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Injury Analysis: Week 7 Injury Updates

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.

Darren McFadden
McFadden carried the ball twice in Oakland's loss to the Kansas City before a right foot injury forced him from the game. The team is calling the injury a midfoot sprain. The midfoot is the area where the long bones of the foot and toes (the metatarsals) come together with a group of bones known as the cuneiforms and an additional bone, the cuboid. These bones form the tarsometatarsal joint and play a critical role in weight transfer. Numerous ligaments hold the bones tightly together, all of which are capable of being sprained. The key in an injury of this type is the severity of the sprain. If the sprain is mild, the stability of the joint remains intact despite pain and inflammation. If the damage is significant, the entire integrity of the foot can be compromised. Fortunately the Raiders said the structure of the foot checked out well and the team remains optimistic McFadden will be able to return in Week 9 following the team's bye. Given his past problems with ankle injuries and turf toe, Oakland has elected to play it safe with McFadden placing him in a protective boot and on crutches to limit the amount of weight placed on the injured area. Look for McFadden to receive plenty of rest this week and his availability for the following game to become clearer later next week.

Santana Moss and Willis McGahee
Two veteran players suffered similar hand injuries over the weekend and are expected to miss time following surgery. McGahee and Moss both suffered a fractured fourth metacarpal. The metacarpals are the long skinny bones that make up the hand, in the area just before the fingers. Often a fractured metacarpal will displace requiring pins to be inserted to realign the bone and insure proper healing. The severity of the break and amount of displacement both play a role in the length of recovery.

It appears McGahee's break is less severe than Moss' and the Broncos have placed his recovery window between one to four weeks. For a running back to only miss one week following surgery seems a bit hopeful and even if he were to return, the area would have to be heavily padded and his propensity to fumble would increase. While McGahee's replacement, Knowshon Moreno, isn't the most reliable back, expect to see him play a feature role in the Denver offense.

It was confirmed that Moss required three pins to be inserted into his broken hand and is expected out five to seven weeks. Given the prolonged timeframe when compared to McGahee, Moss' break was likely more significant. The time also may be considering the additional time Moss will need being a receiver versus a running back.

Earnest Graham
Still dealing with a sprained medial collateral ligament (MCL), Blount could only watch as his replacement went down with a ruptured Achilles tendon. The Achilles is actually the conjoined tendon of two muscles, the gastrocnemius and soleus. Together these muscles make up what is more commonly referred to as the calf. The calf complex is responsible for plantarflexing (pointing) the foot and plays an important component in running, particularly during acceleration. A complete tear to the tendon would leave the individual unable to perform these activities. Graham will undergo season-ending surgery to repair the tear and reanchor the tendon to the heel bone. Graham could return to football activities in right to 12 months but this could be a career altering injury. Few running backs have been able to return to preinjury form following this surgery and Graham may have a more difficult road than most given his injury-filled past.

Blount will benefit from the bye week and could return to the practice field at some point next week. In the meantime, Kregg Lumpkin remains the only healthy running back in Tampa Bay.

Mark Ingram
Ingram was an early departure from New Orleans' blowout win over Indianapolis, exiting with a bruised heel. The heel bone is medically known as the calcaneus. It serves as the attachment site for the aforementioned Achilles tendon and is the largest bone in the foot. It is well protected by a pad of fat. However in athletes such as running backs that put a high amount of force and repetitive impact through the heel, this fat pad can become compressed leaving the area vulnerable to bruising. The injury is best treated with rest and ice and Ingram should be able to play in the coming week. However the Saints could elect to activate Chris Ivory from the PUP list and buy Ingram some extra time. Closely monitor Ingram's availability in practice later in the week to get a better idea of his progress.

Turf Burns

Matthew Stafford: Detroit fans were left holding their breath after it was revealed their often-injured quarterback was once again hurt. Fortunately the injury did not occur to his surgically repaired shoulder and MRIs on both his knee and ankle did not reveal any significant structural damage. He is day-to-day with an ankle sprain.

Marshawn Lynch: Lynch was an extremely late scratch Sunday leaving many fantasy owners with a goose egg on the scoreboard. He apparently suffered a back injury during warmups and was unable to play. The spasms seem to have subsided and Lynch is expected back in Week 8.

Tim Hightower: The Redskins will be without Hightower for the remainder of the season after he tore the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee. He would likely enter next season's training camp still less than 100 percent. Rookie Roy Helu and Ryan Torain will split carries.

Chris Cooley: Cooley joined Hightower on the injured reserve after undergoing surgery on his left index finger.

Beanie Wells: Wells' knee injury is not as serious as initially expected but the joint remains swollen following a direct hit in Week 7. There is some cause of concern since this is the same knee that required surgery to repair meniscus damage and remove loose bodies. Fantasy owners should expect to be without the Arizona back for at least a week and don't be surprised if it's longer.

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