Injury update: Felix still not 100 percent

BY foxsports • September 20, 2009

Donovan McNabb fractured a rib on a late hit after rushing for a touchdown, and his status for Week 2 is uncertain. Coach Andy Reid stated McNabb will not be an active participant in practice this week, and the team signed former Eagle Jeff Garcia as insurance. The Eagles haven't confirmed which rib McNabb broke, but it appears to be a lower rib. The location of the fracture is significant because of the 12 ribs that make up the rib cage, the bottom two are floating. These two ribs don't connect to the breastbone (sternum), but are a site for muscular attachment. McNabb's prognosis would slightly improve if it is, in fact, one of these ribs because the threat of a serious lung injury would be minimal.

While history shows McNabb's a warrior, rib injuries can very painful and particularly limiting especially for the twisting motion required for throwing a football. Rest and inactivity remains the best option, and simple fractures generally heal in three to four weeks. If McNabb does gut it out and attempts to play, he'll likely wear a flak jacket. The jacket will provide protection for the rib injury, but adds bulk to the midsection and may increase the possibility of fumbles. Bottom line, McNabb will likely not play, and if he does his effectiveness will be limited. Fantasy owners would be wise to look elsewhere.

Cowboys running back Felix Jones was limited in the second half of Dallas' win over Tampa Bay after sustaining a thigh contusion. Although it may not sound like much, a thigh contusion can be quite painful and restrictive especially for a dynamic athlete like Jones who thrives on quick bursts and explosive movements.

The upper thigh is actually a group of muscles known as the quadriceps femoris group. These four muscles are responsible for straightening the leg (knee extension) and raising the thigh (hip flexion). When a direct blow to the muscle occurs, a contusion develops in four various degrees. The grade of the contusion is dependent on the amount of damage and the resulting limitation. A simple or Grade 1 contusion is considered superficial with little to no swelling and no muscle limitations while Grade 4 contusions are severely disabling and often include an intramuscular hematoma.

Jones likely has a Grade 1 or 2 contusion and will rest the injury throughout the week. Extra padding will likely be added to the area, but with Marion Barber and Tashard Choice also in the backfield, any signs of limitation will only decrease Jones' workload.

Saints' running back Pierre Thomas continues to nurse a left medial collateral ligament (MCL) injury, but expects to return to action after missing New Orleans' Week 1 win over the Lions. While his MCL appears to be healed enough to support the stress that making cuts will put on this ligament, the real damage was done by teammate Mike Bell, who made the most of Thomas' absence and amassed a career-high 143 yards on 28 carries. The two could split carries, with Reggie Bush also expected to see a good amount of action.

Colts wideout Anthony Gonzalez sprained an unknown ligament in his right knee as team defeated Jacksonville. The injury occurred on a non-contact play as Gonzalez crumpled to the ground after coming off the line on a first quarter play. While the specifics of the injury are limited, the Colts do expect the third-year wide receiver to miss somewhere between two and six weeks. They currently don't consider it a season-ending injury, and Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon will see an increase in playing time as a result.

Another third-year receiver, Arizona's Steve Breaston, is fighting a knee injury. He missed two preseason games as well as Week 1 with a bone bruise and a strained posterior cruciate ligament (PCL). Listed as probable all last week, he was a late scratch for Week 1 as his knee flared up prior to the game. The PCL is the lesser known two of the cruciate ligaments often taking a backseat to the more infamous anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). However the PCL is the stronger of the two and is vital in knee stability as it prevents knee hyperextension and acts the central axis for knee rotation. A sprain of the PCL results in pain, swelling and instability if the laxity of the ligament is compromised. The continued edema could be indicative that the PCL isn't completely healed. Breaston plans on practicing throughout the week and, barring any other setbacks, hopes to play. Monitor his status throughout the week and even up to game time before making a decision with Breaston.

Several big names on the defensive side of the ball also went down with injuries in Week 1. Steelers' safety Troy Polamalu will miss three to six weeks with a torn MCL. The MCL can heal on its own and often does not require surgery. However, the knee is often immobilized to allow for proper healing. While Polamalu's a difference maker in the secondary, Pittsburgh's defense is a solid unit that should still put up points in its safety's absence.

The Bears will be without Brian Urlacher for the remainder of the season after their middle linebacker dislocated the lunate bone in his wrist. In between the lower arm bones (the ulna and radius) and the hand sits the carpus. Made up of eight tiny carpal bones, the carpus allows for the extreme flexibility available at the wrist. The lunate, like its name suggests, is a moon-shaped carpal bone that articulates with the radius of the arm.

Surgeons relocated Urlacher's lunate with surgical pins and will monitor his progression to insure he doesn't develop a condition called Kienbock's disease. Kienbock's occurs when the lunate bone is damaged and the blood supply compromised. Without proper blood flow, the bone tissue suffers from avascular necrosis (bone tissue death).

Because of the completexity of the injury and the problems that can arise during recovery, Urlacher is done for the season. Chicago will attempt to fill the void with a free agent signing like Derrick Brooks or Zach Thomas, but the fantasy value of the Bears defensive likely takes a hit.

Article first appeared 9/15/09


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