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Week 6 Fantasy Check Up

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Welcome back to Fantasy Checkup, where our medical professionals provide us 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.

Mackie Shilstone's Analysis:

Looking around the league this week, the St. Louis Rams QB Kyle Boller sustained a mild concussion against last week's loss in Minnesota. He will need to undergo testing to determine his status.

Elsewhere, in the Seahawks' victory over the Jaguars last Sunday, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselback, who had previously been sidelined with a broken rib, threw four touchdown passes in their 41-0 victory over Jacksonville. Keep in mind that the Seahawks were still without seven starters and most from Hasselback's protection on the offensive line. Not a good situation with a QB with a recent medical history of a broken rib.

Speaking of damaged ribs, the same might be said of the success of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb running and passing in the Eagles' victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

If you will recall from my analysis last week regarding Saints' running back Pierre Thomas, I saw him put his hand on the outside of his right hamstring, after getting up from a tackle. I said we needed to watch the injury report this week. Sure enough on Wednesday, the Saints listed Pierre as limited in practice with a hamstring injury.

From a global perspective, take a look at a trend developing in the N.F.L team injury reports. As of Wednesday, teams started to curtail the practice of certain players based on specific injuries. We call this trend planned rest and recovery hoping the injury listed is minor and rest will solve the problem. The injury is somewhat irrelevant but the trend is worth noting. For some teams it is desperation.

Take a look :

Detroit -- Eight players did not practice on Wednesday.

Oakland -- Three players did not practice Wednesday and four were listed as out (definitely will not play).

Seattle -- Listed five players as not practicing on Wednesday.

Tennessee -- Listed six players as did not practice on Wednesday.

New England -- Listed four players who did not practice on Wednesday and eight players as limited in practice.

Pittsburgh -- Listed five players as did not practice on Wednesday.

Keep in mind that Tuesday is usually the off day for NFL teams. You are starting to see the rationing of practice time to prevent further injury to key players. At some point, it seems that practice for the next game can be limited to two days. You would not see this situation in many other technical/tactical sports such as boxing, hockey, and soccer where loss of playing time can have serious effects on a players most valued attribute-timing. The NFL gets away with it because the game is extremely slanted to favor the offense over the defense.

Let's keep an eye on these types of trends as the season develops.


Dr. Gardner's analysis:

This week of the injury season has little in the way of shocking news. Headlining the list of those hobbled may be Detroit Lions wideout Calvin Johnson. He entered last Sunday's game with a thigh bruise that wasn't expected to limit his production. However, he sustained a knee injury that forced him to leave the game. The Lions head coach has been very reluctant to divulge details concerning the knee, only to mention that the injury is "not significant". Johnson did not practice at all week. This leads me to believe that he may play, however, he will be slowed by these injuries.

We will revisit some other big names on our frequently injured list. Pierre Thomas is nursing a hamstring injury. It is not uncommon to injury a hamstring or quad when recovering from a knee injury. He had limited participation in practice but is expected to play. He will be helped by the fact that Mike Bell practiced fully and will share the load. Thomas should provide a solid performance.

LaDainian Tomlinson didn't even appear on the Chargers injury report this week. He should play and as long as he doesn't develop a new injury and should be able to help Darren Sproles carry the load. They will need all the help they can get against a very tough Denver defense. He likely will wear an ankle brace that will provide him with additional stability.

Wes Welker has been battling a knee injury but has been able to play. He has increased his performance each week and is returning as a favorite target of Tom Brady. He did practice this week in limited drills and will play an integral role in the Patriots pass attack against an ailing Titans secondary.

Eli Manning was limited in practice this week, but I believe this is largely precautionary. He wasn't slowed at all last week (albeit against a weak opponent). He will battle this nagging injury throughout the season. He is receiving aggressive therapy to stretch out his foot which will relieve pressure on his heel. The plantar fasciitis is often most painful in the morning and upon first walking after a period of sitting. As long as he keeps his foot stretched will during the game, he will be okay. The key for this week's game is the protection the Giants offense line can provide Eli against a swarming and blitz happy Saints defense. If the Saints are able to penetrate, Eli may be back on his heels throughout the game.

And on to the good news. As expected, Troy Polamalu had a full practice this week. He is feeling good and is ready to play with a brace for additional protection. I expect him to be effective. I'm sure the coaches are telling him to be cautious, but is that what he really does? Fortunately, they play the Cleveland Browns who just traded their best receiver. Polamalu should be gaining strength with each coming week.

Lastly, the Redskins. I am without comment only to say that the "best" offensive lineman on the team (Chris Samuels) did not practice which means it will be another long game for Jason Campbell, even against a struggling team like the Kansas City Chiefs.

By Emil Steiner  |  October 16, 2009; 9:29 AM ET  | Category:  Fantasy Check Up Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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