Will Blake Bortles miss Week 6 with an AC Sprain?

Fantasy Football Injury of the Week:  How bad is Blake Bortles Grade I AC Sprain?

Blake Bortles has not typically been on the radar of many fantasy players since he joined the league in 2014.  However in 2015 he has had a sneaky good start to the season despite Jacksonville’s 1-4 record.  In my Yahoo league, he is currently the 7th best QB.  He has better numbers this year than our very own Peyton Manning (by a longshot) and fantasy studs like Drew Brees and Matt Ryan.

Unfortunately, Bortles may suffer a bit of a setback if he is forced to miss Week 6 against Houston.  Bortles suffered a Grade/Type 1 acromioclavicular (AC) joint sprain of his throwing shoulder at some point during Jacksonville’s week 5 loss to the Buccaneers.  Anytime a quarterback sustains an injury to the throwing shoulder it can be a scary situation.  Fortunately for Bortles, a grade one AC sprain leaves us optimistic that he will be able to play this week and here’s why.

What’s the difference between Grade 1, 2, and 3 AC Sprains?

An AC sprain is typically graded in its severity from a one to a three.  It easy to visualize the severity of an AC sprain in the graphic below:

ACJointSeperation-pic2©

A grade/type 1 sprain is mild or partial injury to the joint ligaments or capsule.  In this grade there is a slight tear or sprain of the acromioclavicular ligament.  This ligament helps to stabilize the AC joint and ultimately the shoulder itself.  Bortles likely will rest the shoulder this week and participate in physical therapy everyday to retain his range of motion, strength, and help control the pain with modalities like the Gameready ice machine:

File_000(note: this is not Blake Bortles)

A grade/type 2 sprain is a more significant tear of the acromioclavicular ligament as well the ligament below the clavicle called the coracoclavicular ligament.  

A grade/type 3 sprain is a severe injury to the shoulder.  In this situation, both acromioclavicular and coracoclavicular ligaments are completely torn.  The shoulder is very unstable and an athlete will often choose to have surgery to stabilize the joint by placing a screw or looped suture into the collar bone to anchor it back down.  This grade of injury will mean the player misses weeks or months of their sport.

So What’s the Prognosis?

Fortunately for Bortles he has been diagnosed with the most mild form of an AC sprain, a grade one.  Early in the week his shoulder probably felt sore and a little weak or unstable  He may have had some difficulty reaching overhead or across his body and lifting activities might have been uncomfortable.  Kinesiotaping can be helpful in giving stability and pain relief during this phase of recovery.

 

With daily physical therapy rehab, Bortles’ symptoms will likely improve significantly or resolve completely by Sunday.  

Prediction: Blake Bortles is able to play in Week 6 against Houston

 

Rotator Cuff Strain for Drew Brees (9-21-15 Fantasy Football Injury of the Week)

Stated Injury: Rotator Cuff Injury

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees suffered a shoulder injury in the second half of their loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  The injury appears to have happened as Brees was going through his throwing motion as an opponent’s attempt to swat the ball abruptly stopped the forward motion of his arm (video and more information here).  

Preliminary reports have referred to the injury as a “rotator cuff injury” or a “rotator cuff bruise”.  The rotator cuff is a collection of 4 muscles that run from the shoulder blade to the upper arm.  These muscles are instrumental in most movements of the arm, especially rapid overhead movements (like throwing a football).

The severety of the injury depends on what tissues have been injured (torn or bruised) and how much.  A rotator cuff strain (mild tearing of muscles or tendons) can usually be rehabilitated using stretching, strengthening and trigger point dry needling.  A full-thickness rotator cuff tear (most commonly occurring at the supraspinatus tendon) usually requires surgery and extensive rehabilitation lasting from 8-12 months prior to return to sport.  Furthermore, professional overhead athletes rarely return to previous form after a full-thickness tear that required surgery.  

Luckily, Brees was able to finish the game.  This suggests that his injury is less-serious than the one he returned from in 2006.  

Given the information at hand, the Therapydia Denver PTs believe that Drew Brees will miss one game due to a rotator cuff strain.  After a few weeks of treatment including Physical Therapy, he will return to full participation against The Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, October 4th.