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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Playoff Injury Report - Divisional Weekend
Philip Gentles
January 12, 2006

Carolina Panthers

DeShaun Foster, RB
Sprained Toe

Huddle Up: Panthers' starting running back DeShaun Foster, who is listed as questionable for Sunday's divisional playoff game against the Bears because of a sprained ligament in his big toe (turf toe), has been held out of practice this week as a precaution but team officials expect him to be healthy enough to play. Foster injured his toe during the regular season and he continues to experience discomfort when he runs but he had a big game for the Panthers' last week despite the injury. Head coach John Fox told reporters that Foster will likely return to the practice field today (Thursday) and he believes Foster will be a big factor on offense this weekend.

Chicago Bears

Mike Brown, DB
Partially Torn Calf

Huddle Up: Bears' safety Mike Brown, who missed the team's final four regular season games with a partially torn calf muscle, returned to practice two weeks ago and according to head coach Lovie Smith he will be back in the starting lineup this weekend against the Panthers. Brown reportedly could have played in the team's final regular season game but with a playoff spot and bye week already secured the team's medical staff wanted to give him additional time to heal. By all accounts his calf has completely healed and he should be at full strength for this weekend's game.

Denver Broncos

Mike Anderson, RB
Sprained Ankle

Huddle Up: According to head coach Mike Shanahan Broncos' running back Mike Anderson has completely recovered from a sprained ankle and he will be back in the starting lineup for this team this weekend against the Patriots. Anderson suffered what the team called a minor ankle sprain back in Week 16 and was held out of Week 17 by the team's medical staff as a precaution. After spending the last three weeks working with the athletic training staff Anderson returned to team workouts on Monday and he is no longer listed on the Broncos' official injury report. With Anderson back look for Tatum Bell to resume his role as the change-of-pace RB.

Jeb Putzier, TE
Bruised Shoulder

Huddle Up: Broncos' TE Jeb Putzier is still recovering from an injured shoulder that occurred in the team's regular season finale but he was able to practice on Tuesday and Wednesday and he is listed as probable on official injury report for this weekend's game. According to team officials Putzier still experiences soreness in his shoulder and he requires treatment following practice but they expect him to be in the starting lineup against the Patriots.

Darrent Williams, DB
Strained Groin

Huddle Up: Broncos' DB Darrent Williams should be healthy enough to play this weekend but team officials don't expect him to be at full speed for at least another week. Williams missed the final three games of the regular season with a strained groin and while the injury has improved he remains limited in practice and he recently told reporters that he will only be "about 80% come game time." Since he won't be at full strength in time for this weekend's playoff game he won't resume his role as the team's return specialist and he will only come in as a nickel back.

Al Wilson, LB
Broken Thumb

Huddle Up: Broncos' LB Al Wilson, who had pins surgically inserted into his hand after he broke his thumb during Week 16 against the Raiders, continues to wear a cast but he has been cleared by the team's medical staff to play in this weekend's playoff game. Wilson told reporters that the cast will prevent him from having the full use of his hand but that he still expects to have a good game against the Patriots. Wilson is still at least a month a way from having the cast removed so he will have to wear it throughout the playoffs.

Indianapolis Colts

Dwight Freeney, DL
Sprained Foot / Sore Hamstring

Huddle Up: Colts' DL Dwight Freeney, who continues to be bothered by a sprained foot, has remained limited in practice every week since suffering the injury back in the middle of October. Freeney tried playing through the injury and while he was active for every game his production suffered and his injury did not improve. The good news is that Freeney has shown signs of improvement over the last couple of weeks and after missing practice on Monday and Tuesday he was able to practice on Wednesday. Head coach Tony Dungy told reporters that baring a setback Freeney will be active for this weekend's game but don't be surprised if he isn't much of a factor.

Marvin Harrison, WR
Broken Hand

Huddle Up: Colts' WR Marvin Harrison continues to recover from a broken bone in his hand and while he continues to wear a cast to protect the injury, he has taken part in every team practice over the last two weeks and the medical staff expects him to play in this weekend's divisional playoff game. Harrison, who will wear the cast during Sunday's game against the Steelers, tested the device during the regular season finale and according to reports the team doesn't think that it will affect his ability to catch the ball during the playoffs.

Brandon Stokley, WR
Bruised Knee

Huddle Up: Colts' WR Brandon Stokley, who was held out of the team's final regular season game because of a bruised knee, has practiced every day this week and according to reports he will be active for this weekend's playoff game against the Steelers. Stokely complained of soreness and discomfort in his knee prior to the start of the post-season. But he has responded well to treatment and the team's medical staff doesn't expect his knee to be a problem during the playoffs.

New England Patriots

Tedy Bruschi, LB
Strained Calf

Huddle Up: Patriots' LB Tedy Bruschi was officially active for last week's Wild Card playoff game against the Jaguars but after limping through pregame warm-ups the team's medical staff felt it was best that he not play and avoid aggravating his injured calf. The Patriots do not provide specific injury information but Bruschi is not listed on the team's official injury report this week which could be interpreted to mean that his calf has improved and that he will be ready to play in this weekend's game against the Broncos. But nothing is a certainty especially with this team so don't be surprised if his official gameday status isn't announced until right before kickoff.

Corey Dillon, RB, NE
Strained Calf

Huddle Up: Patriots' RB Corey Dillon, who is listed as probable, continues to be slowed because of a strained calf but even though he remains limited in practice team officials expect him to start this weekend against the Broncos. Dillon hasn't practiced with the team this week but according to reports he has looked good in individual drills and he may be able to take part in full practice as early as today (Thursday). Unfortunately he will not be completely healed until he gets some rest during the off-season but as long as the Patriots are playing he will be active and playing as well.

Daniel Graham, TE, NE
Shoulder Injury

Huddle Up: Patriots' TE Daniel Graham, who missed 4 of the team's last 5 regular season games with an unspecified shoulder injury, is still not completely healthy but he was able to play in last week's playoff game and according to reports the team expects him to play in this weekend's divisional playoff game as well. Graham remains limited in practice and might not take part in team drills until Friday but he is listed as probable on the official injury report and if all goes well over the next couple of days he will active for Saturday's game.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Jerome Bettis, RB
Strained Hamstring

Huddle Up: Steelers' RB Jerome Bettis complained of soreness in his hamstring following last week's playoff game against the Bengals and was held out of practice earlier in the week so that he could get additional rest and treatment. But according to reports his hamstring is feeling much better and he was able to practice with the team on Wednesday. He is currently listed as probable for this weekend's game against the Patriots so expect him to be active.

Quincy Morgan, WR
Fractured Fibula

Huddle Up: Steelers' WR Quincy Morgan was originally diagnosed with a high ankle sprain after leaving last week's playoff game hurt. But an X-ray performed after the game revealed a a fractured fibula and an MRI performed the following day confirmed that he would need surgery to repair the damaged bone. Morgan should make a full recovery in time for minicamps in May but he has been placed on Injured Reserve meaning he is out for the remainder of the post-season.

Seattle Seahawks

Andre Dyson, DB
High Ankle Sprain

Huddle Up: Seahawks' DB Andre Dyson, who missed the final four regular season games with a high ankle sprain, returned to practice with the team this week and he is no longer being listed on the injury report. Dyson told reporters that he was feeling a little rusty earlier in the week but that he feels better after every practice and that he expects to be at full speed in time for this weekend's game.

Darrell Jackson, WR, SEA
Arthroscopic Knee Surgery

Huddle Up: Seahawks' WR Darrell Jackson is not listed on the team's official injury report this week but he admitted to reporters that his knee wouldn't be completely healthy until after the playoffs. Jackson has complained of soreness in his knee and has experienced bouts of swelling ever since returning from arthroscopic surgery. According to reports his knee shouldn't prevent him from practicing with the team over the next couple of days and team officials expect him to start on Saturday but he won't be at full strength so don't be surprised if he splits time with Joe Jurevicius.

Marcus Trufant, DB, SEA
Lower Back Contusion

Huddle Up: Seahawks' DB Marcus Trufant, who is listed as questionable for this weekend's game because of a lower back contusion, was able to practice on Tuesday and Wednesday and according to reports he should be able to play in this weekend's divisional playoff game. Trufant suffered the injury back in Week 16 and hasn't recovered as quickly as the team's medical staff had hoped for but he appears ready to make his return. This could come down to a game-time decision but right now it looks like he will play.

Washington Redskins

Clinton Portis, RB
Shoulder Stinger

Huddle Up: Redskins' RB Clinton Portis was limited in last weekend's game after suffering another stinger in his injured shoulder. Portis admitted to reporters that he is having problems with both of his shoulders and that he didn't think that he would be completely healed until sometime during the off-season. The good news is that he practiced with the team and without restriction on Wednesday and he will be back in the starting lineup this weekend. However he could aggravate the injury at anytime so there is a good chance that he will end up splitting carries with Ladell Betts again like he did in last week's game.

Shawn Springs, DB
Strained Groin

Huddle Up: Redskins' DB Shawn Springs, who was inactive for last week's playoff game against the Bucs, returned to practice on Tuesday and according to reports he will be active this weekend against the Seahawks. Springs is listed as probable on the official injury report and his injury has improved but he still complains of soreness after he runs so the team's medical staff is going to keep a close eye on him over the next couple of days. But right now it looks like he is going to play.

James Thrash, WR
Fractured Thumb

Huddle Up: Redskins starting WR James Thrash, who recently underwent surgery to repair a small fracture in his thumb, has not returned to practice and his status for this weekend's playoff game remains in question. Thrash had a cast placed over his surgically repaired hand and if he does play he will have to wear it during the game. The team's medical staff isn't sure if he will try and practice today but they expect him to test his hand at some point over the next couple of days. This could come down to a game-time decision so don't expect an official word on his availability to come until gameday.