This weekly series will provide you
with in-depth analysis of key injuries 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 injuries that can happen
in this violent sport on the college level and how to treat them.
Hopefully, this piece gives you a little more insight into the
anatomy or an injury.
There are a few injuries this week that I have not even mentioned
because I feel that there is no way these players would miss any
games. (Romo, Schaub, Favre,) Have no fear, these players will
all be playing this weekend.
Player: Troy Polamalu
Injury: MCL Sprain
Healing Time: 3-6 weeks
Impact on the Field: You might be
wondering why I am discussing a defensive player instead of my
usual offensive only analysis. Quite simply, no player on the
defensive side of the ball changes a defensive scheme more than
Polamalu does. The fact that he can close on an offensive player
14 yards away in 1.8 seconds, as highlighted in the Thursday night
game, is simply amazing. Did you see that one-handed interception?
Enough said. As you saw Kerry Collins pick apart the Steeler secondary
in the second half, you might ask why? Well, the answer is that
the Steeler secondary is below average without Polamalu. His decision-making
and skill makes up for the rest of the secondary’s inadequacies.
The Steeler defense is not the same without him and you can expect
a more-friendly pass defense for the next 3-6 weeks. If the offensive
line can protect the QB and provide just average protection, an
offense can pick up yards through the air. This means that a typical
death sentence for a fantasy GM, who has to stick with his usual
starting QB against the Steelers, might not have to expect such
a bad day and resultant poor production.
McNabb: Don't expect him to be sidelined
for too long.
Injury: Broken Ribs
Healing Time: 3-6 weeks
Impact on the Field: This is one
of the most painful injuries a player can endure and play through.
Broken ribs entail being involved in every movement one makes.
Breathing hurts. So, you could imagine how painful throwing can
be. Ultimately, McNabb may miss a week and probably take a few
shots/painkillers to allow him to start either this week or next
week’s game. With Vick being unavailable until Week 3, I would
anticipate McNabb playing soon and playing well. He always seems
to be hurt and I doubt this injury will hinder him in any way
if he is healthy enough to start. The signing of Jeff
Garcia allows him to take his time to get healthy. I think
he takes 2 weeks off.
Player: Kurt Warner
Injury: Torn Labrum in his hip
Healing Time: 12 weeks from surgery
Impact on the Field: I am including Warner here because there
is speculation that his injury is a reason why he played so poorly.
I am here to tell you that is nonsense. The bigger concern was
the play-calling now that Tod Haley is coaching elsewhere and
all the injuries to his wide receivers. Not having Boldin or Steve
Breaston healthy was a major reason why Fitzgerald was double
and triple covered. He was missing key pieces to his offense,
which left him having to check down to Tim Hightower. If Boldin
and Breaston get healthy soon, Warner will be fine. He still put
the ball in the air 44 times. If he is throwing that often, the
fantasy numbers will be there.
Injury: Hamstring strain
Healing Time: 2-4 weeks
Impact on the Field: These injuries are tricky. You can’t
run fast with a hamstring pull. It won’t allow one to stride
fully which limits one’s speed. Boldin clearly did not look
himself in Sunday’s game. It was reported that he did not
suffer any setbacks, but it may be a while before he is 100% healthy.
I feel that this impacts Warner more so because he needs Boldin
healthy to make the offense hum.
Player: Steve Breaston
Injury: PCL sprain
Healing Time: 8 weeks
Impact on the Field: This ligament contributes to the stabilization
process within the knee. This ligament is not nearly as important
as the ACL, but if damaged, can cause swelling and persistent
pain. It was thought that he would play last week and it seemed
to come as a surprise to Ken Wisenhunt if you saw his comments
regarding Breaston. That said, he must be close to returning,
but I am not sure I would trust him in starting fantasy lineups
even if Boldin is hurt. Look for this injury to linger for a while.
Player: Antonio Bryant
Injury: Surgical procedure for menisectomy
Healing Time: 2-4 weeks
Impact on the Field: Bryant has had multiple surgeries/problems
with his knees. If you have read my column before, you would understand
that when a person has multiple “clean- up” surgeries,
a little more of the cartilage is scraped away leaving bone exposure.
Usually, this causes longer lengths of rehab with each successive
surgery. Bryant was able to make it through a half, but then took
himself out. It could be a lingering injury because the knee is
not healed yet. I would stay away from this situation for a while.
Leftwich is not very good, but on a positive note, he will be
in position to throw a lot because the Bucs will always be behind.
Bryant may not be startable for another month.
Player: Anthony Gonzalez
Injury: Mysterious knee injury
Healing Time: 3-6 weeks?
Impact on the Field: It is never
good when a player crumples to the ground after making a cut to
explode in the opposite direction and there is not another player
within five yards. This mysterious injury is one of two things:
ACL injury or meniscus tear. Either way, it is not good. If it
is not an ACL injury, which would require surgery and end his
season, it might be a meniscus injury. The Colts are very secretive.
If you recall, you did not hear about Peyton Manning’s surgery
last year until 5-6 weeks later. If they anticipate Gonzalez being
out three weeks, he probably underwent a surgical intervention
and you might not hear about it for a while. Three weeks would
be the absolute minimum, but I would anticipate closer to the
6-week time frame of return to action.
Player: LaDainian Tomlinson
Injury: Ankle Sprain
Healing Time: 1-3 weeks
Impact on the Field: It was reported
that Tomlinson was limping badly after the game as result of a
sprained ankle. Typically, ankle sprains can be treated conservatively
and quickly to allow for return to competition within a week.
However, there are much bigger issues at play here. First off,
it is becoming very clear that Tomlinson, who was once the epitome
of durability, has become brittle. He is racking up the minor
injuries, which may be result of his 2670 career rushing attempts
and his age. He was on and off the field sporadically Monday night,
but it was apparent to anyone watching the game, that Sproles
was more productive and just darn right more explosive. The Chargers
are in a tough spot because they realize that Sproles is the better
player, but they don’t want to embarrass the franchise’s best
player since Dan Fouts. So, Sproles will continue to get his carries
thus further limiting Tomlinson’s production. My gut tells me
that Tomlinson will wait until he is 100% so that he does not
return to playing similar to the way he played last year with
the lingering groin pull which really hindered his game.