Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

August 24, 11:00 AM ET
Fantasy Injuries with Stephania Bell

Stephania Bell
  (11:04 AM)

Good morning and Happy Friday -wow, as usual, injuries pile up during the preseason. Rarely are they as dfficult to watch as Marc Mariani's last night (Titans). Wishing him a strong recovery now after surgery (he had a compound fracture). What's on your mind?

Terry (Chicago)

Do you put Bautista and Ortiz in your lineeup right away or wait and see? My alternatives are Plouffe and Seager.

Stephania Bell
  (11:07 AM)

Terry: I put Bautista in, wait on Ortiz. No science to this, just a feel based on what I've seen. Bautista, I believe, is not out of the woods BUT the turn he has taken and the way he hit the ball the other night (with no ill effects) make me want him in my lineup right away, get what I can, even if there's ultimately a setback. Ortiz a far less sure thing to me. They're not really sure he'll even be activated (which they've said several times and it hasn't happened). I need to see once he's back that he gets through a week before I do anything.

Willem (Haarlem (Netherlands))

Would you start Morrow in his first match?

Stephania Bell
  (11:08 AM)

Willem: Welcome from the Netherlands! Very cool. And yes, based on his rehab start success I'd take him right away.

Kevin (K.C.)

Hey Stephania, how has Kenny Britt's recovery been coming along?

Stephania Bell
  (11:11 AM)

Kevin: Apparently he's improving as far as the knees go and they seem to be planning on his availability for Week 1 (IF no suspension) It's worth noting that he would be on a limited play count so even if he were active Week 1 it will not be for a full game. Now, that is the plan. But he really hasn't taken contact yet -which I need to see before I feel comfortable. His health history is not stellar, would make me nervous to plan on him as top receiver before Week 3 at least. Even then, not fully convinced.

Mike (Cube)

Beanie Wells didn't look too comfortable last night and Ryan Williams looks good coming back from his torn patella. Forgetting value (Williams is usually drafted after Wells), Who would you rather draft straight up? Do you think this is a situation to avoid completely given their O-Line woes?

Stephania Bell
  (11:13 AM)

Mike: I've been targeting Williams in every mock draft to see where I can get him and so far the value has been awesome. I'd rather have him b/c Wells has been inconsistent in performance, injuries aside. And he is just returning from the latest injury. Williams making some brilliant moves on the field, love what I see, high upside.

Chip (NC)

When do you think Vincent Brown will return to action and do you expect him to be productive? I own him in my dynasty league. I can keep him active in anticipation of some 2nd half production or I can place him on IR now and lose him for the whole season, but get back the roster spot. Any advice?

Stephania Bell
  (11:16 AM)

Chip: Hard to advise this early b/c sooooo much can happen. But I think 8 weeks is hopeful. There are two issues: bone has to heal (takes about 6 weeks), then ankle mobility has to be restored to level of being high performing receiver...could take months. Doesn't mean he wouldn't be activated sooner but he might struggle. He might be an outlier and return quickly but think of DeMarco Murray, fractured ankle Week 14 and they weren't sure initially if he'd be ready for OTAs. He was, but that was a far greater timeframe than 8 weeks.

Matt (Houston)

Stephania, what would be more painful, getting tackled without pads by Patrick Willis, or what Marc Mariani went through last night? That injury has to be a career ender right?

Stephania Bell
  (11:18 AM)

Mariani, no doubt. Broken leg, often can hear it if in the vicinity. WHenever you see players rush over you know they know how bad it was. Not necessarily career ending. Had surgery, probably has a titanium rod in leg and plating to stabilize ankle. Obviously we don't know intimate details of fracture which could help us project but it's a loooooong recovery...

Bert (St. Paul, MN)

With Trent Richardson's multiple surgeries, do we have to worry that he is already losing tread on the tires and will continue to do so until the knees are bone on bone in a shorter time than usual?

Stephania Bell
  (11:20 AM)

Bert: I guess that's precisely the worry. Will he have breakdown of the cartilage in his knees sooner than the average running back? No way to know for sure. He could go another 5 years without incident or he could have another issue crop up in a month. All we can say with confidence is that he should fully recover from what he's had so far. Question is what is next...and when?

Bryan (Atlanta, GA)

Whats the status of Ryan Mathews and his broken calvicle? I know he was targeting a Week 1 return, but now Im hearing that may not be realistic.

Stephania Bell
  (11:22 AM)

Bryan: I don't foresee that. Would be 4 weeks post and it typically takes average of 6 weeks for bone to heal. Can be more or less but a) clavicles often slower to heal and b) need to be sure healing is adequate before returning b/c we KNOW he is going to take contact through the shoulder. Risk of re-injury if not fully healed is high. I think Week 3 more likely but we'll need to watch reports of when they X-ray the bone to see how it's progressing.

Andrew (Denver)

Can Brett Lawrie return soon and be effective? Or should I drop him and move on?

Stephania Bell
  (11:23 AM)

Andrew: Not soon. Setback while on rehab assignment and shut down indefinitely.

Dave (Richmond, VA)

MIGGY......When will he be back? Should I start him today? Fantasy Emergency!

Stephania Bell
  (11:25 AM)

Dave: Emergency? Unfortunately, you won't get your answer until later in the day. He says he thinks he could play tonight, Leyland says not putting him out there if can't perform. He could DH. We'll probably find out when lineup card is submitted.

Schmoo (Cleveland)

DO you expect AP back by week 1, and to what extent do you expect him to perform for the season?

Stephania Bell
  (11:27 AM)

Schmoo: Is that what they call you? Yes, AP appears to be on track for Week 1 and fans will get a teasse tonight when he dresses for pregame warmups. BUT, he won't play full games at first. Especially since the plan is no preseason action. He still has to take contact at practice - and even that won't be gamelike. So they need to work him in gradually. The hope would be by Week 4-6 or so we start seeing him at near full readiness.

John (NY)

HI stephania!!! Happy friday!!! i was the one last week who asked you about mendenhall and you told we he'd be out till week 6 since he was on the PUP and then he'd still need a few weeks after that to get back to normal...now he's off the PUP...what does that say about when he'll be back and how will he perform?

Stephania Bell
  (11:28 AM)

John: Think I said I expected him to be on PUP. There were signs (strong ones) that he would be. But his activation doesn't mean he plays before six weeks, just that he can. He still needs to progress through team workouts, contact, etc before games. I'd be surprised if we see him before Week 5 or 6 and even then it won't be at a full load.

Ryan (Detroit)

How long should fantasy owners expect to be without Jason Witten if they draft him?

Stephania Bell
  (11:30 AM)

Ryan: No healing time for spleens. Most folks are told to stay away from any vigorous activity for 3 months. Granted, Witten is not normal and they will monitor his healing much more closely than for average person. I expect him to miss Week 1 (no guarantee though) but it gets much less clear after that. Really depends what they see on CT and he needs to get his wind back after sitting around for a few weeks.

Bryan (Atlanta, GA)

Whats the scuttlebutt on MJD? Are we looking at stalemate where he ends up missing regular season games?

Stephania Bell
  (11:31 AM)

Bryan: The hints are there that this will end relatively soon...but who knows...he already owes a ton in fines...

Patrick (Woodstock, GA)

Jermaine Gresham was inactive last nights game vs. GB...whats the status of his knee injury? Can I expect him to be on the field for the opener?

Stephania Bell
  (11:33 AM)

Patrick: I think it was protecting the knee since he just hurt it a week ago. The expectation is he'll be ready by Week One.

Paul (Denver)

Do you know if Marcum will have any lingering effects from his injury? Isn't forearm tightness?

Stephania Bell
  (11:35 AM)

Paul: They have only ever called this elbow soreness or tightness. The issue is that he's had some trouble working his way back through a throwing progression b/c it would crop up again. Now he seems to have turned a corner but I'm a little wary given that it hasn't been a smooth recovery process...naturally you worry that there is something more serious that will crop up. For those who asked, I would wait to insert him into my lineup if it were me. Sure, risk some benefit there but I need to be more convinced.

Jim (Cincy)

Any guess as to how long Ivan Nova will be out? This doesnt sound too minor to me.

Stephania Bell
  (11:36 AM)

Jim: They're hoping they caught this early enough for it to be close to the minimal time. You never like to hear about cuff inflammation in a thrower's shoulder but it's so vague and so variable that it's hard to tell whether this is a couple weeks or turns into something longer.

Jeff (PA)

What's going on with Pittsburgh's back field? Isaac Redman seemed to be the man to get, then news of his hip problem rose and Mendenhall's recovery seems to be moving faster than expected. Now there are rumblings that J.Dwyer is making noise. Who do we want from this crop? Anyone?

Stephania Bell
  (11:37 AM)

Jeff: Nope. No one. At least not on my team. Too many question marks.

Dave (Toronto)

Will Posey be back tonight?

Stephania Bell
  (11:38 AM)

Dave: Nothing official yet but he made it sound like it was a one day issue. Of course players are always optimistic but it sounds like there's a decent chance he plays.

Walt (Tampa, FL)

Any word on a lingering injury for Michael Turner that we dont know about? He's never been fast, but looks extremely slow and unsure so far this preseason.

Stephania Bell
  (11:39 AM)

Walt: Not sure that it's an acute injury as much as it is that time and wear and tear may have caught up with him. I've heard the same things. It's too bad.

Josh (MN)

Old man Albert back tonight?

Stephania Bell
  (11:39 AM)

Josh: Unknown. You know how these day-to-day things go. They test it that day, see what they think, go from there. I don't expect him to play. Not wanting to push an injury that is EASY to aggravate. Just my guess.

James (Boston)

Speaking of Pittsburgh, can Big Ben last all season throwing with a torn rotator cuff?

Stephania Bell
  (11:40 AM)

James: Yes. I suspect it may have been there for a while. Or at least was developing for a while. Certainly reasonable to think he makes it fine through the season.

Kevin (Dallas)

Stephania! I took Vick in my draft last night and am already regretting it. Reassure me? Will he be fine for week 1?

Stephania Bell
  (11:41 AM)

Kevin: Well, it sounds like he'll be ready for Week 1. But I can't reassure you much more. I've always said I think he's a high injury risk.

Jason (MA)

Please give me something positive on Votto.....

Stephania Bell
  (11:43 AM)

Jason: Well, he's doing some baseball activities. But he's not doing it all. And he said he wasn't coming back until he's 100%. I don't see him back before September.

Mike (Waco, TX)

How does DeMarco Murray's ankle look to you so far? Can we expect to see the same explosive back from before the injury?

Stephania Bell
  (11:44 AM)

Mike: So far he's been impressive. So yes, I think you can expect that.

Dawn (IL)

Josh Rutledge going to be starting soon?

Stephania Bell
  (11:46 AM)

Dawn: I think he'll stay pinch hitting for a bit. Still looks like the quad is hampering his running so until that improves, hard to see them putting him back.

Rusty (Chicago)

You expect Tulo back around Sept 1? Can we expect typical Tulo production right away?

Stephania Bell
  (11:47 AM)

Rusty: Need to see what he does on assignment. He hasn't played in such a long time. And when he was playing he wasn't himself b/c he was hurt for months. So it takes a while to get your timing back and really start playing like the healthy player you used to be. Not sure I count on that out of the gate but will be watching his rehab assignment performance closely.

Loghan (NYC)

Hi Stephania, sorrry for re-posts but I have 2 drafts this weekend. I want to know when you would take guys like ap, charles, matthews, and trent? one league is a redraft league and the other a keeper. thanks

Stephania Bell
  (11:50 AM)

Loghan: I am willing to take Charles in the 2nd round. Some risk b/c there is often a dropoff in production the first year back but I like the time he's had and what he's shown so far. AP not before late 3rd (and in reality, I prob don't bite before 4th or 5th and he won't last that long) and I need to have another star RB along with Gerhart to use while AP out. Mathews I don't try fo (I guess 5th if he fell that far). Trent, not before 7th - which means I won't get him. Someone else will reach.

Tully (Reno, NV)

Alex Smith of your beloved 49ers...what are you expecting from him this year? He's been getting a lot of offseason love after a career year.

Stephania Bell
  (11:52 AM)

Tully: Including from me b/c he impressed me as the year went on. I want him to lead my Niners to two more victories in the postseason this year :)THat said, he won't be on my fantasy team. They still plan to run the ball plenty and Harbaugh already saying they will not be unleashing multiple downfield passes (not his strength). So...

Ryan (NYC)

Hey Stephania! Glad FB season is starting but still have a baseball question. Have you heard anything about Arod and Pettite? Thanks!

Stephania Bell
  (11:55 AM)

Ryan: A-Rod's hand continues to show improved healing on X-ray. Was always a 4-6 week timetable (we're now about a month out). Likely early September. Pettitte back ont rack as far as healing but still hasn't thrown from a mound. My guess is that happens within the next week but then there's still a couple weeks to get back to rotation.

Jermaine (Neverland Ranch)

Stephania, do you have any sleeper TE's to suggest? Was the last to grab one in my draft and ended up with Celek and am looking for a lottery ticket to pair him with.

Stephania Bell
  (11:57 AM)

Jermaine: I don't know about sleepers but there are some guys who people aren't paying attention to who I think will be solid. Obviously there are a couple of stars in Gronk and Graham, then you have Gates but guys like Greg Olsen who I think will have a great year in Carolina, Pettigrew in Detroit and Jared Cook in TN. Again, not sleepers per se, but you can wait on them and get great value.

Dr. Honey Badger (Wyoming)

Do you agree with Matthew to draft a QB first? #1 pick in a 10 team draft who do you grab?

Stephania Bell
  (11:58 AM)

Yes. Rodgers.

Bryan (Atlanta, GA)

Any word on the wrist of SS Andrelton Simmons of the Braves? Hoping to see him back for the stretch run.

Stephania Bell
  (11:59 AM)

Bryan: Sounds like rehab games in September. Maybe a return mid-September (?)

Mark (Richmond)

Hey, Stephania! In a contract league, I've been offered Garza through 2013 in return for Domonic Brown through 2015. This year's production is irrelevant, but I'm concerned that Garza's elbow will continue to be a problem next year, and Dr. James Andrews may be keeping his calendar open for some Tommy John. Our trade deadline is at noon, so any prognosis would be a huge help. Thanks!

Stephania Bell
  (12:00 PM)

Mark: I worry more about the bone health of Garza's elbow. This was a stress reaction (precursor to a stress fracture) and he had problems in the same area before. I definitely worry that there's something potentially lingering there. Remember, teams reluctant to move on him at trade deadline...

Stephania Bell
  (12:02 PM)

OK gang - time for me to go. Thanks so much for coming to the chat. Have a great weekend! Lots of NFL games tonight where your starters should get some good playing time. And hopefully stay healthy.