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August 29, 12:59 PM ET
Fantasy league injuries w/Stephania Bell

Stephania Bell
  (11:02 AM)

Good morning and Happy Labor Day Friday everyone...plenty to discuss and I see a number of injury questions in the queue so we will get right to them. BTW, I am typing at a new ergonomically correct keyboard and am sure to have a bunch of typos, so please bear with me...

Billy (NJ)

your thoughts on Shawne Merriman?

Stephania Bell
  (11:05 AM)

Hi Billy: Well, I have been talking about Merriman for days as the news has evolved each day. I wrote a piece specifically on his decision that is posting today on our website -but essentially I am quite surprised that he is deciding toplay. He puts his knee at considerable risk for irreversible damage and I would not be at all surprised if he does not complete the season.

Chad (Omaha)

What can you tell us about McGahee? Should his owner's be nervous?

Stephania Bell
  (11:08 AM)

Hi Chad: Lots of McGahee questions so this is for all of you. I am not too worried about the scope itself. It is not uncommon for a knee that has had so much trauma (from his '03 Fiests Bowl knee blowout) and reconstruction to require a subsequent procedure later after 5 years in the NFL. He is reportedly on track to appear Week 1 from a rehab standpoint - it would be 4 weeks and that is reasonable. There is always a chance that yhe is notready - but the impression the team is giving is that he is the starter and will play. That being siad, he supposedly came into camp in poor condition and has struggles some with the new offense, so his productivity may take a while to catch up.

Randy New York

How long do you think H Kendrick will be out

Stephania Bell
  (11:10 AM)

Randy: THis is a tough question. Look how hard it was for him to come back fromthe hamstring injury earlier this year. Now we hear that it'sthe same side aggravated again. It sounds at this point as if the strain is minor, but the team is being proactively cautious given his history and tha fact that they will want him for the long haul into the playoffs.

Lassiter (KC)

Stephania, Love your chats. My draft is not until Monday. I keep seeing things that make me think Ronnie Brown should only continue to drop (with Ricky moving up). Please give me some insight to when Ronnie should return "full speed" and what type of impact he will have on bad wheels with a bad hand. Thanks.

Stephania Bell
  (11:11 AM)

Hi Lassiter: THanks for coming. It really takes two years to get back to form. THat being siad, Brown looked good in camp and I think that by midseason he could be starting to look like the Brown of 2007. But as far as fantasy, with Williams looking so good, I expect the organization to ease him into the workload (maybe a 60-40 split in favor of Williams) and why not? They can afford to do it - but it makes Brown less attractive for fantasy.

Tom (SoCal)

Howdy Stephania, Whats the latest on Chad Johnson & T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Will they be ready to go next Sunday?

Stephania Bell
  (11:14 AM)

Hi Tom: I expect both to be ready for Week 1. Drama around CHad Johnson - but isn't there always? He will not have surgery I expect during the season - no reason to - he can play, but it vould be painful at times, especially if he has to lay out to catch a pass or lands awkwardly. It may cause him to be a little more guarded, a little less effective, especially when well-covered. Housh returned to practice this week and reported no pain in the hamstring as of Tuesday. I am not surprised that they have limited his action proactively - but it sounds as if he will be all set for Week 1.

Sam, Chicago

Is J Stewart's toe healed, and is he in line to get touches from the start; how many?

Stephania Bell
  (11:16 AM)

Hi Sam: Have you seen him perform in the preseason? He looks outstanding. The toe is right on schedule - and although he may have a little soreness, he has improved daily and I do not expect it to be a problem during the season. Right now it looks like a 50-50 splitwith him and DeAngelo but is probably situational. I expect him to be the goal line back and get a lot of scores.

Dan (MI)

Keep Ankiel despite nagging injury or drop him for the likes of Werth, Lind, Dukes, Gerut?

Stephania Bell
  (11:17 AM)

Hi Dan: I would probably move on gien the time frame. The ab injury has been bothering him for about a month and it appears to have affected his production. He may not play a good portion of this weekend (esp vs lefties) and he is still having pain. Doubt it will fully heal until after the season.

Mark (Akron)

Hi Stephania, What is the latest on Eagles receiver Reggie Brown and Ryan Grant (both w/ hamstring) a?Świll they be ready to go in week 1...THANKS

Stephania Bell
  (11:22 AM)

The news is not so good on Brown as it sounds as if he may miss the season opener. He missed time in training camp b/c of the Achilles, now a hamstring that is acting problematic. He really has nit played in preseason and I would be somewhat concerned as it sounds as if it's not improving daily. Grant is supposedly feeling better, but there is also news that Jackson may get more work - unclear how that impacts Grant, but it is troublesome that he too has not been in action.

Kevin, Boston

What is wrong with Saturday's knee? Do you think the Colt's line will suffer? Who loses more- Peyton or Addai?

Stephania Bell
  (11:24 AM)

Kevin: He has an MCL (medial collateral) tear which makes the inner side of his knee unstable. Hard on a lineman. However this is the one ligament that we can reinforce pretty well with a brace. THe COlts have given an approximate 6 week minimum time frame for rehab which suggests that he has a complete tear, meaning more instability. Surgery is a possibility but is not common - and it would keep him out quite a bit longer. I think it hurts Peyton more but he is so talented, that I think he will compensate quickly.

Elias (CA)

Will Peyton be ready for the season opener?

Stephania Bell
  (11:24 AM)

I fully expect so.

Jeff (SF)

Is Rudi Johnson still hurt? I thought he was suppose to play last night. What is his prognosis, Doc?

Stephania Bell
  (11:27 AM)

Hi Jeff: I thought so too. He said he was and the team made it sound like they wanted to see something out of him before the season. Makes me wonder whether it's his hamstring that's still a problem or some other internal scenario going on. We heard trade rumors and he sounds disgruntled as well. I don't have a ton of confidence in his health anyway given all the time missed to hamstring injuries on his other leg last year. I would stay away from him in a fantasty draft.

Tom (Hackensack)

Jeremy Shockey...whats his deal...should i pick up heath miller for week 1?

Stephania Bell
  (11:29 AM)

HI Tom: I think Shockey will be ready to go Week 1. He was initially expected to play in preseason, and I think his leg has healed well, but it was an issue if "the speed of the game" and him getting back in the groove. Sounds like they are confident enough in his skills and don't want to risk re-injury at this stage. They wanted to give him another week of work minus the contact, so I would expect him to be ready Week 1 - and I expect Brees to target him plenty.

Craig (NY)

Tom Brady - is he hurt or is this like him being "questionable" his entire career

Stephania Bell
  (11:31 AM)

Hi Craig: See how cynical we get after the abuse of the injury report? I don't blame you - I get tired of seeing the shoulder listed (remember before the Super Bowl he was on the injury report b/c of his shoulder, NOT his ankle and clearly that was the main problem). I bleieve that he has had some issue with his foot, don't know what, but that it is minor. He knows the offense so well, why put him out there and take a chance on it turning into something major? I am quite positive that he appears Week 1.

Mark (CT)

For the 2nd straight week no questions about Josh Beckett? I mean even before him heading down to see Dr. Andrews, what were your thoughts on the numbness he was feeling in his fingers? I've heard some people say that numbness could lead to TJ surgery and Beckett clearly hasn't been himself this year (although his velocity has still been very good).

Stephania Bell
  (11:34 AM)

OK Mark: We just needed you to ask the question! The issue is the ulnar nerve is irritated. That explains the numbness in the 4th and 5th fingers. But, the question then is WHAT is causing the nerve to be irritated. Sometimes if there is instability (as there can be when the UCL ligament is damaged), the nerve gets stretched more as a result, which is why TJ surgery, resotring stabilioty helps. But the nerve can also be irritated by the presence of inflammation in the area, which the Red SOx have sais that he has, and that can be caused by any number of things. From what I've heard so far, there was not much indication of a ligament problem, and the consult with Andrews is to help rule anything else out, and confirm that they're on the right track. I would expect that he may get shut down for a while to really rest it - barring any major injury development.

Ash (SF)

Starphania, What's the deal with Jones-Drew? Ready to go Week 1, or is this high ankle sprain a lingering concern all season?

Stephania Bell
  (11:36 AM)

Hi Ash (in SF - yay!): All reports are that this ankle sprain was minor and that he would be held out of the final preseason game as a precautionary measure. No reason for concern as of now.

Steiny (NYC)

Will Troy Percival be back in time for the playoffs?

Stephania Bell
  (11:38 AM)

Steiny: He threw a bullpen session this week and reported no pain afterwards. Sounds as if the team hopes to activate him when he's eligible this weekend- or very close to it, maybe next week. So yes, it appears he will be here (barring a setback) for the playoffs.

Prince (Pittsburgh)

If McGahee can't go at least tell me the D. McAllister (NO) is ready to go.

Stephania Bell
  (11:40 AM)

Hi Prince: Deuce has been impressive in that he has managed to get on the field this preseaon after having both knees operated on. He has run, caught some passes, and basically reintroduced his knees to the game. I don't think he's your top tier back, but I do expect he gets someregular work, especially near the goal line.

King (TX)

Houston RBs - Green and Brown are notoriously injury prone. Is anyone in the Houston backfield worth a roster spot?

Stephania Bell
  (11:42 AM)

Had to post one from King following one from Prince: I would be very concerned about Green, many problems with the knee last year and now the groin. Brown has a history of this problem with his back and has not imporessed much when he has played. I say avoid altogether.

jason (iowa)

Hi Stephania, I understand you know way more about injuries than all of us. But you make it sound like everyplayer will be unafected buy there injuries. We all know that won't be the case. So in your professional opinion which players are you most worried about for this season. thanks

Stephania Bell
  (11:45 AM)

Jason: Not true - for instance Chad Johnson, I expect him to play - but I do think he is less effective, more guarded b/c of the shoulder (which I said) - and I said avoid Rudi Johnson b/c of the hamstrings. Keep in mind that in the NFL, lots of guys will PLAY, but you have to consider howprodcutive they will be, that is the nuance that may be altered, even just slightly, by injury. I am worried about Gates b/c of the seriousness of his injury and surgery. He has had a lot of discomfort in the toe, and although it is better lately, it is far from perfect. I actually like him better if he doesn't play too early (i.e. misses a week or two). Not so good for fantasy but may be better for his long term health.

Kurt (NYC)

What about Bray-Bray? Will the cut be healed up in time for week 1?

Stephania Bell
  (11:46 AM)

Kurt: IT sounds as if it will be. Part of the reason for protecting him in preseason is to ensure that it doesn't open up again and then become a season long issue. Not concerned based on what we're hearing.

Chris (Saratoga, NY)

Is Carlos Guillen DL bound? This is the 2nd go around with his back issues and I'm wondering if I should drop him.

Stephania Bell
  (11:48 AM)

Hi CHris: The word out of Detroit is that this is just a few days. Might miss a few games, no big deal. BUt this is definitely a concern b/c it is not a new problem. You might be better off dropping him b/c you may be dealing with an on again-off again situation depending how he feels day to day.

Dave (Frisco, Texas )

Hey Steph! Do you have any news on Furcal or Kinsler? I understand Furcal will be working out with the team this weekend. Does this mean he will be returning soon? In what role? Also, I heard that Kinsler will attempt some BP this weekend to test out the recovery process. Do you have any additional information? We were getting news reports almost every other day on him since the injury. In the past three or four days, things have gone silent. That's a bad sign right? I have Kinsler on my DL and have left Furcal sitting on the waiver wire since I cut him a while back. I'd like to hold onto the player most likely to return to a productive role this year. Given your understanding of both injuries and the reasonable recovery time for each one, who should occupy my one DL spot? Any thoughts on this? Thanks!

Stephania Bell
  (11:51 AM)

Dave: I just lost my entire response - starting over.

Stephania Bell
  (11:53 AM)

OK - Furcal - working out this weekend will be the test. PRojections all along have been 9/1 or thereabouts and this will be the test. Until he tests it, it's hard to offer much. Kinsler will also test with BP this weekend. BUt if he feels he can't go or it does not go well, he has said he will end his season. So no way of knowing until both players face the test. If I had to wager a guess, I would lean towards Furcal. He has had the surgery to address the condition and is on the way up...

Steve (Issaquah, Wa)

Stephania, Should Seahawk fans be worried about Matt Hasselbeck's back? thanks.

Stephania Bell
  (11:55 AM)

Not too much...yet. The thing about back problems is that there are so many possible causes - and sometimes hard to tell if truly just a muscular issue vs something more serious like a disc. All reports out of Seattle are that Hasselbeck has been steadily improving in terms of how he feels and that he could play if it were the regular season. But given that he still feels some tightness, the Seahawks would rather not push it and preserve him for the season. All expectations are that he's ready to go Week 1. No evidence of anything serious at this point.

Justin (pittsburgh)

Is Chris Perry a legitimate option as a 2nd fantasy RB?

Stephania Bell
  (11:56 AM)

Justin: I absolutely think so. He is the current starter and has impressed during camp. Watson is still inthe mix and filled in effectively when Johnson was hurt last year, but they like Perry and I think he will see a lot of action.

Dave (Fairfield, CT)

Buzzer Beater: Will Crawford make it back during the regular season in time to be of any value?

Stephania Bell
  (11:58 AM)

Hi Dave: I really don't think so. The timetable is such that if all goes well, he might be back for the final 3 or 4 games. And then you won't really know how productive he'll be immediately upon return from this. I would move on.

A.B. (Denver)

What's the latest on Alex Gordon? Gotta make my final free agent moves today; will he be any help the rest of the fantasy season?

Stephania Bell
  (11:59 AM)

A.B. I would not look for anything from Gordon. He has a tear in his quad and is loooking at more than a month out.

BO (Indiana)

Does Sam Hurd's injury make Patrick Clayton a viable No.2 receiver

Stephania Bell
  (12:01 PM)

Bo: I think so. Hurd reportedly has a high ankle sprain and although we don't have much in the way of detail, these can be 4-6 weeks on average, only less if very mild. Crayton's value goes up as a result.

Scott (Reno)

Fantasy Basketball!!!! Would Shaun Livingston have much value on the Warriors? How much of a hit does Monta take? Think Monta misses any time?

Stephania Bell
  (12:03 PM)

Scott: Giving some love to basketball. Monta takes a big hit - this is 3-4 months out after surgery. We really don't know how Livingston will look b/c we haven't seen him since the big injury - but it sounds as if the Warriors are going to do just that, take a look and see if he can help them out. He's had a lot of good rehab time, but certainly will be game rusty. May need playing time to get his true game back.

Stephania Bell
  (12:04 PM)

OK everyone - have to run - but I love the questions. Thanks for coming!! Keep coming every Friday and we will keep talking about the injuries. I have a feeling they will continue to happen...Happy and Healthy Labor Day!!!