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December 9, 12:16 PM ET
Fantasy league injuries w/Stephania Bell

Stephania Bell
  (11:06 AM)

Happy Tuesday Sports Nation! Who survived their first round of playoffs? Hopefully you weren't depending on certain running backs, many of whom couldn't deliver b/c of injury... There will definitely be some ripple effects this weekend, so let's get to your questions.

Ray (NYC)

Going up against the #1 seed in playoffs this week who has Westbrook....pleeease tell me he's hurting and is due for a stinker!!

Stephania Bell
  (11:08 AM)

Sorry Ray! If anything, Westbrook is showing that he is peaking now. I'm not saying he's 100% healthy, but I think he's at a point where he can play through what his issues are (barring, of course, a new development). He's on a roll...

Jon - Los Angeles Ca.

What's up with J. Addai, he's killing me.

Stephania Bell
  (11:11 AM)

Jon: You're not alone. He was a late addition to the Friday practice reports b/c of a "knee" ilment. We heard that it was a sore knee. He was listed as quesitonable and b/c of the late addition I was concerned about what he would be able to do, even if active. But then, coming out of Sunday's game, we're hearing that he's got something with his shoulder (no specifics), but that's what ended up limiting him on Sunday. Now his status looks dubious for this week (although Dungy says he will be OK) but the Colts are looking at making a move to add a RB, which tells you something. I would be prepared to sub for him this week.

Kyal ( Columbia, SC)

Million Dollar Question!!! How's Portis doing? Probably another GTD on Sunday???

Stephania Bell
  (11:13 AM)

Kyal: Well, that has been the trend. Zorn is saying that part of the reason Portis played so little is b/c Betts practiced more and was more ready for the game. Hmmm. SOmething tells me if Portis were really healthy they would have found a way to keep him in the game. The difference now is that Zorn makes it sound like Portis will (have to) practice more and will play this weekend. So I would lean towards him playing and havgin a bigger role. But a formal decision may not come down until either late in the week or pre-game.

Zach - Pittsburgh, PA

I'm putting my hopoes and dreams on the backs of the Miami DST Starphania! MIN and CAR are my only other options and MIA has the favorable aschedule. Are the chances that Gore doesn't play pretty good?

Stephania Bell
  (11:15 AM)

Zach - Many folks are asking the same question. Gore apparently did not look so good after the game and was limping quite noticeably. Early X-rays were negative, but the plan is to see what Gore can do as the week goes on. The team doesn't sound too optimistic (they're also considering a roster move to add a back), but Gore is from Miami and wants to play at home. May well be a gtd but from what I'm hearing early, don't count on him.

Josh (Philly)

What's the deal with Jacobs? I go against him this week in the first round of the playoffs. My opponent doesn't have a lot of RB depth. Ward is already on a roster, but Bradshaw is available. Should I scoop him up to block my opponent?

Stephania Bell
  (11:18 AM)

Josh: I would. Jacobs is no lock to play now with apparently two knees that are giving him trouble.Jacobs sprained his right knee last year and then aggravated it this year. Now we find out the left knee has been giving him some trouble and apparently was the one he bothered this Sunday. And there are reports that he has a fair amount of swelling. Certainly no guarantee that he's available by the weekend which makes Bradshaw's value go way up.

Kyle (Seattle, WA)

Now that Hillis is out, do you expect Tatum Bell to be the starter or do you think Selvin Young will finally make a comeback?

Stephania Bell
  (11:20 AM)

Kyle: THis is the question we've been discussing here too. First of all, Denver is knwon for rotating backs, but with their situation and Hillis doing so well, at least you could count on them focusing their running game on him. THat being said, Young was on the team at the beginning of the year, Bell was the guy they had cut. Young was reportedly nearing return to play, they held him out another week as precaution - which may have paid off. If Young is really healthy, and unfortunately, the test will likely come in the next game, I think Young becomes the primary.

Chris - Winchester, KY

Despite his fumbling and bumbling out in Arizona, SJAX, my franchise player, looked as healthy as I have seen him in weeks. So, given there next two home games and those opponents can he be counted on to perform like we all know he can?

Stephania Bell
  (11:23 AM)

Chris: I totally agree - and this is what I said on the podcast yesterday. WHen he ran, he ran hard - and even hurdled a player to get some yards at one point. He had some struggles - but they're not altogether surprising given his time away from the game. I think what we saw can give you confidence that he is past the worst part of his injury - and should be back to form for the remainder of the season.

Stephen (Chi, IL)

You said that the colts are looking for a RB- if Addai can't go Rhodes is still their guy right?

Stephania Bell
  (11:24 AM)

Stephen: Yes, Rhodes is #2 but they would be adding a #3.

Derek (Littleton, CO)

Good morning Stephania! Is Reggie Bush back to 100% yet? I know he had a big game last week, but Thomas seems to still be stealing a lot of carries. Will Bush progressivly get more, or is this the game plan the rest of the year? Thanks!!

Stephania Bell
  (11:26 AM)

Derek: I think what you're seeing is about how it plays out. It sounds like the Saints are giving Thomas an opportunity to be the feature back in New Orleans - and as such are giving him lots of carries for thenear future, no matter what the health of Bush. I do think Bush continues to feel better as he's back in the mix doing different things, but he will be sharing roles with Thomas.

Kevin (charlotte)

I am playing against the Barber/Choice owner this week. Please tell me Barber will be healthy enough (but not too healthy) to cause a split in carries. Thanks.

Stephania Bell
  (11:29 AM)

Kevin: This is a good question- especially with all the drama over Barber not playing this weekend. Barber also was dealing with a calf strain and this helps explain why he was out. I had heard that Barber had additional "issues" with the leg as soon as the decision was made not to send him to Pittsburgh. It makes sense that the medical staff would decide (with Barber) that a week of rest might serve him best in the big picture, as in not have a major setback. Sounds like they expect Barber to go this week, but whether he is healthy enough to carry predominantly, or whether they turn to Choice for assistance (which they might given his performance) is unknown right now.

Dan (Philadelphia)

What?s up with Romo? I?ve read reports that his pinky was bothering him and may be the reason he was sailing so many throws. Have you heard anything about him? Thanks

Stephania Bell
  (11:31 AM)

Dan: I think he's fine. There were perhaps some adjustments since he was playing without the splint - and there was some speculation that that resulted in the ball sailing on him to a degree, but I would not be worried about Romo's health.

Matt in Des Moines

Kellen Winslow in/out? Any chance he plays this week? I need help at TE.

Stephania Bell
  (11:32 AM)

Matt: Unfortunately after a player is out, we usually don't get a new update until Weds. So there isn't one on Winslow yet. But high ankle sprains routinely keep players out for several weeks, so prepare as if you won't have him.

Paul (DC)

Stephania: What is the status of Culpepper? If Culpepper is out, who looks healthy enough to QB the Lion? I need someone who can throw it long to Megatron!

Stephania Bell
  (11:36 AM)

Paul: Well, Culpepper's MRI on his shoulder apparently showed no significant damage. But that doesn't mean he's a lock to start. Marinelli is saying that Orlovsky should be back from his thumb injury in Week 15 (we'll see) - and consequently isn't really hinting as to who will be QB. We should ahve a good idea by Friday by looking at who's taking the majority of snaps in practice all week.

Ryan (Fargo, ND)

Non fantasy question. Is there any particular reason why people continually call you Starphania? Is it some inside joke or something? Just seems annoying to me.

Stephania Bell
  (11:37 AM)

Ryan: It was a nickname sent in by a podcast listener -Matthew and Nate loved it - and it has stuck, for better or worse, ever since...

Gregg (Memphis)

I didn't look at the previous questions so I don't know if this was answered. What is Kevin Curtis's status since his concussion last game? Will he be coming back for week 15 or 16, and if he does, is there any really value left in him? Thanks stephanie.

Stephania Bell
  (11:39 AM)

Gregg: Didn't get to Curtis yet so good timing. The problem is we won't know the answer to the question for a while. Andy Reid says the team is not practicing until Thursday and as a result, won't have an update on his status until then. I think he has some value as a flex only if he plays, but no guarantees.

william (Dallas)

any word on Marshawn Lynch and his bad back?

Stephania Bell
  (11:42 AM)

William: No word that his back issues late in the week actually influenced his play this weekend - and no word that he came out any worse for the wear. Worth watching this week to see what unfolds, but as of now it does not appear that that is significant.

Rick (St. Louis)

Is there any problems with Gates or is he just in the middle of a cold streak?

Stephania Bell
  (11:43 AM)

Rick: Just cold - like a lot of the Chargers offense. His toe was an issue for much of the first half of the season, but he himself has said that his toe is doing much better.

Tom (NY)

J Stew looked great last night! Too bad he was sitting on my bench, so can we say from last night's performance that his past injuries are a non-factor going deeper in the fantasy playoffs?

Stephania Bell
  (11:45 AM)

Tom: Wow - bummer, but given his limitations lately, not a surprise that you sat him. He certainly didn't look like the toe or heel was bothering him much at all - but the aftermath of these games is often the telltale sign. I would say if he goes through full practice this week, then I'll be much more cinvinced - but this was definitely a good start.


Good morning! Any Jason Witten update?

Stephania Bell
  (11:47 AM)

BK: I can't imagine he sits out this week, but he added more injuries to his laundry list. He sprained his ankle early in the game, and apparently also got chest X-rays during the game, so he must have felt it acting up during the game. But he obviously came back and played through. So - yes, he's banged up, but I expect him to play this week.

Chris MA

Any update on Mark Bradley, he was a good waiver pick up while unhurt, is he back from his calf injury?

Stephania Bell
  (11:48 AM)

Chris: Well, the latest is that apparently he's having issues with both calf muscles. After being out in Week 14, this is sounding more problematic to me than the intiial injury. I would plan on someone else for at least this week until we hear further.

Frank (Sydney)

Break down the Baltimore backfield for me this week - is it Mcclain time?

Stephania Bell
  (11:49 AM)

Frank: With McGahee now adding a stinger to his injuries, and reports out that he has also been challenged by migraines, and Rice less than 100%, I think McClain is the primary - at least for Week 15.

Chris (Chicago)

Would you say that Deion Branch's heel injury is behind him? And what's going on with Matt Hasselback?

Stephania Bell
  (11:50 AM)

Chris: Wow - Branch looked as good as I've seen him. Not only does the heel injury look to be behind him, this was his best performance by far since injuring his ACL. Hasselbeck however does not look good and it is sounding as if he will now be shut down for the season.

Jon (Dallas)

Stephania, Any news on Gus's back - what is the injury? Thanks.

Stephania Bell
  (11:53 AM)

Jon: Well, initially they were calling it a bruise - but then there has been some rumor of a bony injury (which I can not confirm at this time). But Childress has said Frerotte remains the starter if healthy. This means we probably won't know for a couple more days.

Mike (Indy)

I lost my playoff matchup to my wife this week. I was wondering if you can tell me how long it will be before my ego is fully healed? Thanks!

Stephania Bell
  (11:54 AM)

Mike: You might not recover - but tell her I said congratulations. Nothing like healthy competition to keep things interesting...


g'day Stephania, Any news on BREASTON, he left the game sunday (he did return) but is it something that may cause him miss his next game?

Stephania Bell
  (11:56 AM)

ASH: Breaston has what they are calling a rib contusion (bruise) which means there was no evidence of fracture. Whisenhunt has indicated that he thinks Breaston will play, but it's worth remembering that rib injuries hurt - a lot - even with breathing, so you really want to see what he can do in practice over the next few days. Early signs are good though.

Eddie (Ohio)

Any word on Frank Gore. I play my dad this week and he has him. Did not know if I should pick up Foster or not.

Stephania Bell
  (11:57 AM)

Eddie: Pick up FOster. Lots of Gore questions - answered early in chat in detail (you can see via the chat transcript). He is a question mark - bottom line.

Jerry (San Fran)

Is Coles hurting that bad? He's had zero production over the last 4-5 weeks, and I feel he deserves some bench time.

Stephania Bell
  (11:58 AM)

Jerry: I don't think it's the injuries. Cotchery hasn't been that productive either. Coles is not 100%, but he's not that bad off either.

Darren (MN)

So with Hillis out, who should I target on waivers: Young, Bell, Ward, Rhodes, or McClain? Also, I could drop DMC and pick up 2 of those RB's...thoughts?

Stephania Bell
  (11:59 AM)

Darren: Drop DMC and pick up Rhodes and McClain.


Will Grant be good to go this week again? Need to play 2 and my other backs are Turner and MJD. How about Roy Williams?

Stephania Bell
  (12:01 PM)

Ed: I expect Grant will be fine - he certainly didn't look as if his thumb was an issue at all. Williams we're elarning has some plantar fasciitis (inflammation of the tissue that supports the arch area). They're not syaing he can't play, but I would not be surprised if it impacts his play.

MIke (Elkhart, IN)

Is Champ going to play this week? I need to know because I have Steve Smith going against DEN this week...

Stephania Bell
  (12:02 PM)

Mike: If I had to guess, I would lean towards him playing. It sounded like they would go with him last week until the last minute - so with another week under his belt, I would think he'll be out there.

Stephania Bell
  (12:03 PM)

OK everyone - it's time for me to leave you. Thanks so much for coming by the injury chat - and you know we'll do it again Friday morning- and then again on Sunday before the games. Have a great week...