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August 1, 1:48 PM ET
Fantasy league injuries w/Stephania Bell

Stephania Bell
  (11:03 AM)

Hello and Happy Friday everyone! Welcome to the injury chat. What a busy time with football and baseball heating up...and the Olympics are now around the corner. The injuries, as usual, a big part of the story. I see many questions already posted by early birds - so let's get going.

Mike (NJ)

E.Dukes is back!!! what do you expect? Is he back to fast? Is he worth the chance, I would be dropping J.Baker for Dukes Upside. What do you think?

Stephania Bell
  (11:07 AM)

Hi Mike: Hmmm. Seems a bit early to me. Now keep in mind, I haven't seen the player - and you have to assume the medical staff has put him through the paces that would dictate his readiness, and conceivably the torn meniscus post-surgery piece could be ready (although we usually project 4-6 weeks and he hasn't been quite 4), but he also partially tore his patellar tendon according to reports, which anchors the quad, and I would have concerns about his overall quad strength. If it's me, I'm skeptical and want to see him perform first.


What's up Stephania? How is Wainwright doing? Does his injury leave him susceptible to a setback? And is he expected back in the rotation?

Stephania Bell
  (11:10 AM)

Hi Ryan: Well it sounds like Wainwright is doing pretty well but the buzz about him returning for a Chicago series was premature. He is expected to begin a rehab assignement in about a week or so, and then will have to get to the point to be ready to rejoin the team (I would think after the timeoff it would be several outings, and they'll want to gradually increase the workload) so set your sights on mid-August. No one is saying for sure whether it's as a starter or reliever. Speculation at best. And, as far as setback, I think the team has been very smart about bringing him back slowly - he should move along without huge risk of re-injury.

Jerry (Louisville, KY)

Please come back to the Fantasy Focus podcast! What if Matt and Nate renamed the podcast the "Stephania Bell Show" and then just quest hosted it for you? Since Jr. went to the windy city it will open up OF time in Cincy will J Hairston Jr be able to play center with his hammy? Thanks!

Stephania Bell
  (11:14 AM)

Hi Jerry: I LIKE your idea - I'm sure Matt and Nate would have different thoughts though. Not to worry - as football season approaches, I will be making more regular appearances...To answer your question, Hairston is excited b/c he is running at full speed and the hamstring is feeling great. We ALWAYS know that hammies present a re-injury risk, there is no way of guaranteeing against it, but the team pushed his return back a few extra days - and it looks like he will be installed at CF regularly.

Nathan (Washington, DC)

Does Tim Hudson risk further injury by even attempting to pitch next week? Does he expect his ligaments to magically reattach over the weekend?

Stephania Bell
  (11:16 AM)

Hi Nathan: He really doesn;t risk further injury - which is why everyone is willing to let him give it a shot. I don't think he expects magic, although he has said he hopes for some kind of miracle, but I think he just hopes he can somehow do what he does without the pain. The crazy thing is, we have seen cases where guys have badly damaged ligaments, and everyone medically would say they need surgery, but for whatever reason they can extend their pitching life a bit longer. I think that's all he's hoping for, knowing the writing is on the wall that he needs the TJ procedure eventually. And - btw, his chances of being able to throw aren't that good.

Ron (NYC)

Happy Friday Stephania! Whatare your thoughts of Chien Ming Wang? He just got out fo his cast and his foot seems to have healed well. Is there any chance he pitches the 2nd or 3rd week of September? That's 5 to 6 weeks of rehab.

Stephania Bell
  (11:20 AM)

Hi ROn: I still think it's wishful thinking. I can't overstate the severity of Wang's injury. The best news - short or long-term is that the X-rays showed that his foot has healed well, b/c that is often the first big complication with this type of thing. But he will still be in a walking boot for at least a week, gradually increasing the weight on his foot, and then he needs to get the range of motion back (a lot tougher than you think when you have been immobilized for that long). In other words, there is a lot to accomplish before you even get to throwing. Then he has to go from tossing to pitching to game ready, etc. I think his chances of returning this season are slim at best. I like that he wants to return and that the Yankees leave it open - it serves as good motivation for rehab. But realistically it's not likely.

Joe (MA)

A. Laroche - anything to worry about? please discuss...

Stephania Bell
  (11:23 AM)

Hi Joe: It's a little tough as far as nailing down the specifics of his injury. We know that he left Sunday's game with back spasms. We know the pain is in the right side of his back near his ribs. But whether it's a small intercostal (between the ribs) muscle or a larger abdominal muscle is unknown, as is the severity. The fact that they put him on the DL gives the hint that they think completely resting him is important or it could worsen. Always a worry - but hard to know how much at this point.

John (Los Angeles, CA)

What's the story with Erik Bedard? Is it even worth a DL spot to hang on to him? Or should I just drop him?

Stephania Bell
  (11:26 AM)

Hi John: I have been skeptical on Bedard for the last few weeks - too many vague musculoskeletal ailments this season. The shoulder is reportedly still sore - and remember, he hasn't pitched since early July, meaning you need to get some bullpen work in, then rehab assignments, etc. So now you're looking at late August - September. And he really hasn't been 100% yet this season. I suppose if you have extra room on your bench and no other great needs, keep him around. But if you can boost your points elsewhere, I certainly would.

Sam (Lake Bluff)

Stephania, when will you be back on the podcast? Anyway, I woke up this morning and heard Ryan Zimmerman got hurt (again), and is considered day-to-day. Any news on him?

Stephania Bell
  (11:29 AM)

Hi Sam: Soon, hopefully, soon. As far as Zimmerman, that is just some bad luck to be hit by a pitch so soon after coming back. The good news is tha the initial X-ray was negative and they are calling it a contusion (bruise) so although there has been no formal timetable given, it sounds like it will be much shorter than the standard 4-6 weeks with a break. They have to get any swelling/pain down. Hard to say the time frame without seeing it as the degree of severity can vary widely on these - but imagine at least 5 days.

Ben (Work)

I understand what you are saying about hudson. I get that he is injuried. But his last start albeit short was quality, is there any indication that he was not injured then? Why can't he be effective again? Also, when they say he is going to try pitching through it do they mean in rehab/minor league assignments or are they just bring him back to the majors?

Stephania Bell
  (11:32 AM)

Ben: Great points. There is no doubt that he was injured then. He is saying that he has been having pain for some time - it's just a question of when that pain becomes great enough that it overrides his ability to perform. He even said he was surprised when they reviewed the MRI with him b/c he didn't think, based on how he felt, that it was THAT bad. Another reason for him to give it another shot. And he will likely try to continue in the majors. He'll throw osme this weekend to test it.

Eric (FL)

Can I still expect to have Vernon Wells back for fantasy H2H playoff time?

Stephania Bell
  (11:35 AM)

Hi Eric: So far I think that looks reasonable. He had a tough hamstring injury b/c it was near the tendon, but he has begun taking batting practice and some light running. He went out 7/9 and the projection all along has been 4-6 weeks. This is one you don't want to rush, but it does appear that he could be positioned for a 4-5 week return.

Jim (Philly)

How is Harang's recovery going?

Stephania Bell
  (11:37 AM)

Hi Jim: Apparently, pretty well. He threw a simulated game Wednesday and is expected to throw a bullpen today. If he continues well, he will head to a rehab start in AAA. If that goes well, I think you could see him back in the lineup in another week to 10 days. The good news is that Dusty Baker thought his location and velocity were good.

Bryan (Simsbury,CT)

STAR-phania!!! Matt and Nate said to continually nag you to come back to Football podcast. How will the previously injured Larry Johnson, Willie Parker, and Marvin Harrison recover from last season? Do you see them getting back to their normal selves?

Stephania Bell
  (11:42 AM)

Hi Bryan: I can't wait to get back to the podcast - really!! Time for a football question today! So Willie Parker should be totally fine - had that injury happened earlier in the season he would have been back last year. Larry Johnson's foot concerned me only b/c it took a while to definitively diagnose. But by spring camps he was doing everything he needed to to show that it was well healed - pivoting, psuhing off, cutting, etc. My bigger concern with him is how he holds up to the wear and tear of being the feature back, behind a still sketchy o-line. Harrison looks surprisingly good and insists that he feels fine. You hvae to put him in a higher risk category coming off a season long injury to one knee and a clean-up surgery on the other, but I still think he's productive, possibly as a second or third receiver.

Paul, New York NY

Starphania - Please come back to the fantasy focus podcast! Its not the same without your insight, charm, and grace. What can you tell us about Terrance Newman's groin injury? Could this effect him into the early part of the season? Thanks for the help and love your work for ESPN! P.S. I'm a big cowboys fan so would it be possible for you to avoid Cowboys camp from now on please? I don't blame you for the curse, but it would be nice to avoid it just the same. Thanks!

Stephania Bell
  (11:45 AM)

Oh Paul: Flattery - just to keep me away from your team!! And just for the record, Newman hurt himself the day BEFORE i got to camp. It was just that the MRI results came back when I was there. the team must have seen something on MRI that made them want to be cautious b/c they said he will miss 3 weeks minimum of practice. That tells me they are concerned about turning it into a bigger injury -and don't want to risk it before the start of the season. But I saw Newman, no limp, no obvious discomfort, just taking it easy cruising around practice, which I like to see in terms of his comfort level. I think they are being cautious (smart!) and he'll be good by week one or two.

Dan, Kansas

Starphania - When you make your triumphant return to the podcast, can you please talk more smack to Nate about the Jayhawks? Hearing him flustered is amusing and he should know Kansas rules! What do you see the future being like for Larry Jones? Will the DL stint heal enough of the leg to allow him to be effective the rest of the way, or will the Braves likely just shut him down since they have bailed on the season? Thanks!

Stephania Bell
  (11:48 AM)

Hi Dan: I MUST go back to defend my Jayhawks. Although they need no defense, they won the title! And football won the Orange Bowl! He's just jealous b/c the Big Blue had less than an outstanding year. OK - Jones is getting some much needed rest, but I'm not convinced that it's enough to call him "fully healed." However, he has already proven that he can be effective at less than 100%. I don't think they shut him down - his presence, whether they're headed for the post-season or not, is too critical for the team. But they may use him more sparingly, give him days off here and there. That's what I would expect, unless at the end of the 2 weeks he fails to show any progress, then the decision might be to keep him out a little longer.

James VA

How long will Todd Jones be out and is it possible for him to close again if rodney zumaya or farnsworth can't get it done?

Stephania Bell
  (11:51 AM)

Hi James: I think he's hopeful that the DL time will be enough. He has some inflammation in his shoulder but apparently no major structural damage. He is trying to separate his less than good performance from his injury, but knowing that he has been in pain for 6 weeks, it is hard to do that. The fact that he will officially get some rest should help him. I think he'll rest completely for at least a week, then pick up the ball and work his way back - over the following 10 days or so. But it's a fluid timeline b/c inflammation is so hard to predict. So yes, it's possible - but hard to put a percentage on it.

tray (fenton, mi)

is juan pierre's previous injury hindering him from stealing bases?

Stephania Bell
  (11:55 AM)

Hi tray: Always a worthwhile question b/c injuring the ligament that supports the inside of the knee affects lateral mobility, and the jump required to get back on base if needed when stealing will really stress that area. I think it's too soon to fully attribute it to that yet (and he did get one so far), but I think it would not be unreasonable to see his stats in that area stay below his normal until he gets confidence in game situations back in that knee - which can take afew weeks.

Ernest (NJ)

Hello- what's the good word on Kerry Wood?

Stephania Bell
  (11:58 AM)

Hi Ernest: Well, it's not a great word. Odd too b/c when I talked to him at the All-Star break, he thought it was doing so well. Another reminder that something that sounds as simple as a blister can be problematic. It really is a question of the tissue healing, and although he has thrown some with a protective pad over the finger, he can't use that in a game, so they have to let it heal - which means not too much friction. Hard to place a timetable on it b/c it's already proven to be much longer than initially expected.

Fernando (Pembroke Pines)

Hello Stephania, do you have any inside news on Maine? Is this going to be a problem that will linger on or will rest do the trick?

Stephania Bell
  (12:01 PM)

Hi Fernando: Lots of Maine questions today. He has been diagnosed with a rotator cuff strain - and to answer your question, it can linger, or worsen, which is what the team is trying to avoid by giving him some additional rest. The hope is some light strengthening and rest can calm it down, allow him to resume pitching without setting him up for further injury. This is one of those where it's a wait and see approach. How long until his symptoms settle down? If he still has pain the first time he tries to throw, the timetable gets reset. It's currently a minor injury that they hope to avoid turning into a major one.

Andrew (Wash, DC)

The Big Hurt is no longer hurt! Is he going to be productive for the next few months?

Stephania Bell
  (12:04 PM)

Hi Andrew: Here's the concern. He had a pretty significant quad injury and he even rates himself at about 85% saying that in about two weeks he'll be a lot better. So he's not full strength and I would expect him to be a little slow - and still at some injury risk - initially. Obviously he's shown the team enough for them to put him back out there, but I'd be holding off on putting him in my lineup until I saw more action.

Bob (Bismarck, ND)

Hi Stephania, what is the good word on Brian McCann? Will he be ready for next week or should I start looking elsewhere?

Stephania Bell
  (12:06 PM)

Hi Bob: All signs point to yes. He's been cleared to swing the bat. With the Braves' status being what it is, I don't think they move to pinch hit him this weekend, but I would think they hold off until later next week. Most importantly, he is feeling much better - given how rough the concussions in baseball have been this year, that's a good thing.

Stephania Bell
  (12:07 PM)

OK everyone -that's it. I have to go! Thanks, as always, for the excellent questions. Have a happy - and healthy - weekend!