Injury analysis: Westbrook hurt yet again
The bumps and bruises are piling up as we reach the midpoint of the NFL season. Inactive lists are getting longer, and the injury reports are including more and more headline names. It's important, now more than ever, that fantasy owners pay attention to injury reports throughout the week, as well as Sunday inactives, as several teams will be making game-time decisions on a number of players.
The Texans high-powered offense took a huge hit on Sunday as tight end Owen Daniels tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). The ACL will be surgically reconstructed using a graft to replace it. The graft will come from either a tendon from Daniels' own body (like his patellar tendon or hamstring tendon) or an allograft from a donor cadaver. The surgery's done arthroscopically and rehabilitation is begun almost immediately. Complete recovery time varies from case to case, but is usually about six to nine months, allowing Daniels to possibly be ready for some of training camp and the preseason of 2010. While Joel Dreessen will replace Daniels in the Texans' starting lineup, the loss leaves a huge hole in Houston's fantasy friendly offense. Expect Andre Johnson to get even more looks from Matt Schaub while wideout Jacoby Jones may see an increased number of targets as well.
It appears the cobwebs are clearing for Buffalo's Trent Edwards. The quarterback's no longer suffering from symptoms associated from a concussion he sustained in Week 6. He'll resume his role in the starting lineup in Week 10, barring any setbacks over the next few weeks. Ryan Fitzpatrick filled in for Edwards, going 36-of-70 for 356 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions.
Eagles running back Brian Westbrook is also recovering from a concussion and hopes to practice this week in anticipation of his team's match up against the rival Cowboys. The former Pro Bowler woke up Saturday morning with a slight headache and was withheld for precautionary reasons from Philadelphia's Week 8 dismantling of the Giants. Most standard concussion protocols require an athlete to be symptom free for 24 hours before they are allowed to play. Westbrook will take part in non-contact drills, and if he doesn't suffer any setbacks could be active against Dallas. Unfortunately, fantasy owners are in a bit of a bind as the Cowboys and Eagles faceoff in the Sunday night game, and Westbrook will likely be a game-time decision. You my want to look elsewhere this week unless you own Westbrook's counterpart, LeSean McCoy.
Green Bay and its porous offensive line have given up a league-worst 31 sacks, so it's not surprising that quarterback Aaron Rodgers is appearing on the injury list. Rodgers is nursing a sprained foot as well as a sprained toe on the opposite foot. The sprains appear serious enough to keep him off the practice field, but not bad enough to keep him off the field on game day. Sprains of the foot and toe can be painful and nagging, especially for a quarterback. They must be able to plant his feet to generate the necessary amount of force to deliver the football accurately and on time. Sprains to both feet further complicate things as both legs are needed when the player's body weight is transferred from leg to leg in the early stages of throwing. Despite the sprains, coach Mike McCarthy expects Rodgers will suit up when the Packers take on the Buccaneers. However, fantasy owners would be wise to keep their eyes on the velocity of his throws to see if the injuries are affecting him.
A high ankle sprain continues to bother Cardinal wide receiver Anquan Boldin, who originally injured his right ankle in Week 6 and aggravated the injury in Arizona's Week 8 loss to Carolina. That the injury is still lingering is not surprising given that high ankle sprains require a longer recovery than normal ankle sprains. Clearly, the injury's limiting the receiver, as he hasn't caught more than three passes in a game since it occurred and hasn't caught a touchdown since Week 3. Boldin refuses to let the ankle be an excuse and continues to assert that if healthy enough to run and cut he will take the field on Sunday. While he'll likely play in Chicago this week, scale back your expectations for the hobbled receiver until the ankle is no longer an issue.
Detroit's Kevin Smith also irritated a lingering injury in Week 8. He was replaced by Maurice Morris after he reinjured his shoulder Sunday. The Lions have been very tight-lipped regarding the specifics of the injury, but it seems severe enough to have bothered him since Week 3. Smith's been largely ineffective since then, averaging just over 47 rushing yards a game. His value will take a further hit, as Morris is expected to get a higher number of carries from here on out.
Smith's teammate Calvin Johnson may be ready to return in Week 9 when Detroit takes on Seattle. Johnson's missed two games and the majority of a third after spraining his right knee. The Lions have also been vague with specifics on his injury, making a true timetable difficult to outline. He practiced last week, but was a late scratch on Sunday. Expect more of the same from Megatron, as he'll attempt to practice and be a question mark until game time.
Article first appeared 11/3/09