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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Training Room Injury Update - Week 4
Philip Gentles
September 28, 2007

QUARTERBACKS

Marc Bulger, QB, STL - Broken Ribs
Rams' head coach Scott Linehan revealed earlier this week that QB Marc Bulger has been playing with two broken ribs but that he would still start in Week 4 and continue to play through the injury. According to reports Bulger took part in all portions of practice on Wednesday and Thursday and indicated to reporters that he uses painkillers to help him deal with the discomfort. He went on to say that his injured ribs have not affected his ability to throw and that he feels fine on game days. The Rams' offensive line is really struggling right now and all it takes is one hit for Bulger's injury to knock him out a game.

Jay Cutler, QB, DEN - Minor Ankle Sprain
Broncos' QB Jay Cutler practiced without limitations on Wednesday and Thursday and it looks like his ankle injury will not prevent him from starting against the Colts on Sunday. Cutler, who suffered a minor ankle sprain at the end of last weekend's game, told reporters that an MRI on his ankle showed no significant damage and that he was feeling fine. Cutler expected to take part in practice on Wednesday and not only did he practice but he looked mobile as well. He'll definitely have his ankle taped on Sunday, but it shouldn't be an issue and won't affect his performance.

Jake Delhomme, QB, CAR - Strained Elbow
The status of Panthers' QB Jake Delhomme, who is recovering from a strained right elbow, remains a mystery after head coach John Fox refused to answer questions about his availability for Week 4. Delhomme injured his right (throwing) elbow during last Sunday's game against the Falcons and he was held out of practice on Wednesday and Thursday while he received treatment from the medical staff. Fox did not say whether Delhomme will attempt to practice with the team today (Friday). But according to reports out of Seattle Delhomme will likely be limited to individual work and David Carr will continue to take all the snaps with the first-team. The team is obviously preparing to play without him so at this point it looks like Delhomme is a longshot to start. But we probably won't know for sure until the Panthers' announce their inactivates on Sunday, so check with The Huddle then for a final update.

Tavaris Jackson, QB, MIN - Strained Groin
Vikings' QB Tavaris Jackson, who was inactive for last week's game because of a strained groin, returned to practice on Wednesday. However he was limited in practice on Wednesday and Thursday and the team expects Kelly Holcomb to make his second straight start. Jackson told reporters that his groin was improving but he admitted that he wasn't close to being at full strength. He's working hard and hopes to make his return soon but it looks like he will be out for this weekend's game.

J.P. Losman, QB, BUF
Sprained MCL

As reported earlier in the week Bills' QB JP Losman has been diagnosed with a sprained MCL and he will miss at least two weeks while he recovers. Losman was hurt in the first quarter of last Sunday's game against the Patriots and was replaced by rookie Trent Edwards, who will start in his place this weekend against the Jets. According to reports the team expects Losman to make his return after their Week 6 bye.

Josh McCown, QB, OAK - Fractured Toe
It looks like Josh McCown will be inactive this weekend because of fractured big toe and the injury could keep him sidelined anywhere from 1 - 5 weeks. According to reports an X-ray earlier this week revealed a fracture in his big toe and the team's medical staff initially announced that he would be out for 1 - 2 weeks. ESPN later reported that McCown could be sideline up to 5 weeks. But despite these reports McCown has been allowed to practice on a limited basis and the team has not officially ruled him out of their Week 4 game just yet. The smart money is on Daunte Culpepper to get his first start of the Raiders on Sunday against his former team the Miami Dolphins. And if he plays well there is a good chance that he will keep the starting job even after McCown recovers.

Steve McNair, QB, BAL - Strained Groin
Ravens' QB Steve McNair left last Sunday's game after aggravating his groin injury. However McNair was able to practice on Wednesday and Thursday without limitations and the team expects him to start this weekend against the Browns. McNair told reporters following Week 3 that he could have continued to play even after tweaking his strained groin and according to reports he did not complain of soreness and stiffness on Monday. The medical staff was prepared to limit his involvement in practice this week but he passed a test on Tuesday and the medical staff now believes that he will be fine for Week 4.

RUNNING BACKS

Shaun Alexander, RB, SEA - Fractured Wrist
Seahawks' RB Shaun Alexander, who has a fractured bone in his wrist, has practiced with the first team offense this week and the team expects him to start this weekend against the 49ers. According to reports Alexander has been fitted for a larger cast that he has worn during workouts and that he will wear on Sunday. Head coach Mike Holmgren said earlier in the week that Alexander's wrist has affected the way he carries the ball and it has limited his ability to catch. So this larger cast won't make things easier. Holmgren has said that the bone should heal within the next couple of weeks and mentioned that Alexander will no longer wear the cast as soon as tests show that the bone has healed.

Ahman Green, RB, HOU - Sprained Knee
Texans' RB Ahman Green, who is nursing a sprained knee that occurred in last Sunday's game against the Colts, has not practiced this week and it looks like he will be inactive for the team's Week 4 game. According to reports an MRI on Green's injured knee revealed that his injury was minor. However his knee was reportedly still swollen on Thursday and the medical staff will likely keep him sidelined until sometime next week. If Green does not play look for Ron Dayne, who is back after missing last week with bruised ribs, to get the start in his place.

Brandon Jackson, RB, GB - Shin Injury
According to reports Packers' rookie RB Brandon Jackson aggravated his shin injury in practice on Thursday and his status for Week 4 is now in questions. Jackson reportedly injured his shin in last week's game and he began to experience swelling in his leg following Wednesday's practice. He attempted to practice on Thursday but aggravated the injury and had to head to the locker room for treatment. This could come down to a game-time decision so check back on Sunday for an update.

Steven Jackson, RB, STL - Partially Torn Groin
Rams' RB Steven Jackson has already been ruled out for Week 4 because of a partially torn groin and according to team officials he will be out at least two weeks while he recovers. Unfortunately the news out of St. Louis isn't good and Jackson could be sidelined for a lot longer than two weeks. According to a local report Jackson has a "40% tear" of his groin muscle, which is a fairly significant tear. The Rams have not confirmed or denied this report, but if it is true Jackson won't be seeing the field until the second half of the season. Rookie Brian Leonard will get the start in his place this weekend and should get a lot of carries while Jackson is out.

Brandon Jacobs, RB, NYG - Sprained MCL
According to reports Giants' RB Brandon Jacobs made his return to practice on Thursday and depending on how he does in practice today (Friday) he could be activated for this Sunday night's game against the Eagles. Jacobs, who has been out since Week 1 because of a sprained MCL in his knee, was limited in practice on Thursday but team officials were still encouraged by what they saw. If he does play he would likely share carries with Derrick Ward, but a decision on his availability won't be made until gameday.

Larry Johnson, RB, KC - Sore Hamstring
According to reports the Chiefs have held RB Larry Johnson out of practice this week because LJ complained of soreness in his hamstring following last Sunday's game. Johnson has not spoken about his leg problem but head coach Herman Edwards says that Johnson is likely to play on Sunday. The team will see what happens in practice today before they update his status but we probably won't hear any definitive news until after he participates in pre game warm-ups. At this point it looks like they are playing this thing safe so expect him to start on Sunday.

Rudi Johnson, RB, CIN - Strained Hamstring
According to reports Bengals' RB Rudi Johnson will not play in Monday night's game against the Patriots because of his strained hamstring and he will be replaced in the starting lineup by Kenny Watson. Johnson, who was hurt in last Sunday's game, has not practiced this week and has declined to speak with reporters about his injury. After missing practice on Thursday the Bengals listed Johnson as "out" for Week 4 on their official injury report, so he won't be active on Monday night.

Julius Jones, RB, DAL - Concussion
Despite suffering his second concussion of the season last week Cowboys' RB Julius Jones is not listed on the team's injury report and he will be active this weekend against the Rams. According to reports Jones is considering switching to a new helmet, one that he hopes will help prevent this from occurring again. The good news is that he isn't experiencing any lingering problems associated with the concussions. Unfortunately Marion Barber is playing at a higher level and he will continue to get a lot of carries.

Kevin Jones, RB, DET - Recovering from Lisfranc Fracture/Dislocation
Lions' RB Kevin Jones played in a game last week for the first time since suffering a Lisfranc fracture / dislocation last season and it looks like he will be more involved in the offense this weekend against the Bears. Jones had only a handful of touches last Sunday against the Eagles but scored on a goal line carry. Offensive coordinator Mike Martz told reporters that he wasn't sure if Jones was ready for a larger role, but Jones has taken part in every team drill in practice this week and he said that he was preparing to have more carries in Week 4. Jones probably won't get a bulk of the carries on Sunday but continues to show signs of progress and it is only a matter of time before he moves into the starting lineup.

Vernand Morency, RB, GB - Patella Tendon Strain
Packers' RB Vernand Morency, who has not played this season because of a patella tendon strain in his right knee, practiced for two straight days without feeling a significant amount of soreness and because of the injury to Brandon Jackson there is a chance that he may start this weekend against the Vikings. Morency was held out of a couple of drills on Wednesday and Thursday as a precaution but head coach Mike McCarthy said that he looked good in practice on both days and that they will know more about his status for Week 4 after practice today (Friday). We probably won't know who will be playing until after pre game warm-ups. on Sunday so check with us on Sunday morning for an update.

Deuce McAllister, RB, NO - Torn ACL and Meniscus
An MRI on RB Deuce McAllister's injured left knee revealed a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), which means his 2007 season is over. McAllister, who was hurt in the first quarter of Monday night's game against the Texans, also suffered additional damage to the meniscus in his knee and according to reports the joint was so swollen that the medical staff had to delay corrective surgery until Thursday. By all accounts the surgery went well and the attending physician believes he will be able to play at some point next season. McAllister actually tore the ACL in his right knee back in 2005 and many NFL scouts believe that he hasn't been the same runner since that injury. The Saints' are hoping that he will be ready for the start of training camp next year, but that is far from a guarantee at this point.

Chester Taylor, RB, MIN - Strained Oblique
After classifying RB Chester Taylor's injured oblique muscle as a contusion for two weeks the Vikings finally admitted this week that his injury was actually a strain. However the team is optimistic that Taylor will be cleared to return this weekend. Taylor has practiced with the team this week and according to reports he has looked good. He admitted that he was feeling sore following Thursday's practice but he still believes that he is ready to play. Head coach Brian Childress said earlier in the week that Taylor will start once he is healthy, however rookie Adrian Peterson will continue to get a lot of carries. At this point the Vikings' aren't prepared to say if he will be active on Sunday against the Packers or not, but it certainly looks like he is very close to making his return.

Brian Westbrook, RB, PHI - Strained Abdomen
Eagles' RB Brian Westbrook continues to make steady progress in his recovery from a strained abdomen muscle and despite being held out of practice on Wednesday and Thursday the team still expects him to be play this weekend against the Giants. Westbrook left last Sunday's game after straining his abdomen and he was reportedly feeling sore on Monday morning. Westbrook told reporters on Thursday that he was feeling better and that he was preparing himself to play on Sunday. This looks like it is going to come down to a game-time decision, but it wouldn't surprise me to see him in the starting lineup.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Anquan Boldin, WR, ARI - Bruised Hip
Cardinals' WR Anquan Boldin, who suffered a bruised hip in last weekend's game, has not practiced with the team this week but the team still expects him to start on Sunday against the Steelers. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt told reporters that the team decided to hold Boldin out of practice this week as a precaution and that his hip has significantly improved because of the extra rest and treatment. According to reports Boldin did some individual work under the supervision of the training staff and he might be cleared to practice with the team tomorrow. It certainly looks like he is going to play, but check back on Sunday for an update in case he suffers a setback.

Isaac Bruce, WR, STL - Minor Concussion
According to reports Rams' WR Isaac Bruce has practiced on a limited basis this week and the team's medical staff expects him to play on Sunday against the Cowboys. Bruce left last week's game with a minor concussion but was able to return to the field after a brief rest. He has not experienced any symptoms associated with post-concussion syndrome and it appears that he will be fine for the team's Week 4 game.

Plaxico Burress, WR, NYG - Severely Sprained Ankle
Despite being diagnosed with a seriously sprained ankle the Giants still expect WR Plaxico Burress to play on Sunday night against the Eagles. Burress, who originally sprained his ankle during training camp in August and aggravated the problem in Week 2 against the Packers, had his ankle examined by two separate physicians this week and both had the same diagnosis: a serious ankle sprain. An ankle sprain of this nature usually requires several weeks of rest, but it appears that the Giants' medical staff will attempt to get him ready to play in Week 4. In an interview earlier this week Burress admitted that his ankle was very sore and that he will be limited in practice. However his goal is to be ready for Sunday's game and he said that as long as his ankle is "bearable" he would be active. According to reports the Giants are trying different things to protect his ankle, from supportive shoes and orthotics to protective braces and tape jobs. Unfortunately if Burress plays there is only so much they can do it try and prevent him from aggravating his ankle. Assuming he is active this weekend don't be surprised if Burress is in and out of the lineup.

Greg Jennings, WR, GB - Strained Hamstring
Packers' WR Greg Jennings is expected to start this weekend against the Vikings despite being held out of practice this week to rest his hamstring. According to head coach Mike McCarthy Jennings, who made his 2007 debut last weekend against the Chargers, was held out of practice on Wednesday and Thursday as a precaution. McCarthy said that Jennings was "a little sore" following last Sunday's game and that rest was probably the best thing for him. He went on to say that he expects Jennings to practice on today (Friday) and caring a setback he expects him to be in the Packers' Week 4 starting lineup.

Andre Johnson, WR, HOU - Sprained PCL and MCL
Texans' WR Andre Johnson has already been ruled out for Week 4 and according to reports the team isn't sure when he will be ready to make his return. The medical staff revealed earlier this week that Johnson sprained the medial collateral ligament as well as the posterior cruciate ligament in his knee. The team did not say whether the injury to his MCL would keep him out longer but the additional damage will certainly complicate his recovery. Johnson is no longer wearing a knee brace but he is still reportedly walking with a "noticeable limp" and the team isn't sure when he will be able to run with the team in practice. Rookie Jacoby Jones is also hurt so look for Kevin Walter and Andre Davis to get the start this weekend.

Calvin Johnson, WR, DET - Bruised Lower Back
Lions' rookie WR Calvin Johnson has not taken part in practice this week because of a lower back bruise and his status for Week 4 remains uncertain. Johnson, who was hurt after making a spectacular catch in last week's game, has been held out of practice because he continues to experience stiffness and pain in his lower back. Johnson will attempt to practice today (Friday) and he hopes that he will be healthy enough to play this weekend. But we probably won't hear anything official until gameday, so check back with The Huddle for an update.

Jacoby Jones, WR, HOU - Sprained AC Joint
Texans' rookie WR Jacoby Jones has already been declared out for Week 4 and he will miss at least two weeks after he sprained the AC joint in his shoulder during last week's loss to the Colts. Jones has not practiced with the team this week but there is a chance that he could return to the practice field as early as next week. However the team does not expect him to return until Week 6. With Andre Johnson also out nursing a knee injury look for Kevin Walter, Andre Davis and Jerome Mathis to see a lot of action in Week 4.

Eddie Kennison, WR, KC - Partially Torn Hamstring
Chiefs' WR Eddie Kennison appears to be making progress in his recovery from a partially torn hamstring, but it looks like he will be inactive for the third straight game this weekend. Kennison has practiced on a limited basis this week but he is still not 100% and he probably won't be able to practice with the team until late next week. Head coach Herman Edwards told reporters that he was happy to see Kennison on the practice field but that he wasn't sure when he would be available to play in a game.

Hines Ward, WR, PIT - Bruised Knee
Steelers' veteran WR Hines Ward has not practiced this week because of a bone bruise in his knee and his status for Week 4 remains doubtful. Ward was hurt in last week's game against the 49ers and while the injury is not considered serious to will probably keep him sidelined for at least a week. In a recent interview he said that he is working hard and is doing everything he can to play. However head coach Mike Tomlin said that Ward remains doubtful for Sunday's game and that he didn't expect him to be ready until next week. Cedric Wilson will likely get the start opposite Santonio Holmes in Ward's place.

TIGHT ENDS

Vernon Davis, TE, SF - Sprained MCL
49ers' starting TE Vernon Davis will not play this weekend against the Seahawks and he will be out until after the team's Week 6 bye because of a sprained MCL in his right knee that occurred in last Sunday's loss to the Steelers. According to reports Davis will not need surgery to repair the damage in his knee and he could start practicing in a couple of weeks. Billy Bajema is listed as the team's backup TE but look for Delanie Walker to get a lot of action on passing downs.

Kellen Winslow, TE, CLE - Shoulder Subluxation
Browns' TE Kellen Winslow Jr. has been diagnosed with a sprained shoulder after subluxing the joint (partially dislocating) during last week's game and his status for Week 4 appears to be in question. Winslow was originally diagnosed with a bruise, however additional testing on Monday and Tuesday revealed a sprain and he has been out of practice since. Head coach Romeo Crennel told reporters that Winslow's shoulder was "pretty sore" and that he wasn't sure if he will be ready to play in time for Sunday's game. But the team has not ruled him out just yet and there is a chance that he will be active. Unfortunately even if he plays he won't be anywhere close to full strength so keeping him in your fantasy lineups will be a bit of a risk.

DEFENSIVE PLAYERS

Zach Thomas, LB, MIA - Concussion
Dolphins' LB Zach Thomas was inactive for last week's game because he was still suffering from the effects of a concussion and his status for Week 4 remains uncertain as the medical staff has still not given him clearance to take part in contact drills. Thomas told reporters that he was feeling a lot better and that he wants to play on Sunday against the Raiders. However he said that the medical staff would evaluate over the next couple of says to determine if he is ready to play. Head coach Cam Cameron is calling Thomas a game-time decision so we probably won't know about his Week 4 availability until about an hour before kickoff.

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