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Injury Analysis: NFL 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.

Mario Williams and Tarvaris Jackson
The Texans defense took a major hit in Week 5 as their sack leader will miss the remainder of the season with a torn pectoralis muscle. The pectoralis muscles are located in the upper portion of the chest and are most commonly associated with bench pressing. The pec major sits superficial to the pec minor fanning out across the chest. However most people don't realize that in addition to its connection with the sternum and the rib cage, the pec major actually attaches to the upper arm bone, the humerus. This enables the pec major to aid in shoulder motion, helping flex and extend the upper arm while also pulling the arm toward the body in a motion known as adduction. The muscle also is involved in rotating the arm, making it a critical component of throwing. The smaller pec minor serves as a shoulder stabilizer, drawing the scapula (shoulder blade) down and in.

It appears Williams' tear is located near its attachment site at the shoulder. While the tear was incomplete, the damage was extensive enough to warrant surgery. The former number one overall pick will undergo a procedure in the next few days to anchor the muscle back to the bone. He should be ready to go for next season.

In Seattle, Jackson also suffered a high-grade pectoralis strain but there is no indication at this time that surgery will be needed. Instead Jackson will spend the bye week rehabbing the injury but will not attempt to throw a football. Should the conservative approach fail to work, the quarterback could be forced to go under the knife. Coach Pete Carroll said a healthy Jackson would remain the starter with backup Charlie Whitehurst set to take over should he be unable to go.

Andre Johnson
Johnson appears to be improving after undergoing a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection in his strained hamstring. Head coach Gary Kubiak would not rule the receiver out for his team's Week 6 game against the Ravens but the likelihood of Johnson playing two weeks after suffering a Grade II hamstring strain remains extremely low.

In a PRP injection, a platelet-rich mixture is obtained from a sample of the athlete's own blood and then injected into the injury site. The area surrounding the injury becomes more favorable to healing with the introduction of the concentrated amounts of platelets, the primary component of blood responsible for clotting. While PRP injections are intended to increase the rate and efficiency of healing, time is still needed for any injury of this kind to completely heal. Houston should be all too aware of this after managing Arian Foster and his hamstring strain. Look for Johnson to realistically aim for a Week 7 return and don't be surprised if he isn't back until Week 8 against the Jaguars.

Joseph Addai
The Colts injury woes continue as Addai suffered a strained right hamstring in a loss to the Chiefs. The often-injured back limped off the field in the first quarter and did not return. He will undergo a MRI to determine the extent of the damage but the former Pro Bowler doesn't feel the injury is serious. If any athlete can be taken at his word regarding injuries, it's Addai. After playing in all 16 games of his rookie season, he has missed time in each of the following four seasons with a variety of ailments, including a partially torn hamstring in 2008, a chest contusion in 2007, and shoulder and knee issues that ultimately required surgery. Still the MRI results will serve as a better indicator of how much time, if any, Addai will miss.

Delone Carter and Donald Brown would benefit from Addai's absence with Carter being the safer investment. Brown has shown a propensity for injury and it was Carter who received the bulk of the carries following Addai's departure.

Ryan Mathews
One of the surprising fantasy producers in the first quarter of the season left the San Diego locker room on crutches while wearing a protective boot on his left leg. Mathews suffered a calf strain in his team's win over the Broncos but returned in the second quarter, finishing with a career-high 125 yards rushing. Mathews has dealt with a myriad of lower extremity issues since entering the league last season. A high ankle sprain in his right ankle limited Mathews throughout his rookie year while a left toe issue has been problematic for majority of this season. A toe issue, particularly turf toe, could have played a factor in his most recent injury, serving as a reminder of the importance of a healthy kinetic chain. The Chargers are off in Week 6 allowing Mathews to receive some much-needed rest. Keep an eye on his availability during practice in the days coming out of the bye to get a better idea on his availability for Week 7.

Turf Burns

LeGarrette Blount: A knee injury makes Blount an extremely iffy start for Week 6. The Buccaneers are closely guarding information surrounding the injury and will wait to see how he feels later in the week.

Miles Austin and Dez Bryant: Both Austin (hamstring) and Bryant (quad) were back at practice Monday. They are expected to play against the Patriots in Week 6. The return of the two receivers would be a big boost for Tony Romo, who had a week to rest his fractured ribs.

Julio Jones: Jones will not practice before Thursday as he rests a strained hamstring. The rookie wideout came up limping in the third quarter of Atlanta's loss to Green Bay. Like we've seen with other hamstrung receivers, Jones may not be a wise choice until he proves the injury is behind him.

Josh Morgan: Morgan is out indefinitely after suffering a fractured right ankle against the Buccaneers. The receiver underwent surgery Monday but has yet to be placed on injured-reserve.

Julius Peppers: The Bears defensive end yo-yoed in and out of the game on Monday night after suffering a left knee injury. Peppers will undergo further examination this week to determine the extent of the damage.

Matt Schaub: The Houston quarterback has been sacked nine times this season and is starting to feel the effects. The signal-caller is now nursing a bruised thigh, a foot problem, and a sore shoulder. He is not expected to miss any time but he should be downgraded for the immediate future as the injuries and the absence of Andre Johnson will likely diminish his production.

Mike Tolbert: Tolbert suffered a concussion in Week 5 but will have the advantage of a schedule bye week to gain some extra rest. Barring any lingering symptoms, look for him to be available in Week 7 when the Chargers travel to face the Jets.

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