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Anatomy Of An Injury - Week 9

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.

As usual, the drama surrounding the quarterbacks takes all the headlines. It is the glamour position and is the one in the league that cannot be replaced so easily. With Romo, Brady, Palmer, Croyle (did I just put him in this category?) all out, you would think some of the passing numbers would look a lot worse. But, in reality only a few wide receivers have taken a huge hit. Randy Moss, Chad Johnson and Terrell Owens have seen reduced numbers while others with healthy, young quarterbacks such as Roddy White and Santana Moss have taken the step to elite. Let’s recap those and we are at that time of the year where muscle pulls and “wear and tear” injuries are starting to occur.

I want to give a quick take on the knees of Tom Brady and Reggie Bush. First, Brady’s multiple surgeries for his infected knee are simply to eradicate the infection in specific locations. It was reported that the Pats were upset with Brady’s timing of his first surgery to repair the ACL and MCL ligaments. This had no impact whatsoever on whether or not he obtained an infection. It is presumably the luck of the draw. If they went in the first time to primarily fix the ACL and did not touch the MCL, he still would have had just as great a risk of getting a staph infection. Do not let the media misguide you on this one. The risk of infection is present with the first incision to the skin.

I reported last week the difference between Bush having the tear in his meniscus removed as opposed to having the meniscus repaired. It is true, that having less of the meniscus does put the person at a greater risk of wear and tear in the knee down the road. However, I would not be concerned with this injury having any long-term impact on his football career at this time, with the information that was released. There is a chance that he has some wear and tear in the knee but I will not hypothesize about the unknown. It was released that the tear was removed, so we will go on that premise.

Player: Darren McFadden
Injury: Turf Toe
Healing Time: A long time if he continues to play
Impact On The Field:: This can be defined in three words: slows him down. This is a tough injury to come back from if you continue to practice and play each week. It is a hyperextension injury of your first toe. The first toe is the most important toe of the foot that allows extension up on your toes. You can’t run if you can’t go up on your toes. LaDanian Tomlinson is going through the same thing. The problem is that one misstep or twist can aggravate the condition and put you back to step one. The best, quickest, and most effective way to come back from this injury is to stay off of it and let time and rehab do their thing. Of course, this is very easy for me, on the outside looking in, to comment on. I don’t have to answer to 60,000 fans wanting him to play, revenue stream lines, owner expectations, coach pressure, and incentive clauses to name a few. This is why he is playing, but in reality it means he is susceptible to re-injury every time he runs. It also means that Fargas should continue to dominate the carries.

Player: Jason Witten
Injury: Bruised Ribs
Healing Time: 4-8 weeks
Impact On The Field:: As I recapped with Brian Westbrook last week, this is a very painful injury. Injuring your ribs makes it hurt to breathe and perform any activity in an upright position. To perform football moves, one would have to be on some kind of painkilling medication. It is possible that Witten misses a week or two or tries to play through it. Either way, he will be limited and will make it difficult to extend his arms and reach for balls if they are not thrown perfectly to him. It is not really a big deal anyway. With Brad Johnson at the helm, no one is obtaining big receiving totals except Marion Barber. By the time Witten is feeling better, it will be back to catching balls from his buddy Tony Romo. I don’t think this will have much of an impact on Witten’s numbers because he has been unproductive without Romo.

Player: Steven Jackson
Injury: Quad strain
Healing Time: 2-4 weeks
Impact On The Field:: It seems like we are at the point in the season where you start to become susceptible to muscle pulls as the body starts to fatigue. Jackson ended up missing the Pats game because of this injury. The quad muscle is a group of muscles that starts in front of your hip and attaches below your knee. It is responsible for keeping an athlete upright, making cuts and propelling him forward. A muscle can be strained if it is abnormally loaded or if there is an imbalance in the strength/flexibility ratio in the joint it crosses. This can be a reason why there are recurrent strains. In Jackson’s case, he tested it in pre-game and continued to feel some pain, so they kept him out the week instead of risking further injury which would be a smart move on their part. Allowing it to heal will prevent the likelihood of re-injury. The Ram offense is not the same without him and there is no threat of a run attack. Therefore, a defense can load the box and let Donnie Avery blow by everyone. Boy, did I miss the boat on him. Anyways, Jackson should be good to go this week.

Player: Santana Moss
Injury: Hamstring strain
Healing Time: 2-6 weeks
Impact On The Field:: Again, the dreaded hamstring pull “pops” up. The hamstring is imperative in allowing an athlete to accelerate. It is typically slow to heal and requires time to allow the athlete to return to competition. Santana Moss has been on a tear this season. I have him in one league and he is keeping my receiving corps afloat. He has really emerged as Jason Campbell’s go-to guy and will really be missed if he is unavailable. I could see the Redskins having him miss this week’s game and then taking the bye to really allow the injury the time to heal to get him ready for the stretch run. I would prefer him to play every week, but it is much safer to have him miss one week then multiple. I think he misses this week’s game if he is unable to practice on Friday.

Player: Sammy Morris
Injury: Knee injury
Healing Time: 2-4 weeks
Impact On The Field:: I cannot even begin to speculate on what type of injury Sammy Morris has. My best guess is some sort of ligament sprain based on the 2-4 week time frame that was reported. The Pats are so darn secretive with their injuries. You have no idea who even has an injury, never mind what type of injury it is. Morris has emerged as an inside presence and was running very well before the injury. With him out, they will go with a committee approach of the always useful, Kevin Faulk and some rookie named BenJarvus Green-Ellis (only in New England or Denver). When Morris returns, he will be quite useful getting the majority of the carries including the goal-line touches. But, until then, proceed at your own risk with the Faulk or Ellis.