The NFL today announced a small but very significant change to their injury report designations for the upcoming 2016 season. Previously, teams listed a player as either probable, questionable, doubtful, or out. After seeing that around 95% of players listed as probable wound up playing the following week, the league has gotten rid of that designation altogether.
Now, the questionable distinction means that “it is uncertain as to whether the player will play in the game;” the doubtful designation means that “it is unlikely the player will participate;” and the out designation means that “the player will not play.”
For a player who’s status for the game isn’t in doubt, the team simply won’t include him on the injury report anymore - but if that player doesn’t play, the team will be subject to discipline and will need to provide an explanation to the league.
It may seem like a minor designation because of the fact that probable players almost always played, but it will have a significant impact on the way teams use their injury reports and will have a big impact on fantasy football players as well. Now, a player who is dealing with any sort of injury will likely be listed as questionable, regardless of whether they’re likely to play or not that week. It will be very interesting to see how this changes the injury report and whether or not it actually makes the injury report more helpful or not.