Stephania Bell: Laurent Robinson
December, 23, 2011
By Stephania Bell | ESPN.com
With the majority of NFL matchups taking place on Saturday, there is one fewer day for teams, coaches and, most importantly, fantasy owners to prepare! Never fear, championship contenders. We won't let something as small as a schedule change get in the way of bringing you all the latest information. With the NFL injury reports hot off the presses, here are the players whose status may have you concerned heading into this week's games.
Good luck in Week 16, everyone! May your players stay healthy and win for you.
Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers, ankle (Q): The Steelers have been preparing Charlie Batch all week to face the St. Louis Rams, with Roethlisberger active only in an emergency scenario. This is not a huge surprise, as Roethlisberger is coming off a short week following the Monday night game in which he was clearly limited. With the playoffs forthcoming, the extended rest can only help. It's too soon to say whether the Steelers plan to have him active or not in the final week of the regular season.
Frank Victores/US PresswireBen Roethlisberger likely will play against the Rams only in case of an emergency.
Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles, ribs, (P): Vick will probably be on this list through the end of the regular season as his rib injury continues to heal. There's no question, however, that Vick will be the quarterback for the Eagles against the Dallas Cowboys.
Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, right shoulder, (P): Freeman is now at the point where he can play despite the shoulder soreness. He practiced fully this week and will start against the Carolina Panthers.
Kevin Kolb, Arizona Cardinals, head, (Q): Kolb suffered a concussion in Week 14 and has still only returned to limited practice. It's expected that John Skelton will start again.
Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams, ankle, (D): Bradford has been struggling with his ankle, saying it feels as if it's "going backwards." Not good. Neither is a doubtful tag. With backup A.J. Feeley already ruled out, it appears recently signed Kellen Clemens will get the start.
Running BacksChris Johnson, Tennessee Titans, ankle, (Q): Johnson sprained his ankle Sunday and has been gradually increasing his activity throughout the week in an effort to return. While Johnson escaped major structural injury, the ankle has still been sore and could affect his overall performance, particularly with lateral movement and cutting. Johnson returned to limited practice Thursday and Friday and is expected to play, but likely will not be at top form.
Ahmad Bradshaw, New York Giants, foot, (P): Bradshaw is following the same pattern of limited work during the week and playing on Sunday. Expect him to play again this week.
Felix Jones, Dallas Cowboys, hamstring, (Q): Jones hasn't done much ... and that's the worry. Although he has been doing some running on the side, he has not fully tested the hamstring. While the Cowboys hold out hope he'll be available, it's Sammy Morris who has taken all the first-team reps in practice. As another signal the Cowboys want insurance, they promoted running back Chauncey Washington from the practice squad, according to ESPNDallas.com. To complicate matters, this is a late game and the decision will not likely be announced until inactives are due. Even if Jones plays, there has to be some concern about what exactly one can expect in live game conditions.
Douglas Jones/US PresswireThe oft-injured Felix Jones is once again a question mark for fantasy owners.
Michael Bush, Oakland Raiders, shoulder, (Q): Bush has been on the injury report but it seems only logical he would be. After all, there are many other Raiders there to keep him company but, most importantly, he has been the workhorse of the backfield, enduring a physical toll. After he has been limited in practice each day, the questionable tag does raise some eyebrows. The signals out of Oakland all week have been that the Raiders expect to have Bush play, but it will be important to check pregame inactives.
Willis McGahee, Denver Broncos, hamstring, (P): McGahee has been bothered intermittently by the hamstring since hyperextending his knee but the probable tag tells us the Broncos plan to have him on the field. McGahee practiced in full every day, which should also help put fantasy owners' collective minds at ease.
Kevin Smith, Detroit Lions, ankle, (P): Smith's status is an upgrade over last week, indicating the team is feeling far more confident about his ankle. Smith's activity this week was a positive sign, as he was able to practice in full each day. While there's no way to be certain he can get through the game unscathed, this is certainly a better situation than last week.
Roy Helu, Washington Redskins, toe/knee, (Q): Helu downplayed his injuries, but according to The Washington Post, he felt much better after practice Thursday than he did earlier in the week. Despite the questionable tag, it appears Helu will play.
Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars, ankle, (P): His ankle got tangled up during the Week 15 game, but Jones-Drew, one of the most durable and productive running backs this season, was never really in danger of missing the game. He was given fewer reps in practice but participated on a limited basis every day. Jones-Drew is expected to start against Tennessee.
Beanie Wells, Arizona Cardinals, knee, (Q): After he was listed as probable the past couple of weeks, it's a little concerning that Wells has been downgraded this week to questionable. He did practice daily, but on a limited basis; however, that has been the pattern for some time as the team has been attempting to manage his knee condition. The Arizona Republic reports that Wells is expected to play Saturday, despite the questionable tag.
James Starks, knee/ankle and Brandon Saine, concussion, Green Bay Packers, (P): Starks sat out last week's game to give his ankle some additional rest. It only made sense after Starks struggled for several weeks in a row. This week has gone much better for Starks, who was able to participate fully in practice each day. Saine missed Week 15 with a concussion but returned to limited practice Wednesday, then full practice Thursday and Friday. Both backs are expected to be available along with Ryan Grant. Unfortunately for fantasy owners, there is likely to be a shared workload in place.
Shonn Greene, New York Jets, rib/shoulder, (P): Greene has been on the injury report for a few weeks now and his latest injury (torn tendon in finger) isn't even listed. The probable tag indicates the Jets expect him to play.
Marion Barber, Chicago Bears, calf, (D): Barber is listed as doubtful, meaning there is little doubt that Kahlil Bell will be carrying the load for the Bears on Saturday.
Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints, toe, no designation yet: Ingram is still not practicing, and with the game on Monday night, fantasy owners should avoid him in their lineups.
A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals, shoulder, (P): Knowing that Green comes into this game fresh off a Grade 3 shoulder separation, the probable tag is very encouraging. Green has maintained all along that he would be able to play this weekend, and now it appears all but certain that he will. He was catching passes as early as Tuesday, practiced on a limited basis Wednesday and Thursday, and returned to a full practice Friday. If Green lands hard on the recently injured shoulder, it certainly won't feel terrific and he may be challenged to reach directly overhead, but he managed to finish the game last week after suffering the injury. It's hard to imagine it being much worse Saturday.
Scott Rovak/US PresswireAfter missing part of last week's game with an injury, A.J. Green appears poised to carry a full load this week.
Steve Johnson, Buffalo Bills, groin, (P): Last Sunday Johnson appeared to aggravate the groin injury that has plagued him throughout the season and was removed from the game as a result. Johnson said he could have re-entered the game and expressed little doubt that he would be back in Week 16. He practiced on a limited basis daily and appears on track to play as usual. It's worth noting that Johnson has performed well this season despite the presence of injury.
Laurent Robinson, Dallas Cowboys, shoulder (Q): Robinson was listed this way last week but we all know he played. Expect him to do the same again after practicing daily.
Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia Eagles, hamstring/shoulder (P): Maclin looked better last week than he did the week before and the probable tag tells us the Eagles are confident he'll be out there again. Maclin practiced fully each day and looks to be overcoming the injury.
Mario Manningham, New York Giants, knee, (D): Manningham has managed to play through his knee issue for the last two weeks but it appears he will miss this one. Swelling in the knee has returned, and he did not practice at all this week. Fantasy owners should make other plans.
Nate Washington, Tennessee Titans, ankle, (P): Washington has already shown he can play through the ankle injury, even coming in at far more questionable status. After practicing in full daily, Washington appears good to go against Jacksonville.
Brandon Marshall, Miami Dolphins, knee, (P): Marshall apparently had been dealing with some knee soreness but nothing so serious that he might have to miss this matchup against the New England Patriots. Marshall didn't practice Wednesday but returned to light work Thursday and full practice Friday. Expect him to play.
Vincent Jackson, San Diego Chargers, groin, (Q): Jackson did not practice at all this week because of the groin issue, making his Saturday status far less certain. Jackson has played through injuries before, but this time may be different. It seemed like a foregone conclusion earlier in the week that Jackson would go, but Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that Jackson's groin has not responded as hoped to treatment during the week. Late game alert.
Kirby Lee/US PRESSWIREA groin injury may keep out Vincent Jackson at the worst time for fantasy owners.
Wes Welker, knee and Deion Branch, groin, New England Patriots, (Q): Once again the Patriots have roughly half their roster at questionable after limited practice all week. Welker has been at this status for several weeks and has played without incident. Branch, however, missed last week and there is legitimate question as to whether he is ready to return. Branch says he's improving, but the team will make the final decision, just before game time.
Santonio Holmes, New York Jets, hip, (P): Holmes was an addition to the Thursday injury report after being limited in practice, but coach Rex Ryan said the Jets expected him to be ready by Saturday. The probable tag supports that, and fantasy owners can put him in their lineups.
Denarius Moore, Oakland Raiders, foot, (P): Moore was able to make it back last week but didn't do too much. Another week of practice (full practices daily) should have him on track for more action.
This space is intended for a list of key fantasy players, not including those who have been moved to injured reserve status, who are officially listed as "out" for the upcoming game.
Anquan Boldin, WR, Baltimore Ravens, knee: Boldin underwent knee surgery this week and will miss the remainder of the regular season.
Greg Jennings, WR, Green Bay Packers, knee: Jennings suffered a sprained MCL in Week 14 and is likely out for the remainder of the regular season.
Matt Forte, RB, Chicago Bears, knee: Forte suffered a Grade 2 MCL sprain, and the Bears still hope he will be able to return before the regular season is complete, but it is far from certain.
Jim Rogash/Getty ImagesJake Ballard won't be able to take advantage of a Jets defense that struggled to stop fellow tight end Brent Celek last week.
Jay Cutler, QB, Chicago Bears, thumb: The Bears' starting quarterback remains out alongside their starting running back. Cutler is recovering from surgery to repair his broken right thumb.
Darren McFadden, RB, Oakland Raiders, foot: McFadden is still removed from practice but the team still holds out hope he can return at some point. It won't be this week.
Jacoby Ford, WR, Oakland Raiders, foot: Ford has still not been able to practice this week as he recovers from a foot injury.
Jake Ballard, TE, New York Giants, knee: Ballard injured his PCL and, as expected, will miss this week.
Anthony Fasano, TE, Miami Dolphins, head: Fasano was diagnosed with a concussion Thursday, at which point it appeared obvious he would sit out this week. The team made it official Friday.
Be sure to check out Fantasy Football Now on Saturday this week, on ESPN2 at 11:30 a.m. ET and Fantasy Surround on ESPN.com starting at 10 a.m. ET on Saturday for last-minute inactives, rankings, injury impact and more!
September, 29, 2009
By Stephania Bell | ESPN.com
Welcome to the post-Week 3 breakdown. It was nice to see a couple of players return from injury and show us that they are definitively on the mend (Pierre Thomas, Kevin Walter). Of course there are always new names to add to the injured list. Here's what we have so far ...
Felix Jones, RB, Dallas Cowboys: Once it became official that Marion Barber would sit out Monday night's game with a strained quadriceps, fantasy owners had high expectations for the Felix Jones and Tashard Choice tandem. And they delivered ... but not necessarily as expected. Jones was off to a great start but was then forced to exit the game early with what the team is calling a knee strain. This vague terminology provides no specific clues as to the severity of Jones' injury, but ESPN's Ed Werder reported it may be something more serious. According to Werder, team owner Jerry Jones said that the running back was "unable to loosen his left knee," adding that he will undergo further evaluation Tuesday. Keep in mind that Jones suffered a partial tear of his left hamstring last season, followed by a left toe injury that required season-ending surgery. Now this. Although Barber has clearly made some progress, whether he is able to run full speed and play in Week 4 remains in question. While we await further test results on Jones and practice results on Barber, Choice, who had a fantastic second half functioning as the only healthy running back, is looking like a good fantasy option for Week 4.
Ronald Martinez/Getty ImagesFelix Jones ran for 94 yards on just eight carries before getting hurt.
Frank Gore, RB, San Francisco 49ers: Despite the fact Gore suffered a minor ankle sprain in Week 2, reports indicated that he looked to be in good shape heading into Week 3. However, just one carry into the game, Gore's day was over. The 49ers' official Web site is reporting that an MRI on Gore's right ankle revealed the presence of a "strain" (implicating muscle or tendon, most likely tendon given the location near the joint) along with a "hindfoot sprain" and he is expected to be out for "approximately three weeks." A hindfoot (or rearfoot) sprain is less common and can present a bigger challenge in terms of recovery, especially since it usually requires more force to suffer the injury in the first place. Fantasy owners would be wise to make immediate preparations (like picking up Glen Coffee if he's available) for Gore's absence. The 49ers have a bye in Week 6, so his initial targeted return stands at Oct. 25, but stay tuned as that can certainly change.
Other quick hits:
• Detroit Lions running back Kevin Smith suffered a shoulder injury that has not been detailed by the team, although Smith told the Detroit News that he doesn't "have any bone damage or anything like that." Actually, it's the soft tissue injuries that are the most worrisome in the shoulder, so Smith's revelation isn't especially helpful. But Smith did add that he hopes to practice Wednesday. It may be ambitious, but if he's able to get back to some activity that quickly, it's a positive sign.
• Marc Bulger may not be available to call the signals for the St. Louis Rams this week after bruising the rotator cuff on his throwing (right) shoulder. While he has yet to be ruled out for this week's game, there has to be enough reduction of any pain and swelling for him to get his arm overhead and throw effectively. It will most likely require a week of rest to get there, so expect Kyle Boller to get the start for Week 4, barring some quick healing.
• ESPN's Adam Schefter is reporting that the right quadriceps injury suffered by Indianapolis Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney on Sunday night is expected to keep him out for two to three weeks. Just like a running back who needs his quad to be explosive in order to perform effectively at his position (see Marion Barber), a speed rushing defensive end depends on that same explosive power. He will not be able to return until he can run full speed, so it is simply a matter of how long it takes the tissue to heal.
• In the season-ending injury department, Miami Dolphins quarterback Chad Pennington and St. Louis Rams wide receiver Laurent Robinson were added to the list. Pennington suffered a torn capsule in his shoulder, according to ESPN's Chris Mortenson, while Robinson suffered a broken fibula (lower leg bone) in conjunction with a high ankle sprain. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is reporting that Robinson will undergo surgery. Pennington's immediate plans are less certain, other than that he is expected to pay a visit to Dr. James Andrews, who has performed two operations on Pennington's rotator cuff. A third serious injury to the throwing arm of a quarterback is very discouraging, particularly when the stability and strength are threatened.
We will update these injuries and others as the week progresses.
See you at the injury chats (Tuesday 11:00 a.m.-noon, Friday 11 a.m.-noon and Sunday pregame 10:00-10:30 a.m.) and we'll have the latest injury updates in the Thursday and Saturday blogs.