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Early Injury Report - Divisional Week
Philip Gentles
January 7, 2009
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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.

QUARTERBACKS

Ben Roethlisberger, PIT – Mild Concussion

Steelers’ QB Ben Roethlisberger, who left the team’s final regular season game with a concussion, has been medically cleared to resume practicing and team officials expect him to start this upcoming weekend against the Chargers. Roethlisberger, who was diagnosed with a mild concussion, told reporters that he actually lost feeling in both arms when he was hurt indicating that there may have been an additional neck injury. He did not practice last week but he was cleared by a neurological specialist this past weekend and he took part in practice today. If all goes well this week he should be in the starting lineup on Sunday.

RUNNING BACKS

LeRon McClain, BAL – Leg Contusion

The Baltimore Ravens reported no injuries following their big win over the Dolphins this past weekend. But if you watched the game you saw at least two players who missed playing time because of injury: DB Ed Reed, who missed time because of a knee injury, and RB LeRon McClain, who suffered a leg contusion when he was tackled in the first half. McClain limped off the field after he was hurt and he was seen being examined on the sideline by a team trainer. He appeared to be favoring the injured leg while moving around but he soon returned to the game and he seemed OK. The Ravens have yet to acknowledge that McClain was hurt and as a result the team officially expects him to play next week. But we should know more about the injury and his status after the team practices on Wednesday and Thursday.

LaDainian Tomlinson, SD – Strained Groin

The latest on injured RB LaDainian Tomlinson isn’t promising. According to several reports LT’s injured groin will likely keep him out of the team’s next playoff game and it could possibly keep him sidelined for the remainder of the post-season. The injury is so severe that it will probably require surgery in the off-season to repair. The exact nature of his injury has not been made public, but there is speculation that he either tore his groin muscle or suffered a sports hernia when he originally injured it in Week 17. He started in this past weekend’s game against the Colts but he was pulled from the game after just five carries because he said it was “too painful.” Head coach Norv Turner said that he did not make the injury worse, but Tomlinson admitted that he is concerned about his health. LT will not practice this week and team officials don’t expect him to be active against the Steelers. Darren Sproles will continue to get a majority of the carries in his place and Michael Bennett could get a handful of carries as Sproles’ backup.

Michael Westbrook, PHI – Lingering Knee Soreness

According to reports Eagles’ RB Michael Westbrook was seen with a large bag of ice on his knee after Sunday’s game and Westbrook was reportedly feeling sore on Monday, both of which have become a regular occurrence this season because of a lingering knee problem that will likely require off-season surgery to repair. Westbrook tore cartilage in his knee early in the season and he’s been limited in practice each week as a result. He always gets ice for his knee and injured ankle after games and he always complains of soreness in both joints a couple of days after. So this is nothing out of the ordinary. Westbrook will probably miss some practice time this week while he rests his knee and ankle, but head coach Andy Reid has said that he expects him to start against the Giants on Sunday

WIDE RECEIVERS / TIGHT ENDS

Davone Bess, WR, MIA – Sprained Thumb

Dolphins’ rookie WR Davone Bess left Sunday’s game against the Ravens after spraining is thumb while trying to make a tackle on an interception return in the first half. But after getting it wrapped in the locker room he was able to return and he later had a big catch and run that led to a Dolphins’ touchdown in the fourth quarter. Bess was reportedly seen with an ice bag wrapped around his thumb and hand in the locker room afterwards. The severity of the injury has not been made public, however team officials expect Bess to recover in time for the start of OTA’s.

Anquan Boldin, WR, ARI – Strained Hamstring

The status of Cardinals’ WR Anquan Boldin for the team’s playoff game against the Panthers on Saturday is questionable after he left this past weekend’s game with a strained hamstring. Boldin reached for the back of his leg at the end of his 71-yard touchdown reception in the first half and he walked gingerly off the field. He was eventually taken to the locker room for an evaluation and treatment and he never returned. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt confirmed on Monday that the injury is a strain and he said that his inactivity in the two weeks prior to the game was partially responsible for what happened. Boldin will likely miss practice on Wednesday but he will probably need to take the field on Thursday in order to play on Saturday.

Antonio Gates, TE, SD – High Ankle Sprain

It was recently revealed that Antonio Gates is dealing with a high ankle sprain, the kind that would typically keep players out anywhere from 2 – 6 weeks. However he found a way to play and produce against the Colts this past weekend and team officials expect him to be active against the Steelers this upcoming weekend. Gates missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday last week and was limited on Friday, but he looked good during the pre game warm-ups and he was activated. He played well catching 8 balls for 87 yards, but he was very sore after the game and he spent a lot of time in the training room on Sunday and again on Monday. Gates will likely miss additional practice time this week as he rests and recovers. He definitely won’t be at full speed in time for this upcoming weekend’s game but it looks like he will play. The problem is that he could aggravate the injury at anytime during the game.

Greg Lewis, WR, PHI – Sprained Foot

There were a couple of reports that said Eagles’ WR Greg Lewis was out for Sunday’s game because of foot injury that occurred during pre game warm-ups. However Lewis played on special teams and he did get on the field for a few snaps on offense indicating that his injury isn’t as severe as the team initially feared. Lewis reportedly injured his foot when he accidentally stepped on Lito Sheppard’s foot during a warm-up drill moments before kickoff and he had to be carted off the field. He was taken to the locker where he was X-rayed and examined. X-rays were negative however there was concern that he damaged the Lisfranc ligament in his foot. The medical staff ruled out a Lisfranc sprain and he was cleared to play against the Vikings. Head coach Andy Reid told reporters on Monday that Lewis has been diagnosed with a foot sprain, however he said that Lewis was feeling good and he indicated that Lewis would probably play against the Giants this upcoming Sunday.

KICKERS

Nate Kaeding, SD – Strained Groin

Chargers’ kicker Nate Kaeding pulled his groin during Sunday’s game against the Colts, however the injury is not considered serious and the team expects him to kick this weekend against the Steelers. Kaeding apparently strained his groin on the opening kickoff, but he stayed in the game and he kicked several extra points and the field goal that sent the game into overtime. He’ll likely be limited in practice this week so that he doesn’t aggravate his groin, but it looks like he will play on Sunday.

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