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March 7, 1:21 PM ET
Fantasy league injuries w/Stephania Bell

Stephania Bell
  (11:05 AM)

Good morning everyone and welcome to the injury chat. There is plenty happening this week so let's get right to your questions!

Matt (Des Moines)

Is a strained left quadriceps something to worry about for Bengie Molina? Will this be something that could be ongoing and may effect his numbers this season?

Stephania Bell
  (11:09 AM)

Hi Matt: It's a good question - and the answer really depends on how healthy he is when he returns. It sounds as if he could return today, and the Giants must be fairly confident in his health if that's the case. Muscle strains can linger or recur, but they can also fully resolve after one episode if given the proper time for recovery. How do we know if it's enough? testiing the players before they return by putting the quad, in this case, through a series of tests to see how it responds. I would watch how he does over his first few games back. If not setbacks and he's not holding back, I think it is not something to worry about.

Edward (New Orleans)

Hey Stephania, What are your thoughts on Albert Pujols? Is he worth drafting this year? Will make it through the year? Is this injury going to hinder him through out the year? Would you draft him?

Stephania Bell
  (11:12 AM)

Hi Edward: Lots of questions. All good and many wondering the same thing. Whether he makes it throughout the year is a gamble. We know he has pathology in the elbow, although what was released yesterday really doesn't change the picture for us. In other words, he can play, but I would expect, and Pujols has even said, that if it starts to act up at all, he will take time off. I foresee several DL trips for him this year, and increased rest days, making him a player I'm not willing to draft b/c I'm too concerned about the risk. That being said, he will put up some good numbers when healthy, but you just don't know from day to day what his status will be.

Vinny (nyc)

Stephania- How is Y.Gallardo's recovery from knee surgery? I'm considering him as a top 25 SP this season, but want to make sure this injury wont linger. Thanks.

Stephania Bell
  (11:14 AM)

Gallardo is doing very well. He had a lateral meniscus tear and had a scope to address it. It's not a big deal in terms of recovery (as long as there are no setbacks) and although it may compromise his knee a bit as his knee ages, that is down the line. I would not expect him to have lingering problems as the year progresses. I think they will be sure he is ready before putting him out there, even if it means missing a few scheduled starts. Then I believe he comes back strong, yes top 25.

Nick (Greenwich, CT)

Hey Stephania..always love the chats...do u think McNabb will be "100%" healed by training camp? What about L.J. Smith? Thank You!

Stephania Bell
  (11:17 AM)

Hi Nick: Thanks for coming. I do think McNabb will be 100% - or as close as he gets to that - by camp. After having a year of "working" the knee in game conditions under his belt without any major setbacks, and another offseason of rest and conditioning, the knee is probably starting to feel more like his own, and he should be good to go. Smith has had these chronic groin problems and after surgery and yet another procedure, he didn't really seem like his former self. The worry with him is the chronic nature of the types of injuries (lots of repeat muscle strains) that are likely to crop up again, esp as he is not getting any younger. I'm more hesitant about him.

Chet (LA)

Any news on how the rehab is going for Ronnie Brown? Will he be ready for open by game 1?

Stephania Bell
  (11:19 AM)

Chet: Actually the word on Ronnie Brown is that he is doing very well, a little ahead of schedule. The expectation at this point is that he will be readu for game 1, but there is a lot of time - and recovery hurdles before then. Still, everyone is optimistic right now. That being said, running backs in particular usually take one full season back before they get their numbers back to where they used to be.

Brody (Miami)

HanRam... top 3 pick for just about everyone. How are the lingering spring injuries? Should owners be worried?

Stephania Bell
  (11:22 AM)

Brody: I'm not worried. He underwent surgery in the offseason, a relatively minor procedure for him, and one that should actually prevent recurrences of the kind of thing that has bothered him the past few seasons. Now he had a collision this spring and the team was concerned about how it might have affected his shoulder, but X-rays were negative, they gave him a little rest, and it appears he is fine.

Niles Standish (UK)

Lovely Stephania, do you think Carlos Beltran's knees will hold up for the season? What kind of a risk is he?

Stephania Bell
  (11:27 AM)

Niles: Beltran had an unusual situation. Scar tissue removed from patellar tendon (which anchors the quadriceps muscle) and not just on one knee, but both. It is so hard to have both legs out of commission at once. He is still experiencing knee soreness, something they were hoping would have resolved by now. One explanation may be that his quads are still weak, he may be tight, and he may be compensating and putting extra load through the joints. He also needs to learn how to slide again by his own report, not an easy task. I owuld be concerned that this recovery will linger a bit longer than expected into the season. And given that both knees are involved, you can't help but think of him as a higher risk.

Jay CT

Miguel Cabrera- Is weight still a concern? I heard he shed some LB's

Stephania Bell
  (11:28 AM)

Jay: I saw Cabrera when I was at Tigers' camp - and although he is still a big kid, he has dropped significant weight, with plenty of power still to go around. It can only help him to have dropped some weight from his frame.

Brad (Philly)

Hey Stephania, which young pitchers do you think are most at risk for injuries - similar to Francisco Liriano two years ago? And what signs do you look for in making those predictions? Thanks!

Stephania Bell
  (11:34 AM)

Hi Brad: This is the question that all scouts would like to be able to answer before investing the farm on a young thrower. Unfortunately, although there are things we look at, there are some who completely defy reality and stay healthy. Others who look solid blow out their arm early in their career. I will tell you that one thing everyone looks at is injury history. High school, college, etc - what were the past injuries? Repeated strains, chronic tendinitis, even if technically "recovered from" may signal weakened tissue that is likely to act up again. Then there's mechanics. If there is hyperabduction, where the elbow comes way behind the body, or excess elevation (which may lead to shoulder impingement), etc. Also the type of motion, is it hard and violent, is there good use of the trunk, or is it all arm. This is a bit abbreviated because of the format here, but those are some ideas. So Liriano was a concern - and it played itself out. Hernandez has a violent breaking ball motion, making him at risk. There are plenty of others, but maybe we'll do a blog dedicated to that in the near future.

Ted (Philly)

What do you make of Alfonso Soriano injury? Will that diminish his value at all this season?

Stephania Bell
  (11:36 AM)

Hi Ted: Not a big deal. Nondisplaced finger tip fx, he has been playing catch and swinging a bat already. Should be back next week. Most importantly, this injury did not affect his legs, the big concern coming into this season as he missed a lot of time - and speed - last year with the muscle strains. His legs reportedly feel the best they have in a while, so the finger injury, does not diminish his value at all.

Lincoln (Mercer Island)

Hey SB, What are your thoughts on BJ Ryan coming back from the Tommy John so soon?

Stephania Bell
  (11:40 AM)

Hi Lincoln: Well, the comment all along has been as long as there are no setbacks, which is a bit unusual after Tommy John, he could progress along with his throwing at the rate he has been. Interestingly though, his spring debut has reportedly been postponed from this Saturday after he spoke with team doctors, and they may be (not surprisingly) slowing him down a bit as he moves towards the most intense test of his throwing - live game. He will also need more down time after throwing in a game as he is coming back. Opening Day remains a possibility, but I've said all along, they have Accardo, don't be surprised if Ryan is pushed back to late April.

Gavin (Reading, England)

Any thoughts about the injuries to Lackey or Kazmir? Thanks SB!

Stephania Bell
  (11:45 AM)

Hi Gavin: Lackey appears to have had only some typical spring training soreness. Many pitchers get into spring and are now throwing more and throwing harder, obviously, than they did the last few months and things get a little sore. The team rests them, lets it work itself out, and they're back. Now with Kazmir, there was more of an acute strain and some inflammation, so it was more worrisome. It appears though that he is doing well, throwing from about 90' and supposedly could be ready by opening say, although the Rays might drop him further down in the rotation to give him a little extra time.

Andy (VA)

Stephania - Given your advanced knowledge of all these medical problems, do you think your draft strategy is more affected by injury concerns than the average fantasy player? How do you balance the injury possibilities with other factors?

Stephania Bell
  (11:47 AM)

Andy: LOVE this question. I have no doubt that my draft strategy, for better or for worse, is heavily biased by my injury perspective. Sometimes I make a good call, sometimes I worry too much about an injury, and nothing pans out and I bypassed a good player. But in the end, I am comfortable with that being my heavy weighting of a player's value - it's really a risk calculation vs a black and white injury grid. I of course use our player rankings and follow draft picks to see how players are falling as well.

Ben (Santa Barbara, CA)

Hi, Does it seem like Ryan Zimmerman is completely recovered from his wrist surgery, or is this something that could affect him throughout the season? Thanks.

Stephania Bell
  (11:50 AM)

Hi Ben: I think Zimmerman is completely recovered from his hamate surgery (they remove a little piece of the hamate bone, one of the small bones of the wrist, after it breaks). Zimmerman had a little extra blood that clotted in the area after surgery and had it removed but all the word since then is that he is good to

Stephania Bell
  (11:51 AM)

oops Ben!! go, especially since he has already hit a home run...

Rick (NY)

Since Vernon Wells had shoulder surgery this offseason, will that limit him this year?

Stephania Bell
  (11:55 AM)

Hi Rick: Wells had surgery to repair a torn labrum and reportedly is doing well, feeling close to 100%. It's his non-throwing arm, so even though he plays in the outfield, which is where you might see it affect his ability to make a long throw, it's not relevant. Which leaves swinging the bat - and as he progresses through spring and gets stronger, that should not be a problem.

Alex (SLC, UT)

SB, how has Gary Sheffield progressed with this shoulder injury. Do you think he'll make to 145 games this year. He has OF eligibility in my league so I had to take a shot on him pretty early. Tell me he'll pay off!

Stephania Bell
  (11:57 AM)

Alex: 145 is a tough call, simply given the fact that Sheffield is 39 and anything can happen. That being said, I talked with him at Tigers' camp, and this guy just sounded ready. He was frustrated by last year's injury, mostly because it limited what he could do more than the pain. He is still excited about playing, the surgery did wonders (and his rehab) and he said i feels like new. Even went early to camp to test it with batting and has been hitting the ball hard without incident. I think he'll pay off for you!

Nick (Cleveland)

I have three pitchers on my team that are constantly injured, what's the outlook on Ben Sheets, Rich Harden, and Mark Prior?

Stephania Bell
  (12:02 PM)

Nick: You do have the MASH unit. Prior supposedly looks good, he is probably the healthiest he's been, pitching in San Diego, I like everything except this one nagging thing about his mechanics (where his elbow comes up higher than his shoulder while internally rotated) -that may cause him recurrent problems down the line. Harden, who has had a number of shoulder issues, says he feels great after the offseason, but his inability to stay healthy in the past with this chronic problem is a concern. And Sheets - although he's had his troubles, has not had arm problems. Throwing well this spring so the outlook is good.

Stephania Bell
  (12:02 PM)

OK everyone - have to go. Thanks for stopping by the Sports Nation injury chat. See you all here next week!