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Injury review: Wells, Bush are questionable
With one game in the books, we turn our attention to the other 15 games on the slate.
Granted, there are many fantasy owners in need of attention themselves following the Minnesota-New Orleans contest. More than a few owners were left flat by the smallish efforts of the passing games, and though both defenses played well, there wasn’t a whole lot of fantasy action.
In any event, I’m turning my attention back to the field of play and scouring the wire for injury news and notes. I’ll begin in Arizona, where one of this year’s expected breakout stars may be forced to sit out the opener.
Chris “Beanie” Wells missed his third consecutive practice because of a bruised right knee. Kent Somers of The Arizona Republic reports that quoted coach Ken Whisenhunt as taking a long-term approach to managing Wells’ health, trying to keep this from becoming a lingering issue. It’s unfortunate news for fantasy owners, who were salivating over the prospect of a breakout opener from Wells. Tim Hightower was also on the radar, but now becomes a strong second option in Week 1. LaRod Stephens-Howling and veteran Jason Wright (Go Cats!) will serve as second and third options behind Hightower. Wright is battling turf toe, but is expected to be available.
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It’s not an injury, but suspension talk is swirling around Cincinnati defensive end Antwan Odom, who acknowledged testing positive for a banned substance on Thursday night. The appeal process is in motion, but the league has made no statement on the matter. Odom terrorized opposing quarterbacks early last season, posting nine sacks in three games before rupturing his Achilles’ tendon in Week 6. Enjoy his efforts while the suspension hangs in limbo.
Buffalo placed linebacker Kawika Mitchell on injured reserve Friday because of a foot injury. He appeared in only five games for the team last season. The team signed Akin Ayodele, who had been released by Denver last month, to shore up the linebacking corps. He won’t be available for Sunday’s game against Miami.
On the plus side, safety Jairus Byrd practiced all week in his return from groin injury. Byrd was a Pro Bowl selection last year as a rookie, and is pivotal to this unit’s success and any hope of a turnaround season in Buffalo.
Much has been written about the Dallas offensive line this week in preparation for the divisional battle against the Redskins. Tackles Marc Colombo and Kyle Kosier will miss the Sunday night opener. Former first-round pick of the Rams, Alex Barron, slides in for Colombo, while Montrae Holland subs for Kosier. Both starters are reportedly on pace to return to the squad in Week 2 against Chicago.
Julian Edelman of the Patriots was limited in practice this week because of a sprained foot. Edelman returned to practice Thursday, but was listed as a limited participant. The official report is slated for Friday, but that isn’t going to tell us much given the Patriots’ history. With Wes Welker slated for his full run in Week 1, Edelman makes for a tough decision point this weekend (injury or not).
Running back Laurence Maroney returned to practice after missing the early part of the week because of a groin injury. Reports earlier in the week suggested that Maroney might be sidelined for Week 1, thereby putting Fred Taylor into the top spot. Regardless of his availability, Maroney’s a non-starter for fantasy owners this weekend. You’re looking at a tough matchup with a workload split among four or five options. Maroney cedes touches to Taylor, Sammy Morris, Kevin Faulk and BenJarvus Green-Ellis.
Linebacker Lance Briggs has been limited in practice this week, but is expected to play against the Lions. That’s great news for owners in IDP leagues and those who trusted the brand of the Chicago defense on draft day.