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January 18, 1:28 PM ET
Fantasy league injuries w/Stephania Bell

Stephania Bell
  (11:01 AM)

Good morning and welcome to the injury chat! Football is now narrowed down to four teams, and everyone is banged up, perhaps no team more so than the Chargers, so what can we expect headed into Sunday's divisional championship matchups? We'll find out...

Ryan (MD)

My league has playoff redraft tonight...What's the latest on Rivers, Gates, and LdT? Will they all start and how likely are they to finish the game? PS - Martz has to help them win...Go Niners...

Stephania Bell
  (11:05 AM)

Ryan - Nice segue from my opening comments. These are the 3 of course that everyone is wondering about. I'll post one at a time so it doesn't take quite so long to get an answer out. Rivers: Now has not one, but two sprained MCLs, the ligament that stabilizes the inner knee, the most recent injury of course last Sunday to his right knee. The left he has managed to play through with a brace, but this one is more problematic b/c it is so new. Norv Turner said if the game had been played Weds, Rivers would have watched from the sideline - but it wasn't, he still has a couple more days, and I expect he'll play. It will be painful, he may be in a brace on the other knee as well, but I expect he'll be out there, although if he gets sacked, or even bumped aorund a lot, I don't think he'll last the whole game. If he has enough pain that he can't step confidently on the leg and deliver the ball, and he starts making errant throws, then he won't last either and oyu'll see Volek come in.

Stephania Bell
  (11:06 AM)

Tomlinson: Good news here. He reportedly hyperextended his knee, uncomfortable but not tragic and they are not describing a particular "structure" that was injured - all good. Tomlinson has practiced, says he thinks he'll be 10 percent by gametime. I believe him.

Stephania Bell
  (11:09 AM)

Gates: Gates has not practiced yet this week and I doubt he will. His situation looks a lot like last week, and honestly, he took everyone by surprise by actually playing. You could tell that he was not 100 percent, but he was gamely out there trying. It seemed to take a toll as the game went on. He dislocated his big toe, which is critical for pushoff, acceleration and pivoting. I expect that if there is any way for him to be on the field, he will be, but that his use and effectiveness will play out similar to last ewek.

tom* (parkville, md)

Guessing you meant LT will be 100 percent by gametime, not 10 percent.

Stephania Bell
  (11:10 AM)

Thank goodness for the watchful eyes of Sports Nation - Yes, 100% - my bad on the typo!

Brad, ND

Miss Stephania, What is the status of Aaron Ross for this weekends game?

Stephania Bell
  (11:13 AM)

Hi Brad: Ross says his shoulder is feeling much better. He has been wearing a harness this week (the kind that offers extra stability protection to the shoulder) and is expected to wear a lighter brace in the game. He says he can move around well and intercept the ball and that he has good motion. He also said he expects to be 100% by gametime. Good news for the Giants.

Matt (Orange, CA)

Please help Stephania. I am in a Fantasy Playoff league in which you can only start the player once in the playoffs. I am down to either Brady or the Chargers QB as I used both Manning and Favre in their previous games and I would like to save Brady for the SB. Is Rivers going to play or am I better off using Volek. Please help.

Stephania Bell
  (11:15 AM)

Hi Matt: You know what they say - never save a player b/c that could be the thing that ends up costing you the round - and there are never any guarantees (although Brady is about the closest thing you'll get to one) about players moving on. That being said, I wouldn't start Volek over Rivers, b/c Rivers, if he plays, may play the whole game - then you get zero.

Trent(Marine/Pod Trooper) (San Fran)

Hey Beautiful Stephania Bell, last time you were on here I asked you about the Pod Vader and you said he was slowly recovering, any update? Cause we are losing th battle on the homefront against The Insuffreble Andy Glockner, and do you guys have a definete date you will be back in the studio?

Stephania Bell
  (11:18 AM)

Hey Trent: last I chatted with Pod Vader, he was working dilignetly on getting his quad strength back so he could ditch his crutched and get back to work. I think he may be returning this week or next. We need him!!!

John ((Rocky Mount, NC))

Hello Stephania, Any news on Carolina's Jake Delhomme. I know Delhomme went out in Week 5 I think it was due to an Elbow Injury, and news about him since his surgery has been relatively quiet, any news for his status for Next Year?

Stephania Bell
  (11:22 AM)

Hi John: Delhomme will be an interesting player to watch in hte offseason. You're right - it was his elbow. He had Tommy John (or ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction) surgery and it typically takes 12-18 months for a baseball player (most commonly affected) to return. There is not much precedent for football players. One player who had it done, Rob Johnson, never came back to play (quite possibly for other reasons) so we never saw how well he could have done in the league after having the surgery. Delhomme is basically expected to be ready for camp, but sometimes it takes a few extra months to get the feel of throwing back after that type of surgery.

Joe, Syracuse

Any updates on Ronnie Brown's recovery from surgery?

Stephania Bell
  (11:24 AM)

Hi Joe: No official updates, but at about 3 months out my guess is he should be almost ready to start jogging on that leg. Once the Super Bowl is over I will try to round up some more information on the guys who are undergoing big rehab projects in the offseason.

Lee (Tempe)

Is Randy Foye almost ready to play? he's been out a long time with the knee problem

Stephania Bell
  (11:27 AM)

Hi Lee: Foye had a stress reaction in his knee, which is basically a precursor to a stress fracture - so the timetable is basically dependent on how fast the bone heals. In FOye's case, they originally spotted the injury in October, repeat tests in Nvember and again in December showed that although the bone was healing, it was not at the rate that they hoped. So they had to hold him back. Last week he was cleared for a limited return to practice (no contact drills, scrimmage) - which could come as soon as this week if there are no more problems. The it would be another week or two to return. Again - the timetable remains soft b/c each time they add something, they need to see how his knee tolerates it and make sure the bone does not suffer another setback..

Cory(DC)

Is there any reason to think this might be the year Rich Hardin stays healthy?

Stephania Bell
  (11:32 AM)

Hi Cory: This is for you and Nils since he asked a similar question right behind you. I wish I could say yes, but I'm just not optimistic. Harden, just like many other pitchers, has accumulated enough wear and tear in his throwing shoulde rto cuase him some chronic problems. He never really could get past it last year, and it appears that they are not ready to dive into surgery (there are many long, complicated discussions as to why surgery might or might not be indicated), but the big thing is that I think his rotator cuff tightens up as he throws and he has very limited throwing endurance as a result. If he tries to force it beyond that, he ends up making the shoulder painful, inflamed and has to be shut down again. I think that cycle will continue to be a problem for him.

TiM (Pittsburgh)

Troy Polamalu, rumblings are that he has a hernia and Steelers have been sayin it is other things, if it is a hernia, will he be good to go next season?

Stephania Bell
  (11:34 AM)

Tim: I have not heard these rumblings myself. What I can say is if it is a hernia (and then there are the true hernias and the sports hernias) - but in either case, if it gets addressed soon, he would be ready for next season. Again - don't know if that is really the case.

PaulieP (Seahawkblue)

Patrick Kerney is suddenly having surgery, do you know how serious it is?

Greg, SF

Arenas keeps going back and forth on when/if he is coming back. I know part of it is because he wants to protect himself because of his contract situation, but when SHOULD he be back based on what is a normal recovery time for his injury. Thanks!

Stephania Bell
  (11:42 AM)

Hi Greg: This is a great question b/c there is the nature of the procedure, then there is how Arenas talks about it - all makes for a bit of a cloudy picture. Here's the thing. He had a meniscus tear fixed (not such a big deal) and a microfracture procedure (big deal)- BUT the bone defect that was treated with microfracture was located on a part of the bone that does not bear weight - meaning you can be a bit more aggressive in rehab than if it were on a portion that was heavily weight bearing. I would have projected about 4 months, making it sometime in March that he could return to the court. Arenas could be somewhat parroting what he has been told though, which is that no matter what the projections are early on, much of the timetable ultimately depends on how the knee responds to each progressive step. If he has pain, or swelling, any time they add more aggressive work, then they will hold him back b/c the worst scenario would be to come back too fast, and essentially ruin what's been done. Maybe that's where his comments are coming from. But I do think you'll see him this year. Not until March soonest though.

Chris (Oregon)

Hey Stephania.....love your work! What's the latest you've heard on Nenad Krstic....probable return, what we can expect from him when he returns, stuff like that...Thanks!

Stephania Bell
  (11:48 AM)

Thanks Chris! Thanks for joining in. Well Krstic tried to ocme back from his ACL reconstruction in November but that was obviously a bit too early and he had to be shut down again - so you can bet they will be more cautious this time around. ALthough the latest estimates by the team said sometime in January, I don't think he'll return until February. He is supposedly traveling with the team now, just for light workouts, to be with the team, etc which are all good signs. I think you can epxect that it will take him the rest of the season to get his game legs back. Even when players return, there is a confidence that is usually lacking in tha tknee until they can basically prove to themselves that they can handle the stress of playing. They also seem to have a bit of trouble with spring and lift, not as good shock absorption in the reconstructed side - which they do get back, but it takes time playing - in games - to really get there.

PaulieP (Seahawkblue)

wow, just glanced over me, posted me, and forgot about me huh? Story of my life...

Stephania Bell
  (11:51 AM)

PaulieP: I would never do that! But strangely, as I'm looking at the chat transcript, my answer is not there! Sadly, I can't offer you too much though. Kerney's status as far as the team goes is officially "undisclosed surgery" meaning we don't know either. He had some trouble with his knee near the end so maybe that's it - but really, with undisclosed it's wide open so too hard to speculate. I will keep my ear to the ground though and if any news is released by the team, I will come back with it. Thanks for the follow-up - I wouldn't have known that the answer didn't come up! Sorry about that...

Andy (Wisconsin)

Hey Stephania-a fellow physical therapist here. What are your thoughts on Mark Prior in San Diego? Any chance of him returning to what everyone thought he was going to be back in 2003?

Stephania Bell
  (11:55 AM)

Hi Andy: Love to have a fellow PT joining in! I'm sure you have some thoughts of your own on Prior's situation - but I am actually really excited to see what comes of his season. Prior got such a bad rap over the last couple years, and then when he finally had surgery, they found so much pathology in his shoulder, that it was no surprise he had been struggling the way that he had. Now of course, post-surgical shoulders come with their own set of challenges, and I'm not sure he can be pre-injury form, but I think he can be good, really good, assuming no setbacks. There's a guy who does pitching biomechanical analysis in San Diego who talks about Prior's delivery as being one of the best mechanically in the sport. It will be interesting to see if he can get back to that form and pitch consistently at a high level. Bottom line - I am optimistic that he returns as a solid (perhaps not elite) pitcher.

mike (newport beach)

where do you see bibby now that hes back from his injury?

Stephania Bell
  (11:59 AM)

Hi Mike: I actually think Bibby did pretty well coming back, given the amount of time he's been away, etc. I also think he was smart to wait the full time as these ligament injuries in the thumb, if htey don't heal right, can get re-injured, and can cause ongoing problems with shooting and ball handling. The fact that Sacramento did not look so good is not his fault. Bibby should continue to find his stroke now that he's back full time - but as far as the thumb, I don't expect him to have any furhter problems with it. It would only be a scenario where he had a completely new injury to it.

John ((Rocky Mount, NC))

New England has seem to of found the cure for the Injury Bug that has afflicted so many teams this season, have their been any injuries on the Patriots Squad?

Stephania Bell
  (12:01 PM)

Hi John: Thye have actually had quite a few injuries in New England - but you could say they are relatively healthy at the right time. They also have incredible depth - which I think makes them stand out - so when they lose someone like Sammy Morris for the remainder of the season - they just pick up with a Kevin Faulk and you barely notice. That is where they are so strong. Kyle Brady had some problems right up until recently but seems to be doing fine just in time for the playoffs. They don't have any major concerns I would say heading into this weekend - lucky them.

Chris (Oregon)

Just out of curiousity.....when people ask you about an injury for Player "X", do you know about that player and their injury and the prognosis etc. off the top of your head, or do you have a database for each player in every sport that you consult and update before giving your answer? Either way, you're very good at what you do!

Stephania Bell
  (12:04 PM)

Chris - thanks - you are the final question today. Since I am doing this stuff all the time, I do have a lot of info in my head, especially for the teams currently in season. But not all of it. I operate off of some databases and keep extensive records of my own. I also watch a LOT of sports. The injury info comes from my background in sports medicine, so that is stuff that I know. Keeping track of all the players, in all the sports, that is much harder - and I definitely have some local sources stationed at various spots around the country who help me out on that front. But thanks for the comments. As much as I absolutely love what I do, there is a trmendous amount of research, and it's nice to be appreciated.

Stephania Bell
  (12:06 PM)

Thanks to everyone in Sports Nation for coming. It is an interesting time with so many sports overlapping right now, and, of course, injuries everywhere. Sorry I can't get to all of your questions, but once the baseball draft kit research is done, I will be writing more and hope to include your questions in my blog columns. Thanks so much - have a great weekend!!