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Injury Analysis: 2007 NFL Weekly Injury Report-Week 13

Will Carroll

Will Carroll writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

RotoWire Injury Report

Will Carroll
RotoWire Injury Expert

That's how fast things can change in the NFL: Record breaker one week and broken the next. Adrian Peterson lying on the turf was certainly one of those sights that had to stop the heart of his fantasy owners or those that just love the game. Seeing any young, talented player felled by injury hurts the game. Peterson got a little lucky, with a near-complete tear of his lateral collateral ligament. This is one of the tougher ones to tear due to its location and the mechanism of injury. We all saw Peterson take the hit on the inside of his thigh, which created just enough force to overstress and tear the ligament. The knee isn't significantly swollen despite the injury and, even better, is relatively stable. While the ligament won't heal overnight, with bracing and treatment, Peterson should only miss a couple weeks. The Vikings are saying one game, which seems a bit optimistic but possible. There's some worry about Peterson's healing - he's been slow in college, but he's always had
bone injuries, so it's tougher to make a
1-to-1 comparison.

The Colts may have lost for a second week in a row, perhaps in the most painful, team-rending fashion, but, to make things worse, the team is dealing with serious injuries to some of its most important players. The latest is Dwight Freeney, who went down after a spin move on the wet turf. He immediately hobbled off and wasn't able to put weight on the injury. The foot swelled up so much so fast that he had to be carted off. The Colts are refusing to list any sort of diagnosis, but there's been some whispers about a Lisfranc injury with comparisons to the one suffered by Michael Strahan. It's just speculation, but the signing of Simeon Rice gives some indication that this could be a longer-term situation, most likely reaching into December. The Colts also hope to have Marvin Harrison back this week, assuming he practices as expected, but are wondering about Ryan Diem and Tony Ugoh, as well as backup Charlie Johnson. All three tackles are in question, with Diem's knee injury the worst of the bunch. The team will push Ugoh back from his neck injury if at all possible, but the line will be taxed against a strong Chiefs pass rush. Look for Peyton Manning to make more short passes, a situation that could continue to make TE Bryan Fletcher a good option.

Both of the big injured Seahawks took Monday's windy night off due to injuries and the opponent. No team will ever say it, but they do look at the schedule when deciding who will play. "If it were a playoff game," is the normal refrain, one we heard regarding Shaun Alexander. Getting a week off to heal his multiple injuries should help some, but is it enough? That remains to be seen, and with Mo Morris solid, the team could elect to give Alexander another week off with the physical Bears D coming in. The passing game has really stepped up in Alexander's absence even without Deion Branch. Branch was held out in much the same fashion, hoping that one more week gets him to 100 percent and ready to be productive for the full playoff run. Branch is more likely to be in next week, though the play of D.J. Hackett and Bobby Engram gives the Seahawks the option of buying him more rest.

The Saints would probably rather not have medical reports come from a player's stepfather, but that's the case with Reggie Bush and his concussion. See, it's hard for teams to side-step the concussion "policy" by giving it some other name when the press has already heard that Bush was still dizzy after the game. The "policy" had its one shining moment with Trent Green, but I'm beginning to think that the situation was far more a coach, Cam Cameron, that truly cared about his player rather than any written rule. Bush's status will be determined mid-week, but don't expect to hear the word concussion used by the team. Bush was knocked unconscious during the game and returned, an occurrence that is less exception to the rule than complete disregard for it. is finally catching up with what I wrote about in Pro Football Prospectus 2007, and it's good not to be the only voice out there. Simply put, the NFL needs to have independent doctors on the sidelines making the determination on who can play and who can't rather than relying on a team's own doctor.

As bad as the Adrian Peterson injury was and as well as Peterson has played, Marshawn Lynch hasn't gotten the attention he deserves on either front. Being the second-best rookie RB is no boobie prize; Lynch has looked great for a Bills team that hasn't. An ankle sprain was something Lynch could have done without, but his strength and flexibility seem to have saved him from too significant an injury. While he had an MRI on Monday, results weren't made public. Lynch indicated to the press that he felt he would play on Sunday, so the MRI sounds like it came back as expected. Watch practice reports to make sure that Lynch isn't limited, but it sounds like he'll be ready.

There's still no definitive diagnosis on Larry Johnson, though he's told people that there's a "crack" in his foot. Sources tell me the team believes Johnson dislocated a bone in his foot, but that it popped back in on its own. The question now is why the foot remains so swollen and whether (or how much) ligament damage occurred in that process. While there's been some progress - calling it "significant" might be a stretch - Johnson remains out for the foreseeable future. Until we get more information, we'll have to assume this is a week-to-week process. In the meantime, Priest Holmes and Kolby Smith will split carries, though I cringe to think about Holmes taking a Bob Sanders hit on the hard Indy turf next week.

The Jags wanted to get one effective week out of Quinn Gray to buy time for David Garrard's high ankle sprain. They got it with an impressive win over division rival Tennessee. Now, the ball goes back into Garrard's hands, though they'll rely less on his arm. Knowing that Garrard's mobility predicates much of his passing accumen, the Jags figure to play more the style of game that they did the past couple weeks - a limited, low-risk passing attack (especially considering they'll play the same Chargers D that just made Peyton Manning look terrible) and plenty of running. Garrard's not a great fantasy option until the ankle gets another couple weeks of healing, and his mobility returns. You'll know, and it's better to be a week too late than a week too early in playing him.

The Bears are waiting to see how a couple days of rest and treatment affect the left (non-throwing) shoulder of Brian Griese. The shoulder was sprained during Sunday's game, and many think that the injury opens the door for Rex Grossman to re-take the starting role. That remains to be seen, given the terrible play of Grossman during the early part of the season. Griese should be able to practice, but the off shoulder is significant to the throwing process, not to mention the pain tolerance he'll need assuming he'll be taking hits on nearly every play. It's a tossup here, so watch to see who's getting the snaps in practice this week if you're thinking of using either of these guys as your QB.

I've said before that the worst possible outcome is to get a player back on the field only to see him reinjured and starting the process all over again. A couple teams saw that this week, one for the second time. Eddie Kennison left a few weeks ago after less than a quarter due to a hamstring strain. Back again, he didn't make it through the game, again heading back to the training room with a recurrent strain that is vexing the Chiefs. He's definitely going to miss time and is reportedly very frustrated with being sent back out. Todd Heap also left the game, though the move was said to be more of a precaution when it tightened up rather than a re-injury. It remains to be seen whether Todd Heap (hamstring) will practice this week, but have your backup options ready in case this is more time lost for the Ravens TE.

At least Rudi Johnson didn't have to leave the game. His hamstring was, however, a significant limiter for his play. Johnson has no explosion right now and according to sources, he is still "running scared," worried about the very real problem of re-injury. It's tough for Johnson to heal and regain his game while having to play each week, but as he gets further away from the injury in time, he's reducing the re-injury risk. It's probably too much to expect Johnson to regain his first-round form this season, but it's possible, even probable, that you'll see improvement over the next few weeks. He's not the worst buy-low candidate out there, though you need a bit of desperation to make that kind of move.

Steven Jackson is going to play through the bulging disk in his back. Sound painful? It is, though he's surely getting treatment and painkillers. The Rams will continue to use him, knowing he takes pressure off Marc Bulger and after last week, it's clear they're a far better team with him in the lineup. A decision will be made sometime after the season on surgery, though even in that scenario, it shouldn't affect Jackson significantly either this season or early next. Jackson will continue to be on a play count and to be used more heavily in the first half.

Kevin Jones left Sunday's game a few times with soreness in his surgically repaired foot. Paired with his difficulty running, this has to send up all sorts of red flags. Jones has been effective since returning, but this combination of pain and ineffectiveness is very concerning. There's not much to work off here in the way of comparable injuries. Most Lisfranc players have come back relatively cleanly with the most notable example being Brian Westbrook. Westbrook has had plenty of injuries, but nothing with his foot. Keep an eye on practice reports to see just how significant the problem is for Jones.

Bumps and Bruises: The Texans expect Matt Schaub, Ahman Green, and Andre Johnson to be in the starting lineup this week ... After laying on the ground after a hit, Brett Favre never saw a trainer or doctor. "I spoke to him right after the play and told him to go look in his eyes to see if he was OK," head coach Mike McCarthy said. "But he said he was fine." Good to see that the Packers are taking concussions seriously. Favre was reportedly "woozy" after the game .... DeShaun Foster left Sunday with an injured toe. There's not much more info at this point, so watch practice reports and upgrade DeAngelo Williams slightly ... Isaac Bruce re-injured his hamstring this week and is likely to be out for the next game and possibly beyond ... Calvin Johnson's back is acting up again ... Looks like Steve McNair's shoulder will push him aside. It's a good enough reason for Brian Billick to make the switch to Kyle Boller that's needed ... The Jags' Josh Scobee could be back for this week's game, if you're looking for a kicker ...

Article first appeared 11/13/07