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.
The NFL is a quarterback driven league and the majority of injuries
are quarterbacks this week. We have a couple of new injuries and
a couple of old ones to recap. A few of these injuries have huge
dynasty league implications.
Before I get started with the usually player recaps, I wanted
to touch upon the staph infection issue that has been running
rampant lately. Staph infections are bacteria that live harmlessly
on many skin surfaces especially around the nose, mouth or genitals.
But, when the skin is punctured or broken for any reason, staph
bacteria can enter the wound and cause an infection. This is very
hard to prevent, but can cause significant complications with
surgery or other illnesses such as Kellen Winslow. You see it
a great deal around hospitals because of the variety of germs
that are brought into the hospital. I would assume that it would
not be as prevalent around the NFL community because of the wealth,
but obviously I was mistaken. This can reap havoc on these injuries
and cause multiple games missed as with Kellen Winslow and half
the Browns team, Tom Brady, and Peyton Manning.
Player: Tony Romo
Injury: Broken Pinkie
Healing Time: 4-6 Weeks
Impact On The Field: With Romo out
this week, the likelihood of him playing sooner than the 4-6 week
projection is minimal. The medical staff and Jerry Jones went
back and forth all week with a variety of splints to protect his
finger, but in the end, decided against letting him play. Because
the pinkie is the finger in question and plays such a little role
in throwing, it is the only reason they were even discussing letting
him play. In the end, as I reported last
week, the risk of his pinkie hitting someone else’s helmet
and displacing the fracture was too great. If that were to occur,
he would require surgery to reset the fracture and possibly miss
the rest of the season. However, as each day passes and the finger
heals a little more, the greater the chance he plays. Romo is
chomping at the bit to play with his new toys and I would expect
him to push hard to play this week. Coming off the Brad Johnson
experiment, the Cowboy brass may look to push the envelope and
let him play this week. Terrell Owens may be in Jason Garret’s
office as you read this, begging to let Romo play.
Injury: Torn Meniscus
Healing Time: 3-6 Weeks If The Injury
Is Not Repaired
Impact On The Field: Reggie Bush
has been dealing with periodic swelling on and off for the last
year and a half. The swelling was from a small tear in his meniscus.
The menisci are shock absorbing pads that are located both on
the inside and outside of the knee. They enhance the congruity
of the knee to allow for a more stable joint.
Because they are flexible and move with the joint, they are susceptible
to tearing. A small tear does not need to be fixed if it causes
nothing more than periodic swelling. Surgery is indicated when
it causes pain with weight-bearing or prevents motion such as
bending or straightening the knee.
In Reggie’s case, somewhere along the cuts and moves he
made during his punt return, he tore his meniscus further. This
is where the complexity in the injury lies. If the tear can be
repaired, they stitch it up and doing this causes a limitation
in motion and weight-bearing for 6 weeks. This prognosis would
cost Reggie the rest of the season because of the length of time
to rehab. This is why Osi Umenyora was placed on season-ending
injury reserve because his injury was repaired. If the tear is
removed, you will have the quicker healing time-frame as listed
Seeing Dr. Andrews means that they are considering his long-term
future as opposed to the short-term. If the tear is removed, you
lose some of the shock absorbing capability and can set the knee
up for long-term wear and tear. In all cases, the physician likes
to save the tissue and would repair it. Different cases call for
different actions though. Activity level and age are reasons why
doctors repair as opposed to remove the meniscus. If enough of
the tissue remains intact, they remove the tear and he could be
out only a couple of weeks.
As far as fantasy implications, there is no way to replace Reggie
Bush. Pierre Thomas, Deuce McAllister, Mike Karney all combined
provide nowhere near what Bush provides. The Saints may look to
split the carries and become more of a straight-ahead and grind
at you rushing attacks. Because they don’t have Bush as a decoy
or a threat in the passing game, it should slow the others down.
Addendum: Reggie Bush’s surgery
was a menisectomy. This is where they remove the torn tissue.
He will be back in 2-4 weeks. The surgery was not a repair and
is in no-risk of missing the season.
Player: Carson Palmer
Injury: Unknown (My Opinion, Questionable Tommy John Injury)
Healing Time: Week To Week; Possibly A Year
Impact On The Field: As I mentioned last week, Carson’s
elbow injury has been very secretive. Again, there are only a
few things that cause swelling in the elbow, bursitis or something
that requires surgical intervention. It was reported last week
that he saw the Mets team doctor who provided information that
was unexpected. The fear is that he has torn his Ulnar Collateral
Ligament, otherwise known as the “Tommy John”. There
is a good chance he requires surgical intervention and his status
for the beginning of next year could be in doubt if they further
delay the procedure.
Player: Tom Brady
Injury: ACL Reconstruction; 2nd
Surgery To Clean Out Infection
Healing Time: 10 Months
Impact On The Field: Oh boy. Could
this be the beginning of the end? First, major reconstructive
surgery on a 31-year-old was required. Second, a staph infection
needed to be cleaned out. This is not a good scenario. Peyton
Manning required a second surgery to clean out an infection this
past off-season. That slowed him down for an extra 4-6 weeks.
Brady had a major surgery to stabilize his knee and this certainly,
will slow down his progress on rehab. Brady was never much of
a scrambler, but his footwork such a big part of his ability to
avoid the rush and stand in the packet to deliver the ball. The
impact of these surgeries will limit his ability early-on to maneuver
within the pocket adeptly.
The medical side of me says that he will not be the same for
a while next season. But, this is Tom Brady we are talking about.
I can’t see how anyone can predict how this injury will
affect his innate ability to see the field and deliver the ball
so quickly. Only time will tell with this injury. Chris Mortensen
reported on Sunday that there is a chance that the infection disrupted
the hardware that was placed in the knee and that it may need
to be removed. If so, this is the worst case scenario.
Player: Jeremy Shockey
Injury: Sports Hernia
Healing Time: Already Back, But Should Be Limited For Another
Impact On The Field: This guy can’t stay healthy. He injured
his groin back in training camp and because the injury is so hard
to diagnose, was misdiagnosed as a groin strain. When in reality,
it was a sports hernia that was causing his pain. A groin strain
and a sports hernia are virtually in the same spot, which makes
it very difficult to accurately assess. I have had surgeons tell
me that MRI’s and other imaging do not correctly diagnose
the injury. So, rehab is very conservative using your typical
stretching, strengthening and icing techniques to allow it to
heal. If it does not heal, then you need to investigate further.
Shockey came out this weekend and verbally ripped the organization.
I can understand his frustration, but because of the nature of
the injury, there is no way to treat it any differently. He will
heal and in time will be fine, but will experience nagging pain
along the way. Being from the New York area and knowing about
his lack of working-out with his team, I may be a bit skeptical
and say, “This is why you condition with your strength and
conditioning coach and not with the University of Miami alumni.”
Player: Brodie Croyle
Injury: Torn MCL
Healing Time: Season-Ending
Impact On The Field: The skill position
players in KC will rejoice. Although, not much better, Damon Huard
does look for Dwayne Bowe and Tony Gonzalez quite a bit more than
aforementioned quarterback. Brodie Croyle’s torn MCL must have
been of the Grade 3 variety. This means that it was a complete
tear. They lock the knee in a brace for a period of time and allow
the ligament to scar over and heal. Because of the severity of
the tear, this will prevent him from rejoining the team this season.
There are no long-term implications and he will be back throwing
inaccurate passes next season.
Player: Willie Parker
Injury: MCL Sprain
Healing Time: 2 Weeks From Now
Impact On The Field: Willie Parker
re-injured his knee in practice last week. He re-stretched it
and that caused extra swelling and pain. The MCL connects the
inside of the lower leg to the inside of the upper leg. He should
be week to week assuming he does not aggravate it this week. Mewelde
Moore has been very solid in his place, but I am a bit skeptical
because he has gone up a bit of a soft schedule in Cincy and a
banged up Jax defense. Willie Parker should be back this week
splitting carries with Moore.
Player: Jay Cutler
Injury: Hand/Finger Sprain
Healing Time: Day To Day
Impact On The Field: The x-rays came back negative last night
on Jay’s injury. He threw a few wobbly balls and looked
like he was in pain. This injury should be sore for a few days,
but with Denver on bye, this should be a non-factor. He will be
back to his gun-slinging ways in 2 weeks.