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Anatomy Of An Injury - Week 17

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: Maurice Jones-Drew
Injury: Knee bruise
Healing Time: 0-3 weeks
Impact On The Field: MJD has finally got his chance to shine as a feature running back. During the last drive of his game last week, he landed awkwardly on his knee. It was diagnosed as a bruise and he was hobbling around on it after the game. It is looking like he just fell on it and his knee “ballooned” up. If this is true, he would have a few days to rehab his leg and allow for his knee to reduce in size. If all this holds up, and it should, then he would be able to play this week against the Ravens. MJD is looking to exploit this opportunity as a feature back and prove he can handle the load. MJD has Brian Westbrook similarities and can do it all on the football field. Even though he is playing the Ravens, he is too much of a dual threat not to use him. This injury should not slow him down. The real issue here is whether or not MJD is a top five back next year. Do the Jags draft another RB to replace Fred Taylor if he is released or allow MJD to have the job?

Player: Marshawn Lynch
Injury: Bruised shoulder
Healing Time: ?????
Impact On The Field: This is a tough injury to discuss. First off, very rarely does anyone have a bruised shoulder. Almost always, there is some sort of strain or sprain to either the muscles or ligaments. In the majority of cases, there is an AC sprain. If you have read my columns before, you will know that this injury is located above the shoulder joint and is injured when there is a force applied to the top of the shoulder. This forces the clavicle in a downward direction stretching the ligaments that hold the joint together. This can occur either from a blow to the top of the shoulder or falling on it. In a running back’s case, this can be extremely painful and limits their ability to play. Lynch re-injured his shoulder in his game this weekend and was unable to return. He should heal enough to practice by the end of the week, but that does not mean that he will play. With Jauron’s job in jeopardy, I would anticipate having all “hands on deck” to try and save his job and knock New England out of the playoffs. You will need to look at Friday’s practice report to see if he participated. If he runs through some of the drills, he probably will play.

Player: Calvin Johnson
Injury: Lower leg bruise
Healing Time: 1 week
Impact On The Field: Again, an injury that is classified as a bruise. Most likely, there is some sort of sprain to the ligamentous structure or strain of a muscle. Bruises heal pretty quickly and do not keep players out of games. Whatever it is that he sustained, caused him to miss the last quarter and a half of his game. Besides the injury, he has been absolutely amazing this year considering the fact that he has not had a good QB and has been the only real threat at wide receiver all year. It is hard to figure, with respect to Kevin Smith, that with such little talent, he has been putting up great numbers. I can not for the life of me figure out how defenses are not doubling or triple teaming him. He had a TD called back last week because he false started, otherwise he would have had another long touchdown. The guy scores every week. His injury was severe enough to limit him this past weekend, but I would think that he would be good to go later in the week.

I just want to recap a few of the lingering injuries and give some insight on them. Brandon Jacobs looked fine to me on Sunday night. He is a pretty tough guy. With the possibility of a PCL tear and a sprain in his other knee, he was still able to score 3 touchdowns. Goes to show you, that you cannot predict a guy’s toughness when it comes to injuries.

Marion Barber clearly has a severe injury. I am not sure if it is the strained calf or dislocated toe, but he is still limping after 3 weeks. He continues to be limited and this is very surprising. Tashard Choice is carving out a nice role for himself and hopefully if you are a Barber owner, you picked him up. Don’t count on much production from Barber this week.

Jason Witten re-injured his ankle in the game against the Ravens. He is supposedly limping pretty badly. Witten has played through various bumps and bruises all year with the most painful injury being broken ribs. I would think that he would have to be on crutches not to play this weekend with the Cowboys’ playoff chances on the line.

Lastly, Anquan Boldin has a sore shoulder. It has been reported that he wants to play this weekend to try and get the Cardinal ship righted. With the Cardinals having nothing to play for, he may not play the whole game.