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Injury Analysis: Week 4 Injury Breakdown

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.

Reggie Bush
Bush gave his owners quite a scare on Sunday collapsing to the turf after his always troublesome left knee took a direct hit during the team's overtime loss to the Jets. He missed the second half of the game following the injury, as he was unable to keep the joint loose. MRIs taken Monday revealed no structural damage leading to some speculation that he could suit up for Week 4 when the Dolphins take on the undefeated Cardinals. However given the lengthy problems previously associated with his left knee and leg, you have to wonder if providing Bush a week off would be a better plan.

Since joining the league in 2006, Bush's left leg has been through a great deal. His rookie season was shortened by a significant left ankle sprain. In 2007 he suffered a partial tear to his left posterior cruciate ligament (PCL). 2008 was even worse as he suffered a medial collateral ligament (MCL) sprain and meniscus damage in the same knee. He underwent offseason microfracture surgery in his left knee, specifically on his patella. The 2010 and 2011 seasons were a bit of a respite for Bush's left leg as the knee soreness and broken fibula he suffered occurred on his right side.

Given that extensive list it's hard to imagine Miami not showing extreme caution when deciding Bush's playing status. The biggest concern has to be the patella since he previously needed a microfracture procedure on the area. Monitor his availability throughout the week and don't be shocked if this injury costs Bush a week or two despite the encouraging MRI results.

CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson
The Bills backfield has been ravaged by injuries but it appears the damage done may not be as severe as initially believed. The problems started in Week 1 when Jackson went down with a knee sprain. Initial reports called the injury a lateral collateral ligament (LCL) sprain but further testing came back inconclusive. The team believed he would miss four weeks recovering. Jackson's backup became a must-have fantasy commodity as Spiller would rush for 123 yards and two scores the following week. However Spiller went down with a shoulder injury in Week 3 bumping Tashard Choice up to the starting position. Tests done on Spiller revealed the collarbone was intact and the injury was diagnosed as an acromioclavicular (AC) sprain. The AC joint is situated where the collarbone attaches to the shoulder blade and is vulnerable to injury when forced into the ground, just as Spiller was on Sunday. The Bills originally ruled Spiller out for Week 4 but have softened this stance since the MRI. Coach Chan Gailey would not rule Spiller out for the game against the Patriots and also hinted that Jackson's recovery is ahead of schedule and he too could be available.

Jackson is hoping to return to practice Wednesday to get reps with the first team. He will wear a specialized brace on the knee and if all goes well he could return as the starter. Spiller appears more likely to sit in Week 4 but be ready to split carries the following week.

Beanie Wells
Known for his knee problems, Wells is now appearing on the injury report with a toe injury sustained in Week 3. It sounds like Wells is suffering from turf toe, a particularly problematic injury for a running back. Turf toe is a sprain of the ligaments surrounding the big toe that is extremely painful and limiting. The condition hampers an athlete's ability to accelerate and push off the injured foot. Last season Saints running back Mark Ingram was slowed by a case of turf toe that prematurely ended his rookie season and ultimately needed surgery. Like Ingram, Wells is a bulkier back meaning he puts more stress on his feet and toes. I'd anticipate Wells being limited for the foreseeable future and would consider buying stock in backup Ryan Williams.

Turf Burns

Ahmad Bradshaw and Hakeem Nicks: Both Bradshaw (neck) and Nicks (foot) have been given the green light to return to practice this week and should suit up for New York's Sunday night game against Philadelphia. The emergence of Andre Brown and Ramses Barden should allow the Giants to ease the starters back into the lineup so scale back your expectations.

Matt Schaub: The Texans quarterback avoided a serious injury Sunday when he was sandwiched between two Denver defenders. His helmet was dislodged on the play, taking a piece of his earlobe with it. He missed one play before returning. Schaub was able to continue with his normal routine following gameday and is expected to play against the Titans.

Matthew Stafford: A strained leg muscle forced Stafford to miss the crazy finish to Detroit's overtime loss to Tennessee. The Lions are being cryptic about the severity and location of the strain but there have been hints it is in the hamstring-gluteal region. Jacksonville's Blane Gabbert was able to play through a similar injury but, if the severity of the strain is more severe, Stafford could be a spectator in Week 4. I bet we see Stafford limited throughout the week and end up a game-time decision. Owners dependent on Stafford's health would be wise to add Shaun Hill just in case.

The Kansas City offense: Jamaal Charles answered some of the lingering questions about his health with his impressive performance against the Saints but his backfield mate simply raised more. Peyton Hillis was removed from the game with an ankle injury and was seen in a walking boot the following day. His status for Week 4 remains unknown. Dexter McCluster was also injured in the game suffering a gruesome elbow injury that is expected to keep him out for at least a few weeks.

Darrelle Revis: The Pro Bowl cornerback is done for the year after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). The loss is a big hit for the Jets defense and a bit of good news for fantasy owners that own top-notch receivers on the other three teams in the AFC East. The timing of the injury does make it possible for Revis to realistically return next season.

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