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Injury Analysis: JPP Goes Bang

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.

Jason Pierre-Paul

The Giants defensive end suffered severe hand injuries during a fireworks accident over the Fourth of July weekend. Pierre-Paul reportedly did not lose a finger in the incident nor suffer permanent disfigurement, but the feared defensive end did endure severe burns on his palms and fingers and is set to undergo neurological testing on one of the digits. The team has yet to establish an expected timeline regarding a return as it seeks more information. However, the injuries were deemed serious enough for the Giants to reportedly withdraw the $60 million contract offer they made to Pierre-Paul after slapping him with the franchise tag.

Burns, especially those that damage nerve tissue, can be very painful. Various types of pain are connected with the injury and the resulting healing process that can delay and prolong the associated recovery. Damaged nerve tissue can be particularly painful as neuropathic pain related to nerve regeneration may occur. Infection is also a concern especially for a defender who relies on his hands to tackle and shed would-be blockers. If the two-time Pro Bowler has any lingering issues with his injuries, he could be limited throughout training camp and potentially into the regular season.

Pierre-Paul's on-field productivity is almost directly tied to his overall health. A shoulder injury and a herniated disc in his back, that ultimately required surgery, negatively impacted his 2012 and 2013 campaigns. However, his 2011 and 2014 seasons were marked by good health and remain the two seasons in which he recorded double-digits in sacks. His value in IDP leagues takes a hit following the accident and any limitation could have a carry over effect on the Giants defense as a whole. In Steve Spagnuolo's blitz heavy 4-3 scheme, JPP is capable of making an impact when the opposing team runs or passes. An extended absence would leave the defensive line vulnerable, something the team can ill-afford with the Cowboys and Falcons scheduled for Weeks 1 and 2.

Andre Ellington

The Cardinals running back will look to replicate the success he had during his rookie season when he averaged 5.5 yards per carry and amassed 652 rushing yards on just 118 carries. Injuries were a major reason for his sophomore slump as he suffered a neck injury during the offseason. A strained left foot and a rib injury added to the problem, but a severe hip pointer and sports hernia ultimately ended his season in early December.

Now Ellington enters camp with a clean bill of health and renewed optimism that he can return to top form. The biggest indicator of his improved health is his participation in drills that require lateral movement. Part of Ellington's game is predicated on his ability to make sharp cuts and elude tackles. He admittedly was unable to perform this action at his usual speed last season, not surprising as foot and hernia injuries often have a direct affect on side-to-side motion. The foot is essential in transferring weight during cuts and the muscles affected by his hip injury are primarily responsible for moving the legs toward the midline of the body. The fact that he has been performing drills that stress these areas at a high velocity is a positive step forward toward Ellington returning to top form. He still has plenty to prove before fantasy owners can trust him to be a primary option on game day, but he remains worth a look in the fourth or fifth rounds of most drafts.

Turf Burns

Joique Bell:
The Lions running back is confident he will rush for more than 1,200 yards this season despite coming off surgeries on his knee and Achilles. Bell underwent debridement procedures on both areas to "clean up" problematic areas. Debridements of tendons usually are necessary to remove irritating scar tissue or bone spurs, though Detroit never revealed the specifics regarding Bell's procedures. The surgeries are far less invasive than a repair, but his limited participation in OTAs and minicamps is worrisome. He's in a fantasy friendly situation but wait to see how he looks throughout training camp and the preseason before buying stock in what Bell is selling.

Terrance Williams:
The Cowboys receiver took an awkward fall in the final days of team minicamps but avoided major injury. He was diagnosed with a left elbow contusion and x-rays taken on the area were negative. Williams has shown flashes in his first two seasons in the league and will look to build on last year's eight receiving touchdowns. He should be fine entering training camp. However, it would be wise to keep an eye on the status of teammate Dez Bryant, who continues to angle for a contract extension and has yet to sign his $12.8 million franchise tag tender. A prolonged absence from Bryant could slightly increase Williams' overall value.