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Fantasy Checkup: Week 10

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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.

Dr. Gardner's analysis:

Each week of the season seems to have a cluster of common injuries. Way back in the beginning of the season it seemed to be the PCL and MCL injury. Now in week 10, it has become the concussion, the ankle sprain, and the knee "sprain" (of unknown or undisclosed signficance).

Concussions, concussions, concussions. My head is hurting from watching and reading about all of these concussive injuries. There has been much publicity about the Pro Bowl players who are sustaining concussions, but what goes unnoticed is the number of special teams players or backups who also show up on the injury report for a concussion. It is a problem to say the least. There finally has been a spotlight placed on this issue, and hopefully we will come to some solutions soon! I digress.

Brian Westbrook is symptom free and has participated in practice without limitation this week. He will play this coming Sunday (unlike the misinformation Andy Reid gave us last week indicating Westbrook would play and he didn't). The Eagles desperately need Westbrook. The Cowboys were hanging all over Donovan McNabb last week like a cheap suit. Westbrook is integral in helping to block as well as serving as the dump off target to slow down a viscious pass rush. Virtually every skill player in the Eagles lineup is listed on the injury report, so they will need all the help they can get against a very tough San Diego team that plays with additional fire and spirit at home.

Keeping with running backs, the Carolina Panthers have two of the best in the league. It is largely in part to the running game that the Panthers are making somewhat of a push to compete in the NFC (although with Atlanta and New Orleans in their division, they don't stand a chance.) Anyway, both of their ballcarriers, Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams are injured.

Stewart has been plagued with Achilles' tendonitis, and Williams has a knee sprain. Now Stewart has been dealing with this all season and typically sits out the first practice of the week. Achilles' tendonitis gets better only with rest. This will be an issue all season. Pain is the main issue, as is at times swelling of the Achilles' tendon. It is treated with ice, anti-inflammatory medication and rest! He will be in the lineup and will have to bear the brunt of the load because Williams's knee sprain is a little more significant. He should suit up but may be limited in his carries.

Donald Brown of the Indianapolis Colts is apparently feeling well after dealing with a sore shoulder. He did not show up on the injury report and participated in practice fully. The Colts will need to hit on all cylinders for their toughest test so far this season. Incidentally, Adam Vinatieri has a knee injury that has limited him in practice. This could prove to be important in what I am sure is a game that will come down to a field goal. Keep an eye out for that.

Terrell Owens manages to stay in the media headlines one way or another. This week he missed practice because of a hip strain. It is unclear how he injured himself. It didn't occur in the game. He was apparently fine during practice on this Monday. This is timely considering this week marks the return of Trent Edwards after a concussion. There is no clear indication how serious this injury is. I'm guessing he will play. Judging by his numbers this season, his production will be on par with what he has been doing all season. (23 catches in nine games)

Lance Moore continues to nurse his sprained ankle. He has missed practiced again this week. Luckily, the Saints are loaded with wide receiver talent. Robert Meachem performed brillantly last week and looks to continue this week. Reports indicated Moore will sit this game out as well. Darren Sharper has shown up on the report with a knee injury. The Saints are playing the Rams and shouldn't need a full armament of weapons to beat them. However, the Rams did beat the Saints two years ago when they were 0-7.

And that now brings us to the Redskins. It seems as though the entire team is on the injured list. More specifically, the offensive line. And I mean every lineman seems to be hurt or done for the season. Clinton Portis will miss this game because of a concussion last week. Reportedly, he is feeling fine and is not having symptoms. The team is holding him out as a precaution. I personally (and professionally) believe this is the correct move and should almost become a league policy. His backup, Ladell Betts, is troubled with an ankle sprain and was limited in practice. So, if Betts can't go, it's Rock Cartwright? Jason Campbell is bothered by an ankle sprain and was limited in practice. To summarize, the Redskins are looking to get embarrassed again on the home turf. Sad.


Mackie Shilstone's analysis:

Let's take a look at how injuries are effecting teams in week 10. The Bears, who are at San Francisco, note three players out (Payne, Tinoisamoa, and Wolfe). Across the line, San Francisco has four players out (Clements, Coffee, Evans and Staley). Of note, 49ers wide receiver Isaac Bruce was limited in practice with an ankle injury.

Over in Atlanta ,who will travel to Carolina this Sunday, running back Jerious Norwood has what appears to be a nagging hip flexor injury, which would make it hard to lift or flex his hip. He will be hampered until this situation is clears up. Wide out Brian Finneran injured his left knee and did not practice on Wednesday.

At Carolina, it seems to be risky to be a running back. Brad Hoover did not practice due to a knee injury. Jonathan Stewart did practice due to his Achilles tendon strain, so watch for a lack of breakaway speed if he gets in the game and DeAngelo Williams was limited in practice due to a knee injury. Panther's linebacker Thomas Davis, who is second on the team with 69 tackles, is out for the season with a torn ACL in his right knee. Kicker John Kasay is nursing a groin injury but it did not seem to slow his ability to put the ball through the uprights in the Panther's loss in New Orleans past Sunday.

The Colts noted this week that Kicker Adam Vinatieri did not practice Wednesday due to a right knee injury. His loss of performance would certainly affect the Colts, as they move into the playoffs.

In Tampa, quarterback Brian Leftwich has a right elbow injury which caused him to miss practice, Wednesday. Griping the ball with the fingers spread will be a cause of irritation to this injury, so if he gets in, the long ball is going to hang.

Over in Minnesota, Brett Favre is nursing a groin injury that joins his list of knee and foot problems this season. Age does seem to take a toll but I doubt Favre is slowed, until the groin spasms and says it's time to slow down. Against the Lions this week, it may just be an irritation. Detroit's quarterback Matthew Stafford, not to be outdone by Favre, is dealing with a knee injury which limited his practice time this week.

Just a point of reference, at Cincinnati, defensive end Robert Geathers is bothered by a hip injury that has him limited in practice. Having previously worked in the NHL, I can tell you that hip injuries can many times keep a player down or limit his performance similar to the hamstring injury. In the case of the hip flexor injury, it makes it hard for the individual to lift the leg and can lead, in certain cases, to low back problems due to a disruption in core stability. Hit a hockey player in the hip flexor and he has trouble skating. Imagine what it can do to a player in the N.F.L.

Bengals receiver Chris Henry will miss the rest of the season after having surgery on his broken left forearm. In New Orleans, safety Darren Sharper was limited in practice with a knee injury. He has had a positive impact to the Saints' defense this year, such that any limitation (reaction time) in the game will have a big effect on the Saints' defensive performance.

Buffalo quarterback Trent Edwards said he expects to be cleared to play this week against Tennessee, after missing a month recovering from a concussion. However, Edwards may be missing wide receiver Terrell Owens, who missed practice because of a strained hip, which certainly will limit his ability to run and cut. Are we starting to see another injury trend (hip) in the N.F.L?

The Redskins face the Broncos this week but may be without running back Clinton Portis, who is recovering from a concussion. Safety Chris Horton will be out a minimum of four to six weeks with a damaged ligament in his left big toe. And, offensive lineman Mike Williams is out two to four weeks with a torn ligament in his ankle.
Seattle travels to Arizona this week. Keep an eye on Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who was limited in practice this week with a right shoulder injury. More hits to the shoulder could cause more than just limitations in practice. Arizona receiver Anquan Boldin's ankle did not stop him from full practice this week, but the game may pose more physical challenges to his ankle and his performance.

Green Bay faces Dallas this week. Packer's linebacker Aaron Kampman, who ranks third on the team with 38 tackles, said he played most of last Sunday's game against Tampa with a concussion. I guess he did not read the research on concussion injuries in the N.F.L. His status for this Sunday's game is still unclear.

Green Bay, reports this week three players, including Kampman with concussions. The two other player are safety Derrick Martin (full practice) and Allen Barbre (full practice). Remember the stat on the negative impact of a second concussion too close to the first. It is not good for the individual.

Finally, another hip injury over in San Diego, where running back LaDainian Tomlinson missed practice on Wednesday. Look for a slower target for the Eagles this week, if he sees action.

Hips seem to be the feature injury this week in the N.F.L. Let's just add them to the list and see what's next.

By Gene Wang  |  November 14, 2009; 9:34 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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