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Injury Analysis: Green Bay's WR Corps is Looking a Bit Thin

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.

Randall Cobb and James Jones
The Green Bay receiving corps took quite a hit, literally and figuratively, over the weekend. Jones exited first and was quickly followed by Cobb. Both players suffered lower extremities issues but will miss varying amounts of time. Jones suffered an isolated posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) sprain in his left knee. The PCL is paired with the better-known partner anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) to stabilize the knee and prevent knee hyperextension. The PCL also serves as the central axis for knee rotation and must remain firm to allow fluid and complete motion through the joint. Fortunately the PCL is stronger than the ACL and is more difficult to tear on its own. However like all ligaments the PCL is still capable of being sprained, causing swelling, pain, and instability. The Green Bay medical staff will treat Jones’ associated symptoms and he will have an outside shot at being in the lineup week against the Browns. He will need to be an active participant in practice by the end of the week if he is going to have a legitimate shot at playing and it would be wise to have an insurance policy available.

Cobb’s injury was more significant has he suffered a broken fibula. The fibula is the smaller of the two lower leg bones and is prone to isolated fractures. Cobb’s injury is not season-ending but will require a considerable amount of time to mend. Early reports suggest the fractured bone remains aligned which is a bit of good news. A non-displaced fracture doesn’t often require surgery and generally heals well. If all goes accordingly there’s reason to believe that Cobb could return by Week 14 of the regular season. He’s worth the roster stash if you have the room but becomes droppable if you are desperate for production or he ends up going on the injured reserve.

Demarco Murray
The Cowboys running back suffered a medial collateral ligament (MCL) sprain in his left knee and is likely to miss Sunday’s matchup against the Eagles. The MCL is located on the inside of the side and provides key support during lateral movement. A low grade MCL sprain will heal without surgical intervention and Murray hopes to return in Week 8 against the Lions. Murray has shown a propensity for injuries dating back to his time at the University of Oklahoma. Each season of his professional career has been marred with injury, including a broken right ankle and a badly sprained left foot. It will be important that the kinematics of his lower extremity are working in unison to insure he doesn’t open himself up to other injuries, particular muscular imbalances. In the meantime rookie Joseph Randle will be the primary running back for the Cowboys and is worth a look in all formats.

Matt Schaub
As a guy who makes his living managing sports-related injuries I was disappointed to hear that certain Houston fans had the audacity to cheer when Schaub suffered an ankle injury. Injuries can be serious problems that can affect an individual’s livelihood and even their quality of life. No one deserves to suffer an injury no matter the degree of the ailment.
Schaub’s injury occurred to his right lower leg and ankle. The Texans haven’t given a specific diagnosis but it sounds like a syndesmotic or high ankle sprain. High ankle sprains occur at a different joint than your typical ankle sprain. At the bottom of the leg, where the tibia and fibula join with the talus bone, sits the distal tibiofemoral joint. A strong ligament known as the interosseous ligament stretches across the tibia and fibula fortifying this joint. Two additional ligaments, the anterior and posterior tibiofibular ligaments, assist in further stabilizing the ankle mortise. If any of these particular ligaments are sprained then the injury is classified as a high ankle sprain. Unfortunately these sprains are more severe and take longer to heal than the traditional ankle sprain.

Coach Gary Kubiak wouldn’t rule Schaub out but did indicate the quarterback would sit for the early week practices. The team will instead prepare both T.J. Yates and Case Keenum for the game against the Chiefs. It seems likely Schaub will sit and the other two options aren’t worth the fantasy gamble with the stingy KC defense on tap.

Turf Burns
Danny Amendola: The Patriots receiver took a nasty hit Sunday and did not return. The team is currently calling it a head injury and it seems likely he suffered a concussion. If so, he will be placed into the league-mandated protocol and will be unable to participate until he has been cleared.

Jimmy Graham: The Saints remain tight-lipped on the tight end’s injury but did reveal he will undergo further evaluations, including a MRI, on his left foot. New Orleans has a bye for Week 7 but fantasy owners may want to find a replacement that they would feel comfortable using for Week 8 as well. Foot issues can be lingering and problematic so it would be best to prepare accordingly.

Rob Gronkowski: The Gronk Watch continues. Despite practicing, Gronkowski has yet to play a true snap this season as he continues to recover from a fracture forearm. It appears the final mental hurdle has yet to be cleared and fantasy owners are in for another week of speculation and confusion. Hopefully this is the week Gronk returns, putting a rest to this unwarranted saga.

Julio Jones: Jones will miss the remainder of the season after surgery to repair a broken foot and hardware. I spoke with someone familiar with Jones’ injury that said his recovery will be very straightforward and he could be able to return in six months meaning he should be back atop draft board for next season.

Cecil Shorts: A shoulder injury at the spot where the collarbone meets the sternum could make it difficult for the Jags receiver to play on Sunday. He’s also being evaluated for a potential rib injury, making him a risky play in Week 7.

DeMarcus Ware: A quadriceps strain is expected to force Ware to sit for the first time in his career, ending his 134 consecutive games played streak. The Pro Bowl defensive end has four sacks on the season.

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