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Fantasy Checkup: Week 15

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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:

Week 15 is a sad one for the NFL family. Condolences go out to the family of Chris Henry after he passed away this week. He was critically injured after falling out of a pickup truck in a domestic dispute. He did not survive his injuries. Henry was on injured reserved, and his season was finished. Despite many on- and off-field problems for Henry, it is always tragic for a 26-year-old man with his potential to have an early end to life.

On to the injuries . . .

The Atlanta Falcons had reason to be optimistic this week in practice as Michael Turner and Matt Ryan returned, albeit in a limited fashion. Turner is feeling better with his high ankle sprain. He has stated he still has a little soreness but has been able to run. It is likely he will play this Sunday. He will be a welcome return as the Falcons have lost the last two games. Ryan is still hobbled a bit and will not start. Turner's contribution should help against the Jets.

The Eagles were dealt a blow when standout wideout Jeremy Maclin ruptured the plantar fascia in his foot. This is a more significant injury than the nagging plantar fasciitis with which some other players have dealt. The plantar fascia is a set of tendons that support the arch in the foot. It connects from the heel bone (calcaneus) to the bottom of the toes. This injury will take several weeks to heal to the point that Maclin will be able to play. It is possible he may be out until the playoffs, if the Eagles make it that far.

Brian Westbrook is out this week. It is difficult to determine if he is still having symptoms from his two concussions, but the Eagles are being exceptionally cautious considering he suffered the second concussion so quickly and the microscope that has been placed on concussions. I also would expect Westbrook to be out until the playoffs, if he returns at all. I have mentioned in The League forum I recommend Westbrook sit out until next season.

Vince Young did not practice Wednesday and had limited reps on Thursday. However, he is expected to start this weekend. He strained is hamstring last week against the Rams but states he feels better than the week before when he had a knee sprain. He will be needed against Miami to salvage the last glimmer of their playoff hopes.

Larry Fitzgerald suffered a knee injury last week. There was no ligament damage according to an MRI, but he did have a bone contusion. This is a condition essentially where he has a deep bruise to the bones of the knee (most likely the femur). There is no surgery or casting that needs to be done to treat this, however, it is a very painful injury that can take months to resolve completely. Fitzgerald had limited participation in practice this week. The Cardinals are playing the Detroit Lions, and I suspect (and I would recommend) resting Larry this week in hopes he will be better for the playoffs.

Speaking of the Lions, Calvin Johnson practiced Wednesday but not Thursday. Reportedly, his knee injury he has been dealing with (the "not significant" one) has acted up again. He is a game-time decision. In the Detroit media, it is unclear how Johnson reinjured his knee. It will be a coin toss if he is in the lineup. He has had solid production all season despite this knee injury.

Lastly, the Redskins. Congratulations on a win!! It was good to see the Redskins beat a team they are supposed to beat. Albert Haynesworth and DeAngelo Hall practiced this week and should play against the Giants. Mike Sellers also practiced and hopefully will provide an extra weapon for Jason Campbell this week. (Can the Skins make it two in a row???? It's on my wish list for Santa.)


Mackie Shilstone's analysis:

Over the last 14 weeks, I have evaluated the scope of injuries in the N.F.L. Each week the focus seems to be on players who either touch the ball and/or those players that try to defend against such offensive attacks. But what about the " big guys" in the trenches- the offensive and defensive line linemen - who seem to get the job done week after week in relative obscurity.
Having worked on more of these players that I can count, I have a true appreciation of the job they perform to either open holes or protect the quarterback (isn't there a movie about that) on the offensive line versus take down the ball carrier and sack the Q.B on defensive line.

Looking at this week's N.F.L. team injury lists submitted Wednesday, there were a total of 63 offensive line injury notations and 47 defensive line notations.Two teams tied with the most O-line injury notations. The New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons both had six. On the D-line side, the Indianapolis Colts took that honor with 6 notations.

Patriots' defensive end Ty Warren (ankle) and nose tackle Vince Wilfork (foot) still remain on the bench causing New England's pass rush to be compromised.

Carolina placed right tackle Jeff Otah on the injured reserve list with a knee injury. Pittsburgh Steelers' left guard Chris Kemoeatu will be out against Green Bay on Sunday.

Saints players who did not practice on Wednesday included offensive tackle Jon Stinchcomb (knee), defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis (knee), and defensive end Bobby McCray (back).

Limited in action were guards Jahri Evans (foot), guard Carl Nicks (back), offensive tackle Jermon Bushrod (thumb), and center Jonathan Goodwin (ankle).

Moving behind the line of scrimmage, other players ( skill players) were going down as well. Arizona all pro wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has a bone bruise and a sprained right knee, although he was noted by the Cardinals as limited in practice on Wednesday. If nothing else, his performance on change of direction routes will be questionable.

Behind center last week for the Titans, Q.B. Vince Young was pulled last week with a hamstring strain which occurred at the end of a 44 yard run (a career high). Let's see how he runs now, if at all.

At Detroit, running back Kevin Smith is lost with "a serious knee injury." Raiders fill in Q.B. Bruce Gradkowski injured both his knees last week against the Bengals.He will be replaced by Charlie Frye.

Jets' Q.B. Mark Sanchez returned to practice for the first time, since he sprained his right knee against Buffalo on December 3rd. Sanchez said he planned to play Sunday against Atlanta, but the team held off on naming him as the starter.

One in and one out for the Cowboys. Dallas safety Ken Hamlin, who has missed the last four games with a sprained ankle, should return to the lineup against the Saints on Saturday night. However, Cowboy's lineman DeMarcus Ware, who was hospitalized last Sunday night when he was "slammed headfirst into a San Diego lineman," did not practice on Wednesday. He has not been ruled out of the Cowboy's Saturday's game in New Orleans.

Over in Minnesota, Vikings' wide receiver Percy Harvin is seeing a specialist for his continuing migraine headaches, which was the reason he missed the game against Cincinnati last weekend.

And sadly, Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry, who was severely injured after falling out of the back of a pick up truck during a domestic dispute, passed away. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.

By Gene Wang  |  December 18, 2009; 11:26 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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