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Injury Report - Divisional Week
Philip Gentles
January 9, 2009
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QUARTERBACKS

Ben Roethlisberger, PIT – Concussion

As reported earlier in the week Steelers’ QB Ben Roethlisberger, who suffered a concussion in Week 17, has passed the necessary neurological tests and team officials expect him to start on Sunday against the Chargers. Roethlisberger has participated in all portions of practice this week and he isn’t listed on the team’s official injury report. He did complain of headaches on Tuesday because of what he said was a tight fitting helmet. According to reports Roethlisberger’s head remains a bit swollen and he had trouble getting into his helmet three days ago. Head coach Mike Tomlin said that he wasn’t concerned about it and Roethlisberger told reporters that he will just have to “deal with it.” He’s obviously not completely healthy, but the team’s medical staff believes that he is healthy enough and they have cleared him to play. Keep in mind that Roethlisberger has been diagnosed with a concussion on two other occasions during his NFL career and in both cases he played poorly in his first game back.

RUNNING BACKS

Reggie Bush, NO – Microfracture Surgery

The Saints did not make the playoffs, but RB Reggie Bush is still making news. Bush, who tore cartilage and sprained the medial collateral ligament in his knee on separate occasions during the regular season, had microfracture surgery on the damaged joint and his status for training camp is currently unknown. Bush has dealt with cartilage problems in his left knee for two years now and he has now undergone three arthroscopic procedures during that span in an attempt to fix it. This latest surgery was done because physicians discovered that Bush did not have enough healthy cartilage in his knee and he was now dealing with a bone-on-bone condition. The Saints’ medical staff is hoping that procedure, which involves the drilling of small holes and the creation of tiny fractures in the adjacent bones that cause blood and bone marrow to come out and eventually lead to the formation of replacement fibrocartilage, will prolong Bush’s NFL career. He could be back on the field in as early as 4 months however there is concern that he may need a significantly longer time to recover.

Brandon Jacobs, NYG – Bi-lateral Knee Sprains

Giants’ RB Brandon Jacobs took part in team drills during Thursday’s practice and team officials expect him to start this weekend against the Eagles. Jacobs has been dealing with sprains in both knees and he missed practice last week and he was limited in practice this week while he rested and recovered. Jacobs spoke with reporters yesterday and he said that he feels great and that he is as healthy as he has been all season. He looked very sharp in practice on Thursday and the Giants are preparing to give him the ball a lot on Sunday.

LaDainian Tomlinson, SD – Torn Groin

Chargers’ RB LaDainian Tomlinson confirmed on Wednesday what many websites and newspapers have been reporting for nearly a week: that his injured groin is actually torn. Tomlinson hasn’t practiced this week and team officials not only expect him to miss this weekend’s game but they expect him to miss the remainder of the post-season as well. LT spoke with reporters and he described the injury as one of the most difficult things he has had to deal with. He has called himself “doubtful” for Sunday’s game, but head coach Norv Turner hasn’t officially ruled him out yet and ESPN is reporting that he may even test his leg during pre game warm-ups. Even if he is active he won’t be very effective playing on a torn groin. Look for Darren Sproles to get a majority of the carries against the Steelers.

Brian Westbrook, PHI – Lingering Knee Soreness

Eagles’ head coach Andy Reid said earlier this week that Westbrook continues to deal with a lingering knee injury and that he wouldn’t practice this week as a precaution. However Westbrook will start on Sunday against the Giants. According to reports Westbrook tore cartilage in his knee shortly after the start of the regular season and he has dealt with lingering soreness and discomfort in the joint since then. He also suffered a high ankle sprain during the season, but despite his injuries he has found a way to be productive. Westbrook told reporters that his body took a pounding against the Vikings last week but he said that he did not aggravate his knee problem. That being said he still experienced the usual soreness afterwards and he has spent a lot of time in the training room this week taking care of it. Westbrook won’t be completely healthy on Sunday, but there is no reason to believe that he can’t continue to produce like he did last weekend.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Anquan Boldin, ARI – Strained Hamstring

Cardinals’ WR Anquan Boldin has not practiced this week and he said that he won’t test his injured hamstring until pre game warm-ups tomorrow. Boldin strained his hamstring at the end of his 71 yard touchdown reception last weekend against the Falcons and according to reports his leg remains tight and sore. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt indicated that he was concerned about Boldin’s status and he said that if Boldin is active that he would only play on a limited basis. Boldin told a reporter that the medical staff is trying to “get the knout out,” which indicates that there was some tearing in the muscle. He’s going to be a game-time decision, but it doesn’t look like he will play.

Derrick Mason, BAL – Dislocated Shoulder

The nature of the damage in Derrick Mason’s shoulder has not been made public, but he admitted this week that the injury might need surgery in the off-season to correct. Mason, who dislocated his shoulder in Week 10, has played through the pain and the medical staff limited his involvement in practice the last two months as a precaution. He was held out of practice on Wednesday as a precaution but he returned to the field on Thursday and the team expects him to participate in the walkthrough today. Mason isn’t 100%, but he will start tomorrow against the Titans.

TIGHT ENDS

Kevin Boss, NYG – Sprained Ankle / Concussion

According to reports Giants’ TE Kevin Boss has recovered from his injuries and he should be in the starting lineup this weekend against the Eagles. Boss was inactive in Week 17 because he was recovering from a sprained ankle and concussion. He reportedly made a quick recovery from the concussion, but his ankle remained an issue for several more weeks. Boss was a full participant in practice on Thursday and head coach Tom Coughlin believes that Boss will be ready to play on Sunday.

Antonio Gates, SD – High Ankle Sprain

Chargers’ TE Antonio Gates is far from 100%, but team officials still expect him to start on Sunday against the Steelers. Gates, who suffered a high ankle sprain during the team’s Week 17 game, was active last weekend and although he experienced pain throughout the game he still put up big numbers. He was very sore after the game and although the team claims that he didn’t aggravate the injury he has not practiced this week. Coach Norv Turner acknowledged that Gates was hurting, however he expects Gates to play a lot on Sunday.

Todd Heap, BAL – Lower Back Stiffness / Flu-like Symptoms

Ravens’ TE Todd Heap missed practice on Tuesday because he was dealing with flu-like symptoms and he was held out of practice on Wednesday and Thursday because of lower back stiffness, however head coach John Harbaugh said that he was going to be “OK” and that he would play tomorrow against the Titans. Heap told reporters that he hurt his back in last week’s win over the Dolphins and the team has decided to play things safe and keep him out of practice. Harbaugh indicated that Heap’s injury was minor and he does not believe that it will be an issue against the Titans.

KICKERS

Nate Kaeding, SD – Strained Groin

Chargers’ TE Nate Kaeding was held out of practice on Thursday because of a strained groin and his status for this weekend’s game is uncertain. According to reports Kaeding actually injured his groin in practice last week and he aggravated the injury on the opening kickoff against the Colts. He was able to stay in the game and he later told reporters that the injury was a non-issue. He did some light kicking in practice on Wednesday but he did not practice on Thursday. The Chargers have not reported a setback, but there was no explanation given why he was not allowed to kick on Thursday. So this is a bit of a concern. We should know more about his status for Sunday’s game against the Steelers after practice today.

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