Fantasy focus: Hand sidelines Sproles for Week 9, maybe more
Darren Sproles will miss Week 9 after having surgery on a broken bone in hand
Drew Brees will likely spread Sproles' pass targets to the receivers and tight ends
The Saints have been vague, making it hard to set a timetable for Sproles' return
After undergoing surgery to fix a broken bone in his right hand, Darren Sproles will miss the Saints' Monday night game against the Eagles. Depending on the function he regains and his level of pain tolerance, Sproles could return in Week 10; it's a possibility, if not a probability. For Sproles, the complicating factor is that he primarily catches passes rather than takes hand-offs. If he has any limitations, it will harder for the Saints to adjust, as there is simply no way to get Sproles in space between the tackles.
With Sproles out, the Saints will shift some of the workload to one of their three running backs: Mark Ingram, Pierre Thomas or Chris Ivory. Ivory might gain the most touches, but he is clearly not going to be able to take the plays and role that Sproles did. Drew Brees will likely shift many of those targets around to his receivers and tight ends. Thomas and Ingram can be expected to be a bit more involved in the passing offense, with screens, curls to the flats and hot routes.
It remains unclear just how Sproles was injured, though it is likely that it happened during Sunday night's game with the Broncos. There was no clear moment of injury, nor any postgame reports. The Saints are also being vague about what actual bone was broken and repaired. That's crucial to determining a timeline, though once Sproles has a cast on, it will be nearly impossible to figure out unless Sproles or the Saints tell us.
Sproles is worth holding on to until there is more clarity on his timeline. A quick return is possible and patience could be rewarded.
SI Now: Should NCAA Student Athletes be treated as pros?
SI Now: What role will Tim Tebow fill for the Patriots?