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Fantasy Checkup Week 12

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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:

Happy Thanks giving and stomach stuffing.

Week 12 of the NFL injury season is relatively boring. The concussion has surpassed the PCL, MCL and ankle sprain as the league leader in players taken down. The foot sprain is also making a late season bid.

We will talk about a couple of quarterbacks, follow up on some players that have chronically been on the injury report, and discuss a few odds and ends...

Peyton Manning showed up on the injury report this week with a strained gluteal muscle. (This being the big muscle in the buttocks.) Turn about is fair play, considering Peyton has been a pain in the butt to opposing defenses all season, he is now the one feeling it in the rear. He was limited in practice, but will not have any difficulty in this weekend's contest.

The Pittsburgh Steelers found themselves in a pickle when their #1 and #2 quarterbacks were injured in the same game. Ben Roethlisberger was knocked out of the game with a concussion. His backup, Charlie Batch, played well until sustaining a broken wrist toward the end of the game. Batch is to have surgery this week and is done for the season. Big Ben reportedly is having no symptoms and is expected to play this weekend. This is his third concussion in three years. From all accounts, this is a very mild concussion, (maybe even stretching the definition), but caution is the better part of valor (read: expect him to play). The Steelers are only going with two quarterbacks (Dennis Dixon is #3 guy). The Ravens defense has been hitting harder than any team I have seen in years, so Dixon should stay warm and Roethlisberger should get the ball out of his hands early and often.

Some rapid fire follow up. Polamalu is out this week. Cedric Benson is out this week. Asante Samuel is out this week. Brian Westbrook is out this week.

Roddy White had a full practice and looks to have bounced back from his injury. Jerious Norwood is still limited with his hip flexor strain and hopes to contribute. Laveranues Coles has a chest contusion and did not practice. After a strong performance last week, the Bengals are counting on him to compliment OchoCinco. It is unclear whether he will play at this point. Luckily, the Browns are week on the defensive side of the ball (although rivalry games always turn brutal). Jamal Lewis has an ankle sprain but should be fine according to reports.

Steve Slaton, of the Houston Texans, has a neck injury. There aren't any reports of neurologic symptoms. I expect him to play and be a significant factor in the Texans offense. Jonathan Stewart has a nagging Achilles, but it didn't keep him out of practice. With DeAngelo Williams running like Forest Gump on a mission, J Stew can rest as much as he needs to.

AP (no qualification or clarification needed) has an ankle sprain, but should play and run wild against division rival Chicago Bears. No indication that he is slowed down at all. Antoine Winfield participated in practice this week on a limited basis and should see some time this weekend. Just in time to catch a couple of completions from Jay Cutler.

New England, in a moment to be marked for history, has no injuries to report. Reggie Bush is still limping from a knee injury and will be game time decision (read: out, they don't need him). Lance Moore has been limited and unclear how much, IF he will play. (Time for me to digress. Patriots over Saints is the upset pick of week. Pats should have won the game against Indy to take down an unbeaten, if it weren't for their insane coach. They will take down an unbeaten this week. But, I digress)

And, lastly, before I load up another plate of turkey, the Redskins. Portis is out. Stephon Heyer and Mike Williams did not practice; do the skins have any more lineman on the roster? Mike Sellers is big enough and needs to be moved to pulling guard). Haynesworth still has a sprained ankle, but should play. DeAngelo Hall has a knee injury and didn't practice. Not sure if he will play, if he does, mark him down for one toasted play with DeSean Jackson skipping into endzone. Todd Yoder has a foot injury and didn't practice. (do we have any tight ends left? I think the redskins need to hold a tryout camp to fill the rest of the spots on the team). It's going to be a long game for the Redskins, (although, second digression... I think the home team can beat the Eagles on this one. I'm making that my second upset pick).


Mackie Shilstone's Analysis

Last Sunday, we saw some injuries to quarterbacks which have playoff implications. Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger sustained his fourth concussion since 2006 in the Steeler's loss to the Chiefs. He is anticipating to play against the Ravens this week, as long as he continues to pass post-concussion tests, according to head coach Mike Tomlin.

Steelers backup quarterback Charlie Batch injured his left wrist after replacing Roethlisberger during the Steelers overtime loss at K.C. and might miss the rest of the regular season. How good is the punter at playing QB?

The Lions had doubt as to whether Matthew Stafford would be ready for their Thanksgiving meeting with the Packers. Stafford dislocated his left shoulder, which "occurs when the ball at the top of the upper arm bone comes out of the socket in the shoulder blade."Experts say that once the athlete has a dislocated shoulder the chances of redislocating it in sports are extremely high. And, if the athlete has multiple shoulder dislocations surgery may be necessary to prevent a similar occurrence in daily activities.

Thursday night, Stafford did play, throwing one TD pass and four interceptions in the Lions' 34-12 loss to the Packers. Last Sunday, he passed for five TD's in the Lions come from behind win over Cleveland. Was it Stafford's rookie mistakes or was it his sore shoulder that effected his performance on Thanksgiving Day? When does an injury to a key player In the case of the Stafford and the Lions, it is an academic question based on their horrible 2-9 record. The potential damage in this case is to the athlete not the team.

In Arizona, Kurt Warner was very upbeat and alert after a blow to the head in (last) Sunday's victory in St. Louis." Like Roethlisberger, Warner's readiness for this week will depend on how he does in baseline tests of his cognitive functions. Remember, even the mental prep for the game can have a negative effect on recovering cognitive function if it is overdone. Warner is listed as "full participation in practice" this week.

The Rams, who lost to the Cardinals, also took at hit at the quarterback. position, when Marc Bulger fractured his left leg. "A fracture of the tibia or fibula is a crack, break, or complete shattering of one or both of the lower leg bones." Bulger should be out for 3 to six weeks say the reports.

At Denver , Q.B Kyle Orton is still limited by lack of mobility with a sprained left ankle injury. But, in yesterday's Bronco 26-6 victory over the Giants, Orton drove his team on six scoring drives for the dominant win at home.

And Colt's Q.B. Peyton Manning was listed on the N.F.L. injury with a "glute" injury, referring to two of the hip abductors- the gluteus minimus and medius. Both muscles assist with assisting the leg to be drawn outward from the hip. Watch how this nagging problem might effect his hamstring at the insertion point at the butt. It could be, so to speak, a "pain in the butt." He was listed as "limited in practice."

Other notable injuries and implications include :

Steelers's safety Troy Polamalu, who was out the second through fifth games this season with a left knee ligament injury reinjured the left knee but this time to a different knee ligament in Pittsburgh's loss at Cincinnati. Two injured left knee ligaments is not a good sign even if the knee is braced.

Buffalo Linebacker Keith Ellison's season is over with a quadriceps injury. Marcus Stroud, Bills's defensive tackle, has a knee injury.

Bears' back up running back Garrett Wolfe's season is over with a kidney injury.

Jets' safety Jim Leonhard has a broken right thumb. And, Vernon Gholston has a hamstring injury - quite a debilitating , nagging injury in the N.F.L.

Seattle cornerback Josh Wilson has a concussion, as does the Redskin's Clinton Portis, and of recent Eagles running back Brian Westbrook. By the way, the leaders of the N.F.L. head injury study have departed. Dr. Ira Casson and Dr. David Viano resigned form the N.F.L.'s committee on brain injuries on Tuesday.

Carolina placed linebacker Landon Johnson on the injured reserve. He hurt his medial collateral ligament in last Thursday's loss to Miami. This injury continues to occur in the N.F.L. this season. Johnson was replacing weak side linebacker Thomas Davis, who was also lost for the season.

Ahmad Bradshaw, Giants' running Back , was out of Thursday night's game at Denver with " at least a sprained left ankle." Middle Linebacker Antonio Pierce went to California this week to get a second medical opinion on what appears to be a cervical (neck) disc injury. He did not play against the Falcons last week. The second opinion by Dr. Robert Watkins confirmed Pierce had a bulging cervical disc, to which the medical staff "would wait and see if the disc shrinks on its own."

Having been through this situation before with a noted defensive back, it does render the athlete's ability to turn and look back, upward, or side to side for the ball quite limited, and I might add painful.

49ers linebacker Takeo Spikes hopes to be ready to play against the Jaguars on Sunday. He has a strained left hamstring. If he plays, he will be tested early and often. If I were one of the Jags receivers lined up against him, I would force him to accelerate and decelerate during coverage to try and get his hamstring to spasm. It's a tough game, isn't it?

Minnesota starting right guard Anthony Herrera was diagnosed with a concussion. He did not practice on Wednesday, so time will tell if he like the other concussed players around the league will be ready for Sunday. Wide receiver Antoine Winfield (hamstring) and running back Adrian Peterson (ankle) were limited in practice this week. Reports indicate that Winfield could be back for the game this week against the Bears. Again, if I were the Bears quarterbacks and receivers, I would test him early and force him to leave the game to get a rookie in his place. Just the act of "chicken fighting " the receiver could cause the hamstring to spasm.

New England running back Fred Taylor did not practice due to an ankle injury as was the case with Saints' cornerback, Tracy Porter, who still has been coping with a knee injury. Both teams face each other on Monday night in New Orleans.

As the playoff picture begins to crystallize, we will soon see how injuries to teams in the playoff hunt take their toll in coming weeks in the N.F.L.

By Emil Steiner  |  November 28, 2009; 5:44 AM ET  | Category:  Fantasy Check Up , Fantasy Football Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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