Update: Kamara was a limited participant at practice Wednesday. It’s a good sign that he was out there, but the hardest part about a rib injury is contact. We’ll see what he can do the next few days.
Alvin Kamara was notably absent on some key plays as the Saints staged a comeback win over the Falcons in week 1. Kamara finished with 9 carries for 39 yards plus three receptions for seven yards. He played 38/61 snaps (62%) on offense and handled just 9/17 carries. Following the game Kamara said he was good, and the rib injury was later reported.
The Saints haven’t revealed exactly what his diagnosis but said they “feel good” about Kamara. There are a few possibilities when it comes to rib injuries. The best case scenario is a bruised rib, which can be very painful for a few weeks but shouldn’t significant’y impact performance and comes with a low reinjury risk. Then there’s a single non-displaced rib fracture. While painful, most players are able to return long before it fully heals (which can take 6-8 weeks). With extra protection and an injection to help with the pain, most running backs can return in a few weeks. Rib cartilage damage is another possibility, and it can be even more painful than a fracture.
If Kamara is dealing with a painful bruised rib, I would expect his usage to be slightly lower than expected in week 2, but by week 3 or 4 he should appear to be back to normal. If there is a small fracture or rib cartilage damage, Kamara’s performance would likely be impacted over the next month. That doesn’t mean he won’t have any value, but he won’t be handling 20 touches a game and finishing as a top 10 RB each week.
The Inside Injuries algorithm has Kamara’s injury as a grade 2 (moderate) rib injury. His Injury Risk is High (27%) and HPF Below Average (49%). That means that we will see a dip in his performance this week, but his numbers should actually improve pretty quickly if he can avoid an aggravation.
*HPF = Health Performance Factor (our metric to predict player performance based on health)