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Fantasy Checkup: Week 16


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 Holidays. Week 16 already?? The injury season is shaping up well for the playoffs. As a Christmas treat, this will be short and sweet.

As a gift to the Carolina Panthers, Jake Delhomme has been placed on injured reserved list with a broken finger on this throwing hand, giving the Panthers the opportunity to salvage some dignity for the season. They have been playing well without Delhomme. DeAngelo Williams has reaggravated his left ankle sprain. He did not practice this week and is doubtful for the game. No fear, Jonathan Stewart seems to produce 100-yard games at will, despite his sore Achilles' tendon.

Anthony Gonzalez was placed on the injured reserved list this week as well. (Remember back in week 2 and 3 I said he should be on IR??) Donald Brown wwas back at practice this week after being out with a vague chest injury. (It still has not been reported what type of chest injury). He should get some action this weekend as the Colts may rest a lot of key players. (First digression: I think that is a mistake.)

Rookie sensation Matthew Stafford was placed on IR this week for a knee injury. He is to undergo arthroscopic surgery to "clean out" his knee. That is a layman's description of a surgery probably to debride or remove a torn meniscus. He possibly has a cartliage injury that must be addressed as well. This is a relatively common surgery, and he should be back next year full force. His shoulder injury will not require surgery, reportedly. Calvin Johnson had a full practice and does not seem to have any difficulty at this point.

Matt Ryan's sore toe is feeling better. Look for him to start this week. Falcons fans are happy to hear that. Michael Turner re-injured his ankle after only one carry last week. He continues to say he wants to play and will try on Sunday. I continue to say two words: injured reserve! He has demonstrated his ankle will not stand up to an NFL pounding and has failed the test of trial and error. As I have mentioned, this is an injury that requires an extended time to heal, sometimes several months. The Falcons are done as far as the playoffs, so Turner should live to fight another day.

Brian Westbrook had a full practice week and is expected to play this weekend. He reportedly has no residual symptoms from his second concussion. I still think he should be on IR, but the Eagles are going to count on him for the playoffs. Cross your fingers Eagles fans. Jeremy Maclin practiced this week and said he doesn't feel slowed by his ruptured plantar fascia. He will play this week and should start. It is yet to be determined how effective he will be.

In a surprise to me, Fred Taylor returned to practice this week after surgery to repair his unstable ankle. He had a full practice Wednesday and Thursday but was limited Friday. He may play against his old team, the Jacksonville Jaguars, but will have only a handful of touches. Look for him in the playoffs.

Hines Ward has a hamstring strain and was limited in practice. From all reports in Pittsburgh, he will start and isn't slowed much by this. He was phenomenal last week, and the Steelers will need him to do the same each week until the end of the season.

Larry Fitzgerald had a full practice and doesn't seem to be slowed by the bone contusion in his knee. Expect him to produce.

And finally the Redskins. Coming off of their hot one-game winning streak, they were utterly embarrassing against the Giants. Can they beat the Giants or at least give a decent effort? I can't remember the last time the skins weren't embarrassed by the G-Men. (second digression).

Anyway, the most significant name on the injury list is Devin Thomas, who missed practice because of his sprained ankle. He has been listed as doubtful for Sunday night's game. This will be a blow to the passing game as he has developed into one of Jason Campbell's most consistent targets in the second half of the season.

One last Christmas wish: PLEASE BEAT THE COWBOYS!!!!!

Mackie Shilstone analysis:

This week media reports stated that Saints' safety Usama Young "became the latest in a series of Saint's players to undergo sports hernia surgery, which was performed last week." Young has not been ruled out for the season, since the recovery time is usually around three to four weeks. Jabari Greer is back from a similar procedure two weeks after his sports hernia surgery, practicing on a limited basis.

Having watched the evolution of the sports hernia from my work in the 1990's in the NHL, the surgery may utilize a laparoscope (to speed recovery time versus an open procedure) to perform the surgical procedure through small holes (incisions) in the "belly button" area and a special mesh to provide support to the anatomical weakened abdominal tissue. My program just provided such surgical service to a former major league player last week.

Looking around the N.F.L this season, the sports hernia injury seems to be diagnosed more frequently. A hernia is "a protrusion of all or part of an organ through a membrane or cavity wall, usually the abdominal wall." We have become accustomed, as males, to hearing about the Inguinal Hernia, which "is the protrusion of the hernial sac into the inguinal opening... it may extend into the scrotal compartment in males, causing strangulation of the herniated compartment."

The sports hernia, in my experience, can replicate symptoms of an abdominal strain with associated groin (adductor muscle) discomfort, which many surgeons tell me makes for an interesting diagnosis, especially for the football player. Time will tell if off field training, such as heavy Olympic/Power lifting movements (squats, power cleans, hang pulls) might precipitate such injuries should a solid core stabilization program not be utilized concurrently.

Speaking of the bang upped, Saints' running back Reggie Bush returned to practice this week noting that his previous injury was "a cramp." Cornerback Randall Gay also missed practice due to a concussion (his first) sustained last week. With the N.F.L. urging teams to be "more conservative with how quickly players return from concussions," the jury is out for his performance this Sunday against Tampa Bay.

At Philadelphia, it appears that running back Brian Westbrook will be cleared to play Sunday against Denver. In St. Louis, running back Steven Jackson has gotten to the nod to "shut down the rest of the season," (Rams are home for the holidays) due to his injured back. If I were he, I would heed that advice.

The Saints' opponent Tampa Bay has lost its wide receiver/kick returner Sammie Stroughter for the remaining two games with a broken foot sustained against Seattle.

Over in the AFC, the Ravens will be without corner back Lardarius Webb. However, they may get back wide receiver Mark Clayton (knee) and safety Ed Reed (groin and foot) is out.

Buffalo has both its quarterbacks Trent Edwards and Ryan Fitzpatrick hobbled with ankle injuries. Talk about bad luck, corner back Terrence McGee, who just returned from midseason knee surgery is now on injured reserve with a right shoulder injury that will require surgery. And, out for the season is safety Jairus Byrd -- he leads the N.F.L. with 9 interceptions -- who will have groin surgery. I wonder if the surgeon will find a sports hernia, as well, or just an adductor and/or hip labral tear. Only the surgeon knows for sure.

Cleveland placed Brady Quinn on injured reserve with a foot injury. In Houston, left tackle Duane Brown aggravated a sprained ankle last week against the Rams and sat out the second half. Could be a problem for "the blind side," if he does not play effectively this week, if at all.

Pittsburgh long snapper Greg warren tore his anterior cruciate ligament in the right knee on the final play of last week's game against Green Bay. Unrelated to a football injury, wide receiver Limas Sweed was placed on the IR .

And speaking of ACL injuries, Tennessee linebacker Keith Bulluck tore his left knee ACL and joining him on the IR is linebacker David Thornton, who will have pectoral (chest muscle) surgery.

And to all, I wish you a merry Christmas, happy holiday season and New Year, especially those N.F.L players with visions of next year dancing through their heads.

By Gene Wang  |  December 25, 2009; 3:39 PM ET  | Category:  Fantasy Check Up Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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