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Injury Analysis: Week One 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.

Fred Jackson
After recovering from a broken fibula suffered last November, the Buffalo running back was hoping to prove his impressive start to the year last season was no fluke. Unfortunately Jackson's right leg is once again an issue after he suffered a knee injury after taking a hit from Jets safety LaRon Landry. The MRI performed Monday was inconclusive and a specific diagnosis was not given. Initial reports suggested the running back had suffered a lateral collateral ligament (LCL) sprain.

The LCL runs on the outer aspect of the knee joint and isn't as well known as its counterparts, the medial collateral ligament (MCL) or anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). However a sprain to the area remains a significant injury. The reason the LCL rarely appears on injury reports is because the primary mechanism of injury required for an isolated LCL sprain infrequently occurs. For the LCL to be injured, a force known as a varus force must be applied to the inner portion of the leg. Most NFL hits to the legs are from the outside and cause a valgus force to stress the more-commonly sprained MCL.

Fortunately both the MCL and LCL are capable of healing without surgical intervention and are often treated in a conservative nonoperative manner. The Bills will continue to evaluate the injury and will hopeful provide a more specific prognosis soon. It sounds like Jackson will miss at least three weeks and I suspect that gets stretched out to at least a month. CJ Spiller's stock is once again on the rise while Tashard Choice also gets a small bump in value.

Jake Locker
Injuries often occur when players attempt to do something they haven't practiced regularly. Often times the individual uses improper technique or haphazardly throws their body into an unusual position. When Locker attempted to tackle Patriots defender Patrick Chung following a fumble recovery, he opened himself up to injury and that's exactly what happened. Locker suffered a separated shoulder to his left (non-throwing) arm on the play.

Locker's situation is the perfect example to use when examining medical terminology regarding the shoulder. If you hear or read the term "shoulder separation" the injury is not to ball-and-socket joint of the shoulder but to the spot where the clavicle, or collarbone, meets the scapula, or shoulder blade, at a bony process known as the acormion. This joint is the acromioclavicular (AC) joint and is easily sprained when the tip of the acromion is forced downward. AC sprains occur in varying degrees with the most serious often requiring surgery.

If you hear the terms "subluxation" or "dislocation" that means the injury occurred to the ball-and-socket joint, medically known as the glenohumeral joint.

A subluxation occurs when a joint articulation is partially displaced and can also be classified as a partial dislocation. A subluxation often realigns naturally by the supportive structures, such as muscle and ligaments that surround the affected joint. A true dislocation occurs when the displacement of the joint is complete. The joint often must be realigned by medical personnel and is considered a much more serious injury.

Locker's shoulder separation appears to be minor and the quarterback hopes to be on the field in Week 2. The limitation will be minimal since the injury occurred to his non-throwing arm but expect the joint to be braced and stabilized. The Titans face a Chargers defense that sacked Oakland's Carson Palmer three times in a Monday night win.

Jeremy Maclin
Maclin looked solid in Week 1 reeling in seven catches for 96 yards and a score. However he's battling two hip injuries that could limit his practice time in the upcoming week and his availability for Week 2. Coach Andy Reid said the receiver is dealing with a hip flexor strain and a hip pointer.

The term hip pointer is used when an athlete has suffered a contusion to crest of the pelvic bone known as the ilium. (If you place your hands on yours hips that ridge you feel is your iliac crest.) The injury is extremely painful and causes pain with trunk rotation as well as common activities such as breathing, laughing, and coughing. The hip flexor strain complicates the matter as several key hip flexors attach to the area involved in the hip pointer injury. The strain will need to be treated without irritating the area affected by the hip pointer.

An injury of this nature can be difficult to manage and hard to overcome for a receiver. Maclin will likely see limited practice reps and be a late-week decision. He remains a risky pick with Philadelphia slated to face the Baltimore defense and their hard-hitting secondary.

Turf Burns

Greg Jennings: A short week could work against the wide receiver who suffered a groin strain in the Packers' loss to the Niners. Green Bay hosts Chicago on Thursday, giving Jennings less time to recover. Expect this to be a game-time decision.

Rashad Jennings: Jennings suffered a knee injury in Week 1 that forced Maurice Jones-Drew back into the spotlight. Jennings' injury is not considered serious but could cost him a week or two. MJD will reassume the starting duties but even he may have trouble running against the Houston defense and behind a battered offensive line. Several key lineman including Uche Nwaneri (ankle), Eben Britton (ankle) and Cameron Bradfield (knee) are all nursing injuries.

Ryan Mathews: Mathews hopes to play in Week 2 after missing the team's win over Oakland due to a broken collarbone. Mathews was close to suiting up but the team determined the risk wasn't worth it. See if the running back participates in contact in practice before returning him to your lineup.
David Nelson: The Buffalo wideout is one for the year after tearing his ACL in the team's loss to the Jets. Ruvell Martin and TJ Graham move up the depth chart while the injury solidifies Donald Jones as the number two receiver.

John Skelton: The Cardinals quarterback is managing a sprained ankle but the injury is not as serious as first feared. Initial reports called the injury a more significant high ankle sprain but Coach Ken Whisenhunt said that's not the case. Whisenhunt would not yet rule the starter out, but it seems like Kevin Kolb is more likely to start Week 2.

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