threat fully healthy, that’s a streak likely to continue. The Bears make that even more likely, even at the low total, and we may see even more underperformance from a team beset by a culture as much as a lack of talent.

Related Props: Washington WR Terry McLaurin

Vikings at Dolphins

TEDDY BRIDGEWATER, QB DOLPHINS (concussion)

Concussions have become the hot topic in the NFL again, with the new changes to the concussion protocol showing up quickly after agreements. The focus is on optics, rather than science. While I agree that seeing someone wobble around after being hit hard is tough and should lead to quick removal and assessment, there’s no objective standard for this. If we believe that Tua Tagovailoa was assessed by several doctors, had more assessments during the week following his episode in Week 3, but was not symptomatic for concussion, why should he be held out if cleared? Either we believe the doctors, or don’t, and if we don’t, what’s the standard?

This puts Teddy Bridgewater and the Dolphins in an uncomfortable situation. The team has gone from undefeated to third-string quarterback in the matter of a week and as yet, it’s unclear if Bridgewater will make it back in time for this week’s game. Concussions are always impossible to time. We just have to wait for players to step through the protocol, quickly or slowly as symptoms abate. 

Since we know next to nothing about Tagavailoa’s progress either – I’m told by multiple sources that he’s driving, which is a positive sign – the Dolphins are prepping third-string QB Skylar Thompson to start with the hope that Bridgewater clears the protocol and could be the backup.

This appears to be a practice reps issue rather than a true preference, but with the uncertainty and the issue with Tyreek Hill (more on that in Quick Hits below), the Dolphins offense is a near unknown. I like Unders here and the Vikings giving the points if it stays at -4.5 or better.

Betting Angle: Dolphins RB Raheem Mostert Props

Patriots at Browns

MAC JONES, QB PATRIOTS (high ankle sprain)

While the updates on Mac Jones have been sparse, the facts we have – severe high ankle sprain – still appear to match up with the expectation. If the team is on a wait-and-see to see how Jones heals up over a few weeks, hoping to avoid surgery, this is exactly what it looks like. The film we got of a bit of added mobility is also a positive. There’s almost no insight into when Jones could be back, but six weeks is the low side with this. 

That leaves Bailey Zappe as the unquestioned starter for now, with the injury to Damien Harris perhaps clearing up who’ll get the touches in this suddenly run-heavy offense. This isn’t going to be explosive, but Zappe’s shown he’s adequate. Jones is more talented and has a higher ceiling, but he’s weeks away if things go well. This is the Patriots we’re going to have for a while and your models should already be adjusted to lower scoring games.

Very few props are out yet for this game, with QB uncertainty. Use our Prop Finder Tool to quickly reveal the best available prices simply by searching a player’s name.

Editor’s Note

Panthers at Rams

BAKER MAYFIELD, QB PANTHERS (high ankle sprain)

Another quarterback has a high ankle sprain. That’s almost the least of the problems for the Panthers, with a new head coach and a lost season staring them in the face. Mayfield’s mild high-ankle sprain doesn’t have him ruled out yet and a grind-it-out approach might help in the locker room, but won’t help if he’s getting hit over and over. His mobility and stability will be challenged, but the staff will have to decide if that’s better for the team than a healthy and tested PJ Walker.

The Panthers are 1-4 against the spread. Going to Walker isn’t going to help with either of those, even with a double-digit number against the Rams this week. To answer a question someone had this week, it’s likely just a quirk that both Mayfield and Sam Arnold are out with high ankle sprains. There’s no correlation here, since we’ve seen plenty of others have this same injury. 

Betting Angle: RB Christian McCaffrey Props

Ravens at Giants

SAQUON BARKLEY RB GIANTS (sprained/bruised shoulder)

Saquon Barkley is two years post-ACL and seems to be “back.” I’d argue he never went anywhere, but that his lack of confidence in the knee and a bad offensive scheme made it seem like he wasn’t back. This year, his power is apparent and the threat of a passing game is getting him some fronts that he can run through. The knee hasn’t been a problem and shouldn’t be, this far out. However, his shoulder is an issue and given his running style, it might be more of an issue than many expect.

Shoulders are not protected very well in the modern NFL, despite the shoulder pads. There’s little that can be done for stability aside from something like a restrictive harness. Those don’t help if the issue is pain on contact and without contact, Barkley won’t be the same running back. He’s a battering ram, not a Barry Sanders. The Giants will treat him and keep him away from contact all week, but if this is more than a minor sprain or bruising – reports conflict on whether it’s one or the other, or both – a week might not be enough to be comfortable. There’s a chance that Barkley is in the same situation as last week, out early and watching Matt Breida.

The line appears to be baking in a normal Barkley, but I think there’s too much risk in that and in his yardage props this week. This would trickle down to Daniel Jones as well, who’s been playing through his own ankle problems the last couple weeks. I’d expect Barkley to play, but the effectiveness and ability to finish is my big question.

49ers at Falcons

NICK BOSA, EDGE 49ERS (strained groin)

Nick Bosa has a groin strain. Joey Bosa is out after groin surgery. That’s no coincidence, or is it? There’s simply no way to know, but similar bodies, similar genetics, and similar off-season programs certainly suggest that it’s not. Nick also has a history of groin strains stretching back to college. All in all, it’s complicated, but suggesting that both Bosa’s have soft tissue issues.

It’s not as easy as just saying “groin strain” either. There’s a lot of things going on down there, with different muscles and structures that can cause similar symptomology. It appears Bosa’s is more uncomfortable than dysfunctional, but that discomfort can be enough to reduce effectiveness or availability, as we saw last week. 

We should get a better line on his availability given practice this week. He’s likely to be limited then and on a play count in game, but it will come down to function. The Niners don’t fall apart without Bosa, but they’re clearly better. Facing Atlanta shouldn’t affect the number, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Niners are looking ahead to the Chiefs the following week, when Bosa will need to be full-go to keep up with the elastic Patrick Mahomes. 

Betting Angle: Falcons QB Marcus Mariota Props

Cowboys at Eagles (Sunday Night Football)

DAK PRESCOTT, QB COWBOYS (fractured thumb)

Dak Prescott started throwing last week, but a couple things have come up in the rehab. A source I spoke with said that while the grip strength to throw is the key, plays like what we saw at the end of the Vikings game, with the ball being stripped out, enter into the equation. “Sacks and fumbles are going to happen, but fingers get pulled in there and strength enough for throwing might get really problematic in a pile,” he said. 

This is true, but it’s not a muscular issue with the thumb. It’s a bone and one that was plated. The other issue that was raised is that maybe it’s not grip. “Matt Ryan keeps dropping the ball, and I’m seeing it more around the league. Strip-sacks are being taught now, but why are we seeing so many fumbles so early this year?” the same source asked. If Prescott can’t be counted on for ball security, it’s clear he couldn’t play, but this wasn’t – and isn’t – expected to be an issue. 

The other factor – and it is a factor, not a controversy – is that Cooper Rush is playing well. If the Cowboys were 90% sure that Prescott was back to normal, he’d play. They’re not, and they’re unlikely to see that much improvement ahead of the key game against the Eagles. Prescott will be back soon, but likely not this week and not before he has to be as long as Rush keeps the team in contention.

Betting Angle: QB Cooper Rush props

Broncos at Chargers (Monday Night Football)

RUSSELL WILSON QB BRONCOS (strained lat)

“Why did Russell Wilson have to go to Los Angeles for an injection?”

That was the question that seemed to hit Twitter when the news came out that Wilson had a strained lat (latissimus dorsi, a large muscle just under the shoulder). The injury is one that is more seen in baseball pitchers. So heading to see Dr. Neal ElAttrache shouldn’t surprise. He’s the team doctor for both the Rams, Dodgers and many players from other teams. There’s a reason that players from all over go to super-surgeons like ElAttrache, and it’s largely confidence.

The injury Russell Wilson has is manageable. It’s a mild sprain in a large muscle, one that’s actually used in transplants. The hope is that the PRP injection helps speed the healing. While something simple like ball velocity isn’t publicly available, a team source tells me that he’s not markedly off his norms. Neither are any of the Next Gen stats, so the arm doesn’t appear to be the issue, though anything that makes Wilson uncomfortable can’t help.

Like most things with Russell Wilson, I think this will get overblown and misunderstood. 45 seems very low for a game with both Wilson and Justin Herbert. I don’t expect Wilson to have much drop-off, but it looks like bettors think so, at least with the total. His game props will show up in this box closer to MNF.

Quick Hits:

Rashad Penny has a broken fibula, but those normally heal in six to eight weeks, which makes me wonder why the Seahawks are saying he’s done for the season. Likeliest scenario is that there’s some concurrent ligament damage … James Conner is still not practicing due to a rib issue. The Cards haven’t been specific, but he’ll be a pain tolerance play. Those can often come back quickly … The Pats haven’t put Damien Harris on the IR yet, but they’re always slow with that move. They’ll see how his hamstring responds to treatment and make a decision later in the week. He’s not going to play after a Grade II strain … Tyreek Hill was in a walking boot after Sunday’s game, but that was a precaution. Scans showed no major issues and he’ll work through treatments this week. Call this one a gametime decision, but if he plays expect normal participation, though with a QB3 tossing, production might be down … Both Kenny Golladay (sprained knee) and Kadarius Toney (strained hamstring) are, at best, GTDs this week for the surprising Giants. The injuries could wear them down if they can’t get out of this cycle … Rashod Bateman isn’t back at practice yet, but the hope is he can come back this week. Mark Andrews and Devin Duvernay got all the targets in his absence … The Bucs seem to be playing the long game with Julio Jones and his knee. It’s an interesting play as long as they can keep Chris Godwin and Russell Gage healthy… Darren Waller gets an extra week to heal up from his hamstring strain suffered last Monday. This one’s said to be significant, so keep an eye on practice reports, or let me do it for you … “No new damage” but “aggravated the previous sprain” doesn’t really compute for Dalton Schultz. What it means is that the healing (scar) tore away and he’s back to square one. Will the Cowboys have him play through it? It’s the Eagles this week, so yes … Robbie Gould has a knee bruise, so he should be back, but the Niners know that they’ll need a backup on hand as well… Expect Micah Parsons to have limited practices this week, but to play normally on Sunday. The worry is not that he’ll be limited, but that he’ll exacerbate the groin strain and miss time.

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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