With Knowshon Moreno taking his talents to South Beach, Ball has emerged as the top running back option in Denver's potent offensive attack. However Ball suffered a minor setback recently after having his appendix removed Monday. The appendix is a tube-like organ that comes off a portion of the colon known as the cecum, near the junction of the small and large intestine. The function of the appendix is often debated though the majority believes it is a vestigial organ and has no defined use. Regardless of its function, the appendix remains vulnerable to inflammation. If the inflammation becomes severe enough, doctors will remove the organ in an appendectomy.
The invasiveness of the procedure has been reduced with advancements in modern medicine. Previously a large incision was needed to allow the doctor access to the inflamed appendix. However now the procedure is predominantly performed laparoscopically. In a laparoscopic appendectomy all incisions are small and a majority of the muscle tissue is left intact. A tiny scope and surgical tools are then inserted to excise the appendix and treat any resulting infection. The rate of recovery following a laparoscopic appendectomy is much quicker than previous techniques. Multiple players have bounced back swiftly from the operation including Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger who returned 10 days after the operation.
Another factor working in Ball's favor is the issue was addressed before the appendix ruptured, minimizing the associated amount of infection. Ball appears likely to miss at least two weeks but his overall ranking should remain largely intact. Fantasy owners scheduled to draft over the next few weeks may want to hedge their bet and select Ronnie Hillman just in case an unforeseen setback in Ball's recovery occurs.
Just two years after being drafted, Wilson's professional football career has sadly ended. Wilson was placed on the injured reserve by the Giants days after suffering a stinger during camp. After meeting with team physicians, it was determined that the safest plan of action to insure a high quality of life was for Wilson to walk away from the game. Wilson suffered a cervical disc injury last season and ultimately underwent a spinal fusion to fix the area. However it has also been determined that he is suffering from cervical spinal stenosis. Stenosis occurs when the spinal column is narrower than normal, limiting the available space for the spinal cord. Individuals that suffer from stenosis are more prone to significant spine injuries. Stenosis has altered the careers of multiple football players including Cowboys receiver Michael Irvin and the third Manning brother, Cooper. The unfortunate situation pushes Rashad Jennings back atop the Giants depth chart. Andre Williams remains Jennings' biggest threat after a solid performance in the team's first preseason game.
Drew Brees: The Saints quarterback is nursing a minor oblique strain and is considered day-to-day. Even though the injury is not severe, it is a bit disheartening to hear Brees dealing with this sort of injury, particularly after his recent spread in Sports Illustrated. In a detailed article, Brees walked readers through his offseason workout that emphasized core strength. Brees even went as far to say, "You don't throw with your arm, you throw with your core." He should be fine but keep a close eye on the situation to see if it limits him at all.
Michael Crabtree: The 49ers receiver is dealing with an undisclosed injury though it has been suggested it is a left hamstring. The injury is expected to keep off him the field for at least the next two weeks. While it is an unfortunate setback for Crabtree, it could have been much worse if the left hamstring reports are accurate. The hamstring and the calf work closely together and his current injury is opposite his surgically repaired Achilles. Look for San Francisco to handle the situation delicately to avoid any potential carry over.
Steven Jackson: The often-injured running back couldn't even make it through camp with a clean bill of health. Jackson left practice last week with a right hamstring issue. Jackson has a laundry list of lower leg issues, including a left hamstring strain that sidelined him four games during the 2013 season. He was already a risky investment with his age, previous history, and career workload but another injury only amplifies things. Let someone else deal with the headache.
Julio Jones: While Jackson hasn't done anything to endure himself to fantasy owners, his teammate Jones has dazzled in Falcons camp, showing no signs of being limited by his surgically repaired foot. Jones has twice fractured the fifth metatarsal in his right foot but is hoping to bounce back yet again. He appears to have help this time around, working with Under Armour to develop a specially designed cleat. The risk for reinjury for this type of fracture remains high but the protective equipment should help. I am still a bit leery but his performance and the cleats have me moving him up the draft board a hair.
Tony Romo: The Cowboys continue to handle Romo's return to the field conservatively. The team has limited his reps in training camp and provided him ample rest to insure his surgically repaired back is able to withstand the rigors of the regular season. He will not play in Dallas' first preseason outing against the Ravens or in the final preseason game before the start of the regular season. Romo remains a fantasy friendly option that comes with a reasonable amount of risk.
Reggie Wayne: Like Jones in Atlanta, Wayne has impressed with his level of play in training camp and has answered questions about his health coming off a season-ending injury. Wayne tore his anterior crucitate ligament (ACL) in Week 7 of the 2013 campaign but spent the offseason aggressively attacking rehab. Reports indicate the approach worked and Wayne has looked crisp running routes and making cuts. The Colts remain cautiously optimistic and will limit his reps throughout camp, including holding him out of the preseason opener. Fantasy owners should take a similar approach and remain patient when selecting the veteran.