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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Week 16 Injury Update #2
Philip Gentles
December 23, 2005

Kevan Barlow, RB, SF
Sprained Knee

Huddle Up: 49ers' RB Kevan Barlow was downgraded to doubtful after missing practice on Wednesday with a sprained knee. And after missing practice on Thursday it doesn't look like he will be ready in time for this weekend's game. Team officials aren't sure if he will be able to play again this season, much less tomorrow. But an official decision on his status for the game probably won't be made until sometime prior to kickoff. If Barlow doesn't play look for Frank Gore to get the start and the bulk of the carries.

Arnaz Battle, WR, SF
Sprained Knee

Huddle Up: 49ers' WR Arnaz Battle, who has missed the last three games and has been bothered for much of the season with a sprained knee, returned to practice on Wednesday, looked great in practice on Thursday and according to reports he will be back in the starting lineup this weekend. A source close to the 49ers has told The Huddle that Battle could potentially face off-season knee surgery, but he has responded well to treatment over the last couple of weeks and the team's medical staff believes that there is no harm in allowing him to play in Saturday's game.

Drew Bennett, WR, TEN
Knee Soreness and Inflammation

Huddle Up: Titans' WR Drew Bennett sat out practice on Wednesday to rest his swollen knee. But Bennett returned to practice on Thursday and according to reports he should be active and in the starting lineup this weekend. Bennett has complained of mild swelling and soreness in his knee for several weeks now but he's been able to play through it and it shouldn't affect his performance in Week 16.

Cedric Benson, RB, CHI
Sprained MCL

Huddle Up: Bears' rookie RB Cedric Benson, who has been out nursing a sprained MCL in his knee, practiced with the team on Wednesday and Thursday and it looks like he might be ready to make his return. Benson, who is still being listed as questionable, is finally running at full speed and he is no longer complaining of soreness following activity. Unfortunately head coach Lovie Smith has been extremely happy with Thomas Jones and the running game so even if Benson if activated he won't get many carries. So keep him on your fantasy bench.

Derrick Blaylock, RB, NYJ
Fractured Ankle

Huddle Up: According to reports Jets' RB Derrick Blaylock, who hasn't played since breaking his ankle in Week 5, has completely recovered and the team expects him to make his return to the active lineup on Monday night against the Patriots. Blaylock spent the last two weeks working himself back into "game shape" and he was able to take part in team drills during practice on Tuesday. He is listed as probable and should be active this week but team officials like what they've seen in rookie Cedric Houston so look for Blaylock to be the backup.

Chris Brown, RB, TEN
Bruised Shoulder

Huddle Up: Titans' RB Chris Brown has not practiced this week because of a bruised shoulder and according to reports his status for this weekend's game remains in question. Brown has dealt with a number of injuries this season and according to reports he is still getting treatment on the ankle he sprained a couple of weeks ago. He won't be healthy until the off-season so even if he is activated and plays he won't be at his best. That being said team officials are hoping that his shoulder isn't an issue tomorrow. But we won't know for sure until prior to kickoff so check back with The Huddle for an update.

Ronnie Brown, RB, MIA
Sprained Knee And Ankle

Huddle Up: Dolphins' rookie RB Ronnie Brown has not practiced this week because of injuries to his knee and ankle and according to team officials it looks like he will be inactive for tomorrow's game. Brown suffered minor sprains to his knee and ankle in last week's game and he is still experiencing pain in the area of both joints. He is still not running at full speed and while the Dolphins will wait until they see what he does during pre-game warm-ups don't be surprised if he is deactivated. Ricky Williams would be the featured back if Brown doesn't play and he could be in line for a big game.

Marc Bulger, QB, STL
Sprained AC Joint

Huddle Up: The St. Louis Rams have decided to place QB Marc Bulger on Injured Reserve ending his 2005 season. Bulger originally suffered a sprain to the AC (Acromioclavicular) joint in his right shoulder back in Week 6 and was forced to miss a couple of games. He returned in Week 10 but aggravated the injury in Week 11 and hasn't played since. The team's medical staff was hoping that Bulger would be back by Week 15 but he complained of pain and discomfort while he threw during practice and he hasn't show signs of improvement since then. Bulger could face off-season surgery but even if he does undergo a surgical procedure the Rams expect him to be ready in time for minicamps in May.

Domanick Davis, RB, HOU
Knee Inflammation

Huddle Up: Texans' RB Domanick Davis continues to be bothered by a sore and swollen knee and once again it looks like he will be a game-time decision. Davis was held out of practice on Wednesday and Thursday while he received treatment from the training staff and according to reports there is little chance that he will be able to practice with the team today (Friday). Head coach Dom Capers isn't prepared to rule him out just yet but unless his knee improves in a hurry he could find himself inactive for the second straight week. Jonathan Wells would get the start if Davis doesn't play.

Warrick Dunn, RB, ATL
Strained Hamstring

Huddle Up: Falcons' RB Warrick Dunn did not practice on Wednesday because he complained of mild pain and soreness in his hamstring following last Sunday's game and the team's medical staff wanted to give him an extra day to rest and recover. The good news is that Dunn, who is not listed on the injury report, returned to practice on Thursday and told reporters that he expected to start in this weekend's game. Hamstring injuries can become big problems, but this doesn't sound like a big deal. T.J Duckett might get a few extra carries this weekend but look for Dunn to start and get a majority of the work.

Robert Ferguson, WR, GB
Sprained LCL

Huddle Up: Packers' WR Robert Ferguson, who missed several games earlier in the season with a sprained lateral collateral ligament (LCL) in his knee, aggravated the injury in last week's game and his status for Week 16 is currently in question. Ferguson missed most of practice on Wednesday and was held out of practice on Thursday and according to reports he will be evaluated today to determine if he will be able to play this weekend. Team officials aren't sure if he will be ready to play so they have prepared the offense to play without him. If Ferguson doesn't play look for Antonio Chatman to start in his place.

Bubba Franks, TE, GB
Strained neck and back

Huddle Up: Packers' TE Bubba Franks will miss the remainder of the season after being placed on Injured Reserve because of lingering neck and back injuries. Franks actually took part in parts of practice on Wednesday but he met with the team's medical staff afterwards and they all agreed that there was no point in trying to get him back on the field this season. With nothing to play for the Packers' didn't want him to aggravate the problem and risk having potential long-term problems. So now that he has been placed on IR he can focus on getting himself ready for the start of the 2006 season.

Gus Frerotte, QB, MIA
Sprained Index Finger

Huddle Up: Dolphins' QB Gus Frerotte missed the second half of last week's game against the Jets after aggravating the index finger on his throwing hand and head coach Nick Saban told reporters that it was very swollen the following day. He is still officially being listed as questionable but the good news is that was able to practice on Wednesday and Thursday and team officials expect him back in the starting lineup tomorrow against the Titans. An official announcement about his playing status could come today so keep an eye open for that.

Samkon Gado, RB, GB
Torn MCL

Huddle Up: Packers' rookie RB Samkon Gado will miss the remainder of the season after an MRI on his injured right knee revealed a torn medial collateral ligament. Gado was hurt in the first quarter of Monday night's game against the Ravens but while the injury has ended his season it doesn't appear as if he will require surgery to fix the problem. Tony Fisher will take over as the team's starting RB and look for Noah Herron to get some carries as well.

Frank Gore, RB, SF
Strained Shoulder

Huddle Up: 49ers' rookie RB Frank Gore, who aggravated a strained shoulder in last week's game against the Jaguars, practiced on Thursday and with Barlow nursing a bad knee it looks like Gore will be the team's starting running back in tomorrow's game. According to reports both of Gore's shoulders will require off-season arthroscopic surgery, but the team's medical staff feels that as long as he can demonstrate reasonable strength and can handle the discomfort there is no reason not to play him. So they have cleared Gore to play in the final two regular season games. And if Barlow is deactivated for this weekend's game look for Gore to get the start.

Marvin Harrison, WR, IND
Fractured Hand

Huddle Up: Colts' WR Marvin Harrison remains a big question mark for this weekend's game after miss practice on Wednesday and Thursday with a broken bone in his hand. Harrison was fitted for a protective brace on Wednesday and according to head coach Tony Dungy there is a chance that he will attempt to go against the Seahawks. But since the Colts have nothing left to play for if Harrison does start he won't play for very long. The only thing the Colts need to do between now and the playoffs and get healthy so don't be surprised if Harrison ends up on the inactive list.

T.J. Houshmanzadeh, WR, CIN
Sprained Foot

Huddle Up: Bengals' WR T.J. Houshmanzadeh, who sprained his foot in last week's game, complained of pain when he walked on Monday so he was held out of practice with the team on Tuesday and Wednesday as a precaution. He worked with the training staff on Wednesday and he did enough to get cleared for practice on Thursday. According to reports Houshmanzadeh looked good on Thursday and since the Bengals are listing him as probable for Week 16 on the official injury report they obviously expect him to ready to play in tomorrow's game.

Darrell Jackson, WR, SEA
Arthroscopic Knee Surgery

Huddle Up: Seahawks' WR Darrell Jackson made his return to the starting lineup last week after missing two months while he recovered from knee surgery. He played well and put up decent fantasy numbers, however his knee was sore and swollen following the game and he hasn't been able to practice this week. Jackson, who is listed as questionable on the injury report, will attempt to practice today but if he doesn't look for Jackson to be a game-time decision against the Colts tomorrow. Check back with The Huddle tomorrow for an update.

Steve Jackson, RB, STL
Hip Pointer

Huddle Up: Rams' RB Steven Jackson is still trying to recover from a hip pointer that occurred in last week's game and although he hasn't practiced this week the Rams are still expecting him to play this weekend. Jackson did some individual work with the trainers on Thursday but the team's medical staff wanted him to avoid contact and the potential of aggravating the injury. Since he hasn't practiced with the team it might be a good idea to have a backup plan in place just in case he doesn't play. But as of right now the Rams appear confident that Jackson will be ready so expect him to start.

Greg Jones, RB, JAX
Strained Neck

Huddle Up: Jaguars' RB Greg Jones, who injured his neck in last week's game, has not been able to practice this week and has subsequently been downgraded from probable to questionable for Week 16. According to reports Jones will try and take the field today but the team's medical isn't sure if he will be ready for contact in time for tomorrow's game. If Jones is activated he would split carries with Fred Taylor but it looks like he will be a game-time decision.

Kevin Jones, RB, DET
Sprained Elbow

Huddle Up: Lions' RB Kevin Jones, who missed last week's game against the Bengals with a sprained elbow, returned to practice on Thursday but the team's medical staff isn't sure if he will be able to play in tomorrow's game. According to several reports the team is concerned that Jones will have trouble holding onto the football since his elbow is still at least a couple of weeks away from being completely healed. So even if he practices with the team today the Lions could still deactivate him tomorrow. Jones will be a game-time decision but at this point it looks like he won't play.

LaMont Jordan, RB, OAK
Sprained Toe

Huddle Up: Raiders' starting RB LaMont Jordan will likely miss tomorrow's game against the Broncos with a sprained ligament in his big toe (acute turf toe). Jordan, who is officially listed as doubtful on the team's injury report, has not practiced this week and his foot remains in a protective boot. He receives treatment on his toe at least twice a day but the team's medical staff feels he is at least one week away from being able to play in a game. Jordan will have the boot on his foot removed today and he will attempt to run in a controlled environment. But there is almost no chance of him playing so look for Justin Fargas and Zack Crockett to split the carries in his place.

Eddie Kennison, WR, KC
Sprained MCL

Huddle Up: An MRI done on the injured knee of Chiefs' WR Eddie Kennison did not reveal the level of damage that the team's medical staff was expecting. They believed prior to the exam that Kennison may have partially or completely tore his medical collateral ligament. But luckily the MRI confirmed that he had suffered a grade 1 or minor sprain and after practicing on Thursday there is a chance that he will be ready to play in tomorrow's game against the Chargers. He is still being listed as questionable and Chris Horn took a majority of the snaps with the starters so the Chiefs are preparing to play without him, but his recovery is going well and if he looks good in pre-game warm-ups he may be activated.

Erron Kinney, TE, TEN
Arthroscopic Knee Surgery

Huddle Up: Titans' TE Erron Kinney, who has been recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery and has not played since Week 13, was able to practice with the team on Wednesday and according to team officials he should be ready to make his return to the active lineup tomorrow against the Dolphins. Unfortunately his knee was feeling a little sore following Wednesday's practice and he was held out of practice on Thursday. The team is still saying that Kinney will be able to play but I would consider missing practice on Thursday a minor setback. Hopefully he can get back on the field today but don't be surprised if he ends up being deactivated.

Byron Leftwich, QB, JAX
Fractured Ankle

Huddle Up: Jaguars' QB Byron Leftwich has already been ruled out of tomorrow's game but according to reports he will attempt to run today for the first time since breaking his ankle almost a month ago. Head coach Jack Del Rio has not ruled him out of the regular season finale and with the team still fighting to get into the playoffs Leftwich could end up being activated. Leftwich has told reporters that he still experiences soreness in his ankle during and after rehab and workouts so that is a good indicator that he isn't close to being ready. So at this point I would be surprised if he does play before the playoffs. But then again, he has a history of playing through injuries and if anyone can do it is Leftwich. David Garrard will start in place of Leftwich this weekend and will continue to start as long as Leftwich is unable to play.

J.P. Losman, QB, BUF
Strained Shoulder

Huddle Up: Bills' rookie QB JP Losman will be active this week after missing last week's game with a strained shoulder. But Losman isn't completely healed so head coach Mike Mularkey has decided to stick with veteran signal caller Kelly Holcomb as his starter for tomorrow's game. Losman threw the ball in practice on Wednesday and took part in practice again on Thursday but the team's medical staff doesn't expect him to be 100% until at least the middle of next week.

Peyton Manning, QB, IND
Swollen Knee

Huddle Up: According to local reports out of Indianapolis, Colts QB Peyton Manning returned to practice on Wednesday and took a majority of the reps with the first team offense on Thursday after complaining of a sore and swollen knee following last week's game. The team's medical staff apparently got the swelling under control and it looks as if his knee is no longer an issue. Head coach Tony Dungy told reporters that Manning's knee was doing fine and that he expected him to play. But he advised that Manning would only play a portion of the game. So if you have a decent backup QB then you might want to start him this week. But if you are stuck Manning don't expect him to play longer than a half.

Chris Simms, QB, TB
Sprained Thumb

Huddle Up: Bucs' QB Chris Simms was able to practice on Tuesday and after looking good in practice on Wednesday and Thursday it looks like he will be ready to play in tomorrow's game. Simms suffered what the team called a minor ligament sprain during last week's game but there wasn't a lot of swelling the next day and pain was no longer an issue on Tuesday. So unless he suffers a setback look for Simms to be active this weekend.

LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, SD
Bruised Ribs

Huddle Up: Chargers' RB LaDainian Tomlinson is listed as questionable for Week 16 because of a lingering rib injury, but he was able to practice on Wednesday and Thursday and according to team officials he will be in the starting lineup this weekend. Tomlinson left last week's game after aggravating his bruised ribs and according to reports his ribs feel about the same now as they did last week. LT told reporters that he plans on making it through the entire game this week but there is nothing he can do if he takes several direct hits to the injured area. And it really wouldn't surprise me if he had to miss part of tomorrow's game because of his ribs. If he's on your roster you have to start him but there is a chance that he might not play a full game. So keep that in mind.

Kurt Warner, QB, ARI
Sprained MCL

Huddle Up: As reported earlier in the week Cardinals' QB Kurt Warner will miss the remainder of the season after spraining the MCL in his right knee during last week's game. Warner's injury was initially being reported as a complete tear of the ligament that would almost certainly require surgery but additional tests have shown that the injury is a grade 2 sprain and surgery won't be needed. Warner had problems staying on the field this year but when he played he put up surprisingly good numbers. If he makes a full recovery expect him to enter training camp next year as the favorite to win the starting job. Josh McCown will take over as the starting QB for the remainder of this season.

Jermaine Wiggins, TE, MIN
Sprained Ankle

Huddle Up: Vikings' TE Jermaine Wiggins, who left last week's game with a sprained ankle, returned to practice on Thursday but he is still listed as questionable for Week 16 and it looks like he will be a game-time decision. Wiggins was held out of practice on Wednesday while he received treatment on his ailing ankle and although he returned to the practice field on Thursday his reps were limited. Team officials aren't sure if he will be ready to play and we probably won't know for sure until prior to kickoff.