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Injury Analysis: NFL Injury Analysis

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.

Injuries are mounting as the NFL season progresses and once again Brett Favre and the Vikings are at the forefront of the list.

Favre has already appeared on the injury report with elbow tendinitis, two fractures in his surgically repaired ankle, and a chin laceration. Now it's the veteran's shoulder that is a cause for concern as he has been experiencing soreness in his throwing arm. Both the Vikings and Favre have tried to downplay the ailment, saying he will not undergo a MRI. However the quarterback did admit he plans on contacting renowned orthopedist Dr. James Andrews to discuss the injury. Dr. Andrews performed surgery on the shoulder in 2008 to repair a torn biceps tendon suffered while Favre was with the Jets.

The biceps is a two-headed muscle; meaning two conjoined bundles of muscle fibers make up the muscle. It has a long and short head that both attach to various spots in the shoulder. The tendon of the long head (the tendon Favre previously tore) actually passes through and into the joint capsule of the glenohumeral joint. Here the biceps is vulnerable to large amounts of force during throwing and can easily be injured resulting in shoulder pain. Several ailments including biceps tendinitis and bursitis can develop in this area; producing symptoms similar to the ones Favre's is currently experiencing. Favre believes the injury is minor and should not keep him from the field in Week 11 when the Packers visit Minnesota. However as the Vikings continue to play poorly and the injuries continue to pile up, Favre has become an inconsistent and unreliable fantasy weapon.

Favre's top weapon, Percy Harvin, continues to deal with a multitude of injuries as well. After missing the majority of practice last week dealing with migraine headaches, Harvin suited up on Sunday only to aggravate a sprained left ankle. Harvin's situation will be one to closely monitor throughout the week. He has played well despite the migraines and ankle problems and will only benefit from the impending return of Sidney Rice. Rice has yet to be activated from the PUP after undergoing surgery prior to the start of the season but has returned to practice. Another component of the Minnesota receiving corps is nicked up, as veteran Bernard Berrian was a surprise scratch on Sunday with a strained groin. The issue remains cloudy but it seems as though Berrian tweaked the strain at some point during pregame warm-ups. Groin strains can be detrimental to receivers, limiting their ability to accelerate as well as their ability to move laterally. Bottom line, the injuries negatively impact the value of each individual receiver and Favre. Greg Lewis and Greg Camarillo are the primary beneficiaries, but remain risky fantasy plays in Week 11.

The only situation more dismal than the Vikings receiving group is the Miami quarterback issue. The Dolphins lost both their number one and number two quarterbacks against the Titans on Sunday and were forced to resort to Tyler Thigpen and a steady dose of the Wildcat. Starter Chad Pennington saw his NFL return last two plays before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury. Pennington's shoulder dislocated and, despite teammate Ronnie Brown's best efforts, would not relocate. The shoulder injury is Pennington's second in the past two seasons and the fourth major injury of his career. He was placed on injured reserve on Monday. Chad Henne, the man Pennington replaced, was also injured in the game. Henne suffered a dislocated knee and is considered day-to-day. For the Dolphins to hint that Henee may be ready for Thursday's contest against the Bears likely means the patella was merely subluxed, or partially dislocated. However a subluxation is still a significant injury resulting in pain and often associated connective tissue damage. It is hard to imagine Henne would be effective against an aggressive Bears defense, particularly since Miami has a short week of preparation. Tyler Thigpen will likely get the start with recently signed Patrick Ramsey serving as the backup.

New York Giants receiver Steven Smith will be sidelined at least until December with a partially torn pectoral muscle suffered in practice. The pectoralis major and minor are located in the upper portion of the chest. The pectoralis major is located on top of the pectoralis minor and fans out with attachments on the sternum, rib cage, and humerus. It helps to flex and extend the upper arm while also pulling the arm toward the body. Pec major also plays a part in rotating the arm. The pectoralis minor is a shoulder stabilizer and helps draw the shoulder blade down and in to dip the shoulder. A tear to either muscle would greatly affect a receiver's ability to reach out for a pass and engage with a defender while blocking. Breakout star Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham will see an increase in targets with rookie Duke Calhoun taking over for an injured Ramses Barden. Barden suffered a medial ankle injury while filling in for Smith in Week 10 against the Cowboys. Barden injured his deltoid ligament and suffered a fracture, likely an avulsion fracture, while attempting a catch in the end zone.

Titans quarterback Vince Young is set to start for the Titans despite a gimpy ankle. Veteran Kerry Collins entered Week 10 as the starter but left prematurely with a calf strain that will sideline him for the next several weeks. Young took over, finishing with nine completions on 18 attempts for 92 yards and an interception. He had hoped to get an extra week off to let his sprained left ankle heal. Coach Jeff Fisher expects Young to participate in practice this week in preparation for the team's Week 11 contest against the Redskins. The ankle could affect Young's mobility and may cause problems when he plants his lead leg to throw. However after watching Michael Vick and the Eagles shred the Washington secondary on Monday night, fantasy owners will hope Young can shake off the rust and quickly build a connection with newest Titan Randy Moss. Moss was less than impressive in his Tennessee debut, catching one pass for 26 yards.

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