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Injury Analysis: 2007 NFL Weekly Injury Report-Week 12

Will Carroll

Will Carroll writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

RotoWire Injury Report

Will Carroll
RotoWire Injury Expert

I guess we have to start with Marvin Harrison. I "green-lit" him just hours before the game and while he had the doctor's clearance to play, Tony Dungy elected to keep him off the field. One person I spoke with said that Dungy used the injury to send a message, that one game no matter the opponent wasn't more important than the team's long-term plan. Of course, that same source told me that the decision had been made early in the week that if Harrison was less than 100 percent, he wouldn't play. I have to take the bad with the good, so I'll admit that I flat out whiffed this one. The question now is can we learn anything from this? Of course. First, we know that the Colts are reluctant to bring Harrison back, so we'll need to see at least a couple normal days of practice from him before moving as strongly forward. With Anthony Gonzalez injured during the game, the team's lack of depth might push the Colts to force Harrison back, but this extreme reluctance to play him outstrips that potential. Is the injury more serious than we thought? No. There's still nothing to reports that this is career-threatening. Is this injury affecting Harrison's play more than we thought? Yes, that's clear.

Anthony Gonzalez's injury was as important in Sunday's loss for the Colts as Harrison's. Gonzalez had a hand injury early in the game, and after having it popped back in, he tried to play, but the area swelled, and he couldn't grip or block without limitation. Initially reported as a dislocated thumb (and treated on the sideline as if it were), there are reports that there's a fracture. I couldn't get information either way, so this is definitely something to watch out for. Dallas Clark was neutralized by the nickel package, so Aaron Moorehead becomes a possible play if both Harrison and Gonzalez are out for the Chargers game, though the Bolts don't have the defense that the Pats do, as Adrian Peterson showed. (Yeah, he's good.)

370 - are you doubting now? Larry Johnson suffered a mid-foot injury, most likely a sprain, though the official diagnosis isn't out yet. Much like Shaun Alexander last year (coming off a 370-plus-carry season), Johnson has struggled and now finds himself injured. Even skipping much of training camp hasn't helped Johnson. At this stage, it appears he's at the very least out for this week's division game against the Broncos, but it could be more, making the trade of Michael Bennett a bit tougher. If Johnson is unable to go, that will push Priest Holmes into the feature role, one he's showing that he's ill equipped for at this stage. (Rookie Kolby Smith will also get his share of looks). Without a reliable running attack, Damon Huard is going to see more coverage. The Chiefs also had Dwayne Bowe hobbled by a hamstring strain. The Chiefs are keeping this one very hush-hush, so we'll need to wait for the practice reports before getting a better read on Bowe's availability and functionality.

Speaking of 370, it seems even in Year 2, the curse might still be gnawing at Shaun Alexander. Alexander has been playing all year with a cast on his wrist, something that hasn't affected his play significantly. The same can't be said for his leg, where he's had both a mild knee sprain and a sprained ankle. Bilateral leg problems? Yeah, that's not good for a running back. Alexander's injuries aren't enough to keep him off the field, but with Matt Hasselbeck getting his weapons back in D.J. Hackett, Deion Branch and the much-targeted Bobby Engram, Mike Holmgren now has some options when Alexander's ineffective. It's important to note that with Walter Jones banged up, the running game takes the bigger hit than the passing game, surprising for a left tackle injury.

Jay Cutler doesn't have a broken leg. That's the good news. The bad news is that it's a severe bruise, near his ankle. An MRI showed that there was no break in the bone, but Cutler looks unlikely to play this weekend. There's still time for him to recover, but with this type of injury, the normal course is about two weeks before anything more than weight-bearing is comfortable. While Cutler isn't reliant on his mobility, it would surprise me if Mike Shanahan pushed Cutler back out there before he was a lot closer to 100 percent. Bruises heal quickly and cleanly, so Cutler should have no effects once he's able to get bast the discoloration and significant discomfort.

The Bills have at least another week of J.P. Losman at the controls. The team has sounded more and more cautious regarding the wrist injury to Trent Edwards, going as far as making him inactive last week. While the swelling is gone from his sprained wrist, the Bills appear to be conservative in relation to their record. Edwards established himself as the QB of the future, so there's no real need to rush him back out there. Pairing Edwards with Marshawn Lynch, the Bills have to be happy about their 2007 draft. Edwards' wrist isn't a long term concern; it's merely one of those injuries that's enough to keep him out of the lineup for now.

QBs and concussions go together like Slash and Guitar Hero III, except much less fun. David Carr and Tarvaris Jackson both took the nap this week, with Jackson's being the more serious of the two. I'm sure you've seen the replays of Jackson laying on the turf, his arm's locked out in front of him and his body rigid. Sources tell me that Jackson was fully unconscious for over three minutes and that he "was knocked goofy a lot longer." Jackson's undergone tests this week and is below his baseline, though the Vikings said he was close to being cleared to play. If he's cleared, he will start, which is pretty astounding. The concussion David Carr took didn't appear as serious, but the Panthers are keeping their info a bit closer to the vest. With Vinny Testaverde still hobbled by an Achilles problem, the practice reports will tell us a lot about how the Panthers are going to play on Sunday.

It looked bad at first, but Chad Johnson came away with only a strained neck. That was great news after watching him take a vicious hit while fully extended, then being carted off the field. The NFL and it's medical personnel do a phenomenal job with spinal injuries, something they should take to school as they continue to struggle with concussions and head injuries. When the NFL decides to do something right, they normally do so. Johnson was sore on Monday, but expects to be ready for practice this week. The Bengals are planning on him playing, though we'll need to watch the practice reports to make sure that he's not slowed some by the injury. Johnson's not the type to get gunshy after an injury, so if he's on the field, you'll want him on your roster.

Bumps and Bruises: Here's something interesting I saw Sunday. In between plays and during timeouts, Dante Stallworth did a series of hamstring stretches and never stood still. I'm not sure if this is new, but it could be one of the reasons he's healthy so far. Interesting to note if nothing else ... Ahman Green once again had his knee flare up without notice. He's a risky play for the rest of the season or career, whichever comes first ... If Chris Brown can play this week, Chris Henry will start serving his suspension so he can get back for the playoff push ... Andre Johnson will be back from his PCL sprain when the Texans return to the field. Matt Schaub isn't so clear ... Todd Heap made "no progress" this week with his quad strain ... Laveranues Coles has been cleared to practice, but not to play, while recovering from a concussion. Game clearance is expected later this week.

Article first appeared 11/6/07