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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Week 3 Injury Update #2
Philip Gentles
September 22, 2006

Shaun Alexander, RB, SEA
Foot Soreness

Huddle Up: Seahawks' RB Shaun Alexander hasn't looked sharp to start the season, and the reason he's struggled is because he's dealing with an injury in his left foot. According to reports Alexander injured his foot in Week 1 and he was feeling very sore after last Sunday's win over the Cardinals. The Seahawks' have not said why his foot was feeling sore, but the team's medical staff decided to hold him out of practice on Wednesday and Thursday in hopes that the extra rest will give his foot a chance to heel. Alexander is officially listed as probable on the injury report and team officials expect him to start this weekend against the Giants so clearly the injury has improved. But he probably won't be at full strength so don't expect a big game from the reigning league MVP.

Tiki Barber, RB, NYG
Bruised Forearm

Huddle Up: Giants' RB Tiki Barber is ready to play this weekend against the Seahawks after precautionary X-rays on his forearm came back negative. Barber suffered what he called a deep bruise on his left forearm back in Week 1 and aggravated the injury last weekend against the Eagles. Since the injury was very close to the sport where he fractured his arm back in 2000 the team's medical staff wanted to make sure that he didn't rebreak the bone. According to Barber the X-ray showed that the previous fracture wasn't disrupted. Barber is not listed on the team's injury report so look for him to be at full strength in Week 3.

Chris Brown, RB, TEN
Turf Toe

Huddle Up: Titans' RB Chris Brown, who suffered yet another turf toe injury in Week 1, aggravated the problem last weekend against the Chargers and he's now listed as questionable on the team's injury report for Week 3. Brown was slowed by turf toe in 2004 and missed a handful of games in 2005 because of the same injury. Unfortunately he's dealing with the exact same thing now and unless he takes several weeks off to rest the injury it will likely linger for the rest of the season. As for this Sunday's game against the Dolphins, Brown will be a game-time decision but even if he's cleared to play his carries will be limited.

Laveranues Coles, WR, NYJ
Calf Contusion

Huddle Up: According to reports Jets' WR Laveranues Coles suffered a calf contusion during last weekend's game against the Patriots and he's been wearing a wrap around his leg ever since. Coles was able to practice with the team on Wednesday on Thursday and he appeared to run without a problem but was held of 11-on-11 drills as a precaution. He's officially listed as questionable on the team's injury report and he will likely be a game-time decision, but team officials believe that there is a good chance that he will be ready to play against the Bills. But check back with The Huddle on Sunday just to make sure.

Reuben Droughns, RB, CLE
Shoulder Injury

Huddle Up: The results of an MRI performed on the shoulder of Browns' RB Reuben Droughns have not been made public, but the injury is significant enough to keep him out of practice on Wednesday and Thursday and he's officially listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Ravens. Head coach Romeo Crennel has declined to comment on Droughns' injury. According to local newspaper reports in Cleveland the team is preparing to play without him, so maybe you should consider doing the same thing. If Droughns doesn't play look for rookie Jerome Harrison to get a significant amount of playing time.

Chris Henry, WR, CIN
Minor Groin Strain

Huddle Up: Bengals' WR Chris Henry gave everyone a scare on Wednesday when he was seen being carted off the practice field with an apparent groin injury. Head coach Marvin Lewis cleared things up after practice telling the media that Henry was dealing with a minor groin strain and that he was just being taken to the training room early to get extra treatment. Sure enough Henry was back at practice on Thursday and Lewis expects him to be active for Sunday's big Week 3 game against the Steelers.

Travis Henry, RB, TEN
Turf Toe

Huddle Up: Titans' RB Travis Henry was able to practice on Wednesday and Thursday but he remains questionable on the team's official injury report and his availability for Week 3 probably won't be determined until gameday. According to reports Henry is dealing with a case of turf toe very similar to Chris Brown's, but he has shown signs of improvement. But that doesn't guarantee that he will play against the Dolphins this weekend. So check back with The Huddle on Sunday for an update.

T.J. Houshmandzadeh, WR, CIN
Bruised Heel

Huddle Up: Bengals' WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who is dealing with a bruised heel, returned to practice on Thursday however he did not wear pads and was limited to non-contact drills and his status for Week 3 remains questionable. Houshmandzadeh told reporters that the heel injury that kept him out of Week 1 and 2 was feeling much better and that he was confident that would be activated for Sunday's game against the Steelers. But he told reporters the exact same thing last week. So what's going to happen? Houshmandzadeh will likely try and do more in practice today (Friday) and hopefully he shows enough to get upgraded on the injury report. However don't be surprised if a decision on his availability for Week 3 isn't made until gameday.

Matt Jones, WR, JAX
Strained Groin

Huddle Up: Jaguars' WR Matt Jones reportedly strained his groin at the end of Monday night's game against the Steelers and after missing practice on Wednesday and Thursday his status for Week 3 is questionable. According to reports Jones has been jogging with trainers but the team does not want him to aggravate the injury and he will likely be held out of practice today (Friday) and the walkthrough tomorrow. Head coach Jack Del Rio has not ruled him out of Sunday's game and he will probably be a game-time decision, but get ready to replace him in your starting lineup in case he is deactivated.

Curtis Martin, RB, NYJ
Recovering from Off-season Arthroscopic Knee Surgery

Huddle Up: According to reports Jets' RB Curtis Martin, who is out until after the team's sixth regular season game, is finally making progress in his recovery from off-season arthroscopic knee surgery. And while the team's medical staff isn't sure when he will be ready to play Martin remains optimistic and he's confident that he will be able to play at some point this season. Several media outlets have reported that Martin is dealing with a degenerative knee condition, so there really isn't a lot he can do outside of strengthening the muscles around his knee to get him back on the field. But he's been working with the athletic training staff and in the gym and his knee is reportedly feeling stronger and more stable. We'll continue to keep you posted on his recovery.

Itula Mili, TE, SEA
Sprained Knee

Huddle Up: Seahawks' TE Itula Mili has already been ruled out of the starting lineup for Sunday's game against the Giants and according to reports if he doesn't practice today (Friday) he will be ruled out of the game completely. Mili suffered a sprained knee in last week's game and has not practiced with the team this week. Head coach Mike Holmgren told reporters that there was an "outside chance" of Mili playing, but he said that Will Heller will get the start in Week 3. Don't count on Mili playing.

Clinton Portis, RB, WAS
Shoulder Subluxation and Bruised Rotator Cuff

Huddle Up: Redskins' RB Clinton Portis did not start in Week 1 and was limited in the game because he was still recovering from a shoulder subluxation. And Portis was surprisingly deactivated for last Week's game against the Cowboys because of a bruised rotator cuff that apparently occurred during the team's Week 1 game. But after two days of practice he appears to be very close to full strength and unless he suffers a setback he should in the starting lineup on Sunday. Portis returned to practice on Wednesday and took part in every team activity including contact drills and according to reports he looked good. He practiced on Thursday as well and he told reporters that he would be ready for Week 3 action. A source close to the Redskins has told The Huddle that Portis will wear a shoulder harness this weekend as a precaution but that the harness won't affect the way he carries the football and his injuries shouldn't be an issue against the Texans.

Jeremy Shockey, TE, NYG
Sprained Ankle

Huddle Up: Giants' TE Jeremy Shockey returned to practice on a limited basis on Thursday and he's listed as probable for this weekend's game against the Seahawks, which means that there is a good chance that he will be able to play. Shockey has been dealing with a sprained ankle since before the start of the regular season and he aggravated the problem during last week's game against the Eagles. The good news is that a series of X-rays and an MRI performed on his ankle earlier this week showed no additional damage. Head coach Tom Coughlin told reporters that Shockey looked "pretty good" during drills on Thursday and that he expected him to play on Sunday. This is obviously great for Shockey owners, but be careful. He wasn't very productive last week and since he's still not 100% there is a chance that he won't be very effective against the Seahawks as well.

L.J. Smith, TE, PHI
Acromioclavicular Sprain

Huddle Up: Eagles' TE L.J. Smith, who suffered a minor sprain to the AC (Acromioclavicular) joint in his shoulder during last Sunday's game, was held out of practice on Wednesday as a precaution but was back on the practice field on Thursday and he's expected to start this weekend against the 49ers. Smith was reportedly feeling very sore on Monday. However he has improved and he appeared to be fine on Thursday. He's officially listed as probable, but unless he suffers a setback he will be back in the starting lineup on Sunday.

Rod Smith, WR, DEN
Mild Concussion

Huddle Up: Despite suffering his third concussion in less than a year, Broncos' WR Rod Smith is no longer experiencing headaches and bouts of dizziness and according to reports he was back at practice on Wednesday and Thursday and he's expected to play in Sunday's game. Smith told reporters that he was feeling great and that he hasn't had any problems since returning to practice. The team is still keeping a very close eye on him and they will continue to monitor him over the next few days, but head coach Mike Shanahan doesn't believe that there will be any problems and he expects Smith to play against the Patriots this weekend.

Steve Smith, WR, CAR
Strained Hamstring

Huddle Up: Panthers' WR Steve Smith finally practiced with the team on Thursday, and while he remains questionable on the team's official injury report, head coach John Fox is cautiously optimistic about Smith's chances of playing. Smith was inactive for the first two weeks of the season because of strained right hamstring. There was speculation that he was not playing because of a contract dispute but an MRI performed earlier in the week confirmed that there was damage to his hamstring. The MRI also showed that the damage had healed and based on his performance in practice on Thursday he appears to be close to full speed. Smith admitted to reporters that while his hamstring is fine, he is still trying to regain confidence in his legs. If he isn't completely confident in his legs then he won't be very effective on the field and there is a greater chance of reinjury. And this is why his status for Week 3 remains a question mark. The Panthers' will likely wait and see how he does during pre-game warm-ups before they decide if he will play or not so check with The Huddle on Sunday for an update.

Brandon Stokley, WR, IND
High Ankle Sprain

Huddle Up: Colts' WR Brandon Stokley wasn't completely healthy when the team's medical staff decided to activate him last weekend against the Texans and although he went on to score a touchdown, he aggravated his high ankle sprain was unable to finish the game. So don't expect the Colts to rush him back this week. Stokley did not practice with the team on Wednesday and Thursday and his status for Sunday's game against the Jaguars remains questionable. If he doesn't practice with the team today or tomorrow, there is a good chance that Dungy will deactivate him. Dungy will probably wait to see what Stokley does during pregame warm-ups but I can't imagine the team will allow Stokley to play this weekend if he isn't at full strength.

Adam Vinatieri, PK, NE
Strained Groin

Huddle Up: Colts' PK Adam Vinatieri has not practiced this week because of a strained groin, but the team still expects him to handle field goals and extra points this weekend against the Jaguars. Head coach Tony Dungy has already said that Vinatieri will not be able to handle kickoffs and he's already brought in several free agent kickers including Martin Gramatica for workouts. Vinatieri is reportedly feeling better, but Dugy and the medical staff are concerned that he could aggravate the injury if he does kickoffs and attempts long range field goals. That being said Dungy still expects Vinatieri to be active so if he's your top kicker make sure he's in your lineup.

Brian Westbrook, RB, PHI
Knee Inflammation

Huddle Up: Eagles' RB Brian Westbrook has not practiced this week because of inflammation in his knee and although his status for Sunday's Week 3 game against the 49ers is questionable team officials believe that he will be able to play. Westbrook, who suffered an undisclosed knee injury in practice over a week ago, was able to play in Week 2 despite the problems in his knee and he had a fairly productive game. However his knee was reportedly very swollen after the game and he's been held out of practice with the team this week while he rests and receives treatment. Westbrook will probably be a game-time decision, and based on what happened last weekend there appears to be a decent chance that he will be in the starting lineup again. However because we don't know what is causing his knee to swell his long-term status is of major concern. It wouldn't surprise me if this injury forced Westbrook to miss some games at some point this season.

Roddy White, WR, ATL
Shoulder Injury

Huddle Up: According to reports Falcons' WR Roddy White has been unable to practice this week because of an undisclosed shoulder injury. White's ribs are apparently OK, but his shoulder is giving him trouble and it could keep him out of Monday night's game against the Saints. Head coach Jim Mora told reporters that he hopes that White will be able to practice today and tomorrow, but if he doesn't don't expect him to be active on Monday.

Troy Williamson, WR, MIN
Sprained Shoulder

Huddle Up: Vikings' WR Troy Williamson is officially listed as questionable for Week 3 because of a sprained left shoulder, but team officials still expect him to be active for Sunday's game against the Bears. Williamson was hurt in the first quarter of last Sunday's game when he landed awkwardly on his shoulder after making a reception. He was immediately taken to the locker room for an examination but reportedly returned to the field soon after wearing a protective harness. He went on to have a career game do clearly the injury didn't affect his performance. Williamson continues to wear the harness but he made it through practice on Wednesday and Thursday without a problem and he should be in the Vikings' starting lineup this weekend.