Injury analysis: Westbrook a game-time decision

Week 7 in the NFL was a high scoring affair, as three teams eclipsed 40 points and three other were a field goal away from joining them. Unfortunately, scoreboards weren’t the only thing in the league to get lit up as quite a few big name players were injured, some severely.

The Jets lost running back Leon Washington for the season after he was dealt a scary injury in his team’s win over the Raiders. Washington suffered compound fractures to his lower leg bones, the tibia and fibula. A compound fracture means the bone not only broke, but broke through the surrounding skin and tissue. He underwent emergency surgery on Sunday night and was placed on the IR on Monday. With Washington out for the remainder of the year, look for rookie Shonn Greene to have an expanded role in the New York offense. The early returns on Greene are good, as he finished with 144 yards and two touchdowns after Washington went down.

The Redskins also suffered a devastating blow to their offense as tight end Chris Cooley broke his ankle in Monday’s loss to the Eagles. He was injured early in the second quarter and carted off the sidelines. He was not hit on the play, but rolled his ankle as he planted his foot to make a cut. X-rays revealed a fracture to his tibia, the second longest bone in the body and the bigger bone of the two located in the lower leg. The tibia progressively narrows as you move down the leg making the distal end of the bone weaker and more likely to break. Cooley owners should begin looking to the waiver wire, as it appears he could be done for the season.

The Eagles were also banged up Monday night as running back Brian Westbrook suffered a concussion after taking a knee to the head from linebacker London Fletcher. I detailed concussions last week with Trent Edwards (who’s already been ruled out for Week 8), and it’s important to remember concussion symptoms can linger. Coach Andy Reid has already stated he won’t put his star running back at any further risk, but thinks Westbrook will be all right. If he’s unavailable for Week 8, rookie LeSean McCoy will step in as the feature back.

The Texans are breathing a sigh of relief after star wide receiver Andre Johnson went to the hospital following their win over San Francisco. Johnson was hit in the lower back after making a catch in the second quarter and struggled to catch his breath. However, he remained in the game until late in the fourth quarter following a 44-yard reception. After hauling in the catch, he went to his knees and began spitting up blood. The Houston athletic training staff took matters into its own hands by hiding the Pro Bowler’s helmet, preventing him from taking the field. He was taken to an area hospital where he was examined and diagnosed with a lung contusion. A lung contusion’s exactly what it sounds like, a bruised lung. A direct blow to the area, like the one Johnson suffered, causes damage to blood vessels known as capillaries. The damaged capillaries then leak blood into surrounding lung tissue. Breathing becomes difficult as the flooded tissue is unable to properly carry out the process of respiration. While his contusion appears mild, the injury shouldn’t be taken lightly. The Texans are saying the receiver is day-to-day and hope he’ll be able to take the field against Buffalo. Fantasy owners would be wise to keep an eye out for any subsequent tests and reports on Johnson before plugging him into their lineups.

Another elite receiver spending time in the athletic training room is Indianapolis’ Reggie Wayne. Wayne was an early departure in the Colts’ blowout win over St. Louis after feeling a twinge in his groin. He attempted to come back in the second half, but with the game in hand elected to rest the injured muscle. Located on the inside and front of the thigh, the groin is a group of muscles that include the adductor group and several hip flexors. The primary responsibility of these muscles is to pull the leg inward, or adduct, and is vital to lateral movement. A strained groin weakens and limits these movements and can elicit pain when attempted. Wayne underwent an MRI on Monday to determine the severity of the injury, and the results have yet to be released. Because of the debilitating nature of this injury, carefully monitor his availability in practice throughout the week and expect a game-time decision.

A depleted receiving corps may be the only thing capable of slowing down quarterback Peyton Manning. With Wayne hobbled and Anthony Gonzalez likely still a week away as he tries to return from a strained posterior collateral ligament (PCL), expect Austin Collie, Pierre Garcon and Dallas Clark to see an increase in targets.

Details from Detroit remain limited, but coach Jim Schwartz hinted at the possibility that both receiver Calvin Johnson and quarterback Matthew Stafford could play against the Rams. Johnson and Stafford will attempt to practice this week, but early results have not been favorable. Johnson, wearing a brace, limped through practice last week, and Stafford suffered swelling in his knee after testing it on October 14. Monitor their respective statuses throughout the week, but both remain iffy at best.

Article first appeared 10/27/09

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