It was hard watching Justin Fields toward the end of the Atlanta Falcons game. It was clear he didn’t look like himself. He wasn’t running with the same speed people were used to seeing. That reality hit home when the Chicago Bears quarterback took a hit late in the 4th quarter while running out of bounds. It causes him to slam into the turf hard on his left shoulder. Fields came up ailing. While he did finish the game, he required a cart to receive medical treatment afterward. Some feared he could have a broken shoulder or a collarbone fracture. Fields admitted he was in a lot of pain during his media session.
David Chao is a former NFL doctor known best as the Pro Football Doc on Twitter. He’s one of the best in the business at evaluating game film and correctly diagnosing what likely injuries a player suffered. In regards to Fields getting his hamstrings worked on late in the game, he believed it wasn’t any pulls or strains. It was most likely cramps. That proved correct, as the QB admitted during his presser. The shoulder was another story. Based on what he saw from the replays, Chao is fairly certain Fields suffered what is called an AC joint sprain.
Justin Fields should be able to play if the Bears let him.
An AC joint sprain is when the capsule and ligaments of the shoulder are injured. The joint can become unstable and painful. Depending on the severity, such an injury often takes around 4-6 weeks to fully recover. As to whether Fields can play with it, the answer is yes. Kyler Murray suffered an AC joint sprain in 2020 and didn’t miss a game. That was to his throwing shoulder. Fields’ came on his non-throwing shoulder. So it comes down to whether the Bears coaching staff are willing to let him play if he gives them the green light.
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It’s a tough decision. The offense needs him to function. However, the ferocious New York Jets defense is up next on the schedule. Chicago is 3-8 and pretty much out of the playoff picture. Perhaps giving Justin Fields an extra week to rest and heal would be in his best interests. He could return for the Green Bay Packers at home and get two weeks to rest during the bye. Knowing how the quarterback operates, it’s a safe assumption he’ll push to play regardless. That is why the decision must be kept out of his hands if the injury is severe enough.