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December 10, 3:00 PM ET
Fantasy Injuries w/Stephania Bell

Stephania Bell
  (3:03 PM)

Good afternoon chatters...already plenty of news on the injury front and more to come...AND it's playoff time. Who's got you talking?

mike (philly)

i've been asking you questions for about a month now please answer this question assuming nicks plays,how much time will he get and would you start him over syney rice this week?also please chose one felix jones or pierre thomas

Stephania Bell
  (3:05 PM)

Mike: Are you saying I haven't been answering? Since you were here first, you get an answer today. Nicks will probably not get a full game given the injury he's returning from. That said, I expect him to look pretty solid, but he's been out a few weeks so prob will not want to overdo it. And no, I start Rice, especially since it looks like Harvin will be out. Jones.

Peter (Chapel Hill, NC)

If Nicks, Harvin, and Torain all play on Sunday, which is the safer flex play? Seems like all 3 would have a good chance at leaving the game early because of re-injury...

Stephania Bell
  (3:06 PM)

Peter: Ugh. Harvin prob out. Nicks and Torain will both be limited -- it's really a guess. I still go with Nicks b/c I expect greater chance of more production even with fewer plays...if that makes sense.

David (Fla)

Could use some of your Medical and Fantasy advice. Status of M.Williams(TB) and if he's iffy which 2 WRs would you choose: Bennett,Crabtree,Ward,Driver or Branch. Thanks and Happy Holiday's to you.

Stephania Bell
  (3:08 PM)

David: He doesn't appear iffy any more - back in practice and (I believe) listed as probable. So I pick him and then probably Driver or Ward.

Woody (Abingdon, VA)

Stephania I'm hanging on your every word this week. I'm in the playoffs and hoping to get Steve Smith or Vincent Jackson in my WR2 spot. Do you see either one playing Sunday and if so whos injury is likely to limit them more?

Stephania Bell
  (3:11 PM)

Woody: Wow - hanging on every word. Pressure is on. I think now it looks like they both play. Vjax has to still feel OK by gametime (remember last time he strained in warmups) - maybe he's a little riskier to me BUT here's the dilemma. Smith likely to play after week of practice (although limited) but will see limited snaps and may not be at his best given the nature of his injury. Needs to work his way back and the contact in-game may be a factor. Jackson maybe more upside if he plays. Dilemma.

Patryk (POLAND)

Ms.Stephie, I'm a huge fan of yours. Knowing just how much you "LOVE" hamstring injuries, it is looking good for Torain to be the starter this week. Should I trust him enough to risk starting him over BJGE ?

Stephania Bell
  (3:13 PM)

Patryk: Would NOT play over BJGE b/c Torain has not played game since Halloween, always re-injury risk with hamstring (although I think it's a little less now) but even Shanahan talking about being cautious. Sure - if he's going along well in the game they may let him do more, but he might just as easily split with Williams and Davis.

Eric (Des Moines)

Okay. How about 2 questions before my meetings. I just saw that Steve Smith practiced again for the Giants and will be wearing a harness in the game Sunday. First off, what does the harness do? And second, how much does it restrict his arm movement? Thanks again...

Stephania Bell
  (3:15 PM)

Eric: As a follow to why I said Smith would be restricted. Will limit motion across body and reaching away. This helps protect the still healing pec from extremes of motion. It's a bit awkward but Derrick Mason played with one last year and functioned pretty well. At times couldn't get arm fully extended to catch ball, which could be the same here.

Chris (Ann Arbor, MI)

How does Brandon Marshall look? Is he healthy enough to put up good numbers against Revis, or would Davonne Bess be a better bet?

Stephania Bell
  (3:16 PM)

Chris: Hmmm. Marshall another guy coming off hamstring so hard to know what to expect. I think Bess is a safer bet but Marshall could have the one or two big plays. I'm risk averse as most people know and I'd probably go with Bess.

NPR Listeners (Drinking Tea)

Earl Grey or Oolong? And who's a safer start next week, Collie (assuming he plays) or Britt?

Stephania Bell
  (3:18 PM)

Thx for listening! But I go triple grande nonfat mocha, not tea...And as much as I love Collie, Britt seems safer to me right now UNLESS I get a bulk of the week full practice without incident from Collie

Steve (NC)

PT has been a full participant in practice this week, but should I worry about Ivory losing carries to him? Or will this be like the Ryan Matthews situation where he doesn't get to play his first game back?

Stephania Bell
  (3:19 PM)

Steve: I definitely think he gets in the game and touches the ball, but I also think they're conservative at first. Ivory will still get the most work. They need to get Thomas used to being in a game again.

Dan (Boston)

Can you explain the effect that a dislocated thumb might have on Marcedes Lewis's performance against the Raiders this Sunday?

Stephania Bell
  (3:23 PM)

Dan: Biggest issue for him will be how much swelling did he have. The pain and swelling will be what limits his ability to use his thumb. He tweeted that he'll be fine. We'll see what he does.

dave (b'more)

how's todd heap doin?

Stephania Bell
  (3:26 PM)

dave: not great. Apparently he already has said that he rushed back once from a hamstring injury and it ended his season. made it cast doubt on his availability this week. And he hasn't practiced yet.

Kevin (CA)

Is it safe to drop Addai at this point? Even if he comes back next week, you don't play him the first game he comes back...

Stephania Bell
  (3:27 PM)

Kevin: It all depends on your space. If you've got room to hang out with him, then I would. Colts are pretty good (to extent they can be) at bringing guys back appropriately - as in, not well before they're ready. So even if comes back Wk 15, might be a good play late. But right now, I'm not supremely confident that we can estimate a timetable. If really need other players, then drop.

J.B. (PA)

Ms. Bell: Should we expect Sidney Rice to be questionable every week from here on out? Seems like he's kind of like that 'check engine' light that's always on in your car but you just kind of ignore it because the car is running just fine.

Stephania Bell
  (3:28 PM)

J.B. Great analogy! And yes, I suspect they will limit his activity most weeks, which then requires an injury report appearance. But he could have a chance to do quite a bit this week if Harvin's out, which is looking likely.

Mike (Texas)

Stephania I was involved with one of your recent chats, as a reader, and wanted to mention my limited 2 cents on a topic I certainly agree with. The topic was a collaborative team effort [Team Docs, PT's ATC, etc] relative to injury diagnosis, rehabilitation and the all important return to practice/competition. As a former DI Head Coach and now university professor I preach the same multidisciplinary approach you implement in your professional philosophy to my dynamic students/colleagues. Darn those egos that often limit the advancement of what is best for the athlete especially relative to litigation considerations? By the way, is Cassel's status going to bury JC's projected positive output this weekend? Thanks and keep up the great work :-)

Stephania Bell
  (3:31 PM)

Mike: Thanks for your comments - much appreciated! And it's appearing that Cassel is very unlikely to play now that his status is given as Doubtful. I think Charles is still going to have a big day, perhaps even more so now...

PJ (The Factory)

Any concerns with Big Ben? Should I sit him for Fitz?

Stephania Bell
  (3:32 PM)

PJ: Less concern than last week. And he'll be wearing a protective face shield. So that should help prevent a setback there. Hard to sit him.

Kyle (Michigan)

Do you have any concerns about how Mike Williams (south) will hold up in a game with the knee injury? How much risk is there of further damage? Do you prefer Santonio Holmes whos healthy but faces a better Defense?

Stephania Bell
  (3:35 PM)

Kyle: I think there's naturally some concern about whether he coul;d suffer a setback. But look at it this way. Raheem Morris says he's been dealing with this for a few weeks and obviously he's been playing through it -and pretty well at that. So I would still go with him.

Matt (Ann Arbor)

What's the word on Calvin Johnson? Play him with confidence?

Stephania Bell
  (3:36 PM)

Matt: Seems to be little concern in Detroit about his status so I think yes, play him.

Duane (Dallas)

Steph.. Is Andre Johnson going to be a safe play this week. I know he hasnt practiced all week and with the game being on Monday night, it doesnt leave a whole lot of options for a last minute replacement.

Stephania Bell
  (3:39 PM)

Duane: This is just my gut telling me this - but I think with the game being Monday they've been giving him some extra rest. Going from a Thurs night game to a Monday game gives them a nice long stretch. So far have not heard any major concern and would feel comfortable waiting for him. But the team will give a designation report on Saturday so you'll have a heads up.

Joe (Philly)

I read yesterday Tony Gonzalez was hurting any turth to this?

Stephania Bell
  (3:40 PM)

Joe: sprained ankle last week but he is not planning on missing any playing time. Would not really concern me.

Chip (NC)

Hi Stephy Bad News- Question about your 49ers...with Westbrook missing practice for personal reasons, how will the carries be split vs. Seattle this week?

Stephania Bell
  (3:42 PM)

Chip: Fair question. I have not heard that there is going to be a major adjustment. I would assume that if he's around today (and have not heard that yet) that he will get still be heavily involved in the offense.

Travis (Omaha)

Although probable last week, R Mathews did not see the field. Do you think he will actually play this week?

Stephania Bell
  (3:43 PM)

Travis: Yes, I do. Think they had to abandon the running game pretty early and that factored in - and I think he will do more this week. Actually, another week of resting the ankle may pay off.

John (New Orleans)

Any update on Bradshaw? Is he good to go?

Stephania Bell
  (3:44 PM)

John: Yes, expected to play. Everyone hoping the sore wrist does not increase his risk of fumbling. Guess we will see in game, but he is expected to play.

Scott (Rochester)

Do you think the Colts "eased" Tamme back in last night because of the injury? He is no good to me in a 3 TE rotation. Can't be leave I shelved Vernon Davis!

Stephania Bell
  (3:46 PM)

Scott: Thanks - yes, I think he was eased back in and Garcon was performing like the Garcon we know and love so they could relieve Tamme of some work. I have to believe he will have a better game next week unless he went backwards (have not heard that but should get better idea early next week)

Dan (Here)

Owen Daniels playing full speed Monday?

Stephania Bell
  (3:47 PM)

Dan: So they say. Will believe it when I see it. I;d be watching him in this first game back.

Kevin (Las Vegas)

Hey steph I'm in need of your fantasy wisdom. I have dwayne bowe and steve smith on my team. I know you said you're a bit sketchy about smith because of him wearing the harness and this being his first week back, but jeez BRODIE CROYLE is gonna be throwing the ball to which should i start?

Stephania Bell
  (3:49 PM)

Kevin: I still go with Bowe b/c he's healthy. Croyle may be a bit fragile himself but he has a big enough arm. He's been taking all the first team reps all week so have to believe that they've had a chance to get a little rhythm going. I'm just concerned that Smith will see limited action - I mean they're actually telling you that going into the game. Bowe, barring an injury which obviously we can't predict - will be the go-to guy.

Fred (Shelton)

Just a quick follow-up....I have Zach Miller (Oak...not Jak) concerned should I be for this weekend. I haven't seen any status update on his practicing this week since Wednesday...or should I go to the waiver wire for a replacement?

Stephania Bell
  (3:50 PM)

Fred: Go get Pettigrew - or someone like that. Miller is still hurting and you've seen the effect on his production. I'm not convinced at this point that we see a major turnaround. If you've got room on your bench, hang onto him. But in the meantime, find someone who can get you some points now.

James (The Clave)

IDP - Charles Woodson and the ankle?

Stephania Bell
  (3:51 PM)

James: Since he went through the jog-through Thursday, I assume he'll be playing.

Sarah (PA)

AP's been limited in practice this week. Thoughts??

Stephania Bell
  (3:53 PM)

Sarah: Protecting him. I think based on what we saw last week, he's doing just fine.

Jeremy (DC)

Drop Matt Cassel for the playoffs? Or worth holding on to him if he's able to be productive weeks 15 and 16? He's my backup QB. Thanks!

Stephania Bell
  (3:53 PM)

Jeremy: By all means, keep him. Would be surprised if he doesn't play next week.

Duane (Dallas)

Fred...pick up Ed Dickson

Stephania Bell
  (3:54 PM)

Duane: More good advice. He will be the guy in Baltimore with Heap likely not playing.

Travis (IA)

Is Steve Breaston good to go this week?

Stephania Bell
  (3:55 PM)

Travis: Probably - but it will be Skelton at QB. Very concerning.

Grant (GA)

Is Gates OK from here on out?

Stephania Bell
  (3:57 PM)

Grant: I think he is Gates. Meaning this thing is going to hurt like crazy and he'll keep playing as best he can - may mean some decent production, may be limited - but it makes other teams have to account for him. He is not really what you'd call "OK" though - he's still in big time pain.

Dan (NY )

Answer a kicker question please. What M.Prater condtion. I heard he was limited in practice.

Stephania Bell
  (3:59 PM)

Dan: Added Thursday with a groin issue. One thing to look at is whether they add a kicker or not. If they do, it's a pretty sure sign he'll be out.

Grant (Phoenix)

Loved the Podcast today minus TMR's impressions. How's Nnamdi Asomugha doing? You think he'll shut down Mike Thomas and is Sims-Walker good to go?

Stephania Bell
  (4:01 PM)

Grant: Yes, the impressions were overwhelming - imagine sitting next to that ear-splitting noise...Asomugha I haven't heard too much about, as in not yet worried about him being there. Don't think the ankle is perfect, but at this point sounds as if he'll be on the field.

Karl (San Diego)

How much is Obomanu's hand laceration going to affect his catching?

Stephania Bell
  (4:02 PM)

Karl: Could be significant. Interestingly, now sounds as if Seattle thinks he plays - but not totally confident that he will make it through the game.

Stephania Bell
  (4:03 PM)

OK friends - time for me to check out of the chat room for today. THanks so much for coming and bringing all of your great questions. Good luck in the first round of the playoffs!!