The Tampa Bay facilities were recently treated after several players, including guard Carl Nicks and kicker Lawrence Tynes, were diagnosed with a specific type of staph infection known as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
A staph infection involves the Staphylococcus group of bacteria. These types of bacteria are common, with almost a third of the general population carrying some form of staph somewhere on their body, most frequently in the nose. Staph infections do not occur until the bacterium finds its way into an open sore or wound. The resulting infection is often minor but in some extreme cases can lead to high fever and other serious complications. Fortunately, a majority of staph infections are treatable with penicillin-type antibiotics. However, MRSA, the particular strain found in Tampa, does not respond to these medications and can be more problematic to manage and as a result more dangerous. Fortunately for those infected with MRSA, treatments still exist and often include draining and cleaning the area while receiving an antibiotic known as vancomycin.
Athletes are at an increased risk for developing a staph infection because the bacteria thrive in sweaty, damp places, making a locker room the perfect breeding ground. The NFL has had several teams manage MRSA outbreaks in recent years, including St. Louis in 2003 and Cleveland starting in 2006. In both cases the outbreaks led to building sanitization and a change in basic day-to-day hygiene procedures.
In the meantime, Nicks and Tynes will continue to receive treatment for their individual infections and will remain sidelined indefinitely. Like the two aforementioned teams, the Tampa Bay facility has now been thoroughly sanitized and as a result, the odds of another Buccaneers player contracting MRSA may actually be less than in other NFL locker rooms. Do not pass on a player like Doug Martin or Vincent Jackson out of fear for MRSA, as it is an infection easily avoided and still very treatable.
A.J. Green, Calvin Johnson
Seeing the top two wide receivers on the sidelines and listed on the injury report can be a bit alarming. My advice is take a deep breathe and do not panic. We've reached the point of preseason where the starters may see action for a drive or two but then spend the rest of the game as spectators. This occurs so teams can evaluate the talent toward the bottom of the roster as the final cut day approaches. It is also protects elite players from suffering more serious injuries or aggravating a minor issue that has developed in camp.
Both Green and Johnson have been diagnosed with knee contusions. Green is four weeks removed from the initial injury and looked fine in limited action Saturday. The third-year wideout finished with three catches for 42 yards and had a touchdown wiped out after he was ruled out of bounds. In Detroit, the man known as Megatron continues to see limited practice time due to his knee ailment. However, Johnson had lobbied hard to appear in Detroit's preseason win over New England before the team ultimately decided to hold him out. Given that he caught 122 passes for nearly 2,000 last season while managing a similar injury, it's safe to presume Johnson will ready Week 1.
Concussions are the hot topic in sport medicine. Numerous factors, including a wide range of symptoms, no uniform ranking system and varying responses to injury make concussions difficult to diagnosis and manage. However, the NFL has taken multiple steps to help prevent head injuries from occurring as well as protect players from returning to play too soon.
In Buffalo, Kolb is under the NFL's mandatory Concussion Protocol has he attempts to manage yet another concussion, one that could potentially end his career. Kolb has sustained multiple concussions throughout his career both with the Eagles and Cardinals. His latest head injury occurred in Buffalo's preseason game against Washington when he was kneed in the head by a defender. The Bills are well aware of his past and understand that the effects of multiple concussions are cumulative, meaning the effects from each head injury must be considered as a whole. The symptoms gradually become worse and last longer with each subsequent concussion. Kolb will be subjected to a variety of exams before he will be allowed to even exercise and his availability for the season is in serious jeopardy. With rookie EJ Manuel expected to be ready following a recent knee surgery and the recent addition of Matt Leinart, it appears Kolb will hold minimal fantasy value for the upcoming season. Instead, he will wisely spend his time recovering before he ultimately decides how he wants to proceed with his career.
Rashard Mendenhall: The often-injured running back couldn't make it through training camp without sustaining an injury. Mendenhall is nursing a right knee sprain after battling tendinitis in the same joint. The Cardinals are downplaying the injury, but Mendenhall remains a high-risk player entering the season.
Mark Sanchez: The Jets starting quarterback job remains up for grabs after Sanchez suffered a bruised right shoulder joint in the team's preseason loss to the Giants. The Jets have not established a timetable for his recovery but did admit he won't throw for the immediate future.
C.J. Spiller: Spiller gave fantasy owners a real scare but managed to avoid serious injury in Buffalo's recent preseason outing. After completing a two-yard touchdown run, Spiller grabbed his right knee and was helped off the field. It turns out Spiller received a laceration on his knee from another player's spikes. While he is away from the team handling a family matter, Spiller remains a top option in all formats.
Jonathan Stewart: After consulting with a foot specialist, Stewart will start the season on the PUP list and be out for the first six weeks of the season. Stewart is still recovering from surgery on his right ankle and has not played in a game since suffering the initial injury last November. His value is low but his absence makes DeAngelo Williams the true starter in the Carolina backfield.