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Why Rob Gronkowski Won't Do Much (If Anything) Sunday

Welcome to my Fantasy Football Expert Injury Analysis: Super Bowl Edition.  I know that the fantasy football season is over but since I recently was invited to join the Rotowire Team, I figured there was no better time to introduce myself than the week before Super Bowl XLVI. 

Just to give some quick background information, I am a Licensed Medical Doctor in which my area of focus is Sports Medicine.  Through my experiences as a team doctor and as a participant in fantasy football leagues over the years, I realized that there is a lack of information in regards to player injuries and the amount of time they will be out of a team's lineup and, most importantly, the amount of time until that specific player is effective again.  It's not enough to just be able to say this player did not participate in Wednesday's practice and will be a game time decision which we have all heard many times before.  Instead, it is having the knowledge about the type of injury and the typical course of recovery that allows me to anticipate and forecast whether this player is going to be able to play in the upcoming game and even if they do play, will they have any chance of being effective?

In the world of sports medicine, the majority of injuries can be determined by history and knowing the mechanism of injury....the actual physical exam and imaging studies usually serve to confirm what injury is already suspected or to help further evaluate the severity.  In the office or even on the sideline, much of the information has to just come from asking the athlete what happened....however this is not the case when viewing NFL games on TV as we now have so many different camera angles with high definition and slow-motion replay sitting right there for our viewing pleasure.

Success in your fantasy football league heavily relies on knowing the extent of player injuries and can ultimately be the difference between winning and losing each week.  While we all have become familiar with the secrecy involved in teams disclosing accurate injury information, I seek to provide my readers with a more complete understanding of the extent of the injury and allow them to make more educated decisions regarding player personnel moves.

You will be able to find information that will help you when selecting your team in the 2012 fantasy draft and after each week's games to determine which players you should be looking to add, drop, trade, or put in your starting lineup.

Last year, some key predictions I accurately made included that Darren McFadden was going to be out of the lineup for much longer than the 1-2 weeks the team had declared after sustaining a midfoot sprain and I encouraged DMC owners to "sell high" and try to obtain Michael Bush.  I predicted that Sam Bradford and Kevin Kolb's fantasy seasons were over after their sustained injuries and it was a safe play to find other options as there was no hope they could rebound in the second half of the season.  It also became obvious to me the moment that Jahvid Best left with another concussion that he would not be returning for the rest of the season despite both him and the team promising his return before season's end. 

So, what prediction do I have for you this week before the matchup between the Patriots and Giants?  I don't think it would be fair to write about anyone else other than the most dominating tight end in the NFL this season....Rob Gronkowski.

Advice: If Gronkowski was on my fantasy football team, I'd be placing him on the bench this week as he is very likely to post unimpressive stats. 

Gronkowski sustained a high ankle sprain which is an injury to the ligaments that connect the two bones of the lower leg–the tibia and fibula–together.  These injuries can occur due to forceful external rotation of the lower leg as was seen on the replay when Gronkowski sustained his injury and they require a longer healing period compared to your typical lateral ankle sprain.  While I do not have any insider knowledge regarding his medical care leading up to this game, the fact that he is still wearing a walking boot and there is talk that he will not even try to practice leading up to the game all raise red flags that he had considerable ligament and connective tissue damage to his ankle and make it very unlikely that come this Sunday he will be anything close to resembling the tight end that we saw catch a record-setting 17 TDs this season.  While plenty of news reports and injury updates make it appear that there is still a good chance that Gronkowski will be in the lineup, they fail to recognize that just because he is in the lineup doesn't mean he is going to be able to be effective.  While I could see him suiting up to play a role as a decoy to free up some of the other receivers or even try to get him the ball if they are in close on the goal line, there is little chance you will see him run any significant routes or catch any 20-30 yard passes that the Patriots have relied on all season.  In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if he tries to play and reaggravates his injury and goes missing for the rest of the game.  It appears inevitable that Coach Belichick will once again have to prove to all of us why he is considered a coaching genius as he will likely take the field this Sunday seeking to win Super Bowl XLVI with Rob Gronkowski only a shell of the tight end we've grown accustomed to seeing on a weekly basis. 

Enjoy the Super Bowl and if you are interested in more expert injury analysis, be sure to find my blogs here in the upcoming weeks. 

Additionally, you can follow me on my Twitter account @DoctorKenton.