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Fantasy Check

Week 14 Fantasy Checkup


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:

Things are getting crucial at this point in the season and injuries, as usual, are taking their toll on each team. Nothing is more of a testament to that than the Pittsburgh Steelers who can't win without Troy Polamalu and the Atlanta Falcons who were embarrassed by the Philadelphia Eagles without their most valuable player, quarterback Matt Ryan.

Week 14 has a number of Pro Bowl caliber quarterbacks on our list. The most famous of which is Tom Brady. He has appeared on the injury report each week with a shoulder injury, but now has two additional injuries hampering him. Last week there was big talk of an injury to a finger on his throwing hand. That did not seem to bother him in throwing for over 350 yards. However, he sustained a rib injury in the loss against the Dolphins and was held out of practice Wednesday and Thursday. Reportedly, he will still play this weekend against the Panthers. (Delhomme is still out with his own finger injury, so the Panthers have a good chance this week.)

Vince Young sustained a knee contusion in the loss to Indianapolis. He didn't have to leave the game but reaggrevated the knee today in practice. He received treatment by the training room staff including significant icing. He is expected to play on Sunday against the Rams. He has been pivotal in the rejuvenation of their season. Expect him to be effective against St. Louis.

Kurt Warner bounced back from his concussion and post concussive symptoms, only to but slowed by a hip pointer. This is the famous football injury in which there is a direct blow to the prominent pelvic bone at the belt line. It is very painful and is a lingering and nagging injury. He was limited in practice but will play this weekend. He should not be limited too much, he can't run anyway. So, as goes his front line protection, so goes he...

Matt Schaub has a shoulder sprain and will wear a brace this week. I'm not sure what that means. Sounds like he has shoulder instability (his shoulder has partially dislocated and is "loose"). that is not a good sign. Watch for errant passes...

Matt Stafford is out with a shoulder sprain, but should play next week, Sorry Dante.

To round out the QBs, as mentioned above, Delhomme is out and Ryan is out. Expect one or two more weeks for both.

Now, the ball carriers... Is it possible that the Redskins beat down the Saints so bad that their top three running backs are all limping? Well, Reggie bush is still battling a knee injury, Mike Bell didn't practice because of a knee injury, and Pierre Thomas has a pulled quadricep! The Saints have to rebound from the physical beating (and likely mental as well) that they took from the Skins and muster up some strength for the Falcons. In their favor, they are best team in league AND as mentioned before, Matt Ryan is not playing. A limping tandem of three for the Saints is better than most backfields. Bell is likely out for the game. Thomas and Bush will split duty.

Good News!!! Desean Jackson and Brian Westbrook both practiced this week and are expected to play. They are both recovering from concussions and the residual symptoms. For their sake, lets hope this is the end of headaches for the season. They are returning just in time for a big game against the Giants who have developed momentum after ending their losing streak by downing the Cowboys.

The only tag team backfield I think is better than the Saints is that of the Carolina Panthers. Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams have supposedly been hurt all season. I can't tell. The Achilles of Stewart and the knee and ankle of Williams seem A-OK as evidenced by their stellar numbers. (only a QB needed to complement them). Don't expect anything different this week.

Maurice Jones-Drew has a knee injury and missed practice Wednesday, was limited Thursday. He is reportedly going to play this weekend.

Wrapping up the backs, Michael Turner still OUT. Steve Slaton has been placed on Injured Reserve and is out for the season with a herniated disc in his neck causing numbness in the hand.

Pass Catchers... not much from the Divas this week. Sims-Walker for the Jacksonville Jaquars has been having a good season and is questionable with a calf and knee injury. Percy Harvin has had migraine headaches (what????) and was limited in practice but is probable for the game. Mark Clayton is likely out for the Ravens with a knee injury. He has a hamstring tear which may rear its ugly head later in the season. Devin Hester has a calf pull and is questionable for this weekend's contest against Green Bay... (Hester is Chicago's best weapon and Green Bay looked awesome this past weekend... not good for the Bears).

And, as always, we end with the Redskins. Unfortunately, Clinton Portis has been placed on Injured Reserve and his season (as is the Redskins) is over. The Skins fought bravely but, as the famous quote goes... "you play to win the game." Haynesworth didn't practice, Hall didn't practice, Heyer didn't practice, and Mike Sellers received treatment for a thigh bruise. Most definitely occurring as he coughed up the ball in overtime. Good idea to claim injury as cause for fumble... I'm not mad. I think we will be Oakland.

Mackie Shilstone's analysis:

From previous comments, Football Outsiders has stated that "injuries to the starting running back do not affect the running game" in N.F.L. Take the Saints, who have been recently without running back Reggie Bush.

Even before being injured, Bush's performance has not lived up to the hype around his entrance into the N.F.L. Last week against Washington, which was his first game back since bruising his knee on November 15, he had one carry for no gain. He did catch four passes for 28 yards and had one punt return for minus 2 yards.

Bush played sparingly in the second half and seemed not to reinjure himself. The bottom line is that with or without him, the Saints to date are undefeated and traveling to Atlanta this week. Time will tell if Reggie and the Saints part company this off season.

Speaking of parting company, at the Saints' practice on Wednesday, there were 14 players listed as "limited in practice." Among this group were cornerback Tracy Porter (knee) and linebacker Marvin Mitchell (hamstring), receiver Lance Moore, who may be returning from an ankle and hamstring injury, as will cornerback Randall Gay, who missed last Sunday's game also with a hamstring strain.

The Saints placed linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar on the injured reserve with a hamstring injury suffered last Sunday in Washington. Chances are it might be a tear.

I think I need to continue to reiterate that coming back from a hamstring injury too quickly will increase your chance of re injury by 50%, plus create unneeded scar tissue that will make the muscle potentially spasm prematurely during deceleration type movements -- like running routes. Let's not look to the hamstrung players, as sure bets this week, if you are looking for high performance.

Saints' linebacker Scott Fujita had to be hospitalized for "emergency surgery" prior to the Washington trip due to a staph infection, which stemmed from a ruptured bursa in his knee. Fujita was quoted as saying "I'm feeling much better after the operation." He was back with the team on Wednesday, but not it is not clear when he is expected to play.

Saints' cornerback Jabari Greer was held out of practice on Wednesday with a groin and abdominal injury. Having seen this dual injury before in Major League pitchers and N.H.L. players, one must be careful to rule out a sports hernia - or weakening of the lower abdominal wall. It seems that it presents with similar symptoms, especially arising from a squatting position such, as in the case of a baseball catcher.

Having personally dealt with this combo injury before when, in one case it was a sports hernia and in another case just two separate injuries, an evaluation by a general surgeon usually is in order.

In the case of the two separate injuries, I can tell you that they can be reoccurring- much like a hamstring injury -- without a core and groin stabilization program implemented at the same time. Greer will likely miss the Atlanta game and maybe more if it is not dealt with appropriately.

Speaking of Atlanta, they will likely be without their Q.B. Matt Ryan, who still is bothered by his toe injury (push off ability) and running back Michael Turner with an ankle injury. Both are questionable for Sunday's game.

Another player with the Patriots that missed practice on Wednesday was Q.B. Tom Brady, who just celebrated with his wife the birth of his son. However, noted on the injury report was a "right finger," which he (Brady) said "is hanging in there." Let's keep an eye his throwing hand. The Patriots (7-5) have lost three of four games for the first time in seven seasons.

Jets' Q.B Mark Sanchez won't chance any further injury to his sprained right knee (posterior cruciate ligament ), so it appears he will be out when the Jets face Tampa Bay. He can wear a brace to provide stability, as he now does with his left knee, because of a previous injury. Remind you at an early age of another great Jets Q.B. with bilateral knee injuries?

Shoulder injuries abound in the N.F.L. St. Louis safety O.J. Atogwe could be out the rest of the season with a dislocated right shoulder that will eventually require surgery. Remember last week, I spoke of how multiple shoulder dislocations can predispose the individual to potential surgery. Atogwe might still play at some point this year, if a brace is determined to be of help.

Detroit's rookie Q.B. Matthew Stafford hurt his non throwing shoulder last week and did not return to action. Look for potential trouble there. In Philadelphia, Brain Westbrook (concussion) was back at practice after being cleared to return by two specialists in Pittsburgh. He participated in work on the scout team. He has not been ruled out this week against the Giants.

In Pittsburgh, cornerback William Gay sustained an apparent concussion during an accidental helmet to helmet collision with a teammate last week. What are friends for?

Tampa bay kick returner Clifton Smith will miss the rest of the season, after his second concussion in less than two months. The Redskins placed running back Clinton Portis on the injured reserve with a second concussion. He was first concussed on November 8th against Atlanta.

Along the same lines, Houston running back Steve Slaton's season is over because of a nerve injury on the right side of his neck. The injury was more serious than anticipated, according to a specialist.

And last but certainly not at all least was the injury last Sunday to Minnesota Vikings linebacker E.J. Henderson, who broke his left leg "in a chilling fashion against the Arizona Cardinals." Henderson collided with safety Jamarca Sanford. Henderson was carried off the field on a stretcher after he "went airborne with his left leg flopping brutally to the ground."

Enough said about the injuries this week in the N.F.L.

By Emil Steiner  |  December 12, 2009; 4:48 PM ET  | Category:  Fantasy Check Up Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Adam from Minnesota here. Should I start the Vikings Defense today or pick up the Titans D off waivers? A playoff berth is on the line.

ALso, Rock Cartwright or Correll Buckhalter?

Posted by: Ada | December 13, 2009 10:39 AM


Adam from Minnesota here. Should I start the Vikings Defense today or pick up the Titans D off waivers? A playoff berth is on the line.

ALso, Rock Cartwright or Correll Buckhalter?

Posted by: Adam | December 13, 2009 10:39 AM

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