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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Training Room Injury Update - Week 8
Philip Gentles
October 26, 2007

QUARTERBACKS

David Carr, CAR
Bruised Lower Back - Panthers' QB David Carr, who has been out nursing a bruised lower back, has returned to practice with the team and if all goes well today he will be in the starting lineup this weekend against the Colts. According to reports Carr practiced without restrictions on Wednesday and Thursday and while head coach John Fox has not exactly said who his starting QB will be in Week 8 he did say that if Carr is healthy he would get the start. And by all accounts Carr looks healthy, so unless he suffers a setback he should back under center on Sunday.

David Garrard, JAC
High Ankle Sprain - Jaguars' head coach Jack Del Rio told reporters on Wednesday that QB David Garrard will miss anywhere from three to six weeks with a high ankle sprain and that Quinn Gray will replace him in the starting lineup until he is healthy. Garrard, who was hurt in Monday night's game against the Colts, is officially out for three to four weeks but Del Rio added that the injury could linger and keep him sidelined for an additional two weeks. According to reports he is also dealing with soreness in his knee however the team's medical staff does not consider that injury to be a problem. If Monday night's game was any indication the Jaguars' offense is really going to struggle with Gray under center. So the Bucs' defense is looking like a really good start this week.

Tavaris Jackson, MIN
Avulsion Fracture of Index Finger - According to reports Vikings' QB Tavaris Jackson has not been cleared to practice and it looks like he will be held out of Sunday's game against the Eagles. Jackson, who suffered an avulsion fracture to the index finger on his right (throwing) hand in Week 7, did some light throwing on Wednesday and Thursday. However he has not taken part in any team drills and head coach Brad Childress is concerned that Jackson's finger will affect his accuracy and throwing distance. Childress will wait and see what happens in practice today before he makes an official decision on Jackson's status, but look for backup Kelly Holcomb to get the start.

Josh McCown, OAK
Fractured Toe - Raiders' QB Josh McCown, who has not played since breaking his toe in Week 3, was able to practice with the team on Wednesday and Thursday and it looks like he could be healthy enough to play this weekend against the Titans. Team officials have not indicated if they plan on activating McCown but if he looks good in practice today there is an outside chance that he could get the starting nod over Daunte Culpepper. This is something to keep an eye on. Check with The Huddle on Sunday for an update.

Matt Schaub, HOU
Bruised Hip - Texans' QB Matt Schaub remains limited in practice as he continues to recover from a bruised hip. However head coach Gary Kubiak said on several occasions this week that Schaub could still start this weekend even if he doesn't practice. Schaub, who was hurt in Week 7 against the Titans, was limited to individual drills in practice on Wednesday and Thursday and backup Sage Rosenfels took a majority of the snaps with the first-team on both days. But Kubiak continued to talk about Schaub and how much he has improved. Obviously if he is more involved in practice today there is a better shot of him starting. Unfortunately this looks like it will come down to a game-time decision.

Alex Smith, SF
Separated Shoulder - 49ers' QB Alex Smith has been named the starter for this weekend's game against the Saints after missing the team's last two games with a separated shoulder. Smith, who sprained his AC joint back in Week 4, was close to playing last week however head coach Mike Nolan decided to keep him out for one more week as a precaution. Smith practiced with the first-team offense on Wednesday and Thursday and according to Nolan he "looked good." Smith hasn't been particularly productive when healthy this season, but maybe his return to the lineup can spark the 49ers' offense.

Vince Young, TEN
Strained Quadriceps - Titans' QB Vince Young, who did not play in last week's game because of a strained quadriceps, is reportedly healthy and will be back in the starting lineup on Sunday against the Raiders. Young pulled his hamstring back in Week 6 and while he was active for the team's Week 7 game he was kept on the sideline while veteran Kerry Collins played. The good news is that Young made it through team practice on Wednesday and Thursday without a problem and head coach Jeff Fisher said that his leg was fine and that he expected him to start.

RUNNING BACKS

Chris Brown, TEN
Sprained Ankle - Titans' RB Chris Brown continues to recover from a sprained ankle and after missing practice on Wednesday and Thursday it looks like he will be inactive for the second straight week. Brown injured his ankle back in Week 6 against the Bucs and he hasn't practiced since then. Head coach Jeff Fisher told reporters that he wasn't sure if Brown would be able to practice today, but he said that as soon as he is healthy he will return to splitting carries with Lendale White. The Titans are preparing to play without him, and if he doesn't practice today I suggest you plan to play without him as well.

Frank Gore, SF
Sprained Ankle - 49ers' RB Frank Gore admitted to reporters on Thursday that it was "tough" practicing on his injured ankle. However he remains optimistic about his chances of playing on Sunday against the Saints. Gore, who sprained his ankle in last week's game against the Giants, has been limited to individual drills in practice this week and head coach Mike Nolan has said that he isn't sure if Gore would be healthy enough to play. According to reports Gore has shown signs of improvement and he will attempt to practice with the team today. So we will know a lot more about his status for Week 8 at some point tonight. But don't be surprised if an official decision about his availability isn't announced until gameday.

Travis Henry, DEN
Bruised Ribs -Travis Henry's bruised ribs continue to be an issue and his status for Monday night's game against the Packers is major question mark. Henry, who was hurt in last Sunday night's game against the Steelers, did not practice on Wednesday and Thursday. There are reports that the team is being extra cautious and Henry has told reporters that he plans on playing in Week 8. However head coach Mike Shanahan continues to say that he will wait and see how he progresses before he makes any decisions. Since the Broncos are playing on Monday night, there is a chance that you won't hear anything concrete prior to your fantasy lineup deadline. So let's hope that Henry practices today, which would indicate that he is ready to play.

Steven Jackson, STL
Partially Torn Groin - Rams' head coach Scott Linehan has all but said that RB Steven Jackson, who has been out since Week 3 with a partially torn groin muscle, will be back in the starting lineup this weekend against the Browns. Linehan told reporters at the beginning of the week that Jackson had a "good chance, a really good chance" of playing in Week 8. And after making it though a full practice on Wednesday and again on Thursday without a problem, it appears that Jackson is ready to return. Jackson spoke with reporters and had this to say to his fantasy owners: " I'm back…start me this Sunday." If you've been sitting on Jackson, I suggest you listen to the man.

Rudi Johnson, CIN
Strained Hamstring - I can't quite understand what is going on with Bengals' RB Rudi Johnson. Johnson has been dealing with a strained hamstring since Week 3 and every week since then we've been hearing that the injury is not serious and that he is being held out of practice as a precaution. Unfortunately the injury and the missed practices have translated into very limited action and missed games (2 to be exact). Bengals' head coach Marvin Lewis told reporters that Johnson might be ready to play in Week 8. But after being held out of practice on Wednesday and Thursday one has to wonder just how close (or far) he is to being activated. Obviously his hamstring is a lot worse than what the team has reported and it appears that he is still at least a few weeks away from being completely healthy. So even if he practices today and is activated to play on Sunday against the Steelers he'll likely share carries with Kenny Watson.

Maurice Jones-Drew, JAC
Sprained Knee - Jaguars' RB Maurice Jones-Drew, who left Monday night's game against the Colts with a sprained knee, is reportedly feeling a lot better and there's a chance that he could play in this weekend's game against the Bucs. Jones-Drew did not practice on Wednesday and was limited to individual drills on Thursday however head coach Jack Del Rio said that his injury is considered minor and that if he practices today he should be active on Sunday. Jones-Drew spoke with reporters following Thursday's practice and he indicated that his knee was not a big deal and that he expects to play against the Bucs. Regardless of what happens the Jags will wait until after pre game warm-ups on Sunday before they make a decision on his status.

Jamal Lewis, CLE
Strained Foot - Browns' RB Jamal Lewis has still not completely recovered from strained plantar fascia on the bottom of his right foot and his status for Week 8 remains questionable. Lewis, who has not played since getting hurt in Week 5, had an extra week to rest during the team's Week 7 bye. However he's still not 100% and he has been limited in practice this week. Head coach Romeo Crennel has not said if he expects Lewis to play or not. All he has said is that as soon as Lewis is healthy, he will start. Lewis believes that his improving but he told reporters that the medical staff wants him to rest his foot as much as possible. Obviously we'll know more about his status after practice today, but if he doesn't play this weekend look for Jason Wright to get the start and Jerome Harrison to get carries as well.

Derrick Ward, NYG
Sprained Ankle - According to reports Giants' RB Derrick Ward aggravated an ankle injury in last week's game against the 49ers and after missing practice on Wednesday and Thursday his status for Week 8 is in doubt. Head coach Tom Coughlin told reporters that Ward has been dealing with injuries all season but that his ankle is as bad as it has been all year. Coughlin isn't sure if Ward will be able to play so don't be surprised if Reuben Droughns takes his place in the lineup this weekend against the Dolphins. Brandon Jacobs remains the starting RB and will get a majority of the carries.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Drew Bennett, STL
Strained Hamstring - Rams' WR Drew Bennett made his return to practice this week and head coach Scott Linehan indicated to reporters that Bennett will be active for the team's Week 8 game against the Browns. Bennett, who missed the last two games because of a strained hamstring, took part in every drill in practice on Wednesday and Thursday and Linehan said that he looked good and close to 100%. With Holt and Bruce active Bennett will be the team's number 3 WR, but hopefully his return can help open things up for Marc Bulger and the passing game.

Marvin Harrison, IND
Sprained Knee - According to reports Colts' WR Marvin Harrison was in and out of Monday night's game because head coach Tony Dungy had him on a play count. But even after missing practice this week the team expects him to be active on Sunday and play more against the Panthers. Harrison sprained his knee back in Week 4 and was held out of the team's Week 5 game while he recovered. Harrison is reportedly still recovering from the injury and he is about a week or two away from being completely healthy. So until then the Colts have decided to limit his participation in practice so that his knee has as much time to heal as possible. An official decision on his availability for Week 8 probably won't be made until gameday, but it looks like he will be active and more involved in the offense.

Darrell Jackson, SF
Strained Quadriceps - 49ers' WR Darrell Jackson has been a major disappointment this season and a strained quadriceps is definitely not going to help things either. According to reports Jackson pulled his quad in last Sunday's game and he has been held out of practice this week as a result. Head coach Mike Nolan wasn't sure if he would be available to play, however local newspapers are reporting that Jackson will likely miss the game and Ashley Lelie will get the start in his place.

Andre Johnson, HOU
Sprained MCL and PCL - Texans' WR Andre Johnson, who hasn't played since spraining the medial collateral and posterior cruciate ligaments (MCL and PCL) in his knee in Week 2, is still several weeks away from being completely healthy and he's already been ruled out for this weekend's game against the Chargers. According to reports Johnson doesn't have full range of motion in his knee and he continues to favor the injured joint during multi-directional drills and workouts. Head coach Gary Kubiak told reporters that Johnson was making progress however he still wasn't ready to play and he wasn't sure when he would be cleared to play. Local newspapers are reporting that the team will keep him sidelined until after their Week 10 bye. At this rate a return before then would be a surprise.

Brandon Jones, TEN
Arthroscopic Knee Surgery - Titans' WR Brandon Jones, who is recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery, returned to limited practice on Thursday and there's a chance that he will play this weekend against the Raiders. Jones did not practice on Wednesday but took part in several individual and team drills on Thursday. Head coach Jeff Fisher told reporters that he was pleased with Jones' progress and although he is just a week and a half removed from surgery he acknowledged that there was a chance that he could be active in Week 8. But don't put him in your fantasy lineups just yet. Even if he is activated Fisher indicated that he would be limited during the game. I wouldn't expect much from Jones for at least another week.

TIGHT ENDS

Bubba Franks, GB
Sprained Knee - Packers' TE Bubba Franks, who suffered a sprained knee in Week 6, has been ruled out for Monday night's game against the Broncos and he is still a few weeks a way from making a full recovery. According to reports Franks has started to do some light jogging, but his knee still gives him trouble and the team is preparing to be without him until at least Week 10. Donald Lee will get the start while Franks is out and Lee could become a decent fantasy option.

Alex Smith, TB
Sprained Ankle - Bucs' TE Alex Smith has not been able to practice this week because of a sprained ankle and his status for Week 8 appears to be in doubt. Smith, who was inactive last week, was held out of practice on Wednesday and Thursday and according to reports his ankle is far from full strength. Keep an eye on the team's practice report in case he makes an appearance on the field today. But it looks like he will miss his second-straight game on Sunday, and if he does look for Jerramy Stevens to see an increased role in the offense.

L.J. Smith, PHI
Strained Groin - Eagles' TE L.J. Smith took part in his second straight practice without limitations on Thursday, however team officials cautioned that Smith would probably be limited in Sunday's game against the Vikings. Smith admitted to reporters that he wasn't 100% yet, but that he expected to play this weekend. His participation in practice the last two days certainly indicates that he is ready to play. But the team doesn't want to rush him back and they will keep him limited on Sunday's until he is completely healthy.

Ben Watson, NE
High Ankle Sprain - According to reports Patriots' TE Ben Watson will not play this weekend against the Redskins and he remains out indefinitely because of a high ankle sprain. As expected the Patriots' have decided to keep details regarding Watson's recovery private. But by all accounts he is still at least a week away from being able to play. Until he makes his return to practice don't expect him to play. Kyle Brady will continue to get a lot of playing time in Watson's place.

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