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Injury Analysis: NFL Injury Updates

Jeff Stotts

Jeff Stotts

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

Matt Schaub
The Texans enter the bye week atop the AFC but will have to continue their quest for the team's first division title without their Pro Bowl quarterback. Schaub suffered a foot injury in the first half of Houston's win over Tampa Bay but played the remainder of the game. However further testing revealed a significant injury to the midfoot, in particular the Lisfranc joint.

The midfoot is the apex of the arch of the foot and is made up of five tarsometatarsal joints formed where the metatarsal bones align with the cuboid bone and the three cuneiform bones. The linchpin of these five joints is the second joint. A strong ligament known as the Lisfranc ligament fortifies this area to insure the integrity of the foot. The ligament is so strong that it often does not give when injured but instead breaks off a small piece of bone creating a Lisfranc fracture. Surgery is required to repair a Lisfranc fracture and has ended prior seasons for multiple NFL players including Dwight Freeney, Ronnie Brown, and Chris Ivory. Schaub will continue to meet with specialists to determine the best course of action but the team has ruled him out indefinitely and a return this season seems very unlikely. Former Heisman winner Matt Leinart will take over at quarterback. Leinart, who hasn't started a game since 2009, should have Andre Johnson back in the mix as the receiver is expected to return from a hamstring injury that has kept him sidelined since Week 4.

Michael Vick and Jeremy Maclin
The Eagles offense could be without two of its top offensive weapons this week as both Vick and Maclin were injured against the Cardinals. Vick sustained two broken ribs early in the game and struggled throughout the remainder of the afternoon, throwing two interceptions and completing just 16 of 34 pass attempts. Vick has history of rib injuries, missing three games last season with a rib cartilage injury. He will likely dust off the specially designed Kevlar vest created by Unequal Technology to protect his latest injury, but not even that may have him ready for Sunday. Given his inaccuracy following the injury, he remains a risky play even if he does manage to suit up. Vince Young would get the start if Vick is sidelined.

Maclin's availability is just as clouded after the receiver suffered two separate injuries in the same game. He suffered a sprained acromioclavicular (AC) joint early on and then strained his hamstring. This season has served as a constant reminder how limiting hamstring strains can be for wide receivers but the shoulder is a major cause of concern as well. An AC sprain can result in an unstable shoulder complex and limit the range of motion for an athlete. Injuries of this nature have been a big issue for quarterbacks such as Matthew Stafford but can be plenty problematic for receivers. The AC joint is located where the collarbone meets the shoulder blade. Here it acts like a strut allowing an individual to raise their arm over their head. If a receiver is unable to adequately lift their arms, it's easy to see how this would directly hinder their ability to catch a pass. A slowed receiver who is unable to catch doesn't make for the best fantasy option and it would be wise to consider looking elsewhere for Week 11.

Frank Gore
Gore did not play in the second half of his team's win over the Giants after suffering a knee contusion. While it's good news, fantasy owners that haven't already added Kendall Hunter may want to consider rostering the rookie just in case. The Niners sit in an advantageous spot and could realisticly clinch the division by Thanksgiving. The team could then go into self-preservation mood and decrease Gore's workload to protect the banged up back. Remember he suffered a fractured right hip last season, sprained his right ankle earlier this season, and has now injured, you guessed it, his right knee. Clearly the kinetic chain on his right side is vulnerable to injury and San Francisco will do everything they can to insure he's healthy for the postseason. Monitor Gore's participation in practice and scale back your expectations.

Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno
The Denver backfield was spread thin in the team's win over the Chiefs. McGahee started the game but limped off the field with a strained hamstring and never returned. Moreno entered the game as his replacement but didn't fair much better. After four carries for 52 yards, Moreno was carted off the field with a knee injury. A MRI performed Monday revealed a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), sending the third-year back to the IR and ending his season. Moreno's past injury issues, coupled with the timing of the injury, will make it difficult for him to be ready for the start of the 2012 season.

In the meantime, Lance Ball will see an increase in his number of carries as he did in Week 10 when finished with 30 carries for 96 yards. McGahee has been cleared to return to practice and will remain the starter but faces an uphill battle to be 100 percent ready for Thursday's matchup against the Jets. It's clear the Broncos are committed to running the ball but expect them to spell McGahee with Ball and Jeremiah Johnson to insure his hamstring strain does not worsen.

Turf Burns

Matt Cassell: A significant hand injury could cost Cassell the remainder of the season. He was seen leaving the locker room with his index and middle fingers casted and the Chiefs are currently seeking out multiple opinions. Surgery remains an option.

Calvin Johnson: Johnson passed his concussion exam and isn't expected to miss Week 11 against the Panthers.

Darren McFadden: Run DMC did not practice Monday but is making progress in his rehab for a midfoot sprain. With Michael Bush running well, it's hard to imagine the Raiders will rush him back.

DeMarco Murray: Murray appeared to hurt his shoulder towards the end of the first half of Dallas' route of Buffalo. Fortunately his early trip to the locker room was purely precautionary and he should be good to go against the rival Redskins.

Cam Newton: Don't be alarmed by Newton appearing on the injury report just yet. His sore shoulder was healthy enough for the Carolina coaching staff to dial up 40 pass plays for the rookie quarterback. However should the pain linger and the Panthers continue to struggle, the team could elect to limit his throws down field to protect the future of their franchise.

Christian Ponder: X-rays on Ponder's non-throwing hand did not reveal a fracture and the Vikings should have the rookie under center against the Raiders.

LaDainian Tomlinson: LT suffered a medial collateral ligament (MCL) sprain in his left knee and will be pressed for time to be ready for Thursday. The MCL is critical in maintaining knee stability during lateral movements and any pain or instability would severely limit Tomlinson's mobility.

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