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December 14, 3:15 PM ET
Fantasy league injuries w/Stephania Bell

Stephania Bell
  (11:01 AM)

Good morning Sports Nation - thanks for coming to the injury chat! this was a relatively quiet week for new injuries, but as always, there are some status concerns headed into the weekend - so let's get to your questions.

Brian: (New York, NY)

Good morning. I'm surprised I still haven't had a question answered considering there should be less competitors this week. Would you start either Coles, Fargas with confidence?

Stephania Bell
  (11:04 AM)

Hello Brian: Well, I don't know if there are less competitors or it's just your lucky week, but here you are, first on the board. I would not start Coles with great confidence and I'll tell you why. I love Coles, love his toughness, but his ankle is still bothering him. He was limping around on it during last week's game and he has not fully practiced. Combine it with facing the Patriots, in what is expected to be bad weather (slippery is not good for ankles), and it's not a great combo. Fargas on the other hand seems to be fine coming off the bruised ribs and you can start him with confidence.

Jamaal (Mount Laurel, NJ)

OK Stephania, who acted foolish at the party last night? Also, Is Bolding gonna play? Thanks.

Stephania Bell
  (11:06 AM)

Hi Jamaal: Now you know I can't tell secrets about who acted foolish at the party. I will say it was a great party - and TMR was there in fine form. Now, Boldin is a question mark, returning to limited practice Thursday for the first time. He says he expects to play - but we should know better after today's practice.

Jess (philly)

Steph, love your chats! I'll help you out and ask about two rb's who may be injured. Kolby Smith and Chatman? Will they play and will they be effective?

Stephania Bell
  (11:08 AM)

Hi Jess: Thanks for helping me out! Smith had a minor knee ailment. Herm Edwards says he's not limited at all - expect him to play. Chatman continues to struggle with the ankle, has been limited in practice. He seems to think he'll play - but remember he said that last week. He definitely won't be 100% even if he goes.

Eric, Columbus OH

Stephanie, I am in my league's championship game this weekend. Should I be worried about Brian Westbrook starting?

Stephania Bell
  (11:09 AM)

Hi Eric: If there's one thing you can count on, it's Westbrook playing through the knee issues. Always need to check the inactive lists, but the fact that he is practicing, even on a limited basis, suggests he'll be fine - and we know what damage he can do when he shows up.

Josh (Austin, Tx)

I get nervous talking to women as pretty as you, but I'll try to do my best... How injured is Kolby Smith, and is it bad enough to start a back-up like Chester Taylor? Phew I did it, I asked the question and got my hands to stop shaking enough to get the entire question out. Thanks Stephania

Stephania Bell
  (11:10 AM)

Josh - No need to be nervous. I do not bite. But, to answer your question, I think Taylor is the better play this week - not necessaril b/c of Smith's injury, just the matchups.

Shaz, Chicago, IL

Stephania, Hi. Do you get called Stephanie a lot? Also, Should I pick Terry Glenn up since I have an extra roster spot or do I even bother?

Stephania Bell
  (11:12 AM)

Shaz: I do actually, since there's only one vowel difference. I would not pick up Glenn. If he returns, it will likely be in the playoffs, not in time to help a fantasy team

Gabe (Birmingham)

how is santonio holmes doing?

Stephania Bell
  (11:13 AM)

Gabe: Not so well. We said last week that his performance indicated that he really was not 100%, and he came out this week and said so himself. To be fair, high ankle sprains take longer to heal and he admits he is pushing himself b/c of the timing in the season. He will likely play - but not as effectively as he otherwise would.

Pat (NY)

Make me feel better about benching Rosenfels last night. Garcia will play this weekend right?

Stephania Bell
  (11:14 AM)

Yes, Garcia is starting - at least that's what the Bucs say. After the late deactivation of Garcia last week, I think they're telling the truth. And Garcia seemed to be feeling much better already last week, add another week to it and I think he'll look solid.

Iman, IL

Hi Stephania. Is it possible that Marc Bulger is going to come back this weekend?

Stephania Bell
  (11:16 AM)

Hi Iman: It is indeed looking like Bulger will play. He has practiced fully all week and to date, has had no reoccurrence of symptoms although Linehan won't make it official until after today's practice.

dave (milwaukee)

troy polamalu? thanks

Stephania Bell
  (11:18 AM)

Hi Dave: After missing a few weeks with a sprained knee, Polamalu is not listed on the injury report so far this week and has been practicing so I expect him to play against the Jags.

Cotton, Berea, OH

Stephania, I was wondering if you think Larry Fitzgerald will be limited this Sunday? Thank you.

Stephania Bell
  (11:19 AM)

hi Cotton: Actually I think he'll be better this week. With another week under his belt and how good he felt wearing the additional support brace for the groin, I think he'll be better this week.. And coach Ken Whisenhunt has said he looks much better than he did last week. With Boldin either out or limited, Fitzgerald will be key for the Cards.

Jay (Largo, MD)

Good morning Stephanie, I am in desperate need for this week with the championship game in limbo.... What's the deal with the RB situation in Miami? Is it going to Gado or Chatman? HELPPPPPPPP?

Stephania Bell
  (11:22 AM)

Hi Jay: I know, it's confusing. Here's the scenario. Chatman swears he'll play. He has been practicing on a limited basis, but the word is he still looks limited by the ankle, and he clearly is not 100%. Given that, he will likely be used in a rotation, with Gado (and it is unclear right now who starts). They face the Ravens. Neither guy is a great start.

Joe (Indiana)

What's up with Big Ben??? Would Warner be a better start???

Stephania Bell
  (11:23 AM)

hi Joe: We don't know exactly what's up with Ben b/c no one is telling us. We do know it's his throwing shoulder and we know he has not practiced yet this week. I assume if he can practice today he'll still start, but we have to wait on that. Combine it with a matchup against the Jags, and I think Warner makes a better start.

Eric (CT)

Hi Stephania. Is there an injury with Roddy White? I'm not sure who to use in this big week him or Derrick Mason? Thoughts...

Stephania Bell
  (11:26 AM)

Hi Eric: No specific injury was reported for White, we just know he was held out of practice Thurs (weds was only a walk through for the team) b/c of a "knee" issue. Mason may make the better matchup anyway against the Dolphins.

John (Iowa)

How about a defensive injury question? Will Channing Crowder suit up and play? Could really use some monster tackle numbers out of him.

Stephania Bell
  (11:28 AM)

Hi John: Not looking good. Crowder has a foot strain and only practiced on a limited basis Thursday. Local reports are suggesting that he will not play.

Jesse (Boston, MA)

With Kolby's injury, should I start him or Fred Taylor?

Stephania Bell
  (11:29 AM)

I Like Taylor. Primarily b/c of the way he's been running - and he's healthy!

matt (in the championship)

Great work steph! injuries have plauged my team all year and some how i made it to the championship. My rb2 and flex are coming off injuries (rudi, lynch). Should i sub one of them out for stecker or gado?

Stephania Bell
  (11:31 AM)

Matt: Well done! My team had injuries and I did not fare as well in that league. I liek Lynch this week. He is off the injury report and looked strong in his reappearance last week. I think he gets more work again this week. I like Stecker as well, but I think I prefer Lynch's matchup.

Joe (Detroit)

Happy holidays Stephania!! How's Lendale's thumb!? Is it bothering him enough to warrant me starting Rudi over him?!

Stephania Bell
  (11:32 AM)

Hi Joe: I think his thumb is fine. White was not listed on the injury report this week, but supposedly his knee was a little banged up after last game - clearly not enough to affect his practice. he had a better game than I expected last week with the thumb so I think you can count on him this week as well.

Gary (Indiana)

What about Antonio Gates? I was surprised to hear he didn't practice Wednesday OR Thursday.. Any cause for concern?

Stephania Bell
  (11:35 AM)

hi Gary: Always a little concerned when a player misses two days - but Norv Turner says Gates has progressed a lot over the two days (he has a back issue) - and that he expects him to do things in Friday practice (and play). I would check the Friday practice reports but I expect he'll be able to go.

Dave (Orlando)

Any news on Philip Rivers? Good to go vs Det?

Stephania Bell
  (11:36 AM)

Hi Dave: Rivers not a sure thing and he is remaining somewhat evasive. he sprained his knee last week and has been wearing a brace. I think he's going to try to go, but his mobility will no doubt be hampered by the knee. He may not be the best fantasy option if you have other choices.

Barry (Detroit, MI)

Hi Stephania, I read online that F. Taylor has a slight injury, any new on this? Also , should I start Stecker or F. Taylor this week? Thanks

Stephania Bell
  (11:39 AM)

hi Barry: probably what you saw is that Taylor was held out of practice Weds b/c of a team decision. Sometimes this means injury, but often it means the team is deciding to rest a player proactively. Taylor was not limited at all Thursday so I expect him to be fine.Hmmm. Tough call on the matchup but I think I like Taylor.

matt (in the championship)

you forgot about rudi

Stephania Bell
  (11:41 AM)

Sorry Matt: Rudi looks strong. Hamstring finally appears to be a non-issue. But if the Niners have shown they can do anything, it's put on a good run defense. So not a rgeat matchup for him.

Derek (Boston)

Hi Stephania, how about a question concerning your '9ers. Will Battle be healthy and effective Saturday? Thanks!

Stephania Bell
  (11:43 AM)

Hi Derek: I still love my Niners - no matter how much they test my loyalty. Battle was held out Wednesday with a bad ankle but returned to some practice Thursday. He is expected to play at this point but check after Friday practice.

Lacey (Minnesota)

I find myself once again questioning if Plax's ankle will allow him to succeed this week. Do you think it is best to roll the dice with him and his iffy ankle or play Stecker instead?

Stephania Bell
  (11:49 AM)

Hi lacey: Sorry for the delay - my computer dropped out. I'm back now - hopefully for the duration. Plaxico had his best game in a while last week and he says he's feeling better as far as bth the knee and the ankle. I think he has another good game this week. Tough between him and Stecker b/c Burress can be a non-factor, and you know Stecker is guaranteed to get the ball. i probably go with Stecker for that reason.

matt (FLORIDA)

Ms Bell... is Mr Bush out for the season?!

Stephania Bell
  (11:50 AM)

Hi Matt: Yes he is, slim possibility that he returns if the Saints make the playoffs, but count him out for the regular season.

Eddie (Hoboken, NJ)

Good morning StephaniA... it's an A people! :). You single handedly gave me the advice last week that won my first round playoffs!! Need you again! Graham, Grant, Alexander, Barber, and (the other) AP are on my team and I need to start 3. What's your take? Thanks and keep up the great work!

Stephania Bell
  (11:51 AM)

Hi eddie: Yay! It makes me happy when the advice turns out to be good. We aim to please. I can tell you i don't like Alexander, period. Grant, yes. graham, yes. then I think I like Barber as the other option.

Lonnie (Dallas)

Hi Steph, do you think either Matt Schaub or DJ Hackett is gonna return anytime soon?

Stephania Bell
  (11:53 AM)

Hi Lonnie: Either not soon enough or not effectively enough to help you with your fantasy playoff situation. Schaub is going to have surgery after the season but he is expected to try to come back before the end. Risky. Hackett I wouldn't count on before the NFL playoffs.

Rob in MD

Am I crazy to start Graham over Sjax? Have a good holiday!

Stephania Bell
  (11:56 AM)

hi Rob: I don't think so. Green Bay is a tough matchup and Graham has been performing well (and faces the Falcons).

Joe (DE)

Stephania: Anything to worry about with TJ Housh?? I know he has nagging injuries, but I don't want to see him pull an early exit from a fantasy playoff game!

Stephania Bell
  (11:58 AM)

Hi Joe: I don't think there's anything to worry about there. He routinely misses time during the week, and he is playing a bit banged up, but he's been playing that way since about week 4. Obviously, you can never predict injuries - but i would not be worried about him this week comapred to any other.

bill (san diego)

first off, your chats are very helpful as you cover alot of ground and seem to have real insight. now the question: what is up with kenton keith and his thumb? i have him handcuffed to addai and think i might drop him for someone else...gracias!

Stephania Bell
  (12:00 PM)

Hi Bill: Thank you - Keith was able to fully practice on Thursday suggesting the thumb is not a major issue. I would not be too quick to drop him as Addai gets banged up a lot - and if Keith is fully practicing he should be available as backup.

Lara (AZ)

T Gonzales ok to go this weekend?

Stephania Bell
  (12:00 PM)

Hi Lara - Yes!!

James Fireman (Toronto, Ontario)

Stephania!! Any reason to be concerned about starting Brandon Jacobs this week?

Stephania Bell
  (12:02 PM)

Hi James: No reason to worry - he looked solid last week and is not on the injury report this week. He will be the starter.

Stephania Bell
  (12:03 PM)

OK everyone - I have to run - thanks for the questions and for coming to the chat. We'll do it again Sunday morning and I will update the status of players as I know it this weekend. Good luck in your playoff rounds!!