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Injury Analysis: Major Surgery for Cruz

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.

Victor Cruz
Cruz will not salsa-dance again this year after suffering a torn patellar tendon in his right knee. The injury occurred when he attempted to make a catch in Sunday's loss to the Eagles. As he pushed off with his right leg, the tendon ruptured and Cruz fell to the ground instantly clutching the knee.

The patellar tendon attaches the quadriceps muscle to the lower leg at a bony prominence on the tibia. The patella (kneecap) is a sesmoid bone, meaning it is actually embedded within the tendon. Following a tendon rupture, the kneecap retracts upward and the injured player losses the ability to extend or straighten the lower leg.

An extensive surgery is necessary to fix the damage and cannot be performed arthroscopically. The knee is opened and the damaged tendon is surgically anchored back in place. Cruz underwent surgery on Monday and, as you can expect, now faces a lengthy recovery with a grueling rehab. The initial phases of rehab will focus on regaining range of motion, lost while the leg is immobilized. He will then begin to focus on strengthening the musculature around the knee. It will likely be at least six months before Cruz can run again and even longer before he can jump and cut.

Cruz may be able to return by the start of next season but this is a career-altering injury. Injuries of this magnitude leave a lasting mark and can rob a player of his speed and elusiveness. It's a sad setback for the former Pro-Bowl receiver.

In the meantime, Rueben Randle and Odell Beckham Jr. will look to ease the loss of Cruz. Rookie Preston Parker may be worth a flier in deeper leagues, as he seems likely to get reps out of the slot position.

Jimmy Graham
The Saints tight end did not progress as quickly as hoped during the team's bye and he is expected to miss additional time with his sprained shoulder. Details on the injury have not been revealed and the exact location of the injury remains unknown. The shoulder is comprised of multiple articulations, each with their own set of concerns following injury. The nature of the recovery suggests the injury is more significant than a mild sprain, though the Saints may just be playing it safe. Look for more details to emerge but until then find a suitable replacement.

AJ Green
Green was not available Sunday in the team's overtime tie with the Panthers. The Pro Bowl receiver aggravated his turf toe injury during practice and was carted off the field. Turf toe is a very painful and nagging injury and particularly limiting for receivers and defensive backs. These positions require a player to push off their toes and make sharp and accurate cuts, motions that put a high degree of stress on the injured area. Head coach Marvin Lewis said there is a chance Green suits up in Week 7 even with a visit with a foot specialist set for Friday. Mohamed Sanu remains the Bengals receiver to own as Marvin Jones continues to battle foot and ankle issues.

Calvin Johnson
The Lions continue to take the conservative approach with Johnson's recovery from a high-ankle sprain. He sat out the team's Week 6 win over the Vikings and could miss the team's next two outings before their Week 9 bye. While the immediate loss of Johnson is maddening for fantasy owners, it may actually prove to be beneficial. Time off now may hurt in the short-term but should allow Johnson to return to the field close to 100 percent. He limped through two games following the initial injury and was little more than a decoy, leaving his owners understandably frustrated. Consider him day-to-day with an outside chance of playing against the Saints, though additional rest may be the best course of action.

Turf Burns

Giovani Bernard
Bernard briefly left the game Sunday after falling hard on his right shoulder. The mechanism of injury was classic for a collarbone injury, though Bernard was able to return. He may miss some time during practice this week but it appears he avoided serious injury.

Reggie Bush
Bush declared himself 100 percent and is expected back against his former team the Saints. He may not see as big of a workload in his first week back though a motivated Bush could be a valuable facet of the Lions offensive attack.

Toby Gerhart
Gerhart did not play Sunday in the team's loss to Tennessee. He is currently dealing with a twice-injured right foot, though the specifics remain vague. Storm Johnson replaced Gerhart in the starting lineup and finished with 21 yards on 10 carries. An early touchdown helped salvage Johnson's day but did little to provide much optimism moving forward. Gerhart will be reevaluated Wednesday to see if he will be ready to play against the Browns.

Robert Griffin III
Griffin is set to begin individual drills though he remains several weeks away from returning. RG3 is recovering from a dislocated left ankle sustained in mid-September. Kirk Cousins remains the starter for the time being.

Knowshon Moreno
Moreno's return from an elbow dislocation was brief as the Dolphins running back suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the team's last-second loss to the Packers. Moreno has already been placed on the injured reserve and is out for the remainder of the season. Lamar Miller becomes the feature back in Miami.

Stevan Ridley
Like Moreno, Ridley's season is over due to a torn ACL that will require surgery. The New England running back also tore his medial collateral ligament (MCL), though it won't alter his recovery time. Shane Vereen owners have to be excited as the running back by committee approach comes to a forced end.

Tony Romo
Romo took several hard hits in Sunday's win over the Seahawks. There appears to be little concern for his surgically repaired back though he will have his ribs examined. Romo does have a history of rib injuries including a fractured rib in 2011 that also resulted in a punctured lung. Keep a close eye on the situation to see how much Romo participates in practice though it appears he will get his standard day off on Wednesday. The impressive Dallas offensive line has kept Romo protected for much of the year but will be a bit short-handed against the Giants as right tackle Doug Free will sit with a foot fracture.

Darren Sproles
The elusive Philadelphia running back suffered a sprained MCL in his left knee though a conveniently timed bye week may help him avoid missing any real games. The sprain is considered minor and Sproles could be available against the Cardinals. Proceed with caution here. MCL sprains affect the injured individual's lateral movement and any limitation would diminish the skills that make Sproles so effective.