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Early Injury Report - Week 4
Philip Gentles
September 29, 2009
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This early injury report will provide in-depth injury information on key fantasy players that suffered injuries in the previous weekend's games. All player injuries will be tracked during the week via our Mid-Week Injury Tracker Report which is published on Thursdays and updated on Fridays. Be sure you check out our Priority News often during the week as all breaking player news will be posted there.

QUARTERBACKS

Marc Bulger, QB, STL – Bruised Shoulder

According to reports Rams’ QB Marc Bulger has been diagnosed with bruised rotator cuff and although he avoided serious injury his status for Week 4 remains questionable. Bulger was hurt when he was sacked in the first quarter of Sunday’s game. He returned on the next offensive series but he appeared to aggravate the injury while trying to recover the ball after a Steven Jackson fumble. Bulger was in a lot of pain after that play and he was replaced by Kyle Boller for the remainder of the game. Head coach Steve Spagnuolo said that an MRI on Bulger’s shoulder revealed that his rotator cuff was structurally OK and he confirmed that the shoulder was just bruised. Bulger’s shoulder was reportedly very sore on Monday and although his injury is not serious it looks like he will miss some practice time while he recovers. Check back later in the week to see if he will be able to play against the 49ers.

Chad Pennington, QB, MIA – Torn Shoulder Capsule

Dolphins QB Chad Pennington will apparently miss the remainder of the season after an MRI scan on his injured right shoulder revealed a tear in his glenoid capsule. Pennington, who reportedly dislocated his shoulder when he was hit by Chargers’ LB Kevin Burnett as he threw a pass in the second half, appeared to be in some discomfort as he left the field. The dislocation was reduced on the sideline but he was unable to move his arm around and the medical staff quickly ruled him out for the remainder of the game. In the post-game press conference he appeared to be OK but according to reports an MRI showed a tear in the shoulder capsule. Tears in the capsule typically indicate damage to the labrum that often requires surgery to repair. There are also reports that the medical staff is concerned about additional damage to the rotator cuff. Pennington is scheduled to visit Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion but it appears that his season is over. Pennington has already had two major surgeries on that shoulder and there is concern that this latest injury could end his career. Chad Henne will take over as the team’s starting QB but don’t be surprised if the team signs a veteran QB this week to back him up.

RUNNING BACKS

Frank Gore, RB, SF – Ankle and Foot Strain

The 49ers are denying that RB Frank Gore suffered a high ankle sprain but it appears that he will miss up to 3 weeks after an MRI confirmed that he strained a tendon in his ankle and foot on Sunday against the Vikings. Gore was hurt on his first carry of the game and after limping to the sideline he was carted back to the locker room where he underwent X-rays, an evaluation and treatment. X-rays were reportedly negative but he was unable to put weight on his leg and he was held out for the remainder of the game. Several websites reported the injury as a high ankle sprain or an aggravation of his previous ankle injury. However team officials are calling the injury a strain and although head coach Mike Singletary says that it is “not believed to be serious” it looks like the injury will keep Gore out until after Week 6. Rookie Glen Coffee will get a majority of the carries in Gore’s place.

Felix Jones, RB, DAL – Undisclosed Knee Injury

While filling in for the inactive Marion Barber, Jones strained his knee on a long run in the Monday Nighter. He did try to give it a go later but was only out there for one play, then sat the rest of the game. Early reports, which are yet to be "official", indicate that Jones could miss up to two weeks. He's scheduled for an MRI on Tuesday to determine the extent of the knee strain. Backup Tashard Choice, who performed well Monday night, is the obvious option at running back for the Cowboys this week. But don't count out Marion Barber. Reports at game time Monday were that he was very close to playing, so odds are decent that he'll be ready to go this weekend.

Laurence Maroney, RB, NE – Undisclosed Thigh Injury

As expected the Patriots’ organization has refused to discuss Laurence Maroney’s thigh injury and his status for Week 4 remains unknown. Maroney confirmed that he pulled a muscle in his thigh area and although he told reporters that he felt fine after the game he did not play in the second half indicating that the injury was serious enough to keep him off the field. In typical Patriots’ fashion we won’t know anything about his availability for next weekend’s game until moments before kickoff, so check with The Huddle on Sunday for a final update on his status.

Kevin Smith, RB, DET – Undisclosed Shoulder Injury

The results of RB Kevin Smith’s shoulder MRI have not been made public but team officials are already calling him “week to week” and the injury could keep him out for at least one game. Smith, who was on his way to having a career day, injured his shoulder on a carry in the third quarter and he remained on the ground for several minutes while he was being examined by team trainers. After additional evaluations on the sideline and in the locker room he was ruled out of the remainder of the game. Smith told reporters on Monday that his shoulder was feeling sore and that he hoped to play in Week 4. However there are reports that the injury is significant and that the team will be without him for several weeks. We’ll probably know more about his injury today or tomorrow.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Vincent Jackson, SD – Bruised Knee

Chargers’ WR Vincent Jackson had his second straight big game on Sunday against the Dolphins, however he did suffer a minor injury that could keep him limited in practice this week. It isn’t clear how Jackson was hurt but according to reports his knee was sore and a bit swollen after the game and he was seen with an ice bag on his knee in the locker room. The injury does not appear to be serious and even if he misses portions of practice on Wednesday he still should be able to play in Week 4 against the Steelers.

Laurent Robinson, WR, STL – Fractured Fibula and High Ankle Sprain

Rams’ WR Laurent Robinson will miss the remainder of the season after breaking a bone and tearing a ligament in his ankle during Sunday’s game. Robinson was hurt while blocking on a Steven Jackson run in the second quarter. He was initially examined on the sideline and he was eventually taken back to the locker room where he was X-rayed. The team initially reported the injury as a sprained ankle and a newspaper later said that it was an MCL sprain (although it turned out that the paper mixed up Robinson with DB James Butler). Unfortunately the X-rays in the locker room revealed a break in his fibula and additional testing revealed a tear in his syndesmosis ligament (severe high ankle sprain). His injuries will require surgery and team officials don’t expect him to recover in time to play again this season. This is good news for Donnie Avery owners, but he did very little with Robinson on the sideline on Sunday. It’s obvious that he is still working himself into shape after missing several weeks in the pre-season because of a stress fracture and with Robinson out he’ll have every opportunity to break out of his early-season funk in Week 4.

Wes Welker, WR, NE – Undisclosed Knee Injury

Patriots’ WR Wes Welker was inactive for the second straight week and in very typical fashion the team has refused to discuss the nature and severity of the injury and his status for Week 4 remains unknown. Welker has reportedly been dealing with soreness in his knee since late in the pre-season and he apparently aggravated the problem in Week 1. He has been limited in practice the last two weeks and has been unable to play in games. QB Tom Brady indicated that Welker was close to making his return, but he did not say if that return would be this week. Owning an injured Patriots’ player can be aggravating, but at this point we should all be trained to prepare for the worst. Welker could very well play in Week 4, however have a backup plan ready in case he is deactivated on game day.

INDIVIDUAL DEFENSIVE PLAYERS

Dwight Freeney, DL, IND – Strained Quadriceps

We should know more about DL Dwight Freeney’s injured quadriceps sometime today as the results of the MRI is expected to become available to the public. Freeney said that he “felt something pop” while rushing the QB in the third quarter. According to reports the team believes that Freeney suffered some kind of muscle tear or severe strain that could keep him sidelined for at least 2 weeks. Obviously the nature and severity of the tear will determine how long he will be out. Freeney is the team’s best pass-rusher so it would be a big blow to the Colt’s defense if he is out for an extended period of time.

Albert Haynesworth, DL, WAS – Strained Gluteal Muscle

DL Albert Haynesworth’s status for Week 4 is in question after he suffered what is being called a strained gluteal muscle (buttocks) during Sunday’s loss to the Lions. Haynesworth was hurt in the second quarter and had to be carted off the field but after receiving treatment he was able to return in the second half. As expected he was very stiff and sore following the game and he traveled to Tennessee on Monday where he took care of some personal business and underwent an MRI. The results of the MRI are currently unknown but the injury is not to his hip-flexor (which is being reported on several websites) but rather to one of his gluteal muscles which act as hip extensors. We’ll know more about his Week 4 status once the MRI results are released.

Jerod Mayo, LB, NE – Sprained MCL

Patriots’ LB Jerod Mayo, who is recovering from a sprained medial collateral ligament in his knee, was seen walking without crutches at the Patriots’ facility on Monday but he is still at least 2 weeks away from being able to play. Mayo was injured in Week 1 and although the severity of the injury has not been made public a source close to Mayo told a local newspaper that he was dealing with an MCL sprain. He was seen moving with a limp last week but according to recent reports he is no longer limping and he appears to be walking comfortably which is encouraging news. However Mayo will not play in Week 4 and he could be out even longer. We’ll keep you posted.

Leodis McKelvin, DB/KR, BUF – Fractured Ankle

Bills’ DB and kick returner Leodis McKelvin will miss a significant amount of time after he broke a bone in his ankle during Sunday’s game. According to reports locker room X-rays on his injured ankle in the second quarter revealed the break. Head coach Dick Jauron said that he wasn’t sure if the injury would require surgery or how long McKelvin would be out, but it appears he will miss at least a month.

Vince Wilfork, DL, NE – Sprained Ankle

Patriots’ DL Vince Wilfork left Sunday’s game against the Falcons with a sprained left ankle and his status for the team’s next game is currently unknown. Wilfork was hurt when DT Mike Wright accidentally rolled over on his ankle. He grabbed his leg and he appeared to be in a lot of pain before being helped up and off the field. X-rays on his ankle were reportedly negative and although it appears that he avoided serious injury the team isn’t saying if he will be able to play in Week 4. This will likely come down to a game-time decision.

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