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Injury Analysis: Bell Gets Dinged Again

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.

Le'Veon Bell

The rookie running back isn't winning the trust of fantasy owners as he continues to display an inability to stay healthy. After missing the team's preseason opener with stiffness in his left knee, Bell limped off the field in his Pittsburgh debut. The Steelers are calling his latest malady a midfoot injury and have schedule a MRI to determine more information.

The midfoot is made up of five small bones that articulate with the long bones of the foot. These bones form the arch and are supported by numerous ligaments. The dreaded Lisfranc injury, that has recently hampered Maurice Jones-Drew, Darren McFadden and DeMarco Murray, occurs here and a fracture to the area would simply compound any ligament involvement.

The MRI will allow the Pittsburgh medical staff to clarify the severity of Bell's injury and will ultimately determine how long he will be sidelined. Fantasy owners should tread lightly here until that information is released.

Tom Brady

A negative MRI eased the fear that rippled through New England for Brady and his left knee. The Patriots quarterback was injured in a practice last week when an offensive lineman fell into his left leg, the same leg that required reconstructive surgery in 2008 following an ACL tear. Brady was removed from practice and immediately taken for further evaluation.

There have been questions as to why the former MVP wasn't wearing a brace at the time and the answer is simple. He didn't need one. ACL grafts undergo a process known as ligmentization in which the graft becomes a complete part of the knee. It displays the same biomechanical properties of the athlete's original ligament. The phenomenon is believed to occur approximately one year following surgery. Brady's left knee, five years removed from surgery, is no more at risk than his "good" right knee. Additionally Brady has put extra focus on the strengthening his legs to help reduce the possibility of a future knee injury.

With all this being said, Brady has begun wearing a brace on his left leg at the request of Patriots owners Robert Kraft. However there should be minimal concern about Brady, and he remains an elite quarterback option.

Arian Foster

Foster should continue to slip down draft boards as more information becomes available regarding his ailing back. An ailment that started as minor back soreness has evolved into an injury that recently required injections. The injections caused Foster some additional discomfort and pain into his lower extremities. These reports suggest that there are potential nerve issues, which would be a major red flag.

Nerve involvement is a serious concern because it can directly affect the strength and ability of any associated muscle. For a player like Foster with a history of hamstring and calf problems, this could be particularly problematic. Nerve tissue also takes a considerable amount of time to heal, meaning it is unlikely the problem resolves itself quickly.

The Texans are optimistic Foster will be ready for Week 1, but that is clearly no longer a certainty. Fantasy owners willing to invest in Foster should understand that this injury is likely to carry over beyond the start of the season and adding Ben Tate as a handcuff is a necessity. Tate isn't without injury concerns of his own but has shown he's capable of producing when given the chance.

TURF BURNS

Dez Bryant:
Bryant was seen wearing a heavy wrap on his right thumb, but Bryant and Cowboys are downplaying the injury. It's been called a "jammed thumb," meaning a contusion or mild sprain is possible.

Jamaal Charles:
The Chiefs running back continues to improve from a mild foot strain suffered early last week. However, it has not been determined if and when he will see any additional preseason action. He's expected to be fine for the team's Week 1 matchup against the Jaguars.

Victor Cruz:
Cruz is nursing a minor heel contusion, though it should not affect his chances of being ready for the start of the regular season. Expect him to be a limited participant in practice the next week or so before preparing to take on the rival Cowboys in Week 1.

Rob Gronkowski:
A decision regarding Gronkowski's placement on the PUP list should be made in the next week or so, providing good insight as to how his recovery from back surgery has progressed. He has yet to participate in football-related activity but by staying off the PUP he would be available to return prior to Week 6.

Dustin Keller:
The Dolphins lost Keller for the year after the tight end suffered a devastating knee injury. He tore his ACL, MCL and PCL in addition to dislocating his knee. He will need extensive surgery and his career could be in jeopardy.

Doug Martin:
Martin appears to have avoided a concussion after taking a knee to the head during a recent preseason game. He was removed from the game, and the team wisely limited his contact in the following days. However, he passed the necessary concussion exams and recently returned to practice. He remains a top pick in all formats.

Jordy Nelson:
Nelson's return from knee surgery has been a bit slower than expected but the receiver continues to target a Week 1 return. At the time of the surgery it was clear Nelson would be unable to participate in the preseason and extra time may be warranted to allow him to recover completely.

Washington quarterbacks:
The team still believes Robert Griffin III will be ready for Week 1 following offseason knee surgery to fix a torn ACL and PCL suffered in team's postseason loss to Seattle. The pressure to have RGIII ready may have increased a bit after backup quarterback Kirk Cousins left the team's preseason win over the Steelers with a midfoot sprain. Cousins was scheduled for a MRI and, like previously discussed with Bell, the results will determine how bad of an injury has occurred and just how long he will be sidelined.