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Early Injury Report - Wildcard Week
Philip Gentles
December 30, 2008
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This in-depth early week injury report runs down the key fantasy injuries from the past weekend's games. A more complete list of key injured players can be found in our Mid-Week Injury Tracker Report on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Be sure you check out our Priority News often during the week as all breaking news will be posted there.


Ben Roethlisberger, PIT – Concussion

Steelers’ QB Ben Roethlisberger was knocked out of Sunday’s game against the Browns with a concussion, however head coach Mike Tomlin is hopeful that he will be cleared to play in time for their first playoff game in two weeks. Roethlisberger lost consciousness when his helmet hit the ground as he was tackled by two Browns’ defenders at the end of a pass play in the second quarter. He laid motionless on the turf for several minutes but regained consciousness as he was being attended to by the team’s medical staff. He was eventually secured to a spine board and carted off the field. According to reports he was immediately transported to a local hospital where he underwent a number of tests including X-rays. Tomlin told reporters that all tests showed no structural damage and after being diagnosed with a mild concussion he was released from the hospital. Roethlisberger will not practice this week during the team’s post-season bye and he will likely miss additional practice time next week as well. His status for their playoff game on January 10 remains uncertain, but Tomlin believes there is a good chance that he will be healthy enough to play. 

Tony Romo, DAL – Torn Rib Cartilage

Cowboys’ QB Tony Romo reportedly tore cartilage in his rib cage during Sunday’s blowout loss to the Eagles and it “popped in and out” several times including in the shower after the game. Romo apparently collapsed in the shower and complained of intense chest pain after Sunday’s game and teammates had to help him to his feet. The medical staff was called into the shower area and he was eventually helped into the training room where he received treatment. Head coach Wade Phillips told reporters on Monday that Romo was suffering from “separated cartilage” and that it popped in and out a couple of times during the game against the Eagles and again in the shower. X-rays on his rib area were reportedly negative but had trouble breathing and moving during the post-game examination. Romo has plenty of time to recover and Phillips believes that he will be fine for the start of OTA’s in March.


Justin Fargas, OAK – Sprained MCL

According to reports Raiders’ RB Justin Fargas sprained the medial collateral ligament in his knee during Sunday’s game, but it looks like the injury will not require surgery and he should be at full speed in time for the team’s off-season conditioning program. Fargas apparently injured his knee on a run in the first half. He was examined on the sideline and he was eventually escorted back to the locker room where he was reexamined and given treatment. He did not return and was replaced by Michael Bush who went on to have a monster game. Darren McFadden, who was battling sore toes and a sore ankle, was a non factor on Sunday. The severity of the Fargas’ sprain has not been made public, however team officials are confident that he will make a complete recovery before the start of OTA’s.

Matt Forte, CHI – Sprained Toe

Bears’ rookie RB Matt Forte aggravated his sprained right big toe during Sunday’s loss to the Texans and it affected his mobility and ultimately his productivity. Forte told reporters that he “hurt it (his toe) again pass-blocking” but he stayed in the game and he tried playing through the pain and discomfort. According to reports he spent a lot of time in the training room after the game getting treatment. He will likely need 2 – 4 weeks of inactivity before his toe is back to full strength and if all goes well with his recovery he should be back to full strength when the team begins it’s off-season conditioning program.

Fred Jackson, BUF – Minor Arm Injury

Bills’ RB Fred Jackson left in the second quarter of Sunday’s game with an undisclosed arm injury. But the injury wasn’t serious and he quickly returned to the field and finished the game with big numbers. According to reports the injury will not require a lot of treatment and downtime and team officials expect him to be completely healthy when OTA’s begin.

Clinton Portis, WAS – Several Injuries

Sometimes it takes more than common sense to figure out what will happen on Sundays. Redskins’ RB Clinton Portis, who is dealing with lingering pain and discomfort all over his body as a result of a number of injuries, was not only active on Sunday against the 49ers, he was the team’s workhouse tailback carrying the ball 29 times. Head coach Jim Zorn said all last week that Portis was going to play and I suggested that with the Redskins out of the playoff hunt and Portis banged up the team would rest their top offensive weapon. Zorn proved me wrong. But this is one of the biggest problems in the NFL. Coaches take way too many unnecessary risks with their injured players. Portis put up big numbers early this season, but his productivity predictably suffered as the injuries began to pile up. So with absolutely nothing to play for the prudent thing would have been for the Redskins to rest all unhealthy players. But obviously that didn’t happen. The good news is it appears that Portis will not need surgery to repair any of his injuries. However there are reports that he will spend the next several months recovering. He should be at full strength in time for the team’s off-season conditioning program.

LaDainian Tomlinson, SD – Strained Groin

Chargers’ RB LaDainian Tomlinson will practice later this week and he should play against the Colts during this upcoming weekend’s wildcard playoff game, however Tomlinson told reporters that he will probably be less than 100 percent. Tomlinson was hurt at the end of a run in the third quarter and he reached for this groin as he limped off the field. LT stretched on the sideline and tried loosening his legs up but he continued to experience pain and stiffness and he was eventually taken to the locker room. He did not play in the fourth quarter, however team officials have suggested that with the Chargers winning the game by a large margin he was held out as a precaution. The injury was originally called an abdominal strain but it was later changed to a strained groin. An MRI on LT’s injured leg revealed a minor strain and although he is currently sore team officials believe that he will be back on the field by Thursday and LT expects to play against the Colts. Unfortunately he won’t be at full strength for the game so it’s difficult to predict how he will do.

Cadillac Williams, TB – Torn Patellar Tendon

It took Bucs’ RB Cadillac Williams over 1 year to return from a ruptured patellar tendon in his right knee. Unfortunately Williams faces another long recovery after he reportedly tore the patellar tendon in his left knee during Sunday’s game. Williams was hurt at the end of a 28-yard carry in the fourth quarter and he had to be helped off the field. He was taken back to the locker room and he was immediately ruled out for the remainder of the game. There was concern that he ruptured the patellar tendon in his knee, however an MRI on Monday showed that the tendon actually tore off the bone. While the injury sounds more serious, the recovery time from surgery to repair it isn’t as long as the recovery time for a ruptured tendon. There was speculation that the injury could threaten Cadillac’s career, but team officials have said that he could be back in time for the start of training camp. We’ll keep an eye on his recovery.


Anthony Gonzalez, WR, IND – Hip Contusion

Anthony Gonzalez left Sunday’s game after suffering a hip pointer (contusion), however head coach Tony Dungy said that the injury is not serious and that he should be active against the Chargers next weekend. Gonzalez, who was hurt when he took a shot to his hip in the first quarter, made a quick recovery on the sideline and could have returned. But Dungy said that he didn’t want to make the problem worse and he decided to keep him out as a precaution. Gonzalez could be limited in practice this week as a precaution, but he should be at full strength for Saturday’s playoff game.

David Martin, TE, MIA – Concussion / Undisclosed Neck Injury

The status of Dolphins’ TE David Martin remains uncertain after he left Sunday’s game with head and neck injuries. Martin was hurt when he was hit in the back of the head after making a catch in the first half. He lost consciousness on the field, but he quickly regained it, he was helped off the field and carted to the locker room. Head coach Tony Sparano told reporters that Martin had a headache on Monday and Martin confirmed that he suffered a concussion. He also said that he had a neck injury but he did not disclose the nature and severity of the injury. Needless to say he will miss practice this week and he could end up missing the Dolphins’ playoff game against the Ravens.

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