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Early Injury Report - Super Bowl
Philip Gentles
January 20, 2009
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This in-depth early week injury report runs down the key fantasy injuries from the past weekend's games. Be sure you check out our Priority News often during the week as all breaking news will be posted there.

QUARTERBACKS

Ben Roethlisberger, PIT – Bruised Ribs

According to reports Steelers’ QB Ben Roethlisberger was diagnosed with bruised ribs following Sunday’s win over the Ravens, but the good news is that the injury isn’t serious and he should be fine for the Super Bowl in 2 weeks. Roethlisberger appeared to hurt his lower back when he was hit in the first quarter. He held his back on the sideline while he was being examined by team trainers and backup QB Byron Leftwich was told to warm-up. However Roethlisberger made a quick recovery and he was back on the field on the very next series. He was hit several more times during the game and team officials said that his ribs required treatment in the locker room afterwards. He’ll probably be held out of practice this week so that his body has time to heal, but he should be good to go when the Steelers face the Cardinals in the Super Bowl.

RUNNING BACKS

Willis McGahee, BAL – Concussion and Strained Neck

Ravens’ RB Willis McGahee appears to be OK after tests on his head and neck showed no serious damage. McGahee was knocked out when he was involved in a helmet-to-helmet hit with Steelers’ DB Ryan Clark in the fourth quarter. McGahee, who made a catch over the middle of the field prior to getting hit, immediately fumbled the ball and he remained motionless on the field for several minutes while being examined by several members of the team’s medical staff. He reportedly regained consciousness when a trainer removed his face mask but he complained of pain in his neck and he was eventually secured to a spine board and carted off the field. McGahee was moving his arms while being carted off but he later said that he didn’t remember being removed from the field. He was first taken back to the locker room where he had his head and neck X-rayed. He was then taken to a local hospital where he underwent an MRI and a CAT scan. According to reports the tests revealed that he was “neurologically normal” but he spent the night in the hospital as a precaution. He was released on Monday morning and he later told a reporter that he was diagnosed with a concussion and that his neck was very sore. He’ll likely spend the next several weeks recovering, but team officials are confident that he will be fine for the start of OTA’s. The NFL has deemed the hit on McGahee legal so Ryan Clark will not be fined.

Mewelde Moore, PIT – Sprained Ankle

Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin said on Monday that RB Mewelde Moore injured his ankle during Sunday’s AFC Championship game and he promised to have an update on his status during his press conference today. Moore rolled his ankle in the third quarter and he did not play in the fourth quarter. The severity of the injury is still unknown but he was seen walking around on Monday without crutches or a protective boot and the local media in Pittsburgh is calling the injury a sprain. We’ll have an update later on in the week.

Brian Westbrook, PHI – Lingering Knee Soreness

Eagles’ RB Brian Westbrook faces possible off-season surgery to repair the damage in his knee that resulted in soreness and discomfort that lingered all season. Westbrook’s season finally came to an end this weekend when the Eagles lost to the Cardinals in the NFC Championship game, and Westbrook was once again ineffective running the ball. According the reports he tore cartilage in his knee at the beginning of the regular season and he has “tweaked” it several times since then. Head coach Andy Reid has stayed away from discussing Westbrook’s injury in detail and the team has not said if he will require off-season surgery. But there is growing speculation that he will have surgery on his knee soon. We’ll keep you posted on his recovery.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Anquan Boldin, ARI – Strained Hamstring

Cardinals’ WR Anquan Boldin, who was inactive for the team’s divisional playoff game against the Panthers because of a strained hamstring, played on Sunday against the Eagles but he looked a step slower and he was pulled on some key drives in the second half as a result. Boldin got into an argument with offensive coordinator Todd Haley when Haley decided to pull Boldin from the game in favor of Steve Breaston. Boldin did not stay on the field to celebrate with teammates after the game and he quickly left the locker room and the stadium and avoided questions regarding the incident. But in an interview on Monday he said that he didn’t know why he was pulled from the game and he thought that he should have been more involved in the passing attack. He claimed prior to the game that his hamstring was feeling fine, but It looked like he wasn’t playing at full speed and he finished the game with just 4 catches and 34 yards. Boldin has two weeks to rest and recover so he should be closer to full strength for the Super Bowl.

Hines Ward, PIT – Sprained MCL

Steelers’ WR Hines Ward is confident that his knee will not keep him from playing in the Super Bowl despite being diagnosed with a sprained medical collateral ligament. Ward left the game after his right knee bent awkwardly when he was tackled on a reception in the first quarter. He later returned in the second quarter but he appeared to twist his knee again after another catch and he left the game for good. Ward told reporters on Monday that he has been diagnosed with a “slightly sprained MCL” and that he expected to be ready to play the Cardinals in two weeks. He underwent an MRI on Monday and while the results have not been released to the public team officials do not believe that the sprain is serious. Ward will not practice this week and he will likely spend a lot of time in the training room getting treatment and undergoing rehab. We’ll have an update on his recovery early next week.

IDP’s

Ryan Clark, DB, PIT – Undisclosed Head Trauma

Steelers’ DB Ryan Clark was on the delivering end of the helmet-to-helmet hit that knocked Ravens’ RB Willis McGahee unconscious during the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game. Clark did not appear to lose consciousness but he held his head after the hit and he had to be helped off the field. Clark said that he had a headache after the game but he has not been diagnosed with a concussion and head coach Mike Tomlin told reporters that he would be fine. Clark will likely be limited in practice this week as a precaution, but team officials expect him to play in the Super Bowl.

Corey Ivy, DB, BAL – Undisclosed Head Trauma

Ravens’ DB Corey Ivy was inches away from tackling Steelers’ TE Heath Miller on a reception at the end of the first half. But Steelers’ WR Limas Sweed got to Ivy first leveling him on a crack-back block and briefly knocking him out of the game. Ivy, who spent several minutes on the ground before getting up and walking off on his own, returned in the second half and he appeared to be OK. According to reports Ivy was sore and he had a slight headache on Monday and team officials have indicated that he may have suffered a mild concussion. He should be completely recovered in time for OTA’s.

Travis LaBoy, LB, ARI – Strained Biceps

Cardinals’ LB Travis LaBoy, who was a question mark for Sunday’s game because of an ankle injury, was active and played but he was forced from the game after hurting his left biceps and he was taken back to the locker room where he was examined an treated. He did not return and he was seen with his arm in the sling after the game. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt told reporters that Laboy’s injury was a strain, but he said that it could be a tear (grade 3 strain) which would likely keep him out of the Super Bowl. LaBoy underwent an MRI on his arm on Monday and the results will be made public either today or tomorrow.

Antonio Smith, DL, ARI – Knee Contusion

According to reports Cardinals’ DL Antonio Smith suffered a knee contusion during Sunday’s game against the Eagles. However team officials expect him to be ready for the Super Bowl. Several media outlets are reporting that he did not return to the game after getting hurt, however he did return and he appeared to be OK. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt did not have an update on his status on Monday but we should know more about his injury and recovery later on in the week.

Daren Stone, DB, BAL – Mild Concussion

Ravens’ DB Daren Stone suffered a mild concussion when he was hit while trying to cover on the opening kickoff. But after spending time in the locker room recovering he was cleared by the team’s medical staff to return and he played in the second half. Stone stayed on the ground for a few moments after being hit by Steelers’ RB Carey Davis and he eventually got up and he was helped off the field by teammates. At the time it did not look like he was going to return, however despite being diagnosed with a concussion he was cleared by the medical staff. As expected he complained of a headache on Monday but he has plenty of time to recover and he should be healthy for the start of the team’s off-season conditioning program.

Frank Walker, DB, BAL – Dislocated Shoulder

Ravens’ DB Frank Walker dislocated his shoulder in the first half on Sunday but he was able to return to the field and finish the game. Walker was taken to the locker room after getting hurt in the first quarter. According to reports the medical staff reduced the dislocation (put his arm back into place) and he was able to play in the second half. Walker underwent an MRI on his shoulder on Monday but the results have not been made public.  

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