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Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Chargers, Browns backfields banged up

By Stephania Bell



In the realm of injuries, this was no Week 7, thankfully. That doesn't mean fantasy rosters escaped unscathed. Oh no, not a chance of that happening.

San Diego's Mike Tolbert
Mike Tolbert missed Monday night's game but he might be the only healthy Chargers running back for next week.
• The San Diego Chargers' running backs are in the injury mix again. Ryan Mathews injured his groin late in Monday night's game and did not return. Mike Tolbert was dressed and running on the field before the game, trying to convince coaches he should play. He didn't. And then there was Curtis Brinkley, who stepped in when Mathews stepped out. He delivered a touchdown, some carries, some catches, then suffered a concussion. His status is now murky as well. With all this happening Monday night, who knows how things will shape up by Sunday? Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune expects Tolbert to be ready to go. The other two backs have fresh injuries, so it's likely a decision won't come until later.



• The Cleveland Browns' running back situation is also a bit messy. Peyton Hillis did not play Sunday despite making the trip to San Francisco. Given his midweek setback with his hamstring last week, there is no counting on him for Week 9, no matter how badly the team needs him. Montario Hardesty will not play for a while, now that he has suffered a moderate strain (Grade 2) of his right medial gastrocnemius (calf) muscle, according to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. Hardesty definitely will miss time but the extent is unknown. These injuries often take time to recover from, and certainly as a running back, push-off requires use of the calf muscle, so there's no getting around it. Plan on him being down a month. How many of you had Chris Ogbonnaya on your roster? I'm not going to lie. As a Hillis owner, I did. I was rewarded with 10 points. The question then is, will Ogbonnaya repeat? Perhaps not, but he might be worth a look if you're hurting. The Browns are glad they took a chance on him since he was handling the load Sunday when Hardesty went down. Also, Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain-Dealer reported via Twitter on Tuesday that the Browns added running back Thomas Clayton to their roster. Clayton was active for the Browns for two games last season.

New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks has a hamstring strain. The Giants are calling him day-to-day, and there appears to be no sense of panic at the moment. According to the Star-Ledger, Nicks is expecting to play this weekend against the New England Patriots. Teammate Ahmad Bradshaw was in and out of Sunday's game, getting X-rays on his right foot. The fact that he returned to the game after getting his foot retaped is a positive sign, and Bradshaw told the New York Daily News, "I knew it was fine. Just being precautious about it." That sounds like a good thing.

Fred Davis has a Grade 1 ankle sprain, according to coach Mike Shanahan. Given that this is the most minor version of an ankle sprain, it does not look like it will keep Davis off the field Sunday, but naturally we'll wait to see how much he does in practice. At least Davis is not part of a tricky shared backfield. Speaking of which, the Washington Redskins have added Tashard Choice to their running back roster, but he will miss Week 9 with a hamstring injury.

Kevin Kolb
Kevin Kolb's first season in Arizona has been up and down, and now he's got a toe injury.
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb has an injured right toe, which might make it difficult for him to play in Week 9. Kolb acknowledged to reporters that the injury to his plant foot made it difficult to throw passes with the same velocity. On Monday, Kolb was in a walking boot, saying he had "no idea" what his status for Sunday would be.

There also are those who were sidelined in Week 8 whose status is of interest for Week 9.

St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford is now out of his walking boot and "walking freely," according to Tony Softli of 101ESPN in St. Louis. Removal of the boot and walking with a normal gait are good measures of progress, as the injured area is stressed with every full weight-bearing step. If there was pain or any instability, Bradford would not be able to walk without a limp. Now let's see whether Bradford can get back to practice and make throws by the end of the week.

• We thought the Houston Texans might have wide receiver Andre Johnson back in the mix Sunday, but he did not feel ready. There is no way the Texans are going to press him into service if he is still experiencing any abnormal sensation in the hamstring. Last week we noted Johnson reported "tugging" in the leg. If he's feeling that while running at less than full speed, there is no way he can accelerate to top speed. Coach Gary Kubiak said Monday that the Texans hope Johnson will be ready for Week 9 but noted Johnson's symptoms were limiting factors this past week.

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones seemed to benefit from the bye week. Jones was back in practice Monday and appears on track to play in Week 9, barring a setback.

• We haven't heard much from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers regarding LeGarrette Blount, but what we're hearing now is encouraging. Coach Raheem Morris told New Orleans reporters that Blount would return for this week's game. It will be nice to see Blount in practice, and see how he's moving following his knee sprain and whether he's wearing a protective brace, but with Earnest Graham done for the season, the Bucs surely could use him.



Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden went into the bye week with a midfoot sprain, but the team seemed optimistic he'd return in Week 9. Well, it's preparation time for Week 9, and McFadden was not in practice Monday. It doesn't mean he won't be on the field by midweek, but until we see him running, there's reason to maintain some fantasy insurance.

We will continue to update these injuries and others as the week progresses.