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Injury Analysis: Week 14 Injury Updates

Jeff Stotts

Jeff Stotts

Jeff Stotts works as a Certified Athletic Trainer (MAT, ATC, PES, CES). He won the 2011 Best Fantasy Football Article in Print from the Fantasy Sports Trade Association.

The streak is over and fantasy owners will no longer have to worry about whether or not Brett Favre will play. The sternoclavicular (SC) sprain to his right shoulder was too much for the wily veteran to overcome and is seems unlikely he will play again this season. The injury to the joint aggravated an already irritated nerve, leaving the quarterback with numbness into his right hand. He could land on the injured reserve and shouldn't be considered a fantasy option going forward.

Favre's backup, Tavaris Jackson, did little to impress on Monday night. He limped off the field in the third quarter with a toe injury and finished the night with 15 completions for 115 yards and an interception. Rookie Joe Webb replaced Jackson in the fourth and completed 2-of-5 attempts for eight yards. A healthy Jackson was already an iffy quarterback option but if slowed by a toe injury, he isn't even worth a roster spot. Expect a light load in practice and another rough outing Sunday when the Vikings host the Bears.

Favre's former team has quarterback issues of its own as Aaron Rodgers recovers from a concussion sustained in the second quarter after being hit hard on consecutive plays in Green Bay's loss to Detroit. The injury is Rodgers' second concussion of the season. He suffered his first in Week 6 against the Dolphins. The medical staff of the Packers will closely monitor Rodgers' symptoms throughout the week and also analyze the results of his ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) tests.

The ImPACT test is carried out on a computer and analyzes the individual's current status by testing a multitude of neurological functions including attention span, reaction time, and problem solving. Rodgers's current results will be compared to baseline information gathered at the beginning of the season as well as data collected following his previous concussion.

The Packers are being extremely cautious with their franchise quarterback and will protect his health even with the playoffs on the line. Remember after being concussed once, a player is more susceptible to another concussion. Keep a close eye on Rodger's status throughout the week and expect a likely game-time decision. Backup Matt Flynn struggled against the Detroit defense and isn't like to fair much better against a difficult New England defense.

The weather will be an issue for whatever quarterback suits up against the Patriots when the Packers travel to New England. The temperatures on Sunday are expected to be near freezing with a chance of snow. Cold weather conditions can put a serious strain on players not accustomed to playing outdoors. Cold temperatures are taxing on an athlete as their body attempts to produce enough energy to perform properly and maintain a warm body temperature. Cold air can also suppress an athlete's feeling of thirst leaving them vulnerable to dehydration and decrease lung function. Furthermore, low temperatures can cause joints to stiffen and impair nerve conduction leading to decreased coordination. While the Patriots have shown a knack for producing in snowy conditions, fantasy owners utilizing any player facing cold weather conditions should be prepared to scale back their expectations. Teams that could face winter weather conditions include the Patriots, Packers, Ravens, Saints, Steelers, Jets, Browns, and Bengals.

A week after being shutout by the Chargers, the Chiefs' offense could get a boost by the potential return of quarterback Matt Cassel. Cassel missed last week's humbling loss recovering from an emergency appendectomy. The appendix is a tube-like organ that protrudes off the portion of the colon known as the cecum, near the junction of the large and small intestine. Its function is debated while the majority believes it is a vestigial organ and has no defined use. However it is vulnerable to becoming inflamed and if the inflammation becomes severe it is removed. Cassel's appendectomy was performed laparoscopically. This procedure is less invasive and involves a tiny scope. The rate of recovery following a laparoscopic appendectomy depends on the specific techniques utilized and the condition of the appendix prior to removal. If the appendix became so inflamed that it ruptured, it requires extra time to recover. Fortunately there is no indication that Cassel's appendix burst and he should be ready to go in Week 15 when Kansas City travels to St. Louis. Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger underwent a similar procedure in 2006 and returned to action 10 days later. Expect Cassel to do the same and suit up Sunday.

Buffalo receiver Lee Evans is likely done for the season with a high ankle sprain suffered in Week 14. Buffalo has already ruled him out for the next week and it seems likely he will miss the other two remaining games. Keep in mind a high ankle sprain varies from a more common medial or lateral sprain. High ankle sprains compromise the stability of the distal tibiofemoral joint ankle joint and are often accompanied by considerable amounts of swelling, pain, and a loss of function. With Evans out expect more targets for Stevie Johnson with Donald Nelson likely to see an increased role in the Buffalo passing attack.

The Seattle receivers are also banged up. Mike Williams (ankle injury) and Ben Obomanu (hand laceration) were inactive against the Niners and now Deon Butler has been placed on the IR after fracturing his right leg following a touchdown catch. Williams has shed his protective walking boot and should be available in Week 15 with Obomanu also likely to return. With Butler out and Brandon Stokley nursing a hamstring strain, Ruvell Martin and Golden Tate could become the primary targets should Williams or Obomanu be unable to play.

Antonio Gates owners have to be hoping that Gates can play through the pain of a torn plantar fascia in his right foot. Gates was a surprise scratch prior to Week 14 and does not seem optimistic about his availability going forward. He has proven he can still produce when he is in the lineup but it now seems likely that Gates will be not be available when fantasy owners need him the most. Randy McMichael will continue to start if Gates is inactive.

Jeff Stotts is a Certified Athletic Trainer, MAT, PES and the Injury Analyst for Rotowire.com. You can follow him on twitter @RotoWireATC.