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October 16, 11:00 AM ET
Fantasy Injuries w/Stephania Bell

Stephania Bell
  (11:03 AM)

Good Morning and Happy Friday Sports Nation fans: Welcome to the Friday injury chat for week 6. I see that many of you are here and ready to go so let's get to the questions...

Anthony (NY)

Hey Stephania, as an aspiring PT, I really admire your work. I have a trade offer of Rashard Mendenhall and Steve Smith (Car) for Randy Moss. I was going to do it, just tell me about the injuries surrounding Steve Smith and the PITT RBS. Thanks.

Stephania Bell
  (11:06 AM)

Anthony: Love to have an aspiring PT in the audience. I'm in Washington DC as we speak getting ready to give a presentation to a group of PTs!But more to the fantasy point, sounds like Steve Smith's shoulder is not big deal - still did limited work Thursday. And Mendenhall had flu-like symptoms this week, but is supposedly feeling better. Not clear whether he or Parker starts this week, but with Parker on the mend form turf toe and wearing new shoes, it may be a back and forth with the two of them.

Ellis (MD)

How concerned should I be about Burleson's so called minor injury?

Stephania Bell
  (11:06 AM)

Ellis:Sounds like we should not be too worried -still doing limited work in practice this week so not that debilitating and they expect him to play.

Patrick (Virginia)

At this point can we just ignore Welker being questionable every week as the usual NE silliness?

Stephania Bell
  (11:08 AM)

Patrick: Well, I do think it's true that Welker is not 100% past the problem that put him on the injury report in the first place. But I do think that he has steadily improved. Limiting him in practice each week makes sense in that it allows him to avoid setbacks as he prepares for each week. So I don't ignore the fact that he's still on the injury report, but I think his health is improving week to week.

Mike (Michigan)

Is Pierre Thomas going to play this week or is Mike Bell the NO back you want?

Stephania Bell
  (11:11 AM)

Mike: This is the question on everyone's mind after seeing Thomas on the injury report again this week. It's a little tough to figure out. Thomas is on the report with a hamstring and was limited all week. Sean Payton says this is a "lingering" issue, as in not new and not something to be alarmed about. meanwhile Bell back in full practice this week and seems to be past the knee sprain. I expected Bell to get third down and some short yardage (and goal line) carries this week, but he may do a bit more. The upside on Thomas is, if in fact this is not a new hamstring issue, he has managed to play just fine the last few weeks with it. The downside? They're coming off a bye, as in rest, so why is he limited this week? This will be likely a GTD as to how the work is split - nightmare for fantasy owners, but if I can get more scoop after Friday practice I will post in my Sat blog.

Plutus (Third Circle, HL)

Is Antonio Bryant safe to use injury-wise this week?

Stephania Bell
  (11:12 AM)

Plutus: I think so. They have listed him as Q the last few weeks but played him and he has looked stronger and done more each week, suggesting his knee is on the upswing from the surgery.

Justin (St Paul)

Since they dont release ANY info what is your guess on what is wrong with Calvin J's knee and if he plays this week?

Stephania Bell
  (11:15 AM)

Justin: I'm not into guessing from a distance - but I will say this. Although initial reports out of Detroit were that it was his knee, he is listed on the NFL official injury report as having a thigh problem (which you may remember was his listing last week). Either there is something more there (the thigh) or the person who filed the report is mistaken - neither is helpful.Here's what you need to know. No practice this week and appearing stiff and gimpy. Expect he sits - OR at best is playing at less than 100%.

Kyle (Miami)

Talk to me about Correll Buckhalter's ankle, is Knowshon going to be a better flex play than Steve Smith (NYG) this week or will the possible split with Buckhalter hamper his production?

Stephania Bell
  (11:17 AM)

Kyle: Buckhalter appears to be recovering nicely - probably not thrilled to see Moreno get the start and maybe take over as top dog in Denver. Buckhalter put in a full practice W and Th but with the game not until Monday, team does not need to designate status until late Saturday. I expect Buckhalter to be active, but I still think Moreno starts. Hard to play Moreno over Steve Smith though with the Giants' aerial attack.

Brad (NM)

Do you have an update on Bradshaw? From what I know he's hasn't been practicing but is listed as probable for the game.

Stephania Bell
  (11:18 AM)

Brad: I think bradshaw's status is just like it has been the last two weeks. Little to no activity during the week to allow him to be ready for the weekend. I expect him to play.

Bryan (Kalamazoo)

Do you have any updates on Hasselback? was he able to practice through the week?

Stephania Bell
  (11:19 AM)

Bryan: Yes, he did practice all week and he feels good. He also gave some great stat about how the Seahawks are something like 16-0 when his mom is in the stadium and she's coming. My one concern is that they're on the 4th left tackle so far this year so Hasselbeck needs to stay aware and avoid hits.

Billy (NYC)

LDT at 100% for monday night? Well, 100% as far as injuries go anyway...?

Stephania Bell
  (11:20 AM)

Billy: As far as injuries go, yes LT is 100%. And btw, he has great numbers against Denver at home and great numbers on MNF. I think this is a good game for him.

Ric (Chicago)

When do you expect Anthony Gonzalez to return, and when he does how will his injury factory into his performance?

Stephania Bell
  (11:23 AM)

Ric: I have said since he got injured that what we heard at the time was not good. We know he sprained his PCL, and we also heard initially he sprained ligament"s" - as in more than one - complicating matters. Receivers returning from PCL injuries often struggle at first - Andre Johnson a couple years ago, Sidney Rice last year - and I think Gonzalez will be the same. Originally Colts said they hoped to have him after the bye. He was JUST cleared to begin light running and neither he nor the team sound that optimistic and have backed off the return in Week 7 thing. I expect he's at least a couple weeks away - and then I need to see how he looks before I am convinced he can return to form this year.

Mike (Boston)

Stephania, info i receive from you re: inj and player performance is very valuable. Marion Barbar quad with the bye what can we expect when he comes back. Do you think we can see some of that explosivness in the open field. thanks

Stephania Bell
  (11:26 AM)

Mike: great - so glad to hear it. Many people have heard the quote from Dallas OC re: Barber lacking explosiveness and needing 10 weeks to get healthy. Not sure I agree that 10 weeks is a magic number - a lot can happen good or bad between now and then. But back when he got hurt I reminded people of Steven Jackson and his similar injury last year - he missed 4 games and part of a 5th - and did not return to form for quite some time. Barber is playing while healing - the goal is for him to be effective, even if not his usual self - and not have a setback - so yes, it could take upwards of a couple months to be at full speed - but will be assessed on a week-to-week basis.

Stephania Bell
  (11:26 AM)

Mike: great - so glad to hear it. Many people have heard the quote from Dallas OC re: Barber lacking explosiveness and needing 10 weeks to get healthy. Not sure I agree that 10 weeks is a magic number - a lot can happen good or bad between now and then. But back when he got hurt I reminded people of Steven Jackson and his similar injury last year - he missed 4 games and part of a 5th - and did not return to form for quite some time. Barber is playing while healing - the goal is for him to be effective, even if not his usual self - and not have a setback - so yes, it could take upwards of a couple months to be at full speed - but will be assessed on a week-to-week basis.

Travis (Columbus, OH)

What is Cotchery's injury status? Is he expected to ply on Sunday? Also, should I look to move him while I can with the arrival of Edwards in New York?

Stephania Bell
  (11:28 AM)

Travis: Reports today that Cotchery will sit on Sunday. Not a surprise as he has been unable to practice and hinted at the start of the week that he would do the smart thing for the season. It will be interesting to see what the split is when Cotchery comes back. Obviously Braylon had a huge first week with the team, but when Cotchery comes back, will be a decision for teams on who to focus on in coverage. Both have value.

Eric (New Jersey)

Any chance McNabb sits in 2nd half if they have big lead?

Stephania Bell
  (11:28 AM)

Eric: I doubt it - unless the lead is ridiculous.

Dan (Toledo)

Stephania - back to the boys. What is the latest on Felix? Do you expect him to play next week?

Stephania Bell
  (11:30 AM)

Dan: Cowboys "say" he will - but he is not practicing this week with the bye. So we really have no idea whether he can do much with the knee. He has been able to do some light running - but that is far removed from all the necessary RB moves. So even if he plays, I expect him to have a limited role.

Gwendolin (Tacoma)

I play my husband this weekend! Does Mendenhall have any chance of playing? Thanks very much!

Stephania Bell
  (11:30 AM)

Gwendolin: You go girl. Yes, he has a good chance of playing - just don't know who starts and how they split. Ideally if you have both (i.e. one to handcuff the other), you play both.

Matt (NYC)

Carson got his hand banged up last Sunday and I see he's on the injury report. Saw him handing off with the wrong hand for the remainder of the game. Any concerns about playing him this Sunday?

Stephania Bell
  (11:31 AM)

Matt: None at all. He sprained the thumb on the non-throwing hand but will play Sunday.

Mark (Chicago)

How is Jamal Lewis doing? Worth holding onto Harrison?

Stephania Bell
  (11:33 AM)

Mark: He obviously ran quite well last week, surprising me and many others after doing next to nothing in practice and missing 2 weeks. This week they held him back Weds but he went fully on Thursday. Barring a surprise I expect he's the main back this weekend - but they are facing the Steelers. I'm not sure I drop Harrison b/c I want to see how Lewis holds up over next few weeks - not a lock to stay healthy by any means.

Bryan (SF)

Get Healthy NINERS! Well they are on a bye. Own Gore and someone just dropped Coffee pick up Coffee and drop Roy Williams. Hasn't looked good and will he ever with that rib injury

Stephania Bell
  (11:35 AM)

Bryan: One can only hope. I would pick up Coffee. although Niners hope to have Gore back, I need proof that he can get back (he's not doing a ton just yet). And although Williams is expected back after the bye, he may very well be challenged by that injury off and on throughout the season - and with Austin looking as good as he did, well, I just haven't seen much from Williams that would make me want to keep him.

D.O. from Chicago (Chicago)

Stephania, always a pleasure to hear your medical expertise. Im a D.O. and I always appreciate your medical perspective spoken in ways that we speak it as well. Question, I need big things from Westbrook this week playing against a horrid defense. Do you see a 50/50 split or will he get the bulk of the carries?

Stephania Bell
  (11:37 AM)

Love having a D.O. join the conversation. I really believe the Eagles continue to split carries between Westbrook and McCoy going forward. The challenge with the Eagles is that they have so many offensive threats, you never know where the points are going to come from. Case in point: I had DeSean Jackson and got a big zero last week after double digits every week prior. Who knew that Maclin would become the rock star of the day? I would put Westbrook's value at a flex right now based on how they've used him so far.

Rob (Minneapolis)

Is Breaston a decent 3rd WR play this week in what appears to be a big shoot out with Seattle? He was limited with a knee issue yesterday. Thanks.

Stephania Bell
  (11:38 AM)

Rob: This is really a continuation of the same practice pattern with breaston since the start of the season. he's been very productive as the #3 receiver and I expect it to continue.

Jay (Brooklyn)

Stephania, what's your take on Portis. The guy is only 28 and if that's old then I am feeling very depressed at 34! Looking at him run, do you think he's totally out of shape or are these normal wear and tear issues and a net result of a banged up O-line?

Stephania Bell
  (11:40 AM)

Jay: Remember, football years are different that average human years. Portis has been the workhorse for the Redskins and has touched the ball so much that he has taken a ton of physical abuse. So yes, most of his ailments (at least this year) are the result of wear and tear. Not out of shape by any means. I think the Redskins will continue to try to rest him some during the week and then hope he can bail them out on weekends.


Hi Stephania. Not the sexiest of questions, but any reason to worry about Brent Celek?

Stephania Bell
  (11:43 AM)

Stefan: Unsexy questions welcomed here. No indication from the Eagles that there is a reason for concern. Practicing fully always a good sign. If it was a serious knee injury he would not be able to do that. So maybe some soreness. At this point no reason to worry.

Vance (Tx)

Stephania, what are your thoughts on the young Percy Harvin. He has been limited in practice because of his shoulder. Are the vikes just being careful not to make a minor thing into something major through the practice week or can we expect his minutes to be shaved this weekend?Thanks as always

Stephania Bell
  (11:46 AM)

Vance: He actually was ale to do most of the work in practice Thurs according to Childress - and unless he feels worse on Friday, I do not see this as being anything that keeps him out.

Chris (VA)

Hey Stephania, I see you addressed Steve Smith's (Car) shoulder but what about his knee?

Stephania Bell
  (11:47 AM)

Chris: Oops, meant his knee. And he has a great history against the Buccs - so have to believe he's out there unless some crazy setback today.

David (Michigan)

Why do you answer about 1/2 the number of questions as every other ESPN fantasy football analysts?

Stephania Bell
  (11:48 AM)

David: B/c i actually explain my rationale behind my recommendations.

Cameron (ATL)

I hear that Adrian Peterson is doubtful this weekend. What is his status?

Stephania Bell
  (11:49 AM)

Cameron: Be really clear - we're talking about AP from the Bears, the backup running back to Matt Forte. And it looks like in Chicago they will go with only two running backs - Forte and then Garrett Wolfe to back him up.

Corey (D.C.)

How is Hester doing? Is he 100%?

Stephania Bell
  (11:50 AM)

Corey: He says the bye really helped him and that he's fully recovered for this week from his strained neck muscle. He's off the injury report which is a great sign.

Ben D (NY)

Watch what you say about Roy Williams, he's chatting next!!! Will Eli's foot injury be a concern for the rest of the season?

Stephania Bell
  (11:53 AM)

Ben: Well be sure to ask him how it feels to take a deep breath, reach overhead, twist, etc - all the things he'll need to do to get back on the field and function as a receiver!Yes, Manning's foot issue will probably be a concern - and by that I mean the medical staff will be working to manage it, they will be cautious with how much work he does, and it's at risk to flare up...BUT it doesn't mean it will be a PROBLEM for him all season. If everything works well to keep the symptoms at bay, he may not be 100% in terms of recovery, but as we saw last week, he could still perform extremely well.

James (San Diego)

What are your thoughts on Lance Moore? Fully healthy?

Stephania Bell
  (11:55 AM)

James: well, the bye week had to help his hamstring. He's not on the injury report so I like how he shapes up for this week.

Brandon (Mattoon, IL)

Which banged up RB has a better game sunday- Pierre or LT?

Stephania Bell
  (11:56 AM)

Brandon: Well, it's Pierre on Sunday. But that's b/c LT plays Monday. I actually like LT this week of the two.

Mark (VA)

Hey Stephanie, what the deal with Ben Watson? I need to pick up a TE and I think he's the man I want?

Stephania Bell
  (11:58 AM)

Mark: Apparently Watson had a concussion, but the good news is that he was doing some work in practice. They are no doubt monitoring his response to increased activity to make sure he does not have any return of concussion symptoms, but the fact he was active so early in the week suggests to me that he is more likely to play than not.

CJ (Michigan)

Any word on Stafford for this week??

Stephania Bell
  (11:59 AM)

CJ: Nothing official - but I would say he's looking doubtful after doing light activity Weds and then not being out on the practice field at all on Sunday.

Steve (SF)

What's a D.O.?

Stephania Bell
  (11:59 AM)

An osteopath.

jason (colorado)

What about Kevin Curtis? Is he back from is injury and will Maclin keep the starting role?

Stephania Bell
  (12:01 PM)

Jason: Curtis has been back in full practice this week, but I have to think Maclin has the edge with his latest performance and Curtis's struggle with multiple injuries.

Adam (Fort Lauderdale, FL)

Drop McFadden for Sammy Morris?

Stephania Bell
  (12:01 PM)


Bud (San Francisco)

We play IDP's - is Posluzny's arm injury healed enough for him to be effective this week, and is the nature of his injury cause to be concerned about a recurrence? And I for one thank you for providing rationale and context!

Stephania Bell
  (12:04 PM)

Bud: Last question goes to SF! Posluszny was back to full work on Thursday suggesting the fracture has healed enough to be ready to go. They wouldn't allow him contact if there wasn't enough bone healing. Rarely do we see a re-fracture - happens occasionally, but not often. So unlike a muscle strain where you worry if in the game the athlete will over-exert and set himself back, there's not the same kind of concern following this type of injury.

Stephania Bell
  (12:05 PM)

OK everyone - thanks so much for coming. I have ti vacate the chat room but I appreciate your time and I always appreciate your questions. I will post a blog Saturday with some of the latest injury updates and then there's a Sunday morning injury chat from 10-10:30 to help you with last minute lineup decisions.Have a great weekend and good luck in Week 6!!!