Stephania Bell: Early Doucet



It is at this midweek point that we fantasy owners typically agonize over whether the injured players on our rosters will be available this week. With only one day of formal injury reports under our belt (at least that's the case for most teams at the time this blog is written), there is a big question as to whether many of the players appearing on these reports will be well enough to play in their games. Occasionally we find out early in the week that a player's injury is significant enough to sideline him. Disappointing as that news is, at least we can start searching for ways to make roster adjustments. Unfortunately, that early news is rare. However, this week, for better or for worse, we already know of several players who are projected to be out Sunday so we might as well get to those names straight away.



Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson is still dealing with the effects of the concussion he sustained Sunday following a collision with Atlanta Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson. Jackson did not practice Wednesday and head coach Andy Reid has already indicated that he does not expect the wide receiver to play this week. It also appears quarterback Michael Vick will be out another week, despite putting in limited practice Wednesday. Vick, still healing from his rib cartilage injury, has already spoken about targeting Week 9 (the Eagles have a bye in Week 8), so expect Kevin Kolb to get another start.



The San Diego Chargers have already indicated that two of their players will be out this weekend. According to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune, kicker Nate Kaeding will be out for Week 7 because of a groin injury. Meanwhile, wide receiver Malcom Floyd injured his hamstring in the Week 6 contest, which was severe enough that the Chargers are already preparing for his absence. The question will be whether he can return in time for the following week and whether Legedu Naanee can step back into the lineup this week. Naanee missed last week with a hamstring strain of his own and didn't practice Wednesday, but did do some side running and hopes to return to practice Thursday.

This is an off week for the Detroit Lions, New York Jets, Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts, so that extra time off is most welcome. However, even with the bye week, there's already a lot of bad news with the Colts.

Dallas Clark
AP Photo/John RaouxFantasy owners were already going to have to do without Dallas Clark this week, but the absence may be much longer.
First off, there's tight end Dallas Clark, as he's facing an "indefinite" absence as a result of a wrist/hand injury. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that in the wake of the injury, Clark would be seeking multiple opinions as to the optimum course of treatment. On Thursday, Colts general manager Bill Polian confirmed Clark's indefinite absence. According to the Indianapolis Star, Clark is seeing a specialist in Cleveland on Thursday for what is a "relatively rare" injury and the team is awaiting word on the course of treatment before providing any more details, including a timetable. Said Polian, "This is not the kind of injury that is very common where our doctors can say, 'Hey, look, this is a four-week injury or this is a six-week injury.' So we'll know more later tonight."

Clark was apparently injured late in Sunday night's game when he put his left hand down to break his fall. He was then seen sporting a cast on his forearm and hand while at a fundraiser earlier in the week, hinting at the seriousness of the injury. Fantasy owners obviously need to make lineup adjustments in preparation for the possibility that Clark's absence is extensive.



And if you thought it couldn't get any worse for the Colts, Polian also revealed Thursday that wide receiver Austin Collie has an undisclosed injury that is being further evaluated. Adam Schefter reports that Collie has already undergone hand surgery and is expected to be sidelined for several weeks. No word as to the specifics of the injury and subsequent surgery, but suffice it to say fantasy owners will need a fill-in if he is out a few weeks.

Fantasy owners who own both Clark and Collie in their leagues (including this writer) may need to be restrained from acting out in frustration, but fortunately they were already going to be out this week anyway. More details as they emerge.



Meanwhile, there are also questions at the running back position. Joseph Addai, who suffered an injury to his neck and shoulder area in Week 5 but played in Week 6, was forced out of last Sunday's game after injuring his left shoulder. The Indianapolis Star reports that Addai says he is dealing with a "nerve" injury that could take up to five weeks to heal. Without knowing more about his diagnosis, it's hard to tell how accurate Addai's own prognosis about his condition is. NFL.com reports he is currently seeking a second opinion. The good news is that the Colts are on a bye this week and Donald Brown is getting healthier. Fantasy owners will want to be sure they target Brown in the event Addai misses some extended time.

As for the rest of the Week 7 injury concerns, read on ...

Quarterbacks

Brett Favre, Minnesota Vikings: Favre's elbow is reportedly feeling better than it did a week ago and he should be fine to take the reins for Sunday. Although he was listed as a limited participant in practice, he did do some throwing Wednesday. This is likely to be a condition that will have its ups and downs as the season continues, but with careful management, Favre could manage to play through it.

David Garrard, Jacksonville Jaguars: Garrard rested at home Wednesday and Thursday rather than participate in activity at the team's facility as he recovers from a concussion sustained Monday night. As is often the case with these injuries, Garrard is resting from cognitively demanding activities, such as meetings and film review, while also laying off physical activity. The evidence would suggest that Garrard will not be ready to play in Week 7.



The question then becomes who will be under center for the Jaguars? Trent Edwards injured his thumb Monday night and was not at Wednesday practice either. At issue will be how much pain and swelling interfere with Edwards' ability to grip and control the ball. The Jaguars may rely on Todd Bouman to face the Kansas City Chiefs.

Vince Young, Tennessee Titans: Young, who sprained his left knee and ankle Monday night, did not practice Wednesday and was seen "limping on the sideline," according to the Tennessean. Backup Kerry Collins did not practice Wednesday either as he rested a sore right middle finger, but it appears he was set to return to practice Thursday. Young relies on his mobility so if he cannot maneuver well by Friday, expect Collins to get the start.

Running Backs

Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders: He split reps Wednesday with Michael Bush. The Oakland Tribune specifically noted that the plays did not seem to be testing the "burst" of McFadden, something he suggested he would do earlier in the week to evaluate the progress of his injured hamstring. Whether McFadden can practice on successive days and work up to full speed by the end of the week will give a better clue as to his status for Sunday. There's a possibility that the team could head into the game against the Denver Broncos with a load-share situation.

Wide Receivers

Steve Smith
Derick E. Hingle/US PresswireThe return of Steve Smith would be most welcome for his fantasy owners and the Panthers' struggling offense.
Steve Smith, Carolina Panthers: When possible, we like to bring good news to fantasy owners in this column and the sight of Smith putting in back-to-back full practices this week is indeed good news. Last week at this time, it seemed as though Smith might be headed for a more prolonged absence, but the prognosis has since improved.

The Gaston Gazette reported Wednesday that Smith said he felt "healthy," adding "I'm out of the boot and I don't have much pain so I'm able to move around. So I feel good." Smith reportedly has been recovering from a high-ankle sprain and it has only been three weeks since the injury. While his practice activity is certainly encouraging and indicates his likely availability against the San Francisco 49ers, it will be more encouraging long-term if he gets through that game without a setback.

Quick Hits


• Chargers tight end Antonio Gates did not practice Wednesday, as expected, to rest his sore toe. Coach Norv Turner has indicated that this injury does not appear serious and the team hopes to have him back in practice Thursday. At this point, it does not appear that his Sunday status is in doubt, although fantasy owners will want to see what Gates is able to do as the week progresses.

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driver strained his quadriceps late last week but still managed to play in Sunday's game. Nonetheless, the quad did seem to hamper him and he was held out of practice Wednesday and Thursday. Friday's practice should give a better clue as to his availability but it is possible, even if he plays, that he will not be at full health.

• Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic expects both Steve Breaston (knee surgery) and Early Doucet (sports hernia surgery) to be back in the mix this week for the Arizona Cardinals. Both players participated in limited practice Wednesday.

• Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Mike Sims-Walker was limited in Wednesday's practice because of a shoulder ailment. There is no word of a major injury, but it is worth keeping an eye on his activity the remainder of the week.

• Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy did not practice Wednesday, but expect him to be in the action again this week. Every week that goes by is another week of the rib fracture healing itself, so there appears to be no cause for concern here.

Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis continues to slog it out through his thigh injury. He was kept to a limited practice Wednesday but based on his prior performance, expect him to suit up this week.

New Orleans Saints running backs Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush were not in practice Wednesday. According to Jeff Duncan of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Bush is targeting next week for a return to practice, hoping to return to play in Week 8 or 9. Thomas was hoping to resume running this week, suggesting that he is more than a few days away from returning. As of Thursday, expect Chris Ivory and Ladell Betts to be in at running back.



Baltimore Ravens tight end Todd Heap did not practice Wednesday because of a sore neck. Heap, who was on the receiving end of a big -- and much discussed -- hit from the New England Patriots' Brandon Merriweather, remained in Sunday's game after the hit but apparently the soreness lingered. The good news is that Heap returned to practice Thursday and appears to be on track to play in Week 7.

• At this point, Cleveland Browns coach Eric Mangini is suggesting that Colt McCoy could get his second start of the season, barring dramatic improvement in the ankle health of Jake Delhomme or Seneca Wallace. Given their injuries, McCoy is likely to be running the offense this week.

• Oakland Raiders quarterback Bruce Gradkowski only watched practice while Jason Campbell and Kyle Boller split reps, according to the Oakland Tribune. When asked by Denver reporters during a conference call who would start for the Raiders this weekend coach Tom Cable responded, "We have no idea at this point."

See you at the injury chats (Tuesday, Friday 3-4 p.m.), when we'll have the latest injury updates affecting Week 7 in the Saturday morning blog!

Thursday's Week 2 injury update

September, 16, 2010
9/16/10
12:51
PM ET

Quarterbacks

Kevin Kolb
Howard Smith/US PresswireThe Eagles will be very cautious with Kevin Kolb's concussion.
Kevin Kolb, Philadelphia Eagles: On Tuesday we outlined Kolb's injury and the steps that must occur before a player can return from a concussion.



Since then, his failure to make significant progress suggests he will be sidelined this week. Despite coach Andy Reid's declaration that Kolb would be the starter if healthy (which does not appear he will be by Sunday), Kolb has not undergone any mental preparations in advance of this week's matchup, never mind any physical work. Everyone knows that a quarterback's decision-making is equally important as his ability to get the ball down the field, making it that much less likely that he will play.

Michael Vick took all the reps with the first team Wednesday and is expected to do so again Thursday. Expect Vick to be leading the Eagles against the Detroit Lions this Sunday.

Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions: Stafford is not expected to play this week. He is expected to get a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews on his sprained right shoulder, although any discussion of surgery would be a surprise. On Tuesday, we outlined the nature of Stafford's injury and the range of time he could be out. Fantasy owners should prepare for an absence of at least a few weeks.

Jake Delhomme, Cleveland Browns: Delhomme injured his ankle during last Sunday's game and while he stayed in the entire four quarters, he has not seen any practice time yet this week. The Browns thought enough of Delhomme's injury to schedule an MRI, the results of which have not been made public. The fact that Seneca Wallace took all the first-team snaps in practice is no secret, however, and ESPN's Adam Schefter is reporting that Delhomme will be a game-time decision. In the meantime, Delhomme wears his protective boot, continues to get treatment and hopes for the best.



Running Backs

Steven Jackson, St. Louis Rams: What started out as no big deal Monday seemed a little more worrisome Wednesday when Jackson was held out of practice. Apparently the decision to rest him was a precautionary move according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, as Jackson's knee MRI showed no significant injury. Jackson is expected to play this weekend against the Oakland Raiders, so fantasy owners can breathe a little easier.



Beanie Wells, Arizona Cardinals: After sitting out Week 1, Wells is hopeful to return from a knee bruise in Week 2, but much will depend on how he tolerates practice Thursday. Wells did limited work Wednesday and the team is expected to challenge him with a full workout Thursday to see how his knee responds. Following a deep bruise, one of the concerns is the return of swelling to the joint. If Wells' knee can tolerate practice and there are no aftereffects, it would certainly be a good indicator that he is likely to play Sunday in Atlanta.

Fred Taylor, New England Patriots: Who says a thirty-something can't be the starting running back in a potent offense? Not Taylor, who had a nice showing Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. Unfortunately Taylor's efforts also resulted in him showing up on the Wednesday injury report with a toe injury. While toe injuries are nothing to sneeze at, the good news is that Taylor did participate on a limited basis, suggesting the injury is minor. With the Patriots trading away Laurence Maroney to the Denver Broncos, it appears that they were not overly concerned about Taylor's health, either. Naturally, practice reports throughout the week will provide more insight, but this does not appear to be a big concern for fantasy owners, at least not yet.

Wide Receivers

Larry Fitzgerald
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty ImagesLarry Fitzgerald was sidelined with a knee injury for much of the preseason and he's trying to get back into midseason form.
Larry Fitzgerald and Early Doucet, Arizona Cardinals: Fitzgerald owners who were worried about his status heading into the season had to be relieved to see him on the field Sunday. But even Fitzgerald acknowledged that he wasn't quite up to speed. Literally.



According to Associated Press reports, Fitzgerald related his injury and the time missed during the preseason to being out of sync with his quarterback. "We haven't worked extensively together and that's going to come with time," said Fitzgerald. "We're going to be better than we were last week." And as one has come to expect with Fitzgerald being the consummate professional, he took it upon himself to be better. "I need to get myself together so I can be the best player I can be for [QB Derek Anderson] and this ballclub," Fitzgerald said. To that end, he was a full participant in Wednesday's practice.

Doucet suffered what was called a groin injury in Week 1 and has already been declared out for Sunday's game, according to Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic. Somers reports that Doucet is undergoing further tests to determine if he indeed has a sports hernia. Doucet had preseason issues with what the team called an abdominal strain. It is often the case if an athlete has abdominal and groin pain, a sports hernia is the culprit. If a sports hernia is the diagnosis, Doucet will undergo surgery and could be sidelined for a few weeks.



Quick Hits


Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis appears on the injury report again this week but not because of his ankle. Portis has a wrist ailment, but it didn't limit him at all in practice Wednesday. Expect him to play Sunday.

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver and all-around scoring threat Percy Harvin sat out Wednesday's practice with a hip ailment. There haven't been many specifics, but it is yet another practice session where Harvin is out. For what it's worth, quarterback Brett Favre was a full participant, although "back" has been added to his injury ailments, along with his ankle.



• After being named NFC Offensive Player of the Week, Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte showed up on the injury report because of a knee ailment. The good news is that he did participate in some portions of Wednesday practice, but this is worth keeping an eye on.

• Last year Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez earned a spot in this column after Week 1 when he suffered a PCL sprain. Although initial projections had him missing about a month, he never did return during the 2009 season. Gonzalez is back in the column for all the wrong reasons. He suffered what is being called a high ankle sprain, and Schefter is reporting that he is already ruled out for this week. Savvy fantasy owners know that high ankle sprains are not typically a one-week injury.

See you at the injury chats (Tuesday and Friday, 3 p.m ET) and we'll have the latest injury updates affecting Week 2 in the Saturday morning blog!

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