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Anatomy Of An Injury - Week 15

This is a weekly column that will provide you with in-depth analysis of key injuries for the week and their resultant implications on fantasy football. This information comes straight from my perspective as a Physical Therapist and Athletic Trainer for ten years. Over this time, I have seen almost all the key injuries that can happen in this violent sport on the college level and how to treat them. Hopefully, this gives you a little more insight on certain injuries and what to expect.

Player: Marion Barber
Injury: Dislocated 5th toe
Healing Time: 0-4 weeks
Impact On The Field: This is one injury that I am shocked about. There has to be more to this injury than what the Cowboys are letting on. And it turns out there was. Barber has a dislocated fifth toe and I felt there was something else going on. He also strained his calf compensating for the original injury. If it were a fifth toe dislocation, it would be re-located and taped. The fifth toe is pretty much useless when it comes to any activity. It does provide some balance function, but its primary use if of cosmetic nature. I thought maybe he had a fracture. Maybe it just really hurt? He had ten days to recover from this and was still unable to play meaning that the strained calf was more the problem. He is a tough guy and pain should not really have been an issue. I would have bet my house that he played against Pittsburgh so, I will not roll the dice again and say he plays this week against the Giants. If you happen to own Tashard Choice, I don’t think this is the week to use him. But, if Barber is out, he will carry a full load.

Player: Frank Gore
Injury: Ankle sprain
Healing Time: 1-3 weeks
Impact On The Field: I was someone who had Gore in two leagues and watched him get off to a great start, only for some big dude to roll-up on his ankle. This resulted in Mr. Gore being carted off the field. He tried to put weight on it right away and was unable. It does not look good for him to play this weekend although he has already come out saying that he would play. It looked like a grade 2 lateral ankle sprain, which means that the ligaments were moderately damaged. The lateral ankle sprain is far less severe than the high ankle sprain, which is a good sign. He will receive treatment all week and most likely practice a little on Friday if he has intentions to play on Sunday. He should be out for a short time, but just long enough for you to lose in the playoffs assuming you don’t have a good backup. It is too bad, because his fantasy schedule is good. Hope he plays this week. I know I will be rooting for him.

Player: Brandon Jacobs
Injury: Knee sprain
Healing Time: unknown
Impact On The Field: Jacobs re-aggravated an older knee injury that was discussed here a few weeks ago. As I stated earlier, there is a possibility that there is some cartilage damage in there that is causing chronic inflammation. The cartilage damage does not always show up on the MRI. He is more bothered by this than he is letting on. He ended up missing a game and then did not return this weekend against the Eagles. If he twists or plants violently, like he does on every handoff, he can continue to re-injure the knee. He is no lock to play this weekend.

Player: Peyton Hillis
Injury: Hyper-extended knee, hamstring strain/tear
Healing Time: 4-6 weeks
Impact On The Field: If you think you can play running back, fly to Denver for a tryout. But, beware of a season-ending injury. Denver is down to fourth and fifth stringers at this point. Even a thief such as Tatum Bell is still there because they are so depleted. Hillis made an acrobatic catch and upon hitting the ground, his knee hyper-extended. That usually involves some type of ligament damage in the knee, but instead he strained his hamstring. The injury is a little less severe, but takes a little longer to heal. This injury looked a lot worse than it really is. The hamstring prevents excessive bending of the hip as a restraint and also has function as an accelerator of the lower half of your body. When it exceeds its flexibility limits, you get a strained hamstring. Hillis had carved out a nice little role for himself in that offense and was a waiver wire gem. He had everything you wanted. He had a plethora of touches, goal-line work and receiver potential out of the backfield. It is too bad when someone like this gets hurt. He worked very hard for his shot and produced when his opportunity came. Now, he ends up as another option in the Shanahan backfield mess.

Player: Willis McGahee
Injury: Stinger
Healing Time: 2-3 weeks
Impact On The Field: I doubt any of you who are still reading this column are relying on McGahee for the fantasy playoffs. He has been a total flop this year and is in serious jeopardy of being cut in the off-season. The stinger injury is when there is a hit to the top of someone’s shoulder like when they are lowering their body to prepare for contact. The top of the shoulder gets forced away from the neck causing a stretching force to the nerve roots where they exit the neck and travel into the arm. It causes pain and tingling in the arm that does not go away for a while. It can be very painful and annoying when one is trying to use their arm. McGahee should be far removed from fantasy lineups at this time because of his inconsistency, injuries and declining skill set.

Player: Matt Hasselbeck
Injury: Herniated disc
Healing Time: 4-6 weeks; may require surgery
Impact On The Field: It looks like Hasselbeck’s waste of a season is over. He injured his back in the preseason, returned and then re-injured it again. He will not be returning this season because of the continued pain. There is a good chance that they go in and remove the “bulging” part of the disc that is putting pressure on his nerve. If this happens, he would be out of service for a good 4-6 months. But, he should be fine for next season. As for the rest of this year, only John Carlson has provided any value for the Seahawks. They seem to have him heavily involved in the passing game no matter who the quarterback is for the game.