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Injury Analysis: Bears Offense Getting Healthy

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.

Eddie Lacy
Lacy rushed for 110 yards and score in Green Bay's tie against Minnesota but was unavailable for overtime. The reason for Lacy's absence was an asthma attack that left the rookie running back struggling to breath. Asthma is a reoccurring lung disease that presents with a multitude of symptoms including chest tightness, shortness of breath, and wheezing. It is caused when the airways to the lungs become inflamed and narrow, allowing for less air to move through. Asthma also leads to an overproduction of mucus which compounds the problem. While asthma attacks can be treated with medicated inhalers and other breathing treatments, the individual is often left fatigued.

In general, asthma attack occurs in the presence of an allergen or irritant. The long list of potential triggers includes pollen, exercise, smoke, and even stress. Lacy's attack was likely brought on by exercise but another factor may have contributed. Cold, dry air is a major trigger for asthma attacks and the temperature in Green Bay at the time of kickoff was a cool 19 degrees. Inhaling this frigid air irritates the lungs and sends them into spasms, leading to a constriction of the airways and the onset of an asthma attack. Lacy has dealt with asthma throughout his playing career but said this was the first episode he's had during a game.

Despite the attack, Lacy is likely to play Thursday in Green Bay's Thanksgiving Day game with Detroit. The confines of Ford Field should eliminate cold air for this week but Lacy will face cold weather later in the season. Following Week 13, the Packers have two home games and a trip to Chicago still on tap. The temperature in all four games will likely be at or below freezing, leaving Lacy vulnerable to another attack. Keep playing the running back as you normally would but know there's an elevated level of risk involved.

Jay Cutler and Matt Forte
Both Chicago's starting running back and quarterback have injury concerns but only one has a chance of playing against the Vikings. The Bears have already ruled Cutler out for his third straight game on Sunday as he continues to manage a high ankle sprain. Cutler is receiving around the clock treatment and hopes to return Monday, December 9 against the Cowboys.

The Bears are optimistic Forte will be available Sunday after suffering a hyperextended knee against the Rams. As discussed last week with Keenan Allen, the term hyperextension simply tells us how he injured the knee and not what type of injury occurred. The responding medical personal could be seen performing a Lachman's test on the field Sunday to test the integrity of the ACL. The results were positive and Forte was allowed to return to the game. He will likely be probable entering Week 13.

Turf Burns
Michael Crabtree: The San Francisco receiver is expected back this week after missing the first 12 weeks recovering from a torn Achilles. Crabtree will add another wrinkle to the 49ers offense but will need time to acclimate himself to the speed of the game. Furthermore, Achilles injuries are not easy to bounce back from, especially for receivers, and it would unwise to expect him to make an immediate impact. Stash him if you can and let him prove he can produce before you start him with confidence.

Chris Ivory: The Jets running back has been diagnosed with both a high and low ankle sprain, meaning the ligaments on the outside portion as well as anterior portion of the ankle joint have been damaged. The treatment for either injury is largely the same so Ivory will perform one rehab protocol that will be useful for both injuries. It's hard to imagine him playing and being effective with an isolated high ankle sprain, let alone one with an accompanying lateral sprain. Expect an update later in the week but don't count on him suiting up this week.

Darren McFadden: Run DMC is hoping to play Thursday against Dallas after missing the past three weeks with a hamstring strain. However McFadden reported continued tightness following a recent practice and he's no lock to play. Even if he does return it will likely be in a complementary role as Rashad Jennings has played well in his absence.

Knowshon Moreno: After rushing for 224 yards in Denver's OT loss to New England, Moreno was seen limping from the locker room on crutches with his right ankle in a walking boot. A MRI taken Monday revealed a bone bruise and the Broncos are calling him day-to-day. The good news is the integrity of his ankle ligaments appear intact but expect him to be limited throughout the week. If he is able to get reps by the end of the week then he should be able to play against the Chiefs.

Aaron Rodgers: Don't look for Rodgers to make a Turkey Day comeback from his fractured collarbone. Coach Mike McCarthy admitted his MVP quarterback has yet to complete several necessary objectives to practice. Until Rodgers in back at practice he won't be cleared for games and that's appears unlikely to happen in an abbreviated work week. Matt Flynn outperformed Scott Tolzien Sunday and would be the likely starter.
Zac Stacy: After a blistering first half in which he totaled 87 yards and a touchdown, Stacy did not take the field after halftime. The rookie suffered a concussion and will be required to complete the NFL concussion protocol before returning to play. Benny Cunningham took over in Sunday's win over Chicago and would get the start against San Francisco if Stacy were unable to go.

Daniel Thomas: The Dolphins running back suffered a serious ankle injury in the team's loss to the Panthers and will be out for at least three weeks. He tore a ligament in the joint but will not require surgery. While there is a sliver of hope he could return this season, Taylor has not been overly productive and has minimal fantasy value moving forward. Lamar Miller will see an increase in workload and could be a nice addition given Miami's run-friendly fantasy playoff schedule.

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