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Fantasy Checkup

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Welcome to the inaugural edition of the Fantasy Checkup, where two medical professionals will be providing analysis of significant injuries that could affect your fantasy lineups. Come back each Friday to hear what Brion Gardner, the staff orthopedist at Camp Lejeune, and Mackie Shilstone Executive Director of The Fitness Principles have to say about each week's injury report.


Dr. Gardner's analysis:

First, by virtue of the fact the Patriots are excessively and annoyingly vague about Tom Brady's injury, it is likely minor. Looking at how he fell on his shoulder, I would suspect he has a Type I AC separation, which is to say it generally is a "sore shoulder". (clever terminology). He participated fully in practice, which also indicates it is very minor. He likely would have practiced lightly if it were a more significant injury. Bottom line, Brady will play and will be spectacular as usual. I don't forsee any dropoff in his performance.

Troy Palomalu has an MCL tear. He should not need surgery. Of course there are three grades, 1 to 3. The time he misses will depend on grade. If it's a grade 1, maybe he missed three weeks. If it's grade 3, that's hard to tell. It could be six or more and will hinder him rest of season.

Bob Sanders didn't practice at all. He had offseason knee arthroscopic and just two weeks ago went to see noted orthodepic speicalist James Andrews for a "check up". This lets
me know he isn't close to returning. With arthroscopic surgery, if things are going well, they go well relatively quickly. If he wasn't 100 percent but was say 75 percent, he would at least practice in a limited fashion. He should be able to backpedal or run or something, so, I would say don't expect anything from him in the first couple of weeks. I checked the Colts' Web site, and they aren't even projecting to have him playing by mid-October. That was published just two days ago, so expect the Colts defense to have a dip in performance in his absence.

Carson Palmer practiced with an ankle injury. It is likely nothing. He doesn't rely on his feet to avoid rush so whether he has good blocking or not his production will be the same.

Anquan Boldin has been practicing in limited role. For a wide receiver who needs bursts of speed and to change directions quickly, a sound hamstring is ultra important. His production will be mediocre compared to his full potential. Luckily, the Cardinals have Larry Fitzgerald on the other side. It would help if Steve Breaston is healthy too, but he has been nursing a knee injury and has been limited in practice. So if the offensive line doesn't block well, Kurt Warner will be sore and won't be able to get ball to Fitzgerald.

Carlos Rogers has calf injury. That's usually not a problem except he is
a corner and needs burst for make up speed. If he goes down, Fred Smoot will step into that spot, which is a trade of good coverage skills (Rogers) for good hands (Smoot). It can pose a problem usually, but the Redskins defense should be able to put pressure on Eli Manning, and the Giants wide receivers are unproven . . . but don't fall in to the trap thinking they can't produce.

The Eagles are beat up all over, and it's hard to draw any conclusions from that except Brian Westbrook is on injured list (as usual) and will be dangerous if he is able to walk.

Parting thought: The Vikings didn't list Brett Favre on the injury list, but I'm sure he has broken ribs. (very interesting)


Mackie Shilstone's Analysis:

As someone who has worked with over 3,000 pro athletes over the last 25 years, as a sports performance manager -- a field which has as its primary purpose the client's career longevity in the often violent world of pro sports -- I have had to contend with injures in all forms. While I am not a doctor, physical therapist, or athletic trainer, I still must know how to manage each discipline and get them to effectively communicate to make the performance management system more effective.

Having high-salaried athletes sidelined with injuries for an extended period of time can be fatal for a general manager in the NFL. Welcome to the business world of pro sports.

NFL Football is the classic example of a car wreck with each play. The difference is there are no test dummies in the cars involved in the head-on collisions, which occur roughly 65 times per game. Human beings are inside the wreck and, they tend to break, more and more with each successive collision. That's why the career life expectancy in the NFL is so short, only about four years.

With that said, the week one NFL injury report released Thursday 9/10/09, was consistent with a physical preseason schedule where players in certain positions are attempting to gain a roster spot. Looking around the League there is, of course, the main course of knee injuries -- some keeping players out of action for extended periods of time -- such as the case of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady last year -- and others are just the run of the mill contusion or mild sprain. You usually see those players not practicing on Wednesday and/or Thursday of game week, yet in the game on Sunday. For instance, Kansas City quarterback Matt Kassel had limited action this week for a knee issue.

It was good to see in the first week a limited number of groin injuries reported (Buccaneers, Eagles and Giants). Having worked in the NHL for 10 years, groin strains or pulls usually represent fatigue related injuries.

This year is no exception when it comes to hamstring strains or pulls. I counted thirteen teams with one or more of these nagging problems. When I worked for a MLB team for ten years, I had to put together a "white paper" on why we were seeing a rash of these lower extremity problems. I might suggest to these teams that they look at a correlation to a deceleration issue, hydration problem, or lumbar spine issue such as low back pain.


And now for my injury selections of the week.

Let's go to New England where Tom Brady is coming back from a season ending ACL tear/repair last year. It seems that this preseason, he ran into Albert Haynesworth and his right shoulder (throwing arm) was injured. If he fell against the weight of Mr. Haynesworth, it would be a similar injury as a hockey player who goes into the boards with his shoulder first, potentially causing what is called a shoulder separation or dislocation. This, of course, is speculation and unfounded as far as I can see. As with all injuries, time will tell.

My second case is veteran safety Bob Sanders from the Colts, who has been reported to have a knee injury and did not practice on Wednesday or Thursday. From what I could see, he spent much of the preseason on the physically unable to perform list. The free safety is a critical position on defense, since this individual usually hails from a previous corner back experience and must size up the QB's intent rather quickly. The loss of Mr. Sanders to a knee injury means that the post pattern can and will be alive and well, as a potential target for David Garrard, who came out of my NFL Combine Preparation program.

Until next week, let's hope that injuries are few and far apart. But, no matter the game does go on after the commercial break.

By Emil Steiner  |  September 11, 2009; 12:04 PM ET  | Category:  Bob Sanders , Fantasy Check Up , Indianapolis Colts , New England Patriots , Tom Brady Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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