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Injury Analysis: 2006 Weekly Injury Report

Stephania Bell

Stephania Bell writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

Condition Critical

By Stephania Bell, PT, MS, OCS, CSCS
Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

RotoWire Injury Expert

RotoWire Injury Page

Leinart Sidelined

Leinart injured his left (throwing) shoulder last week in the manner typical of most NFL quarterbacks; he landed on it while being sacked. This can result in either a shoulder separation or a rotator cuff injury. Fortunately, Leinart's MRI showed no significant structural damage which indicates the rotator cuff and the labrum are intact and that there were no fractures. So why was he getting a second opinion from renowned orthopedist Dr. James Andrews?

Leinart was originally diagnosed with an AC (acromioclavicular) joint sprain. I described this injury in Week 14 when the Vikings' Brooks Bollinger was sidelined. There's one big difference between the two however in Leinart's case, the injury is to his throwing arm. Most AC sprains are treated non-operatively, however in the case of a thrower, if the sprain is severe enough to alter his mechanics, surgery may be an option to help provide stability around the joint. Sensibly, Leinart was seeking a second opinion to confirm that his injury is a non-operative condition. If we were in the middle of the season, we could expect to see Leinart back within a few weeks. As it stands, we'll have to wait until next summer, but he should be ready to go at training camp, barring any unexpected setbacks.

Other News of Note

Giants defensive end Michael Strahan attempted to come back from his Lisfranc injury in last week's game against the Saints, but aggravated the injury in the second half. Strahan is now out for the season, what little is left of it, but fortunately won't need surgery. According to the Newark Star-Ledger Dr. Robert Anderson, the Panthers' assistant team physician, told Strahan that the bones in the Lisfranc joint have not separated and there's only a torn ligament, which will heal on its own. Strahan should be ready for the start of training camp in 2007.

Ronnie Brown, who is on the mend after surgery to stabilize his fractured left second metacarpal (joint at the base of the index finger), had no problem running the ball against the Jets Monday night, averaging over six yards per carry. Moreover, he demonstrated that his hands padding and all - were quite capable of catching the ball as he made three receptions for another 15 yards. Brown appeared to suffer no ill effects after the game and should be even further along this week. He faces the Colts' league-worst rushing defense this week.

Tom Brady has been dealing with a mysterious shoulder ailment all season, one for which there has never been an official diagnosis. Last Sunday, however, Brady was hit hard by a helmet on the back of the shoulder and was clearly in pain, at least for a few moments. Brady sat out the requisite play after an injury, then came in and threw a sharp middle distance pass completion as if to say, "Take that." This beautiful pass was followed several plays later by one that was way off the mark. Is there an injury there? Of note, Brady missed portions of team drills in practice this week, something he has not yet done during the regular season. In other words, even though the Patriots have listed Brady on the injury report (as probable) all season, his presence there this week may actually mean something. I anticipate that Brady will play, but if his shoulder begins to act up, there is little doubt that he will be pulled to rest him a bit before the playoffs.

Jake Delhomme is making progress with his sprained thumb. He has practiced twice this week and has been upgraded to probable for Sunday's game. His grip has improved, and he'll be wearing a glove for additional grip support, but whether it'll hold up to the rigors of a full game remains to be seen.

Maurice Jones-Drew returned to practice Thursday and is expected to play this weekend against the Chiefs. The big question is whether his hamstring will allow him to be at peak effectiveness. His teammate Fred Taylor has been steadily improving from his December hamstring injury and hopes to play this weekend in the Jaguars must-win game against the Chiefs. Taylor attempted to come back from this injury two weeks ago, but was forced out of the game early when it acted up. Taylor practiced Wednesday, and should be able to give it a go, barring a setback.

Article first appeared 12/29/06