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August 21, 11:00 AM ET
Chat with Stephania Bell

Stephania Bell
  (11:00 AM)

Happy Friday Sports Nation - welcome to the injury chat. You're either feeling good about fantasy baseball playoffs, or moving on to fantasy football and trying to determine the best draft strategy. Hopefully we can help you prep just a little bit when it comes to the away we go!

Doug (Michigan)

Hey Steph (I'm speculating that people call you Steph) - Can we get the low-down on Justin Morneau? What's the worst case scenario with my star first baseman?

Stephania Bell
  (11:02 AM)

Hey Doug (they do call you Doug, right?): Of course you can call me Steph... This is a tough call. If indeed it's an inner ear infection, then it's a matter of how severe, how quickly he responds to medication, etc. Really hard to give you a definitive answer...but I suppose the worst case is a DL stint that takes him out of your lineup for an extended period.

CB (Virginia)

How will Chaz Schilens' injury affect him when he comes back?

Stephania Bell
  (11:05 AM)

CB: The question for me with regards to Schilens is when WILL he come back. Raiders have said he had surgery (which makes it sound like a JOnes fracture) and we're hearing 4-6 weeks. 4 weeks would surprise me. 6 weeks is doable if he heals well. And then there are the guys who take longer to heal. The longer he has to stay immobilized, the harder to get the leg strength back. Given that he looked like their number one guy, this is a big concern. If he heals well, then once he's back, I see no lingering problems.

Jacob (Houston)

Not to harp on anyone for their frailty, but who are some NFL players to be cautious of come draft day?

Stephania Bell
  (11:06 AM)

Jacob: We don't harp - we just tell it like it is - but go to the fantasy draft kit page where I talk about all the injured guys. Updates on RB and WR coming in the next couple days.

Mal (Orland Park Il)

Hi Stephania It is my turn to draft and I need a second quarterback I like Ben Roethlisberger BUT his status what do you think

Stephania Bell
  (11:08 AM)

Mal: So far the news sounds like it's not terrible - but he was scheduled for an MRI last night and I haven't yet heard the results. He got stepped on so it could be ankle or Achilles, and they're of course going to be cautious. But so far doesn't ring major alarm bells.

Isaac (los angeles, CA)

Hi Stephania,How is Jonathan Stewart's injury? Is this something that will linger into reg season or perhaps more serious than it sounds? Thanks.

Stephania Bell
  (11:11 AM)

Hi Isaac - the early bird to the chat...It's been tough to gauge. The worry with Achilles injuries is that if the tendon is inflamed and weakened, it could rupture. Then again, it could be minor inflammation that they are simply hoping does not turn into a major problem and are consequently resting him early to help prevent this from being an in-season problem. Not much info coming out of Carolina though so we don't really know whether it's already serious or they're trying to avoid serious. I'm inclined to think it's the latter (also the field surface is tougher on the body when it's really hot so that may be a consideration).

Cody (Philly)

Hey Stephania should we just avoid Reggie Bush on draft day and let him be someone else's problem, he always seems to be dinged up. Thanks

Stephania Bell
  (11:12 AM)

Cody: Easiest question so far. YES.

SteveFitz (Cicero, IL)

Is Benie Wells going to play the whole year? I'm not convinced he is nor am I convinced he's worth drafting. What woudl you say to convince someone to darft him or do you agree with me?

Stephania Bell
  (11:13 AM)

SteveFItz: I happen to agree with you. Based on his history and the number of foot/ankle injuries he's had, I'm not confident that he holds up. I think when he's in, he could be great. But he's been delayed learning the offense while being injured early, so he's way down on anyone's list (or should be) right now.

Tracy ((NY))

Hey Stephania: I know you were the biggest Smoltz backer, other than myself- I'm desperate to make up innings and need some starters. Can I dare start Smoltz this weekend during his great matchup?

Stephania Bell
  (11:16 AM)

Tracy: Well, it is a nice matchup. And my sentiment is still there. I think that although Smoltz after surgery may never be the Smoltz before surgery, I believe that if he just had a couple extra months you would see different results. Remember he came back mid-season and jumped in. I still think he gets some good results before this year is over.

Pete (NC)

Steve Smith will be on the field in week 1, right?

Stephania Bell
  (11:17 AM)

Pete: Sure looks that way since he's back at practice (although non-contact). Barring a new development, yes.

Logan (Virginia)

Hey Stephania thoughts on Peavy's Estimated Return

Stephania Bell
  (11:18 AM)

Hey Logan...Looks like first week of September.

Marc (Jersey City)

Any chance Carson Palmer can make it through the season?

Stephania Bell
  (11:19 AM)

Marc: There's always a chance... Actually, I was pretty high on him despite the elbow based on what his progression has been. The high ankle sprain definitely bothers me though. If I were drafting today, I would avoid him. If he demonstrates it is not a problem by last preseason game and I draft afterward, I feel better.

Chatty Kathy (World Wide Web)

Stephania, I realize that there are a few bugs in the new chat format, but several questions are posted and don't get answered. Sometimes refresh works and sometimes not. Any improvements coming? THanks!

Stephania Bell
  (11:20 AM)

Thanks for telling me - I see them as all posted so it's odd but I'll try the refresh and see what you get...

Eric (St. Louis)

Justin Duchsherer: What's the word on this "non-baseball related issue?"

Stephania Bell
  (11:23 AM)

Soooo strange Eric. Makes me concerned that something more serious is going on medically and they just can't discuss it b/c of personal privacy laws. Sure doesn't sound good.

Chris (Lynchburg, VA)

Stephania, I've got a football question for you. Carson Palmer didn't have Tommy John surgery in the offseason and let his elbow ligament heal on its own. Is it possible for his problems to even heal on their own or is he destined to have TJ surgery sooner or later and is a risky fantasy draft pick?

Stephania Bell
  (11:26 AM)

Chris: It's possible with a partial sprain, depending on exactly the degree, what part of ligament injured, etc (which we're not privy to) that the tissue can scar enough to consider it good healing. He may not ever need surgery. Since throwing mechanics in football are not nearly as stressful in baseball, it's easier for a QB to return without surgery, given all the right ingredients. I'm more worried about his ankle, and that if he returns too fast from the ankle, he then risks changing his throwing and THAT could stress his arm further.

Mike (San Diego)

Starfania! Tell Pod Vader to pick up his phone and give you a call. You are long overdue for a Fantasy Focus appearance.

Stephania Bell
  (11:27 AM)

Mike: Was on today...but thanks. And you can e-mail the podcast too...which we like

Zach (MA)

At the risk of beating a dead horse, any update on Beltran's latest status?

Stephania Bell
  (11:29 AM)

Zach: Hey - the news keeps changing - slightly - so it's never a bad idea to ask. I just don't have tons of confidence. He has been doing some running, but needs to test baserunning. He has been hitting and fielding some balls in the outfield and he says he feels good. But the bruise is still there and there's always the chance that one tweak will keep him out for the year. I think it's risky at best.

Logan (Chicago)

David Wright - time to cut bait, or will we likely see him again this season and if so, when? Probably tough to judge since it's a head injury and there is nothing concrete about when a player will be 100% ready to resume baseball activities (see Church, Ryan).

Stephania Bell
  (11:30 AM)

Logan: You couldn't be more right. NO way to tell with head injuries. Each one is unique and heals at its own pace. ANd you absolutely can't take risks, no matter how much a player wants to return. Church was a good example of trying to come back too soon. I wouldn't cut bait just yet. A lot can change in a week.

Steve (VA)

Is Quentin back to normal? Is he safer than Morneau going forward?

Stephania Bell
  (11:32 AM)

Steve: No - I don't think he's fully healed...and won't be until he has a chance to rest, as in really rest, like the offseason. That being said, he is in the lineup and he is producing, some, so he's in a better position than Morneau.

Terrell (Buffalo, NY)

Are you worried about Brett's torn rotator cuff leading into the fantasy season?

Stephania Bell
  (11:35 AM)

Terrell: Not too much. This is not likely a new injury, in fact Favre said Dr. Andrews told him as much after surgery. It means he's probably been playing with it for years. And until the biceps issue, he functioned pretty well. Now it's not perfect. And things could change anytime. Sooo, yes, he's somewhat risky, but given the picture of him over the years, I'm not especially concerned.

Wes (North CA)

Have any plans to come watch the Niners play this year? 8-8 will be FAN-TASTIC! You think A-Ram and Sizemore can gut it out the rest of the way? I have my concerns and would hate to lose them during the playoffs next month.

Stephania Bell
  (11:37 AM)

Wes: Soooooo excited for the Niners season - and yes, hope to make it out for when we do the MNF game. I think Sizemore will gut it out. I think Ramirez will try, but may have to sit down here and there depending on how the shoulder behaves. It's a bit of a risk for each - but I think they'll be on the field more than off.

Steve (Houston)

Are you worried about Votto's blurred vision. What can cause blurred vision - thanks!

Stephania Bell
  (11:39 AM)

Steve: Definitely a cause for concern. It can be caused by a number of things ranging from something relatively benign to something very serious - so it's impossible to speculate as to the cause. Obviously given his troubles with dizziness earlier in the season, this becomes more concerning. I hope for his sake that they are able to get to the bottom of it.

Mr. Invisible (Chicago)

Any update on Kuroda? Do you think he'll be any where near as effective upon his return?

Stephania Bell
  (11:42 AM)

Why invisible? This is similar to the David Wright answer. No way of knowing for sure as to when he returns. They put him on the DL to ensure that he had a fixed period of rest. If his neurocognitive testing returns to normal and he is symptom-free both at rest and with physical exertion, then he becomes eligible to return. Once those criteria are met, there's no reason to think he can't be jsut as effective....unless he's fearful on the mound, and that is a real possibility.

Patrick (Bel Air MD)

Any chance we see Ben Sheets this year?

Stephania Bell
  (11:43 AM)

Patrick: Nope. Sorry. Next year...but who knows where.

Rob (Philly)

Hi Stephania! Is McClouth going to be coming back soon and contributing?

Stephania Bell
  (11:45 AM)

Rob: Seems like he could come back when eligible as long as he doesn't flare up the hamstring. Originally they were going to just rest him for a few days, but the DL move probably helps him.

Barney (Sacramento, CA)

Happy Friday, Stephania! I've already got Wainwright, Lackey, Pineiro, Danks ... any reason I shouldn't just dump Zambrano and quit messing with him this year?

Stephania Bell
  (11:47 AM)

Barney: I find him frustrating too. Especially when he calls himself out as lazy, and sometimes you think him paying more attention to his fitness would have prevented some of his issues. That being said, looks like he's coming back next week, and he can be very effective when he's out there. Bit of a tough call.

Mike (DC)

Roy Oswalt a safe start tonight? He's been bad since coming back from the back pain but he's facing the week ARI lineup tonight (esp. w/o J. Upton). What's up with Roy?

Stephania Bell
  (11:48 AM)

Mike: He says he feels better. His performance suggests that he really is not normal yet - and may not be quite 100% until the season ends. Yes, Arizona isn't the toughest matchup. And yes, maybe he has a better outing today than the last two. But I still call him risky in giving up some runs.

Drew (Hudson Valley)

Hi Stephania, give me your risk-reward impression of drafting injury-prone Brandon Jacobs this year. Is he top 10 material?

Stephania Bell
  (11:50 AM)

Drew: I like him. I think the label is overused in his case. I put him in the top 15 for sure, teetering around the #10 spot.

Bob (IN)

J. Upton ready to return?

Stephania Bell
  (11:51 AM)

Bob: Looks like he's headed for a rehab assignment next week. Unclear how long it will last. They no doubt want to see him get multiple at-bats and see how he tolerates it. I'm guessing if uneventful, he's back within the week.

JD (BMore)

Any word on Brandon Phillips' wrist injury?

Stephania Bell
  (11:54 AM)

JD: I think it's just still sore after getting hit there last weekend. And if it's sore enough to make him unable to perform, they just let it quiet down. DOesn't sound (at least not yet) like the thing that will keep him out for an extended period.

Michael (Portland, ME)

Love your blog, Steph! Do you think Tim Hudson or Anibal Sanchez are fully healed and ready to contribute?

Stephania Bell
  (11:56 AM)

Michael: Thanks for reading!!! I think Hudson looks good and will continue his rehab assignment for a while and probably be ready to contribute around September. Always keep in mind that post TJ, they tend to struggle with command for a bit, but he has looked pretty good so far.

Stephania Bell
  (11:58 AM)

Oops! And Sanchez, hard to know what a guy will do after a 60 day DL-stint. I would want to watch his first outing and see how he looks before starting him on my roster.

Bob (State College)

Stephania - always a treat to get the lowdown from you on Fridays! Who are a couple of perceived "injury risks" in the NFL who you think are likely to fall further than they should and are worth grabbing? And who are a couple of real injury risks that people are grabbing too soon? Thanks and looking forward to your work this season!

Stephania Bell
  (12:02 PM)

Bob - What a nice way to end the chat. I think people who go for Bush early still hoping for the guy from USC are making a mistake. I would stay away. I think everyone expects Brandon Jacobs to get hurt (and I don't place him as so high risk) although how they use their backs might affect that situation more. I'm also high on Frank Gore, much more than most. Sure, I root for SF, but I also think he's going to have a good year, and without Crabtree in the mix, at least for a while, he'll get more work.

Hank (Austin)

Stephania -- on Votto: he said they diagnosed it as a retinal migrane. What are the implications of that?

Stephania Bell
  (12:03 PM)

Hank: You're asking a question that is excellent...but I don't actually know much about those,. And since I love when people ask me great questions that I need to research more, I will get back to you in my baseball blog this week. It appears on Wednesdays...and I will update Votto in my blog. So thank you!

Stephania Bell
  (12:04 PM)

OK everyone - time for me to split. Great questions as always. Please join me again next Friday...and have a GREAT weekend...