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Fantasy Check

Week 9 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.

Dr. Gardner's analysis:

Bob Sanders, after only a one game return, is done for the season. He tore his biceps tendon which will require season ending surgery to repair. Healing time is around three months. Unfortunate for a great player. However, the Colts have appear to have made all the necessary adjustments to play without him.

Fred Taylor had season ending surgery two weeks ago to stabilize an unstable ankle. This ligament reconstruction surgery usually has a 4-6 month recovery time. The Patriots are hoping he will be at full strength next year.

Anthony Gonzalez continues to miss practice. His knee obviously is not healed to the point where he can even practice much less play in game competition. The Colts are undefeated and seem to have compensated for his loss. My recommendation . . . place him on IR!!! If he ever returns this season, don't expect any huge contributions.

Calvin Johnson returned to practice after missing two games. He is expected to play. His "not significant" knee injury appears to be improving. (we still don't know the diagnosis). When in the game, he will have one or two spectacular catches. He will improve each week.

Kevin Smith is still nursing a shoulder injury. He missed practice Wednesday, but participated Thursday. This has been a lingering injury, and I don't anticipate any drop off in his performance.

Anquan Boldin is dealing with an ankle sprain. He was noticeably limping in the beat down the Cardinals took against the Panthers. He hasn't practiced to any significance. He wants to play, the team wants him to sit. I would recommend he take the time to rehab his ankle. The Cardinals are only getting worse, not better.

Roddy White has a knee injury (again diagnosis elusive). He missed practice Wednesday. From reading reports out of Atlanta, it does not appear to be "significant" . . . (insert laughter here). The Falcons are hosting the Redskins, who have struggled with coverage in the secondary. I think White will perform as he has all season.

Donald Driver has a neck "stinger." It is an injury that essentially stretches one side of the neck and arm and stretches the nerves coming from the neck into the arm and hand. This is a transient injury. Symptoms involve temporary numbness and tingling. It sometimes takes a couple of weeks, but no permanent nerve damage is seen. He can return to play when symptoms resolve. There were reports in Green Bay he was having some symptoms this week, but the Packers expect him to be in lineup.

Brian Westbrook's headache is gone. He practiced. He will play. He is at slight risk for another concussion returning so soon, but Andy Reid has said he will play. If he is in the game, he will be phenonmenal . . . until he gets hurt again. Tough contest against the Cowboys this week.

There is no new news on Ahmad Bradshaw. He still has the foot and ankle injuries and will until the end of the season when he can have surgery. He was ineffective last week, as was the entire Giants offense. The Giants are on a three-game skid and need him to be productive. If the whole offense gets going, so will he.

Lastly, the Redskins . . . once again . . . I have nothing to say.

Mackie Shilstone's analysis:

Now that we are into the second half of the NFL season, we need to start looking at your investment in fantasy player in a similar fashion to investing in the stock market. Buying stocks is quite easy in today's market with online brokerage accounts, stock brokers, investment mangers and the like. Whether or not you pick the correct stock or players is another story.

Emotion should never play into the purchase of stocks or players for your team. When you look at a company's financial statement, it can sometimes be hard to determine what is going on inside the organization -- much like doing knee surgery for an undetermined cause without the benefit of an MRI for diagnostic purposes. I am talking about the "unknown injury" -- the psychological injury of losing and its systemic effect on the players.

Right now in the NFL there are three teams with seven losses (Tampa Bay, St. Louis, Cleveland), four teams with six losses (Detroit, Tennessee, Kansas City, Oakland), and three teams with five losses (Washington, Seattle, Buffalo). Players are expected to play up to the expectations of the fans. When they do not, they become expendable -- depending on how much a team has invested in them (salary cap dollars, guaranteed money, signing bonus, etc).
The key is to know when to cut your losses, much like you might do with an underperforming stock at year end for tax purposes.

Players are expendable and injuries can change not only a team's win/loss record, but also the entire dynamics of the team -- usually in a negative way, if injuries become epidemic. If you have been inside pro sports, you have seen how players on a losing team will use the training room, which is off limits to the media, to escape from the pressure to perform. It seems that when you win, the training room can be a ghost town other than general day-to-day health maintenance.

From a financial standpoint, look at how several owners of losing teams are bowing to fan pressure. In Cleveland, Randy Lerner met with two high level fans to discuss the team's problems. These same fans are encouraging their fellow Cleveland fans to "stay out of their seats for the kick off of the Browns' next home game on November 16."

In Washington, Redskins' owner Daniel Snyder commented at a team charity event, we feel frustrated and are disappointed for our fans. Obviously our performance to date is not what we expected and we hope to turn it around."

It is this type of reaction by team owners to losing that reinforces in the player's mind that "psychological injury" that goes unreported on the weekly NFL injury reports. Unfortunately, inside the locker room, the damage can spread much like the swine flu is doing outside the locker room.

Now for key physical injuries that teams have reported this week. In San Francisco, cornerback Nate Clements will be sidelined about eight weeks with a broken shoulder blade. Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy has inferred that veteran offensive tackle Chad Clifton will start against Tampa Bay this week. Clifton has not played since opening day due to an ankle injury.
And speaking of ankle injuries, if you remember my analysis last week, I said Arizona wide receiver Anquan Boldin would do himself a disservice, if he kept playing on his injured ankle. Well, in last Sunday's game against Carolina, he left the game after aggravating his sprained right ankle. His future performance is questionable.

We will need to keep an eye on Houston's Owen Daniels, the NFL's leading tight end, as of last Sunday. He left the game against Buffalo when he hurt his right knee. As head coach Gary Kubiac said, "it does not look good."

It appears that Eagles running back Brian Westbrook, who recently suffered a concussion in the Washington game, will return for this week's game when the eagles host the Cowboys. Westbrook said, "my memory has returned. It really didn't go away except for that one play." Remember that a second concussion in close proximity to the first can bode trouble later in life, as we learned during the recent Congressional hearings.

Their arch rivals, the Giants are handling their own share of injuries, since they started facing teams that play at the pro level. Defensive lineman Chris Canty says that he has recovered from his calf injury and is ready to play this week against the Chargers. Michael Boley, who is coming off a knee surgery, was limited in practice but looks like he is ready to go as well. He probably is on shaky ground.

As I have said in my first week's analysis, the hamstring injury tends to keep N.F.L. players on the sidelines the longest. And, Giants' cornerback Aaron Ross is no exception. He said he would not be ready this week.

The Colts, who in my mind have played mediocre teams so far, have lost starting linebacker Tyjuan Hagler for the rest of the season with a torn bicep. Too many bicep curls and not enough balance with triceps training, maybe.

Over at Carolina, who will visit the Saints on Sunday, Jake Delhomme seems to have recovered from a chest injury, which usually are "strains or tears of the tendons where the chest muscle attaches to the upper arm. They usually are rated according to degree of severity: first degree (mild), second degree (moderate) or third degree (severe)." If the injury were a first degree, the recovery time would be one week. For second degree the recovery time can be 3-6 weeks and third degree strains require 6-12 weeks. Let's hope Jake is not returning too quickly.

By the way, in order to protect Jake he would need a fullback. However, Brad Hoover, Carolina Fullback, sprained his right ankle last Sunday and was taken off the field. If Jake plays, the Saints have a target on Jake's chest which could make for a short appearance if he takes a direct hit.

Over at Saints' H.Q., receiver Lance Moore suffered a sprained left ankle in Monday night's victory over the Falcons. Like Anquan Boldin, if he keeps playing on it, he is in for trouble. By the way, Lance has had a shoulder injury followed by a hamstring injury this year.

Looks like Saints' Linebacker Scott Fujita will be back from his strained calf muscle which has caused him to sit out the last two games.

All in all the psychological injuries to players on losing teams may be outweighed by the epidemic of ankle injuries- the current Achilles heel in the NFL.

By Emil Steiner  |  November 6, 2009; 4:00 PM ET  | Category:  Bob Sanders , Fantasy Check Up , Fantasy Football , Indianapolis Colts Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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