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Injury Analysis: No Luck for the Jacksonville Backfield

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.

The Jacksonville Jaguars RBs
No one group of players may be as snake-bitten this season as Jacksonville's backfield. Maurice Jones Drew has missed six straight games with a midfoot sprain while his primary backup Rashad Jennings missed two games earlier in the year after suffering a knee sprain. Jennings was still able to replace MJD initially but ineffective play led to Jalen Parmele assuming the role. Parmele's turn as the starting back lasted less than a game after he went down with a leg injury. Parmele was placed on the IR and could need offseason surgery to repair the tear in his groin. Jennings became the starter by default but suffered a concussion in Week 13 and exited after just eight carries.

Fullback Montell Owens is in line to make the start in Week 14 with Jones-Drew unlikely to play and Jennings recovering. However Owens has injury concerns of his own missing time this season with a shoulder injury and a concussion. He has 21 career carries and is a high-risk play, even if the Jaguars are set to face the Jets low-ranked defense. The schedule for Jacksonville gets considerably tougher after Week 14 and it's hard to imagine putting stock in a converted fullback.

Sidney Rice
Rice's game-winning catch against the Bears will always be memorable to Seattle fans but for medical professionals it wasn't the catch that stuck out. As Rice made the catch he immediately suffered a crushing blow from Chicago's Major Wright. After the hit, Rice maintains possession as he crosses the goal line but when the moment he hits the ground, his arms go rigid in what appears to be a condition known as the fencing response. The fencing response is a neurological motor response resulting from a head injury. This type of abnormal posturing is used as an indicator of head trauma and the Seahawks wisely decided to place Rice into the league's mandated concussion protocol.

All concussions should be handled seriously but even more so in Rice's case. The receiver was sent to the injured reserve during the 2011 season after suffering two concussions in three games. The effects of concussions are cumulative and Rice's long-term health must be considered. He did Tweet a positive report on Sunday but closely monitor his participation in practice and his progress through the concussion protocol.

LeSean McCoy and Michael Vick
McCoy remains two steps away from completing the five-step concussion protocol as his symptoms from the head injury persist. He has made progress but continues to become easily fatigued when performing exertional-based activity. He still must make it through a practice symptom free, be cleared by a team physician, and receive clearance from an independent neurologist before he can return. With the team in the midst of an eight-game losing streak and rookie Bryce Brown performing exceptionally well despite his fumbling issues, don't expect the Eagles to rush McCoy back into things even when he does complete the program.

Vick has also made progress in his recovery from a concussion but will remain on the bench when he is finally healthy. Coach Andy Reid named rookie Nick Foles the starting quarterback for the remainder of the season, meaning anyone still clinging onto Vick can at long last move on.

Darren McFadden
McFadden was inactive Sunday despite participating in practice throughout the week. Out since suffering a high ankle sprain in Week 9, McFadden did not play due to the field conditions in Oakland. The Oakland Coliseum turf was wet, making it an unfavorable playing surface for an individual recovering from an injury that compromises the stability of the ankle. The Raiders made a wise decision, not only protecting McFadden from aggravating the preexisting ailment, but also helping avoid a serious injury further up the leg. It is suppose to rain through Wednesday, letting up just in time for Thursday's matchup against the Broncos. If the field dries expect McFadden to be back in uniform. However the success of Marcel Reece may limit McFadden's carries and it would be wise to give him a week to adjust before making him a featured part of your lineup.

Turf Burns

Ryan Broyles: The Detroit receiver will miss the remainder of the season after tearing the ACL in his right knee. Broyles is familiar with the necessary rehab since the wideout previously tore his left ACL during his final season at Oklahoma. The injury would make Titus Young an interesting pickup but he is not with the team due to disciplinary reasons.

Percy Harvin: Harvin's practice reps remain limited and he didn't even travel with the Vikings to Green Bay. He has made progress in his recovery from a high ankle sprain but he is likely a game-time decision. A midweek return to practice would improve his odds of playing but he has to participate in more than just noncontact agility drill before I would even consider playing him.

DeMarco Murray: The Cowboys offense got a boost from the return of Murray who was a spectator for Dallas' last six outings due to a foot sprain. Despite reports that he wouldn't see much action in his first game back, Murray finished the game with 23 carries for 83 yards and a touchdown. He also added four receptions. He reported no discomfort on Monday and will be set to play against the Bengal.

Jordy Nelson: The Packers receiver will be hard-pressed to play in Week 14 after aggravating his hamstring strain. The loss of Nelson should be eased by the return of Greg Jennings who caught four balls and was targeted a team-high eight times.

Stevie Johnson: Johnson is also dealing with a tight hamstring but some reports have listed the injury as a calf strain. The hamstring muscle group and calf muscles attach within close proximity of each other so a mix up would make sense if the strain were to the distal hamstring or the proximal calf. Either way Johnson enters Week 14 as question mark and fantasy owners should proceed with caution.

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