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December 16, 1:14 PM ET
Fantasy league injuries w/Stephania Bell

Stephania Bell
  (11:13 AM)

Good morning Sports Nation: Are you in your fantasy playoffs? I am playing for the championship this week - and I am nervous, rep at stake, and of course, injuries are important - which is why we're all here. So let's get to your questions...

Jason (Syracuse)

Gotta ask it, how's Gore looking, do I start D. Rhodes Thursday on the chance Gore is inactive?

Stephania Bell
  (11:15 AM)

Jason: Well, we do know that Addai will play Thursday - which cuts into Rhodes' playing time, but by no means does it eliminate Rhodes' value as the Colts will likely rotate backs to try to keep everyone healthy. Gore is a big question mark this early in the week. He was still limping at gametime last week and there are no assurances that he plays. It will be a day-to-day evaluation based on what he can do in practice. If Rhodes is your only option, take it.

Bobby, NY

What happened to Steven Jackson in the 2nd half? Is there cause for concern going into the Championship?

Stephania Bell
  (11:17 AM)

Bobby: Interesting question. St.Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Jackson was out for portions of the third and fourth quarters b/c he was lightheaded. Some lack of clarity as to whether the medical staff held him out or whether he held himself out. The good news is that when he was running he looked really, really good. He reportedly was fine the next day and I would not be concerned for this week.

Windom, MN

What s with B. Jacobs. Will he play week 15?

Stephania Bell
  (11:19 AM)

Hello in Windom: I think this was posted before Week 15 - but some people wondering about Week 16. All indications from the Giants are that he will play this week - but there has to be a bit of concern that he does not have two great knees. Obviously he's been playing through for the most part, and I think the Giants will rotate him, but if he's in your lineup, you have to plan to start him.

Rob (Philadelphia, PA)

Will Portis be just as healthy this week? Will he be just as disappointing?

Stephania Bell
  (11:21 AM)

Rob: Wow - that says it all. What has happened to the Redskins? Portis had his best week of practice and while I'm sure he's still got some aches and pains, this is as "healthy" as he's going to be at this point in the season - and I don't really expect him to be limited. In other words, even if banged up, I expect Portis to play like Portis. This is a pride game and I expect Portis to produce a bit more.

Jon (London, UK)

Should I be concerned that Deangelo Williams didn't play much in the second half? I need my MVP at full strength in the Championship!

Stephania Bell
  (11:23 AM)

Jon: Williams reportedly felt a little fuzzy which is why he didn't do much in the second half. He didn't really recall a specific hit that caused an injury - and the fact that he was able to come back in the fourth quarter was a good sign that they did not believe that he had a concussion. He is expected to play next week and I am not worried about him.

Eduardo ( Mexico City)

Please Mrs. Bell, need some help. Lynch at Denver or SJAX at home against the 49ers. Is SJax too banged up to be counted on?

Stephania Bell
  (11:25 AM)

Eduardo: SJax is really returning towards full health if you look at how he's running. Lynch had some back spasms a couple of weeks ago but it doesn't appear to have been a factor lately. Obviously Lynch has a great matchup vs Denver, but Buffalo's offense has been sputtering, I actually (dare I say it) like SJax vs my Niners.

Derek (Littleton, CO)

Good morning Stephania! Any word yet on Reggie Bush? And I assume everything is fine with Forte since nothing has been said? Thanks!!

Stephania Bell
  (11:29 AM)

Hi Derek: I'm still trying to get info on Bush. All we know right now is that he "sprained" his knee (reportedly the same one he had surgery on) this last week and that he was scheduled for further tests, including a repeat MRI this week. The plan was for him to review those results with Dr. Andrews and then we would learn the plan. So still waiting - but I ahve to tell you that even a suggestion of a setback to that knee is a great concern for me and I don't see him all of a sudden overcoming it this week. As far as Forte, the fact he came back in the game was good, although he was limited. But the Bears say he's fine and they plan on him playing this week. (remember it's a Monday night game giving him 10 days which also helps).

Robert (Eugene, Or)

Marion Barber. Did he lose carries to Choice in the 2nd half because he is still injured or because Choice was more effective? Which Dallas RB is a better play against a very good Baltimore run defense?

Stephania Bell
  (11:30 AM)

Robert: Both. He is clearly still suffering the effects of the injury - which makes him ineffective. Choice was more productive in his opportunities and Barber was held out of much of the second half as a result. For me, I need to see him do more in practice this week to gain confidence in whether he can really go on that toe and calf. If he remains limited this week, I would be hesitant to use him as anything more than a flex.

aaron (state college)

Why would the Colts play Addai? Obviously, I have Rhodes and don't want to see the timeshare, but why would the Colts play Addai versus giving him another week to rest as he's obviously not 100% and would be more valuable in the playoffs at 100%.

Stephania Bell
  (11:34 AM)

Aaron: Reasonable question - but the fact is that they haven't really said that he has a specific "shoulder" injury. The COlts play things close to the vest - so we don't know whether he has a sore shoulder that really just needed some non-contact rest time, or whether he has a specific injury per se that could worsen from playing. They like to see players play if it doesn't pose too much risk, b/c there is the concern of getting rusty if they sit out. I don't think Addai is seriously hurt, and I think they want him back in the lineup. That being said, Rhodes will see some time and at this time of year, we have fantasy playoffs, and need lots of playing time from our players, while teams are thinking conservative for their January playoff run - so Addai will split with Rhodes - and it's anyone's gues who gets more - but I think they go strong with Addai at least in the first half. Hard to bench him.

Greg (The City)

Do you think Andy Reid was limiting Westy's touches going into a short week with a tough division matchup or should we expect Buckhalter to cut into his touches like this going forward? Thank you.

Stephania Bell
  (11:36 AM)

Greg: Good question. I think Reid was proactively limiting Westbrook - and the Eagles were clearly dominating so why not. Buckhalter is there to balance the load - but the Eagles need to win and they will use Westbrook as much as they need to this weekend.

Stephen (Indianapolis, IN)

Hi Stephania. Any reason to keep Kellen Winslow on my roster this week?

Stephania Bell
  (11:37 AM)

Stephen: No. The Browns are clearly in the tank - and at this point we have no clue as to whether they think Winslow would practice or play this week. With a high ankle sprain, it would still be an early return, so I would not want to play him even if he does come back.

Kyle (minneapolis)

Not really FF related, but you're the injury guru! Is there honestly a chance big fat Pat Williams can return for the vikes assuming they make the playoffs? Is it a pain thing and how much he can endure?

Stephania Bell
  (11:40 AM)

Kyle: They are giving a very vague timeline for Williams (2-6 weeks). Here's the thing. Fractures (he has a fractured scapula or shoulder blade) typically require up to 6 weeks to heal. A small crack may be less time. His return will depend on the bone healing rate as well as how well he can function - but I would be surprised if it's 2 weeks. You've seen a few other players in the league with this injury and they ahve missed close to the full 6 weeks.

James (Atlanta)

With what you said about Addai and Rhodes...can the same be said for Jacobs and Ward?

Stephania Bell
  (11:42 AM)

James: Yes, I think it's similar. Jacobs goes hard the first half with some intermittent Ward. If Jacobs is holding up well and they need his hard driving in the second half he continues to play. There is the risk that he falls on the knee or gets rolled up on from behind and then goes out. No way to "guarantee" his playing time - but it's impossible to bench him.

Sean (Palm Springs, CA)

Hi Stephania. What is the word on Romo? Anything beyond a back contusion? I realize he stayed in the game, but I have to evaluate other options if he is banged AND going against a tough Ravens D. Thanks.

Stephania Bell
  (11:44 AM)

Sean: The word out of Dallas still is a back "contusion" which is in essence a deep bruise. He was reportedly walking gingerly around the facility and is in some pain but Phillips expects him to play. Don't be surprised if they take it easy on him in practice this week, he took an overall beating Sunday night. No doubt this will be a tough matchup and the Ravens D will be on it, knowing he is hurting, but count on him playing.

Jim Peterson New Jersey

Do you like clark or shockey this week AT TIGHT END?

Stephania Bell
  (11:45 AM)

Jim: Clark - he's the top target for Peyton.

Brian (Philly)

Any word on Dallas Clark?

Stephania Bell
  (11:47 AM)

Brian: No word of injury on him. Expect him to play Thursday.

Tim (Philadelphia)

Starphania! The Injury Guru! What's the word on Jeff Garcia? Will he return this week or be held out again against SD?

Stephania Bell
  (11:50 AM)

Tim! Garcia apparently is no lock to play this week. It probably will depend on what he can do in practice. Gruden is big on having his guy practice during the week. It's interesting b/c on Friday, Gruden made it sound like Garcia was doing better and he would probably go. At that point McCown had been taking most of the first team practice. But Gruden apparently wanted to go with the guy who had more experience and Griese had started for the team earlier in the season when Garcia's calf was first a problem. I believe if Garcia is healthy, he's the guy.

Stephania Bell
  (11:51 AM)

BTW, as a follow-up, Gruden wants to decide on a QB by Weds practice, so we should have an idea of who's playing in TB early.

Jamie (Atlanta, GA)

Any news on Zach Miller's "stinger"?

Stephania Bell
  (11:52 AM)

Jamie: The early word is that the Raiders expect him to play against Houston.

Matt, Paso Robles, CA

Really could use help on who to use out of these two? leaning towards Schaub but Hill has a good match-up? Schaub or Hill. Thanks.

Stephania Bell
  (11:54 AM)

Matt: Schaub has had an unbleievable stretch coming off his injury. Schaub vs Raiders.

Steev (indy)

Follow up question to Garcia in TB....Any word on Griese not throwing the ball with Zip. Maybe a lingering elbow issue?

Stephania Bell
  (11:56 AM)

Steeve: Very possible that there's still a little something there - more likely rust than injury. But usually takes a while, even after pain, inflammation gone and healing has occurred to get back to game-playing ability. It's just part of the rehab - and when you havne't practiced much, it shows up in that way.

Wayne (Columbia, SC)

This last week was the first time in awhile that I have seen Fast Willie run with any force. Is it safe to say he is totally back from his injury?

Stephania Bell
  (11:58 AM)

Wayne: Good to talk about Willie Parker this week - mostly b/c Haynesworth is OUT for the Titans. I think Parker is healthier than he has been, but the knee really needs the offseason to recover completely - so he's a little more risk than say he was at the start of the season. But he's running well, feeling good and has a chance to put up better numbers with no Haynesworth.

Steven Bell (Bristol)

Hi... Will ESPN be giving fantasy advice for next week...

Stephania Bell
  (11:59 AM)

Yes, even though some leagues finish this week, some go through Week 17 so we will keep all of our chats, columns, shows active through 12/28.

Julian (San Francisco)

Any chance Boldin's recent struggles are in some way related to his terrible injury earlier?

Stephania Bell
  (12:00 PM)

Julian: I don't think so. If he had struggled since his return than that would be one thing. But he came back and had a couple of excellent outings, so I think it's more of a reflection of the AZ offense, especially this past week.

John (tx)

Stephania, need help choosing my backs this week. gore, turner, parker or hightower, which two do u like?

Stephania Bell
  (12:03 PM)

Parker and Turner. Gore still recovering. Hightower hasn't done as much in the last few weeks and they have to travel to New England.

Debbie(Va)

Which defense do you take a chance on this week? SF v. STL or NO v. DET? I have TENN and INDY, but they are both injury plagued. I want a backup just in case. If Sanders plays I will stick with Indy. Is there any word on Sanders playing Thursday yet?

Stephania Bell
  (12:06 PM)

Debbie: Sounds like Sanders will play. He was held out for similar reasons to Addai (unlikely to play 2 games in 5 days). I think I would give the edge to the Niners D as your backup.

Stephania Bell
  (12:08 PM)

OK everyone - it's time for me to give up my chat room spot. Thanks so much for coming - great questions as usual. Good luck in your playoffs this week! Don't forget to check those last minute inactives. We'll caht again Friday - but for Thursday, Addai is expected to be active, but will likely split with Rhodes.