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Injury Analysis: 2007 NFL Injury Report-Week 9

Will Carroll

Will Carroll writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

RotoWire Injury Report

Will Carroll
RotoWire Injury Expert

If reports are true that Trent Green is going to retire, I'm glad. If the reports are also true that Cam Cameron wasn't going to let Green come back anyway, I would have been glad with that, too. While the jury remains out on Cameron's coaching ability (at least in the head role), the decision is in on his integrity. Green was a 37-year-old QB with nothing to prove and everything to lose, including his future. He's accomplished more than most thought possible and cashed big checks for a while. For a younger player, it's not that easy. Look at how many times Dan Morgan has come back, just as an example. If I had more time and space, I'd tie this in to the issue of ex-player pensions and health care, but that will have to be a future column. For now, I'm happy that the right thing is happening and hope that this will become very literally the rule rather than the exception. Except I just found out that Green is back at practice. Now there's a buzzkill, which brings me back to the idea of this being a rule. Let's get to the rest of the injuries:

Vince Young left Sunday's game with what is being listed as a quad strain. Several sources called me and recalled the Donovan McNabb play from last year after seeing it, but McNabb blew out his ACL. No one thinks that Young has anything that serious, though his limp didn't appear to be a quad-style limp. I wouldn't be surprised if there was some knee involvement, something simple like a low-grade sprain or meniscal tear. Early indications are that Young should be able to play, though you'd expect the team to be very conservative with him. If you have him, Kerry Collins becomes a must-have handcuff. The Titans passing game took another hit when Brandon Jones, troubled coming into the week, had his knee scoped. The problem was corrected, and he's expected to miss two or three games while it heals. That opens up some opportunities for the rest of the WRs, a mix of guys who haven't really stepped up as yet.

Kurt Warner is apparently on the same health plan as Jon Kitna. We'll see if he gets the same results. Warner tore at least one structure in his non-throwing elbow early in Sunday, which resulted in Tim Rattay, the second most unlikely QB we saw this weekend, coming into the game. The problem going forward for Warner is whether he can grip the ball - as in hold on to it when hit or taking it from center. He's definitely out for this week, waiting for a miracle cure or for Tim Hasselbeck to sign with the team. There's nothing I have that gives any indication on which way this should go. In the meantime, Edgerrin James will need to take more touches, but he'll also see more men in the box.

J.P. Losman is, according to both sources and observers, healthy enough to play. That should be the end of the road for me with an injury column, but since this is also a fantasy column, I get to talk more about whether or not Losman should take his job back from Trent Edwards. For all the talk about "not losing a job to injury," the real discussion should be about talent and which player gives the team the best chance to win. At this stage, I'm not sure, and it sounds as if Dick Jauron isn't sure either. As I said a couple weeks ago in my Sunday morning SI column, Edwards wasn't going to be a significant downgrade, something that should be a fantasy lesson. Sure, there are superstars that simply can't be replaced, but it's a very small universe. Joseph Addai was a consensus first rounder, but you could have had Kenton Keith in Week 5 and come out just fine. As more teams become "systems" rather than collections of talent, don't be scared to plug in someone playing in a good system.

Marc Bulger thinks he's healed up. We'll see if the Rams agree. Sources told me the team was looking to keep Bulger out until Steven Jackson was ready to return. That plan might have changed because Jackson's groin has been slower than expected to heal (or, more correctly, worse than initially thought), and with Bulger's public pronouncement, the Rams are going to have a harder time keeping him out. Theoretically, he could have played through this, but with the Rams going nowhere and having no other weapons, they were happy to have Gus Frerotte taking the hits. If Bulger takes the first team snaps this week, he'll start. It's as simple as that.

"It was close." That's about as much information as we're ever going to get out of Bill Belichick. That Laurence Maroney was close after a very literal game-time decision tells us that he's going to be even closer come next week. He'll need to be or else the running load falls to Kevin Faulk. Against Miami, that might work, but against Washington and then Indianapolis, Maroney is more likely to be needed, especially with Sammy Morris suffering a chest injury. Maroney's leg continues to heal, so watch for practice reports. The injury to Morris is a bit more complicated. He was fallen on by a teammate after a tackle, a time when players relax and aren't ready for 300-plus pounds of force hitting them. The Pats aren't letting much info out so this could be anything from a bruise to broken ribs. Once again, we'll need to see whether Morris is at practice by the end of the week.

Fred Taylor has been pretty healthy since splitting carries with Maurice Jones-Drew, but this past Sunday Taylor's groin "locked up." Sounds serious, but is it? Sources are saying that what Taylor is describing matches more with a cramping than a significant strain. That could mean that he's back more quickly than many expect, and that matches with what we're hearing out of Jacksonville. We'll know a lot more once practice starts up this week. If Taylor is limited - and expect him to lose carries the next few games - then Jones-Drew and even Greg Jones will pick up some carries.

Rudi Johnson didn't play much on Sunday, but he also didn't re-injure his hamstring. Since the Bengals defense can't seem to do much of anything, the focus might have to shift to a 2006 Colts-style outscoring offense. Johnson didn't seem to have much explosion, though that could be anything from residual soreness to a lack of confidence in the leg. We'll be watching to see how Johnson practices this week, though there's some expectation of the team being conservative with him both in practice and in next week's game.

David Carr was in such spasm on Sunday that he couldn't bend over to take the snap. Since shifting the playbook to shotgun wasn't an option, Vinny Testaverde was. The Panthers have a bye week, so we'll assume that Carr's spasms can be controlled with rest and treatment over the next two weeks. Testaverde didn't play badly, considering that one of the few people he was introduced to was Steve Smith. ("Hi, this is your best receiver!" Someone should do that for Carr and Smith.) Even with a shortened playbook, Testaverde seemed to have a better time staying upright. Ron Jaworski argued last year that the QB, not the line, was more important in assessing sack totals. The more I see of David Carr, the more I think Jaws is right.

Alex Smith told the Sacramento Bee that his arm was at "90% strength." That's pretty specific, though I'm always uncomfortable taking players at their word. Smith has made a lot of progress in a couple weeks and looks to be in line for the start if he proves in practice this week that he has the arm strength back. The concern then is that the ligaments have healed enough to make him ready to take the hits. The recurrence risk for a high-grade separation like Smith had is very high, especially given how many hits he's taken this year. You don't have to look at advanced stats like this to know that the Niners line is a problem.

The Colts are not only are coming off bye, they're prepping on an MNF schedule. That will delay seeing the pack of injured Colts out on the practice field, though all indications are that Joseph Addai, Marvin Harrison, and Bob Sanders will be available for their division game with the Jags.

Bumps and Bruises: Bobby Engram had a big day on Sunday, but was almost hit by a falling camera. There's not much luck for Seattle WRs this season, so maybe this is the turning point ... Good that others are noting the proliferation of neck injuries, even if it is a fellow Football Outsider loosed on the mainstream ... Jonathon Ogden has until after the bye week to heal up, or the turf toe he's suffered with all year will put him on the IR ... Bubba Franks aggravated his chronically sore knee and looks to miss a couple games ... The ankle sprain that kept Ben Watson out of the second half of Sunday's game isn't severe, though we could see more Kyle Brady next week. Priest Holmes is expected to practice this week and after the Michael Bennett trade, there's some fantasy interest here now ... Vernon Davis is expected back for the Niners this week, if he makes it through a week of practice.

Article first appeared 10/16/07