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Injury Analysis: Injury Updates

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.

Thursday games are great for football fans, allowing ravenous fans to feed their appetite between Sundays. Unfortunately they can be a detriment to fantasy owners as NFL players injured on Sunday have fewer days to recuperate. Players that suffer concussions during the weekend will be less likely to be available by Thursday and
minor injuries that wouldn't normally cause an athlete to miss a game can become a bigger issue. The Ravens and the Falcons play the first Thursday game of the season and are already giving fantasy owners headaches.

Atlanta wide receiver Roddy White suffered a knee injury in his team's Week 9 win over Tampa Bay. He attempted to return on two different occasions but hobbled back to the sidelines. The team remains tight-lipped on the specifics but White has stated he attempted to return to action after trying several varieties of knee braces and tape jobs. While he only caught four balls for 49 yards against the Buccaneers, White has been adamant about his availability and has vowed to play. It sounds like he suffered a minor knee sprain and should be ready to play despite the short rest.

Giants wideout Hakeem Nicks is nursing a sprain of his own after rolling his ankle in New York's blowout win over Seattle. Nicks hauled in six catches for 128 yards and a touchdown before he suffered a lateral ankle sprain that sidelined him for the entire fourth quarter. Lateral ankle sprains are the most common type of ankle sprains. They generally result when excessive force causes the foot to bend inward applying extreme stress to the lateral ligaments. Fortunately the sprain sounds minor, meaning the ligaments were overstretched but not torn. The breakout wide receiver should be available when the Giants face a Cowboys defense that has been shredded by opposing passing attacks. Nicks torched Dallas for nine catches, 108 yards, and two touchdowns in Week 7.

Indianapolis' Austin Collie luckily walked away from a scary collision on Sunday with just a concussion. After taking a helmet-to-helmet hit, Collie laid motionless on the field, his upper extremities rigid. The rigidity is known as abnormal posturing and is a neurological motor response resulting from a head injury. Detroit's Jahvid Best suffered the most well-known display of abnormal posturing while at Cal when he fell to the ground after leaping into the endzone. Fortunately Collie was able to travel home with his team and his symptoms continue to subside. His availability for Week 10 remains very unlikely and could mean an increase in snaps for Blair White. Indy quarterback Peyton Manning remains a must-start but his productivity could take a dip with Collie sidelined and Dallas Clark and Anthony Gonzalez on the injured reserve.

Carolina rookie Jimmy Clausen will take over the starting quarterback duties after Matt Moore was placed on the injured reserve. Moore suffered a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder and will need surgery to repair the damage. The shoulder's primary articulation is the glenohumeral joint and is classified as a ball-and-socket joint. The head of the humerus acts as the ball and rests in the glenoid fossa of the scapula. The humerus is able to rotate on the glenoid fossa allowing for a large range of motion in the shoulder. A fibrocartilaginous ring that deepens the fossa, known as the labrum, enhances the stability of the joint. A tear can develop in the labrum if the humeral head is forcibly jarred like when crashing into a wall or, like in the case of Moore, driven into the ground by a defender. A torn labrum is painful and must be surgically repaired to insure it does not result in chronic instability. The exact procedure required depends on the pattern and severity of the tear.

Clausen's numbers do not instill confidence. In six appearances this season, he has thrown four interceptions to just one touchdown and has fumbled the ball seven times. Receiver Steve Smith's value also takes a hit.

Matthew Stafford is once again dealing with a shoulder injury. Stafford exited late in the fourth quarter of the Lions overtime loss to the Jets after hurting his right shoulder for the second time this season. Stafford suffered an injury to his acromioclavicular (AC) joint in Week 1 and missed Detroit's next five games. The most recent injury is to the same joint but early reports suggest it is more severe. If the AC joint is indeed a Grade III separation as is being reported, than significant ligament damage has occurred. The shoulder will be unstable and could require surgery to repair. Coach Jim Schwartz refused to provide any information on the results of the MRI but fantasy owners would be wise to move on from Stafford. The former number one overall pick has played in just 11 of 24 games since joining the league with a variety of ailments to both shoulders and his knee. Shaun Hill could get the start if his fractured forearm is healed. If not, Drew Stanton would take the snap when the Lions head to Buffalo to take on the Bills.

New Orleans' Jeremy Shockey was taken to the hospital as a precautionary move after taking a hit in the back following a touchdown reception against the Panthers. X-rays taken on his injured rib cage were negative and coach Sean Payton said the tight end suffered a contused rib at the base of the ribcage. The Saints medical staff was worried Shockey had suffered an internal injury but fortunately he avoided any serious damage. Look for Shockey to rest throughout the bye week and be able to play when the Saints return to action in Week 11 against the Seahawks.

The bye week seems to have helped Washington's backfield as both Clinton Portis and Ryan Torain returned to practice and could be available against the Eagles. Torain is recovering from a hamstring strain while Portis is returning from a groin tear. Head coach Mike Shanahan has yet to disclose who will be available and how he will utilize the two. However Torain has shown the most upside and remains the safest play.

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