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Anatomy Of An Injury - Week 12
11/19/08

This is a weekly column that will provide you with in-depth analysis of key injuries for the week and their resultant implications on fantasy football. This information comes straight from my perspective as a Physical Therapist and Athletic Trainer for ten years. Over this time, I have seen almost all the key injuries that can happen in this violent sport on the college level and how to treat them. Hopefully, this gives you a little more insight on certain injuries and what to expect.


Week 11 proved to be a separation of the really good players from the mediocre starters. Marion Barber, Frank Gore, Peyton Manning, Anquan Boldin, and Larry Fitzgerald all proved their worth. The football season is a long one and you will need to get production from everyone on your roster, because you never know when poor production, injuries to key players, or bad match-ups may limit your scoring.

This type of ebb and flow to a season proves that depth is a key component to assembling a productive roster. Who would have thought that Terrell Owens would have such an unproductive stretch? Or LT would look so pedestrian and guys like Tyler Thigpen would out-produce such proven commodities as Ben Roethlisberger? From an injury standpoint, it was a rather slow week. We had some small injuries that may affect upcoming games, but overall there was nothing that will have any lasting ramifications on the rest of the season.

The one thing that I have learned over the years is that all of these injuries to professional athletes are treated very differently than if you or I were injured. There is a necessity from a financial standpoint to get these players back on the field as fast as possible. When I view these injuries, I try to be very aggressive when predicting when they will be back on the field. There are too many reasons for them not to be playing on game-day.

Player: Clinton Portis
Injury: Supposed MCL sprain
Healing Time: Back to action
Impact On The Field: This injury was completely overblown by media outlets at the end of last week. He was listed as having a grade 2 MCL sprain that would hold him out of potentially multiple games. There is no way he had that severe of an injury. He probably had a grade 1 sprain and was able to brace his knee and tape it so that there was very little strain on the inside of his knee. This injury is a non-issue to me and he will be fine the rest of the way as evidenced by his performance Sunday night.

Player: Matt Hasselbeck
Injury: Bulging Disc; Possible concussion
Healing Time: Concussion 1-2 weeks; Disc injury: rest of the year; but should play
Impact On The Field: The Seahawks are an absolute mess right now. Their offensive line is a shell of its former self, they have no running game, and all of their wide receivers are either not in game shape or not very good. Hasselbeck does not look right. He looks like his back injury is limiting him in some fashion. He had a bulging disc that put pressure on a nerve that goes into his leg. This pressure on the nerve resulted in weakness in a few of the leg muscles. He was able to resume playing when the pressure relieved enough to allow the strength to return in his leg.

This does not mean that he is not experiencing pain though. On top of all that, it has been reported that he may have experienced a concussion. Concussions and lack of treatment have really gained a lot of attention over the last few years because of the damage that it does to people later in life. When one experiences a concussion, one gets swelling on the brain. This swelling can cause cell damage and if one continues to play and further take blows to the head, can lead to additional swelling and continued brain cell damage that does not regenerate. Once you lose a cell, it does not come back. This is why concussions are so serious. But, as I stated above, it is imperative to get these guys back on the field. So, he may be back this weekend. This offense is a mess and will provide no fantasy interest. You canít trust starting anyone on this offense until people get healthier.

Player: Brandon Jacobs
Injury: Knee Contusion
Healing Time: 1-3 weeks
Impact On The Field: Brandon Jacobs was hit on the knee by Ed Reedís helmet and immediately encountered swelling. He was able to return for two carries in the second half, but was taken out of the game for precautionary measures. He was sent for an MRI, but all is well. He will play this weekend and is on quite a tear. Donít worry about the swelling. He will play.

Player: Earnest Graham
Injury: Ankle injury
Healing Time: 6-12 weeks
Impact On The Field: Earnest Graham has been placed on season-ending IR with an injury. Over the last season and a half, he has blossomed into a tough, decisive runner who finds a hole and plows through it. His fantasy numbers have been tempered this season because of Jon Grudenís affection for Warrick Dunn. A player rolled up on his ankle and is being listed tentatively as a high ankle sprain. The high ankle sprains take 4-6 weeks if they are minor to heal so, he will miss the rest of the season.

Player: Calvin Johnson
Injury: Quad strain
Healing Time: 1-4 weeks depending on the severity
Impact On The Field: Calvin Johnson suffered a quad strain at some point during the Carolina game. Most of the time, if it is a minor injury, one can return to competition. It is after the game that the pain and limitation in activity causes blood to pool in the muscle. Quad injuries should not be taken lightly, just look at Steven Jackson. Even a minor quad strain needs time to heal. There have been numerous muscle strains of the leg that have caused star players to miss a chunk of time. Jackson and Addai are two players that come to mind. I am not saying that the injury is severe, but there is a possibility that it limits his production in some way. He may need plays off or it may limit his explosiveness. There is no way he stays out of your lineups, but there is a possibility that he is not the Calvin Johnson we all know and love.