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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Week 4 Injury Update #2
Philip Gentles
September 29, 2006

Shaun Alexander, RB, SEA
Non-displaced Fracture of the Fourth Metatarsal

Huddle Up: Despite claims from Seahawks' RB Shaun Alexander that the power of prayer had healed the fracture in his foot, a CT scan showed that the fracture was still present and Alexander remains out indefinitely. Alexander showed up to the Seahawks' practice facility on Wednesday without his protective boot and told head coach Mike Holmgren that he would be ready to play this weekend because his foot was healed. Alexander is a very religious man, but he claims that prayer had healed his foot didn't seem to make sense and Holmgren told reporters that Alexander was still injured and that he wouldn't be ready to play for at least a couple of weeks. The Seahawks would be wise to hold Alexander out until he was completely healed and according to reports that could be as long as 4 - 6 weeks. We'll continue to keep you posted on his recovery.

Aaron Brooks, QB, OAK
Strained Pectoralis Major

Huddle Up: Raiders' QB Aaron Brooks, who strained his Pectoralis major muscle during Week 2, continues to recover and he has already been ruled out of this weekend's game against the Browns. According to reports, Brooks has shown signs of improvement and there is a chance that he could practice with the team sometime next week. But he will not play on Sunday. Andrew Walter will get the start in his place.

Chris Brown, RB, TEN
Turf Toe

Huddle Up: Titans' RB Chris Brown was inactive for last Sunday's game against the Dolphins, and while he's been able to take part in practice on Wednesday and Thursday, he remains questionable for Week 4. Brown has a long history of turf toe problems and unfortunately it looks like this latest injury will linger for a while to come. The Titans' plan on dealing with this injury on a week-to-week basis, but the only way that Brown will get healthy is if he's held out for an extended period of time. So as long as Brown has this problem, expect it to affect his weekly availability and production.

Mark Brunell, QB, WAS
Elbow Laceration

Huddle Up: Redskins' QB Mark Brunell, who needed three stitches to close a laceration on his left (throwing) elbow, was held out of practice on Wednesday and Thursday as a precaution but the team expects him to play in Sunday's game against the Jaguars. The injury appears to be minor, but the team's medical staff is being cautious because Brunell had a laceration in the same elbow become infected last season. Brunell actually threw some passes at the end of Thursday's practice, but he moved his arm very gingerly and he told a reporter afterwards that he wanted to make sure that his cut didn't become a problem. Todd Collins took all the snaps with the first-team offense on Wednesday and Thursday and if for some reason Brunell isn't cleared Collins will get the start on Sunday. But at this point I can't imagine that Brunell won't be cleared to play.

Desmond Clark, TE, CHI
Sprained Foot

Huddle Up: The status of Bears' TE Desmond Clark for Week 4 remains a question mark because of a sprained foot and according to reports the team isn't expecting him to be ready for Sunday's game. Clark did not practice on Wednesday and was held out of team drills on Thursday. He reportedly worked with the medical staff instead. He's officially listed as questionable on the official injury report and he'll likely be a game-time decision, but don't expect him to play. Check with The Huddle on Sunday for a final update.

Laveranues Coles, WR, NYJ
Strained Calf

Huddle Up: Jets' WR Laveranues Coles has not practiced with the team this week because of a lingering calf strain and he remains questionable for this weekend's game against the Colts. Coles suffered the injury back in Week 2 but despite being limited in practice he was able to play in Week 3 and had a very productive game. This injury is clearly affecting his ability to practice but if last week is any indication there is a good chance that he will be active on Sunday. An official decision on his availability probably won't be made until they see how performs in pre-game warm-ups so check back on Sunday for an update.

Corey Dillon, RB, NE
Stinger

Huddle Up: According to reports the injury that kept Patriots' RB Corey Dillon out of the second half of last Sunday night's game against the Broncos was a shoulder stinger, however he isn't listed on the injury report for Week 4 and the team expects him to play against the Bengals. Dillon apparently landed awkwardly on his neck and shoulder following a carry in the first half against the Broncos and he began to experience weakness and loss of sensation in his arm. He was having trouble holding the football and so the athletic training staff decided to keep him out for the remainder of the game. As expected the Patriots haven't been specific in regards to Dillon's injury, but a local newspaper reported that Dillon has regained the sensation and strength in his arm and he should be ready to play on Sunday.

Reuben Droughns, RB, CLE
Undisclosed Shoulder Injury

Huddle Up: Browns' RB Reuben Droughns, who was inactive last week because of an undisclosed shoulder injury, was limited in practice on Wednesday and Thursday but he remains optimistic about his chances of playing this weekend. Droughns has reportedly made strides in his recovery and team officials believe that there is good chance that he will be active against the Raiders. But he still hasn't made it through a full practice. If he does take part in every team drill today then there is a good chance that he will start this weekend. So keep a look out of Friday's practice report and check back on Sunday for a final update on his status.

Terry Glenn, WR, DAL
Finger Laceration

Huddle Up: Cowboys' WR Terry Glenn, who sliced his finger on Monday while trying cut some tape off of his uniform, was able to practice on Tuesday and according to head coach Bill Parcells he is fine and ready to start on Sunday. It isn't clear if the laceration required stitches, but he hasn't had any problems catching passes in practice this week and the injury doesn't appear to be an issue. We just ask you Terry that the next time something needs to be removed from your uniform that you ask someone else to do it for you.

Frank Gore, RB, SF
Bruised Ribs

Huddle Up: 49ers' RB Frank Gore, who bruised his ribs during last Sunday's loss to the Eagles, returned to practice on Wednesday wearing a protective flak jacket and was able to make it through practice on Thursday without a problem. Gore, who is listed as questionable on the team's injury report, will reportedly be upgraded if he makes it through practice today. Things appear to be going well in his recovery and if he doesn't suffer a setback, expect him to be back in the starting lineup on Sunday against the Chiefs.

Trent Green, QB, KC
Severe Concussion

Huddle Up: Chiefs' QB Trent Green, who suffered a severe concussion back on September 10, is still at least two weeks away from being cleared to play and according to reports the team doesn't have a timetable set for his return. Green told reporters that he's feeling a lot better and he's able to drive, however the team's medical staff doesn't want him working out or running just yet. There's a chance that Green will be allowed to watch Sunday's game from the sideline, but he doesn't know when he will be cleared to practice. Damon Huard will continue to start while Green is out.

Todd Heap, TE, BAL
Sprained Ankle

Huddle Up: Ravens' TE Todd Heap is dealing with a minor ankle sprain, but he was able to practice on Thursday and team officials expect him to play this weekend. Heap has a history of ankle sprains and he reportedly has both ankles treated and taped before every practice and game. The fact that he's played through ankle problems in the past should help him get through this latest injury. And although he's officially being listed as questionable, the Ravens are confident that he will be able to start on Sunday against the Chargers.

T.J. Houshmandzadeh, WR, CIN
Bruised Heel

Huddle Up: Bengals' WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who made his 2006 regular season debut last weekend after missing the first two weeks with a bruised heel, was held out of practice on Wednesday as a precaution. But he was back on the practice field on Thursday and the team expects him to play on Sunday against the Patriots. According to reports Houshmandzadeh continues to wear extra padding in his shoe to protect his injured heel, but his heel isn't affecting his mobility and it shouldn't be a problem against the Pats.

Matt Jones, WR, JAX
Strained Groin

Huddle Up: Jaguars' WR Matt Jones is very close to full strength and it appears that he will be more involved in the offense this weekend against the Redskins. Jones suffered a groin strain back in Week 2 and although he was active last weekend he was held without a catch. The good news is that Jones was back at practice on Wednesday and Thursday and he appeared to be running without a problem. He's still being listed on the official injury report as probable, but the team expects him to be in the starting lineup.

Terrell Owens, WR, DAL
Fractured Hand

Huddle Up: It has been a bizarre week for Terrell Owens, but he was back on the practice field on Wednesday catching passes, took part in several team drills on Thursday and he's hoping that he will be cleared to play on Sunday against the Titans. Owens, who broke the fourth metacarpal bone in his right hand during Week 2, is still experiencing pain and discomfort in his hand and the team's medical staff feels that he might need another week of treatment before he's ready to play. The pain in his hand forced T.O. to take extra painkillers earlier this week, and as we all know what happened after that. Head coach Bill Parcells hasn't decided if Owens will travel with the team to Tennessee or not and won't do so until he sees how he performs in practice today. Owens is working very hard, but don't be surprised if doesn't play until Week 5.

Chris Simms, QB, TB
Surgery to Remove Ruptured Spleen

Huddle Up: Buccaneers' QB Chris Simms was finally released from the intensive care unit after undergoing emergency surgery to remove a ruptured spleen following last Sunday's game, but he still remains in the hospital and according to reports the team doesn't expect him back anytime soon. Head coach Jon Gruden told reporters that Simms was out of bed and "walking around" at the hospital and that he wasn't prepared to place him Injured Reserve just yet. Gruden wants to see how his recovery goes over the next couple of weeks before he any long-term decisions are made. However don't expect Simms back on the field (if at all) until the very end of the regular season. Bruce Gradkowski will start at QB for the Bucs in Week 5.

L.J. Smith, TE, PHI
Sprained AC Joint

Huddle Up: According to reports Eagles' TE L.J. Smith has shown tremendous improvement this week and he's now listed as probable for Monday night's game as the Packers. Smith suffered a sprain to the Acromioclavicular joint during Week 2 and he aggravated the injury last weekend against the 49ers. However he's looked pretty good in practice this week, and while he is still getting treatment on his shoulder, the team expects him to start on Monday.

Donte Stallworth, WR, PHI
Strained Hamstring

Huddle Up: Eagles' WR Donte Stallworth, who was surprisingly deactivated for last Sunday's game against the 49ers with a hamstring injury, has not practiced this week and according to reports he remains questionable for Monday night's game against the Packers. Stallworth has been dealing with a strained hamstring and it hasn't shown much improvement over the last couple of days. An MRI done on his injured leg earlier in the week showed that there was damage to the hamstring, but head coach Andy Reid classified the injury as "slight." He went on to say that the team was treating the injury cautiously because they wanted to make sure that it didn't get any worse. Unfortunately it looks like we won't know Stallworth's availability until moments before the game, but we will have an update on his status on Sunday morning.

Jeremy Stevens, TE, SEA
Recovering from Arthroscopic Knee Surgery

Huddle Up: Seahawks' TE Jeramy Stevens continues to recovery from arthroscopic knee surgery and he's already been ruled out for Sunday's game. Stevens missed the team's first 3 games, and according to reports head coach Mike Holmgren believes that he is still at least a couple of weeks away from making his 2006 regular season debut.

Brandon Stokley, WR, IND
High Ankle Sprain

Huddle Up: It doesn't look like Colts' WR Brandon Stokley will be able to play this weekend against the Jets. Stokley, who suffered a high ankle sprain during a preseason practice, aggravated the injury in Week 2 and he's been unable to practice since. The team appeared optimistic about his chances of playing earlier in the week, however Stokley continues to experience soreness and discomfort in his leg when he runs and the Colts' medical staff wants to make sure that he is completely healed before they allow him to play again. An official decision on his availability probably won't be made until Sunday, but unless he's able to make it through full practice today without a problem he won't play in Week 4.

Chester Taylor, RB, MIN
Sprained Ankle

Huddle Up: Vikings' RB Chester Taylor was limited in practice on Thursday because of a minor ankle sprain and was added to the team's official injury report, but he still expects to start on Sunday against the Bills. Taylor apparently suffered the injury during practice on Wednesday and he was limited on Thursday as a precaution. Taylor currently leads the league in carries and the Vikings just want to make sure that he is healthy and fresh for Sunday's game. This doesn't appear to be a problem so expect him to be in the starting lineup on Sunday.

Adam Vinatieri, PK, NE
Strained Groin

Huddle Up: Colts' kicker Adam Vinatieri hasn't kicked with the team in practice this week and according to reports it doesn't look like he will be ready to play on Sunday. Vinatieri took part in practice last week but was deactivated prior to last Sunday's game against the Jaguars. The fact that he hasn't practiced with the team at all this week means that there is a good chance that the Colts will stick with Martin Gramatica as their kicker. Head coach Tony Dungy will wait until he sees how things go in practice today before he makes a decision, but don't be surprised if Vinatieri is once again inactive.

Brian Westbrook, RB, PHI
Knee Inflammation

Huddle Up: Eagles' RB Brian Westbrook, who continues to deal with inflammation in his knee, has once again been held out of practice on Wednesday and Thursday however the team expects him to start on Monday night against the Packers. Head coach Andy Reid told reporters earlier in the week that Westbrook has shown signs of improvement, but team's medical staff wants to reduce the wear and tear on his knee. So they held him out of the team's first two practices this week like they did the previous two weeks. There is speculation that Westbrook is dealing with a cartilage problem and a lingering case of inflammation in the knee is usually caused by some kind of cartilage damage, but this remains unconfirmed. The fact that Westbrook has been able to play the last two weeks and put up big numbers indicates that the injury hasn't become a major problem. But there still remains a chance that this could affect his performance at some point this season unless he's given a chance to rest and recover. As for Week 4, Westbrook is officially being listed as questionable on the injury report and a decision on his availability won't be made until sometime over the weekend, but based on what happened in Week 2 and 3 expect him to start against the Packers.