Stephania Bell: Heath Miller

aurice Jones-DrewAP Photo/Ben MargotIt's been tough sledding for Maurice Jones-Drew thus far, and now he's battling an injury.
There are some very fantasy-relevant players facing injury issues heading into Week 3. Let's dive in.

Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars (ankle): Jones-Drew left Sunday's game early with a left ankle injury, the result of his ankle rolling inward with his foot planted as he was tackled around the shoulders. Watching the replay multiple times, he's fortunate he didn't end up with a knee injury, as well. Originally referred to in various reports as an ankle sprain, Jones-Drew's injury was later qualified as a tendon strain.

There has been no additional information offered by the team as to which tendon is involved, but it is worth noting that this injury is on the same side as his recent foot surgery. The two are not related, but it is still less than desirable to suffer another injury in such proximity to a recent surgically repaired area. It made sense that Jones-Drew was kept out of practice Wednesday, although he told The Florida Times-Union he expected to play in Seattle on Sunday. On Thursday, Jones-Drew was still not practicing and, according to the Jaguars' official website, coach Gus Bradley described his status as "up in the air," noting that Jones-Drew was still bothered by swelling in the ankle.

There's still another day for practice reports, and Jones-Drew, like the rest of the Jaguars, is still out on the West Coast (the team remained in California to practice between the two games against Oakland and Seattle). Friday should yield more clues.

Vernon Davis, TE, San Francisco 49ers, (hamstring): Sunday night's game ended with Davis on the sideline with an ice bag wrapped around the back of his left thigh, visual evidence of his strained hamstring. Davis took to Twitter this week to reassure fans of his health: "No need to worry y'all. My leg is feeling great just need a little rest til kickoff according to the docs." Still, he has not practiced at all this week. Although resting is perhaps in his best interest for recovery, it is hard to gauge just how much (or how little) of an issue the hamstring is. All eyes will be on the Friday report.

Brandon Marshall, WR, Chicago Bears (back): Marshall left Thursday's practice early because of "tightness" in his back. Coach Marc Trestman said the team would be cautious and have Marshall "limited" Friday. According to ESPNChicago.com, the Bears are not concerned about his availability for Sunday.

Le'Veon Bell, RB, (foot) and Heath Miller, TE, (knee), Pittsburgh Steelers: Here's some quietly good news for the Steelers: Two players they could really use on offense bumped up their practice activity this week.

Bell, who suffered a foot sprain in the preseason, returned to practice for the first time Wednesday. He was listed as limited that day but was upgraded to full practice Thursday. Despite the full practice, Bell does not sound as if he plans to be on the field Sunday night. According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Bell said of his return to practice, "I don't want to rush it. ... I'm still in the healing process." According to ESPN.com's Scott Brown, Felix Jones is likely to start Sunday night, but Bell could be in the mix if his foot responds well to the increased work across the week.

As for Miller -- who is coming off multiple-ligament knee reconstruction -- he has been steadily increasing his practice activity the past few weeks. This week, he turned in back-to-back full practices for the first time, and, as Brown notes, this increases his chances of being available Sunday night.

Key fantasy injuries for Week 2

September, 14, 2013
9/14/13
5:13
PM ET
Jamaal Charles and Roddy WhiteAP Photo, USA TODAY SportsWill Jamaal Charles and Roddy White be healthy enough to make a fantasy impact in Week 2?
Week 2 of the 2013 NFL season is here along with a mounting number of players with injuries. Several new names cropped up this week on the injury report (Tony Romo, Jamaal Charles and Larry Fitzgerald, to name a few), and, sadly, another player is lost for the season (Vick Ballard). However, in the larger scheme of things, many players appear to have a good chance of suiting up Sunday despite their presence here.

As always, injury concerns regarding players heading into the Sunday and Monday games can be critical. Each week in the Saturday blog, we run down a list of key fantasy players, by position, who appear in the Friday injury report, along with the injured body part(s) as listed on the report, player status, and any relevant developments or insights. The primary fantasy positions are covered (quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end). Our injury designations include “out” (O), “probable” (P), “questionable” (Q) and “doubtful” (D).

With that in mind, good luck in Week 2! May your players stay healthy and lead you to victory.




Quarterbacks

Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys, ribs (P): Romo impressed when he came back for the second half of Sunday night’s game after taking a big shot to the ribs. No one should be surprised, given that he has played with worse, including rib fractures. Romo was a full participant in practice throughout the week and, again, it comes as no surprise that he is expected to play Sunday in Arrowhead Stadium.

Running backs

Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs, quadriceps (P): Speaking of Arrowhead, the team hosting the Cowboys has been dealing with its own injury concern. Charles suffered a contusion (deep bruise) to his quad in the season opener. After getting a day off Wednesday, he has made steady progress throughout the week -- upgrading to full practice Friday -- and is on track to play Sunday. In fact, Charles declared his readiness Friday. The fact Charles had good range of motion early in the week was a positive indicator that the injury would not severely limit him. There’s always potential the quad will tighten up on him in the game, but no doubt Charles will go through extensive warm-ups before taking the field.

Arian Foster (calf) and Ben Tate (shoulder), Houston Texans (P): Foster and Tate contributed in Sunday’s outing, although the division of work was not quite the 50-50 split coach Gary Kubiak had hinted at before the game. Foster carried the ball 18 times to Tate’s nine, and Foster wants more moving forward. Kubiak maintains that he would prefer the carries to be more even, at least in these early games. In reality, who knows how this will actually play out? The number of actual carries each back has in this week’s game against the Tennessee Titans might have more to do with how the game unfolds. Despite the presence of Foster and Tate on the injury report, both practiced in full throughout the week and the “probable” tags tell us both are expected to play. The only question is how much each back will produce.

Reggie Bush, Detroit Lions, finger/groin/knee (P): On Tuesday, we discussed the injuries Bush suffered in Week 1, and a hyperextended knee was later added to the mix. We also noted that Lions coach Jim Schwartz has no plans to limit Bush’s workload. (As long as he stays on the field, that is.) Full practice every day and a “probable” tag mean Bush will be playing in Arizona this weekend.

Rashard Mendenhall, Arizona Cardinals, hamstring (P): Mendenhall came into Week 1 listed as “probable” because of knee soreness that had cropped up in the preseason. He played. This week, Mendenhall is on the injury report with a hamstring ailment. He was limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday but moved up to full practice Friday, just like last week. Expect Mendenhall to play Sunday, barring a setback.

Daryl Richardson, St. Louis Rams, foot (P): As noted earlier, Richardson sat out Wednesday with a foot ailment (coach Jeff Fisher described it as “sore”) but returned Thursday, sounding confident. On Friday, Richardson was listed as a full participant, and his “probable” tag indicates the Rams expect him to play against the Falcons.

Da’Rel Scott, New York Giants, knee (P): With Andre Brown on the IR/designated-for-return list, the Giants are counting on David Wilson and, to a lesser extent, Scott to shoulder the load (and perhaps recently signed Brandon Jacobs). Scott was limited Wednesday because of his knee but was able to practice fully Thursday and Friday. The Giants plan to have him available Sunday.

Bernard Pierce, Baltimore Ravens, thigh (Q): Pierce emerged from Week 1 with a thigh injury and was subsequently limited in practice throughout the week. Despite the “questionable” tag, he is expected to play against the Browns, according to the Baltimore Sun.

Wide receivers

Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys, foot (P): After putting in full practices every day this week, Bryant does not appear to be limited by the mild foot sprain he suffered Sunday night. With a “probable” designation, Bryant is expected to play Sunday, and no doubt he is eager to display some of his trademark big-play ability. As long as he does not aggravate his foot in the game, there’s a good chance Bryant will make us forget about the injury.

Roddy White (ankle) and Julio Jones (knee), Atlanta Falcons (Q): The Falcons are listing their top two wideouts as “questionable.” After last week’s last-minute fiasco surrounding White’s status and the true nature of his ankle injury, what are fantasy owners to believe this week? Falcons coach Mike Smith says White will play, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. However, it should be noted that White returned to only limited practice Friday after sitting out Wednesday and Thursday. If White is to be believed, those missed practices are a red flag as to just how healthy (or unhealthy) he is. There is no evidence yet that White can perform up to his previous high level.

Consequently, we would expect more from Jones. Oh, wait. Jones is also on the injury report, listed as “questionable” with a knee injury. Jones missed Wednesday’s practice, as well, but did return for limited work Thursday and Friday. There has been no strong suggestion that Jones would miss Sunday’s game, but the "questionable" tag mean it’s worth double-checking before kickoff. After all, the Falcons have already shown they might not be forthcoming when it comes to injuries to their star players.

Wes Welker (ankle) and Eric Decker (shoulder), Denver Broncos (P): Welker came into the season opener with the residuals of an ankle sprain but proved it was not going to limit him. He resumed full practice Friday (after being limited Wednesday and Thursday) and is expected to be on the field Sunday. Decker cropped up on this week’s injury report with a shoulder ailment. His season-opening appearance did not match Welker’s, and no doubt he is looking for a better outing against the Giants. He should at least get the opportunity as he practiced in full Thursday and Friday and is expected to play Sunday.

Larry Fitzgerald, hamstring (Q) and Andre Roberts, quadriceps (P), Arizona Cardinals: Fitzgerald has been bothered by a hamstring that tightened up on him Wednesday but was able to participate on a limited basis each day this week. Barring a pregame setback, it appears Fitzgerald will play Sunday. Roberts was on the injury report because of the quadriceps issue last week, but he played and, given his “probable” tag, is expected to do the same this week.

Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints, foot (P): Colston may well appear on the injury report regularly because of his foot, given that it has been bothering him since last year. It did not seem to limit him in Week 1, though, and Colston, a gritty player, is likely to play through it again Sunday unless the pain becomes unmanageable. This week, he was able to practice fully every day and the foot does not seem to be limiting him. He is expected to play against the Buccaneers.

Cecil Shorts, Jacksonville Jaguars, groin (P): Shorts was kept to limited workouts throughout the week, undoubtedly part of the plan to preserve him for Sunday’s matchup against the Oakland Raiders. Listed as “probable,” he is expected to play.

Sidney Rice, Seattle Seahawks, knee (P): Rice’s knee might keep him on the injury report throughout the season as the team could routinely give him an extra day off from practice. After sitting out Wednesday, Rice returned to full practices Thursday and Friday. Just as he played this past Sunday, expect him to do so again when the Seahawks host their division rival San Francisco 49ers.

DeVier Posey, Houston Texans, Achilles (P): Posey continues to practice fully with the team throughout the week, and the "probable" tag indicates the Texans expect him to be available Sunday.

Tight ends

Jermichael Finley, Green Bay Packers, toe (P): There was reason for concern when Finley appeared on the Packers’ injury report Wednesday because of a toe injury suffered in the season opener. His surprise return to a limited practice Thursday was a positive sign; the fact he repeated the effort Friday was an even better one. There’s no telling how a toe injury will fare in the course of a game, so this is something that could bother Finley as a result of pushing off and route running as the game progresses. But, given the “probable” tag, it’s clear the Packers plan on Finley being available at the start.

Owen Daniels, Houston Texans, back/groin (P): We’re accustomed to seeing Daniels on the injury report, but we’re also accustomed to seeing him play through various ailments. He was back in full practice Friday after lighter workouts the previous two days. It appears Daniels will again take the field when the Texans host the Titans in Week 2.

Dwayne Allen, Indianapolis Colts, hip (D): Originally listed as questionable on the injury report because of a hip problem that kept him out of practice throughout the week, Allen was downgraded to doubtful Saturday and is not expected to play.

Kickers

Kai Forbath, Washington Redskins, right groin (Q): Forbath popped up on the injury report Friday with a right groin injury, although he was still listed as a full participant. The Redskins had an available substitute at the ready, and, as of Saturday morning, there are reports that the sub might be called upon to fill in. According to ESPN 980, a source says John Potter will be the placekicker for the Redskins on Sunday. Although the team has not declared Forbath out, fantasy owners should plan to find another option at the position.

Sebastian Janikowski, Oakland Raiders, right calf (P): Janikowski’s sore right calf keeps him on the injury report as he takes Wednesdays off, but he is still playing. Expect him to play again when the team hosts the Jaguars on Sunday.




Out

This space is intended for a list of key players, not including those who have been moved to injured reserve status, who are officially listed as "out" for the upcoming game.

Vick Ballard, RB, Indianapolis Colts, knee: Ballard suffered a knee injury in practice Thursday, but the seriousness of the ailment was not immediately revealed. On Friday, the team announced that Ballard had torn his right ACL and was done for the year.

Blaine Gabbert, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars, right thumb/right hand: After suffering a cut that required 15 stitches on his already-injured hand, Gabbert will sit out Sunday’s game. Chad Henne gets the start in Oakland.

Le’Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers, foot: Despite Bell’s optimism that he could be ready in Week 2, he has not even returned to individual drills in practice. This appears to be progressing the way foot sprains often do; the athlete starts in a boot, gets the boot removed, walks without pain and thinks his return is around the corner so increases his work load -- only to find out the recovery won’t be so quick after all. The Steelers do not want an injury that could become a chronic problem; as such, they will be smart and cautious when it comes to treating Bell’s foot injury. Consider Bell week-to-week going forward.

Heath Miller, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers, knee: Miller continues to upgrade his rehab as a limited practice participant but does not appear quite ready for competition. He will not play Monday night.

Kenjon Barner, RB, Carolina Panthers, foot: Barner missed last week’s contest and, after not practicing at all this week, will also sit Sunday.




Off the injury report

Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, Indianapolis Colts: This announcement couldn’t come soon enough. With Ballard being out for the year, the Colts will lean more heavily on Bradshaw, who, after a gradual buildup in practice work leading to Week 1, is in good shape to absorb the load. Bradshaw will be backed up by Donald Brown.

Be sure to check out "Fantasy Football Now," Sundays on ESPN2 at 11 a.m. ET, for last-minute inactives, rankings, injury impact and more.

Week 3 Thursday injury update

September, 20, 2012
9/20/12
10:05
PM ET
Here is what we're looking at so far for Week 3:

Quarterbacks

Blaine Gabbert, Jacksonville Jaguars (glute): Gabbert was a full participant in practice Wednesday and Thursday. He appears on track to play Sunday.

John Skelton, Arizona Cardinals (ankle): Skelton missed Week 2 because of his ankle sprain, and Kevin Kolb started in his place. Will Kolb start again in Week 3? Early signs point to that being the case. While Skelton was "walking around," according to the Cardinals' official website, he did not practice Wednesday. Skelton did manage a limited practice Thursday, but it seems hardly enough to suggest he'll take over the reins again this weekend.

Running backs

[+] EnlargeRyan Mathews
Jeff Gross/Getty ImagesAll signs point to Ryan Mathews returning to the Chargers' backfield this week.
Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers (shoulder): Well, well, well. It looks like we are about to see the highly anticipated season debut of a certain Chargers running back. The timing does not come as a complete surprise, as it's consistent with the typical healing timeframe for this type of injury (fractured clavicle).

This is from my entry on Mathews in the 2012 Fantasy Football Draft Kit: "... Before a player is cleared to resume contact, there must be sufficient evidence of bony repair to alleviate concerns of reinjury. Every fall onto the shoulder, direct hit to the shoulder (especially if the player is hit from both sides simultaneously), even a stiff-arm move, will translate force through the collarbone area. For an athlete such as Mathews, who will incur contact through his clavicle (directly or indirectly) on virtually every play in which he carries the ball, the confidence that the bone will remain intact must be high before allowing him to compete. Normal bone healing takes approximately six weeks, which, given Mathews' injury date, would suggest he could be ready by Week 3."

Mathews was cleared for contact late last week but had very limited practice reps and was held out of competition for another week. That was smart. Now Mathews has had a chance to turn it up a notch in practice, and his collarbone has had another week of bone remodeling. According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Mathews said, "I feel great; I feel healthy and strong." That's what fantasy owners like to hear.

Steven Jackson, St. Louis Rams, (groin): On Tuesday, we noted that Jackson missed time in Sunday's game because of a groin injury and nothing else. While coach Jeff Fisher and Jackson made it seem as though the injury was not serious -- and an MRI seemed to confirm as much -- it remains to be seen whether Jackson will be ready to go this weekend. He did not practice Wednesday or Thursday, but according to the Rams' official website, he "remains hopeful" he'll be ready by Sunday. This may well come down to a game-time decision.

Matt Forte, Chicago Bears (ankle): As we noted Tuesday, we said it would be a surprise to see Forte this week, and his non-participation in practice Wednesday or Thursday supports that idea. While it does seem that the injury was not as serious as initially expected, it's still looking like, barring a Friday surprise, Michael Bush will start for the Bears in Week 3.

Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks (back): Lynch has been on the injury report since prior to Week 1 because of his back. So far he has managed to play in the first two games of the season. Since the Seahawks play Monday night, there is only one day of practice (Thursday) to report so far, and Lynch again appeared as a limited participant. No reason for major concern as of now.

Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs (knee): Charles fell on his surgically reconstructed knee in Week 2 and sustained a knee bruise, according to the Kansas City Star. He was able to return to full practice Wednesday and followed it up again Thursday, boding well for him playing Sunday.

Rashard Mendenhall (knee) and Jonathan Dwyer (toe), Pittsburgh Steelers: Mendenhall has again been listed as a full participant in practice both Wednesday and Thursday this week. Here's what I said last week after he practiced both days: "Pittsburgh does have an early bye week (Week 4), and it's possible we do not see Mendenhall before then." I still feel the same way. Each week, Mendenhall has been exposed to increasingly more work and increasingly more contact. Like others coming off ACL surgery, there is a process for evaluating how the player -- and his knee -- responds to each upgrade in activity. There is nothing official from the team to indicate he will wait another week, so it remains possible that he could be activated. If that does happen, he would not likely get a heavy workload in his first outing.

Meanwhile, Dwyer is dealing with a case of turf toe, which may have hindered his productivity somewhat in Week 2. He rested Wednesday but was back in full practice Thursday, hinting at him being active for Week 3.

Rashad Jennings, Jaguars, (knee): Again this week, Jennings has not practiced due to a knee injury. It will be the Maurice Jones-Drew show on the ground in Indianapolis when the Jaguars visit the Colts regardless.

Daniel Thomas, Miami Dolphins (concussion): Thomas missed last week's game due to a concussion but returned to full practice Wednesday. Barring a setback, he should be available this weekend, although he will serve as a backup to Reggie Bush.

Wide receivers

[+] EnlargeCalvin Johnson
AP Photo/Marcio Jose SanchezNo worries, Megatron owners. Calvin Johnson is expected to play Sunday.
Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions (ankle): Last week it was his foot, this week it's his ankle. Johnson will probably appear on the injury report fairly regularly; hopefully, he will continue the pattern of resting early in the week and playing later. He did not practice Wednesday but was back in limited practice Thursday. If he continues the trend, expect him to play Sunday.

Greg Jennings, Green Bay Packers (groin): Jennings sat out last week's game because of a groin injury. It wasn't much of a surprise considering he had suffered the injury just four days prior, The expectation was that the extra time off would have him in good shape for Week 3. In fact, coach Mike McCarthy told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel late last week he would be surprised if Jennings did not play in Monday night's contest.



Then came Tuesday's practice. Jennings was on the field in full pads, and all seemed to be progressing well. It turns out Jennings didn't do much Tuesday other than run, and on Thursday he was unable to practice at all. According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, McCarthy said Jennings was limited to rehab Thursday and was not progressing "as well as hoped." While there are still a few more days before game time, if Jennings is still this limited 11 days post-injury, how much improvement can realistically be expected by Monday? His status could come down to a game-time decision, but if he isn't able to practice at all Friday, fantasy owners should be concerned.

Jeremy Maclin (hip) and DeSean Jackson (hamstring), Philadelphia Eagles: These two were both on the Thursday injury report last week, and both ended up playing Sunday. The difference is that this week Maclin was forced out of the game because of his hip. Jackson finished the game -- and played well -- despite a hamstring strain late in the week. While Maclin was unable to practice Wednesday, he did return on a limited basis Thursday. Jackson practiced on a limited basis Wednesday and returned to full practice Thursday.

At this point, Jackson appears to be in better shape heading toward Sunday, presuming there are no setbacks beforehand. As far as Maclin's status is concerned, he does appear to be making progress and as long as he shows he can perform sufficiently before kickoff, there is still a reasonable chance he plays. Friday's practice should yield better clues for both receivers.

Pierre Garcon, Washington Redskins (foot): Even though he did not play Sunday, the rest might not have been enough for Garcon's foot. He participated in limited practice Wednesday and Thursday, but according to the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, coach Mike Shanahan says Garcon's injury is "nagging him a little bit more than I was hoping it would." That's certainly not the most optimistic sounding assessment. If Garcon continues to experience this level of discomfort, it's hard to imagine him suiting up in Week 3.

Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints (foot): Colston was listed on the injury report last week because of his foot, but still managed to play Sunday. According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Saints interim coach Aaron Kromer says the foot injury is affecting Colston's speed. Perhaps the limited reps in practice this week will help him get back up to speed. He is expected to play Sunday.

Julio Jones (thigh) and Roddy White (knee), Atlanta Falcons: Jones and White both on the injury report? Not to worry. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that coach Mike Smith offered this explanation: "The reason a lot of those guys are limited in their participation is [because] we are on a short week." They did play Monday night, and it was, after all, a very long game. Both were restricted to limited work in practice Wednesday and Thursday, but from the sounds of things, both are expected to play Sunday.

Brandon Lloyd, New England Patriots (thigh): Lloyd was limited both Wednesday and Thursday with what is being listed as a thigh injury. There has been nothing to suggest the injury is serious, though, including the fact that Lloyd did not completely miss a practice. The Patriots do not play until Sunday night, so hopefully there will be a better indication after Friday's session.

Tight ends

Antonio Gates, Chargers (ribs): Despite missing Sunday's game due to sore ribs, Gates did get right into practice this week, an encouraging sign for this week's status. Although he was limited Wednesday, his response to practice was positive enough to bump him up to a full workload Thursday. Thankfully, it does not appear he will be a game-time decision this week.

Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers (abdomen): Miller has not practiced yet this week because of a rib cartilage injury. Any injury in the rib area can be exceptionally painful; Antonio Gates missed last week's game with a similar ailment. This could come down to a game-time decision.

Dustin Keller, New York Jets (hamstring): Keller missed last week's game because of his hamstring injury but appears to be making progress. He wasn't in practice Wednesday but did return to limited work Thursday. Now the test will be to see how the leg responds and whether he can repeat the effort Friday.


• If Adrian Peterson didn't kill your fantasy playoff hopes in Week 14, he just might have sealed the deal this week. Peterson, who had been nursing ankle and knee injuries but was expected to play Monday night, was instead a late scratch after pregame warm-ups did not go well. Although the injury report specifically listed "ankle, knee," coach Leslie Frazier had noted late last week that the thigh contusion Peterson suffered when he collided with Tarvaris Jackson in Week 15 was what was hampering him most. As it turns out, the thigh was what ultimately kept him off the field Monday night. Frazier indicated that the game being played outdoors did not factor into the decision to rest Peterson, telling the Minneapolis Star Tribune that, based on what he saw in pregame workouts, "It wouldn't have been wise to put him out there."



• Meanwhile, quarterback Brett Favre made an unexpected start but left early after suffering a concussion. When speaking with reporters after the game, Favre certainly sounded like someone who has played his last game. His medical status should be updated later this week, but it appears Joe Webb really will start in Week 16.

• Once again, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers could not deliver fantasy points for your team as he was still recovering from a concussion. Unlike Week 14, however, fantasy owners had warning this time around. The positive takeaway is that Rodgers did travel with the team to New England and was wearing a headset on the sideline, indicating he had made some progress during the week. Still, the decision for him to rest was a medical one, and Rodgers will continue to be evaluated throughout the week to determine whether he will be able to return Sunday. Although his progress thus far is encouraging, it does not ensure he will pass all tests by Sunday, so fantasy owners should continue to have a backup plan.

[+] EnlargeAustin Collie
Brian Spurlock/US PresswireAustin Collie suffered yet another concussion in Week 15, putting his season in jeopardy.
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Austin Collie returned to action for the first time in a month and was delivering an excellent performance -- until he exited the game with yet another concussion. The sight of Collie motionless after another blow was disheartening and distressing, but this time he was able to walk off the field under his own power, escorted by the medical staff. The Colts remain cautious regarding Collie's health, as expected, yet they have not ruled out his return to play, either.



Coach Jim Caldwell emphasized to reporters Monday that any determination regarding Collie's return to practice or play is entirely up to the medical staff. After complimenting the skill of the Colts' medical personnel, Caldwell said, "Here's the thing, there is not a coach that makes any decision on anyone who has a concussion or anything of that nature. It's a medical decision."



Colts team president Bill Polian perhaps summed up the situation with Collie best, saying, "At this point we're certainly going to err, and we did last time when he missed a month, but we're certainly going to err so far on the side of caution you won't be able to see the other side. So we'll see how it goes. But it's too early in the week to make any kind of a judgment." Polian added that the team will want to see how Collie responds in the next 48 hours. Although the team will refrain from making a hasty announcement, fantasy owners should prepare for the likelihood that Collie will not be available in Week 16 against the Oakland Raiders.

Houston Texans running back and fantasy star Arian Foster left this week's game early, as well, but the nature of his injury was unclear. Foster had been listed on last week's injury report with a hip ailment that cropped up during Thursday practice. He was designated probable heading into the game, however, suggesting that the injury was not serious and was no major threat to his status. Immediately after the game, coach Gary Kubiak sounded as if he thought Foster's ankle was the problem. Foster later told the Houston Chronicle that he had a "muscle spasm in [my] glute." In other words, a spasm in his, ahem, rear end. The good news is that the overall picture is good for Foster heading into Week 16, but fantasy owners should monitor how he fares in practice throughout the week.

[+] EnlargeKnowshon Moreno
Mark J. Rebilas/US PresswireKnowshon Moreno dealt with hamstring injuries earlier in the season, but it was a rib injury that limited him against the Raiders.
Denver Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno has been fairly healthy since overcoming his early-season hamstring injuries. In Sunday's game against the Raiders, however, Moreno took a shot to the ribs in the first quarter, forcing him out of the game. Bruised ribs can be very difficult for a running back to play through, and Moreno's status is uncertain heading into this week's contest against the Texans. Moreno is not the only Bronco with a rib injury; quarterback Kyle Orton's ribs are to blame, in part, for his not starting in Week 15. According to The Denver Post, coach Eric Studesville will start Tim Tebow this weekend over Orton. Studesville said the decision came as a result of Orton's injury and Tebow's decent performance Sunday in Oakland.

San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates continues to be held out of practice, and we likely will not learn his status until game time approaches. There were rumblings this past week that Gates might not return for the rest of the regular season because of limitations with his still healing foot. Meanwhile, his teammate Malcom Floyd, who did not play in Week 15 after a setback with his injured hamstring, could return Sunday when the Chargers travel to Cincinnati. Floyd did not practice Monday, but coach Norv Turner told The San Diego Union-Tribune, "I think we've made progress." The team will not make any projections as far as Floyd's availability until at least Wednesday.

• The Chargers will not have to account for Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Terrell Owens this week. Owens, who was already dealing with a knee issue heading into Week 15, aggravated the condition (reportedly a meniscus tear) and is done for the year after being placed on injured reserve.



• The Detroit Lions aren't naming a starting quarterback just yet, but it very well could be the return of Shaun Hill. Hill has missed time with a broken right index finger but returned to light practice last week. Drew Stanton, who had been filling in for Hill, separated his left (non-throwing) shoulder, according to the Detroit Free Press. Impressively, he was able to finish the game after taking a painkilling injection at halftime, but he might be sidelined this week for Hill. The Lions might not announce their decision until Sunday.

• It looks as if the Pittsburgh Steelers could have tight end Heath Miller back in the lineup Thursday night. According to the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, coach Mike Tomlin said, "We anticipate Heath being fine." Miller has missed the past two games while recovering from a concussion.

• The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that Dallas Cowboys running back Marion Barber and wide receiver Roy E. Williams were present for the team's walk-through practice. Barber has missed several weeks with a calf strain, and Williams sat out Week 15 with a groin injury. Meanwhile, quarterback Tony Romo finally was placed on injured reserve. Stay tuned.

We will continue to update these injuries and others as the week progresses. Check back for the latest injury updates affecting Week 16 on Thursday and Saturday!

Winslow likely to go

November, 19, 2008
11/19/08
2:31
PM ET


Rev up the engine; here comes the Cadillac. Now that Earnest Graham has been placed on injured reserve after suffering a high ankle sprain Sunday, it looks as if Carnell Williams could make his season debut this week for the Buccaneers. Warrick Dunn will remain the starter, and B.J. Askew is likely to continue to see action as well, but Williams, who has spent more than a year recovering from a torn patellar tendon, says he is ready to roll and may be called on to contribute. Keep in mind that this will be his first game in a year, and set your fantasy expectations accordingly. But if he's available in your league, he could be a good pickup for your fantasy playoffs.

Whom else might you want to watch out for as the fantasy playoffs approach? Based on early practice reports, here's what we're hearing on the injury front so far.

Kellen Winslow
Matthew Emmons/US PresswireAnother week, another injury for Kellen Winslow, who hurt his shoulder late in Monday's game.
Kellen Winslow, TE, Browns: Winslow injured his right shoulder as the clock wound down on the Browns' Monday night victory over the Bills. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Winslow injured his right shoulder when he was tackled following a big catch and clearly was in discomfort afterward. Winslow underwent an MRI to further assess the injury, and it showed no structural damage. The team is calling it a shoulder sprain.

Last year, Winslow also sustained a shoulder injury, a subluxation (when the shoulder slips quickly out of place but doesn't completely dislocate). Although he had discomfort with the injury, he did not miss any playing time. More importantly, coach Romeo Crennel says that this episode is on the opposite side, so Winslow is not aggravating a previously injured limb. That being said, Winslow, who has dealt with more than his share of serious injuries in a relatively short time frame, doesn't have many uninjured limbs left. We do know based on previous experience that he is one tough athlete, so expect him to try to return to play this week. Of course, we will know more about his status as the weekend approaches and will learn whether he is able to practice by Friday.

Brandon Jacobs, RB, Giants: Jacobs appeared to have escaped any major injury to his knee Sunday. Reports indicated that an MRI showed no structural damage to Jacobs' knee, but Jacobs' own comments on ESPN's "First Take" may have been the most telling. Jacobs acknowledged that his knee didn't feel too bad and that he still hopes to play Sunday, but he indicated that the medical staff might have a different idea (read: rest him). The Giants already have proven they have solid depth in their backfield, and between Derrick Ward and Ahmad Bradshaw, they can afford to let Jacobs sit out a game to ensure his availability for the playoffs.

OK, so they might rest him to preserve his status heading into the playoffs, but don't these NFL teams know that fantasy playoffs are starting for many people this week? What is a fantasy owner to do? Well, a prudent owner will start by securing a replacement for Jacobs for this week because he may be able to come to your rescue down the stretch, but he may not be able to help you on Sunday, even if he wants to.

Steven Jackson, RB, Rams: It was supposed to be a one-to-two-week injury. Now it's been five weeks since the initial injury, and Jackson already has been ruled out for Sunday's game against the Bears. This scenario only goes to prove how difficult muscle strains can be to manage during the season, and how much easier it is to take a step backward in the healing process than to make significant forward progress.

Let's look at the good news. Fantasy owners can plan accordingly early in the week. But this is even better news from a medical perspective. By making the decision this early, Jackson faces no pressure to attempt to return in time for Sunday's game. Clearly the muscle tissue in his thigh is still healing, and rest and rehabilitation are the best course of action for him. If blood is present in the tissue, as coach Jim Haslett relayed to the Belleville News-Democrat, clearly it is not ready to be stressed by explosive running. In fact, Jackson saw a specialist for a second opinion this week who basically agreed with the team's original diagnosis and concurred with the plan for continued rest. The plan, it seems, is to rest Jackson this week, then reassess his condition next week.

The not-so-good news is that this situation has become very difficult to predict. Some speculate the Rams will move to shut Jackson down for the remainder of the season, given that they have no chance of making the postseason. I don't expect that to be the case, at least not yet. No player as competitive as Jackson wants to go out on a whimper, and if he can contribute, even in an overall losing effort, he will. The Rams and Haslett also want to try to finish out the season respectfully and won't throw in the towel in Week 12, meaning they want their best players on the field. Still, Jackson's condition could remain slow to heal. If he cannot run at full speed within the next three weeks, he likely wouldn't see any game action. A player whose performance depends on speed and explosiveness cannot play at less than full throttle. Any attempt to do so risks further injury. At this point, Jackson has to understand that because he already experienced a setback when attempting to return too soon. Fantasy owners do not have an easy decision here as to whether to keep Jackson on their roster, but at the very least, they should plan on filling in for him for the next two weeks.

Some other players to keep an eye on as the week progresses

&#8226 Another running back named Bell, Mike Bell, that is, has found a job this week because another player went down to injury. The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that Saints running back Aaron Stecker was placed on injured reserve after aggravating a hamstring strain. Although Reggie Bush is hopeful to return to action Monday night for the Saints after missing a month following meniscal surgery, the Saints needed the insurance, just in case. Fullback Mike Karney remains sidelined with an MCL sprain and also is likely to miss Monday's game. Bell likely will have little to no fantasy value this week amid the presence of Deuce McAllister, Pierre Thomas and the potential return of Bush. The situation bears watching, though, as McAllister may have a suspension looming in the not-too-distant future.

&#8226 Steelers tight end Heath Miller has returned to full practice, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has indicated that he is off the injury report and is likely to return to face the Bengals this week. Miller has been recovering from a high ankle sprain and has missed two games as a result. He is still on the early side of recovery, so it remains to be seen how much he will contribute. The Steelers play Thursday night, so keep that in mind when setting fantasy lineups.

&#8226 If you picked up Cowboys receiver Miles Austin as a flex player for your lineup, it's time to find a replacement. The Dallas Morning News is reporting that Austin suffered a lateral collateral ligament sprain and could be out anywhere from two to four weeks. This is the same injury that Vikings running back Adrian Peterson suffered last year. Although this is one of the less frequently sprained knee ligaments (it reinforces the outer aspect of the knee joint), allowing full healing is critical in preserving overall knee stability. This is especially true for Austin, who suffered an MCL sprain at the outset of the 2008 season. Austin looked to be challenging Patrick Crayton on the depth chart, but at this point, Crayton looks to have that spot back behind Terrell Owens and Roy Williams. Meanwhile, it is too soon to know whether Felix Jones will be able to return for the Cowboys this week. His level of practice by Friday should give a better indication.

&#8226 Broncos tight end Tony Scheffler is still dealing with the soreness of a lingering groin injury. He's been playing, but clearly not up to the high standard he set at the start of the season. Expect him to play again, but he likely won't be at full health. Meanwhile, Selvin Young will remain out another week with his groin injury. Peyton Hillis will remain the starter.

&#8226 Raiders running back Darren McFadden emerged feeling good after Sunday's contest. Of course, he didn't play too much, but nonetheless, this was a big positive for the rookie, who has been plagued by turf toe in both feet this year. Expect him to see some increased playing time against Denver this week.

&#8226 Jason La Canfora reports in his blog in the Washington Post that coach Jim Zorn acknowledges that Redskins running back Clinton Portis started "to wear down a little bit" in Sunday night's game, yet feels better this week than last. I'm still amazed that Portis played, and played as well as he did. Based on the severity of the injury the Redskins reported in advance of the game, they were very lucky that Portis emerged from that game relatively unscathed. Unfortunately, Ladell Betts had a setback to his knee injury, but he has not been ruled out of Sunday's game. At this point it still appears that Portis will shoulder the majority of the work this weekend against Seattle.

As usual, practice throughout the week will give us a better hint as to what the final status of these players will be heading into Week 12. See you Friday at the injury chat, and we'll have the latest injury updates affecting Week 12 in the Saturday blog!

Orton looking like a go

November, 15, 2008
11/15/08
2:39
PM ET
Uh-oh, it's fantasy crunch time. Playoff scenarios are starting to shape up, and victories in the next couple weeks are critical if you're on the bubble. Every player in your lineup has a crucial contribution to make to help you jockey for position in those divisional playoffs. You certainly don't want to accidentally leave in somebody who is going to be a gameday scratch, but there are a lot of question marks on the Friday NFL injury report.

So who will play this weekend? Here's what we know as we head into the Week 11 contests.

Kyle Orton, QB, Bears: What a difference a week makes. Orton has all of a sudden risen to a "probable" designation and by all accounts appears ready to take the field as the starter for the Bears on Sunday. Orton's injured right ankle has been faring better, and although it is still wrapped for support and he is not yet 100 percent recovered, he is doing just about everything in practice to convince his teammates and coaches that he is ready to play.

Initially, Orton's injury was reported as a high ankle sprain, and it certainly appeared at first that he would miss more time. But all sprains are not created equal, and Orton is certainly proving that with his speedy recovery. Coach Lovie Smith told the Chicago Sun-Times that Orton has "gotten better each day [and] there's no reason to think that won't continue [through] Sunday." His biggest challenges will be rolling right on the still-tender right ankle, and the unavoidable tangles that he is destined to be a part of during a game. If he can handle those obstacles, there's no reason to think that he cannot be essentially healthy going forward.

[+] EnlargeClinton Portis
Drew Hallowell/Getty ImagesFantasy owners need to look for someone other than Portis to help them this week.
Clinton Portis, RB, Redskins:

Portis is listed as questionable, and his status remains a game-time decision for Sunday night. It's really not looking good for Portis, especially when you consider the nature and severity of the injury (grade 2 MCL sprain), his limitations this week (he could not fully bend or extend his knee at the start of the week), and his inability to practice through Friday. That being said, Portis was earnestly doing everything he could from a treatment perspective, and coach Jim Zorn wanted to see how he would fare in the Saturday walkthrough.

From a fantasy perspective, despite how outstanding Portis has been this year, look elsewhere for your running back this week. Even if he does play, which would come as a surprise, Zorn has already indicated that he would only use Portis in a limited capacity. Ladell Betts (probable) is hopeful to return after missing several weeks himself with a knee sprain, and beyond Betts, Shaun Alexander and Rock Cartwright are available for the Redskins to sprinkle into their running back mix. Assume that Portis will take a while longer to get his knee fully healthy before he can perform up to the high standard he has set this year.

Other noteworthy items


Tony Romo (probable) is expected to start for the Cowboys. Romo is returning after a four-week absence due to a broken pinkie in his throwing hand. His only discomfort remains with taking snaps under center, but according to coach Wade Phillips, Romo has been throwing well in practice. The Cowboys have to be excited about their deep-ball option returning to the game plan this week. And Romo has to be excited that he will be able to throw to his buddy Jason Witten, who is expected to return to the field this week despite a still-healing broken rib. Witten may not feel quite 100 percent, but he has been able to practice on a limited basis, and with some extra rib padding for insurance, along with his rep as the toughest guy on the field, he provides a boost for his team.

• Wide receiver Matt Jones has a potential suspension looming over him, but that won't be what keeps him off the field this week. If Jones can't suit up for the Jaguars on Sunday, it will be because of a thigh injury that has kept him out of practice most of this week. If Jones is on your team, it's probably best to secure a backup given that the Jags have a late game, and even if Jones plays, he is not expected to be at full strength.

• "Fast" Willie Parker is off the injury report and will be on the field for the Steelers on Sunday. Sure, he may be in a harness to protect his shoulder, but that should not interfere with his function as a running back. He is bound to experience some soreness if he takes hits to the shoulder, from a defender or the ground, but more important for Parker is that his knee appears healthy and he's running well. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is also off the injury report, so expect him at least to start for the Steelers. If he experiences another late game decline however, don't expect Tomlin to hesitate to pull the switch and insert Byron Leftwich.

• Ravens receiver Derrick Mason injured his shoulder during last Sunday's game. On Monday we talked about how soreness and swelling is often worse in the first few days post-injury and how Mason's practice activity would go a long way to indicate what his chances of playing this week really are. Well, Mason did not practice Wednesday or Thursday and did only a limited amount Friday. He is wearing a harness to protect his left shoulder but coach John Harbaugh was noncommittal regarding Mason's availability, telling the Carroll County Times, "We'll see how he is on Sunday." Hmmm. A less than fully healthy Mason who is a game-time decision versus a tough opponent? You may want to consider another fantasy option.

• Raiders' quarterback JaMarcus Russell was able to move around much better in practice this week. Russell has been contending with a bone bruise in his knee along with tendinitis. Although listed as questionable, he is expected to play. Meanwhile, running back Darren McFadden had quite an improvement in his status this week. His tag remains "questionable," but if you take into account that McFadden was able to practice all week -- albeit on a limited basis -- and that he is feeling more comfortable and confident in his new shoes, his chances of playing Sunday look much better. According to the Contra Costa Times, McFadden has been running and cutting without pain and has tossed his protective boot. McFadden even went so far as to say that he had "a different pep" in practice. It's unclear how much playing time he'll see, but expect him to be out there.

• The Seahawks will enjoy the return of their signal-caller, Matt Hasselbeck, who has been disabled by weakness in his leg as a result of sciatic nerve compression linked to a bulging disc. Pain was never the issue for Hasselbeck, weakness was, but gradually the nerve function, and thus his muscle strength, has improved. Hasselbeck was able to practice all week, is listed as probable, and is expected to start. Joining him on the field will be Deion Branch, who after making an impressive return from ACL reconstruction was almost immediately sidelined again, this time with a bruised heel on his opposite leg. Branch has finally been able to get back on the practice field. He, too, is listed as probable but is expected to play. Expect both to be a little rusty, but nonetheless welcome additions to an otherwise anemic offense.

• In Tampa, there is much excitement about the return of Carnell Williams to the roster after missing nearly a year with a torn patellar tendon, but don't expect him to see much, if any, playing time just yet. The Bucs will be cautious with Williams after such a severe injury; his first contact drills took place just this week. But Earnest Graham is still ailing with a sprained knee suffered before the bye week, and Warrick Dunn, although able to practice all week, is just returning from a pinched nerve in his upper back. Graham is listed as questionable and may play, but in a limited capacity. Dun is listed as questionable but based on his ability to practice, looks to be the more sure bet to go. The idea that Williams can contribute soon has to make coach Jon Gruden happy. For fantasy purposes though, don't count on Williams or Graham this week, but do expect Dunn to get the start and get the bulk of the work.

• Ten players listed as questionable this week? The Colts made liberal use of the designation in Friday's injury report but have strongly hinted that two of the key fantasy players on that list, Anthony Gonzalez and Reggie Wayne, are likely to suit up Sunday. Gonzalez had a hamstring strain that kept him limited in practice this week, but it is reportedly minor. Wayne had an ankle ailment that was bothering him, and after recently tweaking his knee, the Colts were no doubt trying to preserve his overall health by limiting his practice reps early on. Both Gonzalez and Wayne went through full practice Friday, so it does appear that they will be available for Sunday's matchup against the Texans.

Out: This is a list of key fantasy players, not including those who have been moved to injured reserve status, who are officially listed as additions to the "Out" listing for Week 11.

Steven Jackson, RB, Rams: Jackson's thigh is not healing as fast as anyone would like, including Jackson himself, who stayed behind while his teammates traveled to San Francisco so that he can confer with a specialist. Jackson ran fairly well in practice Wednesday but was then unable to do anything the remainder of the week because of persistent stiffness and soreness in his thigh. Antonio Pittman gets the start again for the Rams.

Matt Schaub, QB, Texans: Schaub will miss another week, at least, with his sprained knee (MCL), and Rosenfels will again start in his place.

Felix Jones, RB, Cowboys: The Cowboys were hoping to get Jones back from a hamstring injury after the bye week along with teammates Romo and Witten. The nature of Jones' particular injury, though (distal hamstring, near the knee), makes it a tough one to heal, and a little extra recovery time is not unexpected.

Heath Miller, TE, Steelers: Miller is still sidelined with a high ankle sprain. Matt Spaeth continues to start in his place.

Reggie Bush, RB, Saints: Despite doing some limited work in practice Wednesday, Bush did not practice later in the week, and coach Sean Payton decided to hold him back. No reason to hurry back from meniscal surgery, especially given that this is the same knee in which Bush suffered a sprained posterior cruciate ligament just last year. His return will likely take place when the Saints host Monday Night Football in Week 12.

Arnaz Battle, WR, and Josh Morgan, WR, 49ers: Battle remains out with a foot sprain and is joined this week by Morgan, who has a groin injury. Jason Hill, who showed that he could connect with Shaun Hill, is an interesting receiver option.

Javon Walker, WR, Raiders: Yet another injury ends Walker's season early. This time it's his ankle, and he's already undergone surgery to implant some hardware in his injured leg. What will his future hold? That has yet to be determined, but this latest setback doesn't help.

Good luck in Week 11! Be sure to check out our site Sunday for pregame chats and Fantasy Football Now at noon ET.

Steven Jackson out again

November, 8, 2008
11/08/08
1:42
PM ET


Do you need a running back replacement for your fantasy roster? Maybe now you know what it feels like to be the Broncos or Rams, who have had no choice but to bring in some new talent to replenish their depleted backfields. In the bigger picture, does this trend of injuries to starting running backs threaten the notion of a feature back? What team won't want to have a two-back system to minimize the pounding one running back has to absorb? If one succumbs to injury, another can simply increase his workload any given Sunday. With those considerations, teams may seek to expand the number of running backs on their active rosters. Either that or they will have to hope there is a surplus of available unsigned backs who have kept themselves in game-ready condition and are bright enough to absorb a new offensive playbook within a week (see: Samkon Gado, who signed with the St. Louis Rams this week).

Of course, teams like the Chiefs might argue that the entire roster size needs to be expanded to allow for complete decimation of your running back and quarterback pools.

So who will play this weekend? Here's what we know as we head into the Week 10 contests.

Steven Jackson, RB, Rams: Although Jackson is officially listed as doubtful on the injury report, coach Jim Haslett has made it clear in advance of this week's contest that Jackson will not play. Jackson is still recovering from a strain of his right quadriceps muscle and is a classic example of why these muscle strains are so challenging.

A muscle strain requires rest during the week to allow the tissue to heal, but that often means testing that muscle in the game. The demand for speed and power, especially for a running back, translates to increased force of muscle contraction, which for a healing muscle can pose a risk of further injury. In Jackson's case, he felt he was ready to go last week (as he pronounced on his Web site the night before the game), but then was forced out of the game early when he found that the muscle would not cooperate as expected. According to the Belleville News-Democrat, Jackson reported that a repeat MRI of his thigh muscle showed that the inflammation was actually worse than the previous image showed. Consequently, Jackson was unable to practice all week, and although he says the quad feels better, he has acknowledged that when he tries to do certain things to test it on the field, "it's not responding." Haslett has been clear that Jackson will need to demonstrate that he can go full speed in practice before he is eligible to play Sunday.

The question at this point is not about this week, but whether Jackson will be able to go by next week or even the following week. Unfortunately, this is a day-to-day evaluation. In the meantime, expect recently signed Ken Darby to start, with even more recently signed Samkon Gado expected to be in the rotation. The third running back is expected to be Antonio Pittman, who is also still recovering from a hamstring strain but was able to do some limited practice Friday. Pittman is listed as questionable but could see some action, albeit likely in a limited capacity. Travis Minor, who has been out following a concussion, is also listed as questionable but is not expected to play.

Willie Parker, RB, Steelers: Parker is officially listed as doubtful on the NFL injury report, but the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has reported that Parker will not play. The good news here is that it is not Parker's knee that is keeping him out of this week's contest. Parker played Monday night after missing four games with a medial collateral ligament sprain. He ran well Monday but apparently injured his right shoulder during the third quarter. The injury wasn't severe enough to force him out of the game, and it is not likely to cause him to miss extended time. So hang in there, Parker fantasy owners -- it looks like he will be back in your lineup next week. In the meantime, hopefully you have kept Mewelde Moore available on your roster.

Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers: Stewart is listed as questionable because of a heel injury and will be a game-time decision. The not-so-good news is that Stewart is having lingering pain in his heel that has kept him in a protective boot, despite coming off of a bye week. Stewart's heel pain apparently began two weeks ago and it is causing him pain when he puts pressure on it, something that's impossible to avoid as a running back. The good news is that Stewart did make the trip to Oakland and was able to practice Friday, which means the team thinks there is at least a chance he could play. Either way, expect DeAngelo Williams to see the majority of the action for Carolina this weekend.

[+] EnlargeDarren McFadden
Kirby Lee/US PresswireMcFadden's turf toe is taking a long time to recover, as most turf toes do.
Darren McFadden, RB, Raiders: McFadden is listed as questionable for Sunday, but his chances of playing don't look good. McFadden's turf toe problems continue to hang around, as turf toe problems often do. The left toe seems to be the worse of the two at this point, and McFadden is still in a boot when not practicing. McFadden was limited in practice earlier in the week and then did not practice Friday, another sign that he is unlikely to suit up Sunday. McFadden is being fitted with some new, rigid footwear to help support his toes, but his mobility is compromised because of the lack of push-off with the big toe. He has said that he needs to get the "confidence" back in his foot, and it requires an adjustment when he makes a change as seemingly simple as his shoes. There is no reason to rush McFadden back to the lineup. The Raiders may be better off allowing their draft-day investment to recover fully before having him see game action again. Once again, it appears that Justin Fargas is likely to start for the Raiders this week.

Other noteworthy items


• The Bears' Brandon Lloyd looks like he'll make his return after missing a month with a sprained knee. Lloyd is listed as probable, has practiced fully all week and is expected to play.

• Ravens running backs Willis McGahee and Ray Rice are both listed as probable, and are expected to play. Although they were limited in practice earlier in the week, they practiced fully Friday, indicating they are ready to go. But who becomes the feature back? As Jamison Hensley stated in the Baltimore Sun earlier this week: "In [coach John] Harbaugh's mind, it's not about McGahee or Rice. He said he thinks of the running game as McGahee and Rice." Good luck, fantasy owners.

• Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell was a surprise addition to the Thursday injury report when he was unable to complete practice because of tendinitis in his knee. Tendinitis is an inflammatory condition, meaning that rest is the best medicine. Russell was resting Friday, but he could be resting through the weekend. His designation is questionable, and the Contra Costa Times is reporting that his status will not be known until just before the game.

• It appears that Patriots running backs Sammy Morris and LaMont Jordan will be sidelined again this week. Morris continues with the doubtful tag, so his unlikely playing status is clearer. Jordan is listed as questionable, but given that he did not practice Thursday or Friday, he will likely be watching the game rather than playing.

• Chargers receiver Chris Chambers is listed as probable with his ankle injury, suggesting that he will play Sunday. Nonetheless, his ankle is still not 100 percent, so Vincent Jackson may still be in for a fair number of catches against the Chiefs.

• Saints tight end Jeremy Shockey is listed as probable and is expected to play. Shockey, who has been recovering from sports hernia surgery, has no doubt benefited from the time off during the bye week, and according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, is probably as healthy as he's been all year.

Out: This is a list of key fantasy players, not including those who have been moved to injured reserve status, who are additions to the "Out" listing for Week 10.

Matt Schaub, QB, Texans: Schaub sprained his knee (MCL) Sunday and will be sidelined this week. The Houston Chronicle has reported that Schaub could miss two to four weeks, which is consistent with the return time for quarterbacks after sustaining this injury. In the meantime, Sage Rosenfels will lead the Texans.

Matt Hasselbeck, QB, Seahawks: The good news is that Hasselbeck's strength appears to be improving. Nonetheless, he has a ways to go before he is cleared to return to play. Expect this to take at least a couple of weeks.

Dan Orlovsky, QB, Lions: Orlovsky has a significant thumb injury that could ultimately require surgery. The Detroit Free Press reports that Orlovsky has two fractures and a torn ligament, all of which apparently occurred during the first play of the game against Chicago. He is seeking several opinions about his thumb, after which more should be known. Daunte Culpepper has seen the majority of first-team snaps in practice this week, and although coach Rod Marinelli has not officially named a starter, ESPN's Chris Mortensen has reported that Culpepper will start against Jacksonville.

Josh Reed, WR, Bills: Reed remains out with an Achilles injury.

Chris McAlister, CB, Ravens: The big news here is that McAlister is out not only for this week, but also for the remainder of the season. McAlister has decided to have surgery on his knee to address a torn posterior cruciate ligament and cartilage damage, according to the Baltimore Sun. It remains to be seen whether McAlister has played his final game in a Ravens uniform.

Heath Miller, TE, Steelers: Miller injured his ankle in the Steelers' Monday night contest and will not suit up against the Colts. In fact, the Post-Gazette reports that Miller has a high ankle sprain and could miss a couple of games. Make sure you have a replacement on your roster.

Reggie Bush, RB, Saints: Bush is still recovering from meniscal surgery but is making good progress. His rehab is right on schedule, and he transitioned from pool running to outdoor running this week. According to the Times-Picayune, Bush thinks he will "definitely" be ready to play next week against Kansas City. It's possible, but he will have to prove he can run full speed, cut and pivot before he returns. Don't be shocked if his return comes in Week 12, when the Saints have a big Monday night game. In the meantime, teammate Deuce McAllister could have a big week against the Falcons.

Arnaz Battle, WR, 49ers: Battle is out with a foot sprain and will miss Monday night's game against division rival Arizona. It appears that this injury could keep him out even longer.

Good luck in Week 10! Be sure to check out our site Sunday for pregame chats and Fantasy Football Now at noon ET.

Broncos, Rams backs banged up

November, 5, 2008
11/05/08
4:09
PM ET


What is challenging your fantasy team at the critical midseason juncture? Chances are it's either the loss of one (or all) of your starting quarterbacks (pick a team, any team) or perhaps it's the loss of your starting running back and his handcuff, and maybe even his handcuff (see: St. Louis and Denver). Here's how some of the injury news is shaping up in Week 10.

Denver Broncos RBs: There are just too many injured backs to name. On Monday, we discussed Michael Pittman and his aggravated stinger. Pittman had worked his way up to a starting role, but the latest setback has now forced him onto injured reserve. Joining him on IR is Andre Hall, who suffered a left hand injury.



Selvin Young, who began the season as the Broncos' starting tailback, has been dealing with a groin injury since Oct. 5. Young was limited in practice all last week but the team is hopeful that they can ramp up his activity this week.



Rookie Ryan Torain, fresh off elbow surgery, has a great deal of promise, but is still getting his feet wet in the NFL. Nonetheless, if Young remains less than fully healthy, Torain may well start this week's game by default.

Here's the big problem: The Broncos play Thursday night! So it's not as if they have an entire week to sort this situation out. At this point, it appears that Torain will see an increased role, and there is hope that Young may be able to balance him out. Be sure to check inactives before the game, though, as this is a very fluid situation.

Steven Jackson
Scott Boehm/Getty ImagesSteven Jackson boldly stated on his Web site he'd play last Sunday, but his playing time was still limited.
St. Louis Rams RBs: Just like in Denver, the string of injuries in St. Louis threatens the entire backfield.

It starts with the front runner, Steven Jackson, who played Sunday but showed he was clearly less than 100 percent healthy. In fact, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Jackson took himself out before the first play of the game because he was concerned that he could not make the cutback that the called play required. Coach Jim Haslett, after being put in a position of having to make last-minute adjustments as a result, has made it clear that that will not be the case again this week: Jackson will either practice at least one full day this week or he will sit on the sidelines Sunday. This will be a more firm test of whether Jackson's quadriceps is truly ready to handle the burst and explosiveness necessary for him to play with confidence.

Meanwhile, fellow running back Antonio Pittman (Pittman is not a good surname to have as a running back if you want to avoid the injury list this week) injured his hamstring on his first carry of the game Sunday. He has already been ruled out of this week's contest against the Jets.

And then there's Travis Minor. Minor suffered a concussion last Sunday that forced him out early and he is still recovering. According to the Post-Dispatch, Minor did not pass a neuro-psych test Tuesday (a battery of tests administered post-concussion; the results of those tests are compared to those obtained during the preseason when the athlete is healthy to assess whether the effects of concussion are still present) and he will be re-tested Friday. There is no guarantee that Minor will be ready to go Sunday.

So with all these question marks, who might be lining up at the running back position for the Rams? Well, it could be Kenneth Darby, signed in mid-October after Brian Leonard went on injured reserve with a shoulder injury. Or it could be Samkon Gado! Remember him? The Rams apparently did, signing him this week to the active roster. As the Post-Dispatch notes, Gado is a bright fellow (he was pre-med in college, so he does have a fallback plan if this football thing doesn't work out) and the team expects him to absorb the offensive playbook quickly enough to see action Sunday, if needed. No kidding! He is listed as the team's No. 2 back as of right now, and it will be interesting to see how practice late this week impacts the rotation.

Some other players to keep an eye on as the week progresses ...

In addition to all the running back struggles, the Broncos have been without tight end Tony Scheffler, who had started the season strong but has missed the past three games with a groin injury. Despite the rest, Scheffler is still on the mend. The Rocky Mountain News reports that Scheffler still had not tried sharp cuts as of Tuesday. His availability for the Thursday night game remains a question mark, and may well be a game-time decision.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck likely will not return this week according to The (Tacoma, Wash.) News-Tribune. Nonetheless, it does appear that he is regaining some strength in his leg, a sign that his sciatic nerve is not as compromised. Before Hasselbeck is cleared to return to practice, he has to demonstrate adequate strength in his leg, so this could signal that that day is approaching. Returning to practice is far removed from returning to play, however, so continue to view this as a longer-term situation.

Ben Roethlisberger
Larry French/Getty ImagesBen Roethlisberger has been dealing with a shoulder injury for much of the season, but it got worse on Monday night.
The Pittsburgh Steelers likely will be without the services of tight end Heath Miller when they face the Colts on Sunday. Miller suffered a sprained ankle in Monday's contest. Perhaps the bigger question, however, is whether Ben Roethlisberger will be under center. Coach Mike Tomlin acknowledged that Roethlisberger aggravated his right shoulder injury, but has not revealed the results of his latest MRI scan. (Roethlisberger suffered an acromioclavicular [AC] joint sprain early in the season and has dealt with shoulder pain ever since).



According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Tomlin has not decided whether Roethlisberger or Byron Leftwich, who stepped in ably Monday night, will start Sunday. This is not the kind of injury that heals in a week; if it was, Roethlisberger would have been 100 percent after the bye. This is a condition that the team will manage, but the more hits Roethlisberger takes from week to week, the more likely it is the condition gets exacerbated, and the less effective he is likely to become. We should have a better idea by Friday's practice as to how Tomlin is leaning.

Darren McFadden will be day-to-day this week. Two turf toes. That's all you need to know. Expect Justin Fargas to continue to shoulder the majority of the load this week.

As usual, practice throughout the week will give us a better hint as to what the final status of these players will be heading into Week 10. Remember there are bye weeks for Cincinnati, Dallas, Tampa Bay and Washington, so we will not get much information in terms of player injury updates from these teams until next week. See you Friday at the injury chat, and we'll have the latest injury updates affecting Week 10 in the Saturday blog!

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