FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Early Injury Report - Week 15
Philip Gentles
December 15, 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

Bruce Gradkowski, OAK - Torn MCLs in Both Knees

Raiders’ QB Bruce Gradkowski tore the medical collateral ligaments in both knees during Sunday’s game and it appears that his season is over. Gradkowski, who missed the entire second half against the Redskins, injured his left knee when he was sacked in the first quarter and he hurt the right knee while trying to avoid a sack at the end of the second quarter. An evaluation in the locker room revealed sprains to the medial collateral ligaments in both knees and according to reports MRIs have confirmed that he has a completely torn MCL in his left knee and a partially torn MCL in his right. Despite the severity of the injuries he will probably avoid surgery and head coach Tom Cable is still officially calling Gradkowski “day to day.” However it would be very surprising if he plays in another game this season.

Matt Hasselbeck, SEA - Shoulder Soreness

Seahawks’ QB Matt Hasselbeck entered Sunday’s game with soreness in his right (throwing) shoulder and he reportedly missed some playing time after aggravating the problem during the third quarter. Hasselbeck was hit hard by a Texans’ defender while attempting to throw the ball and he was forced to the sideline for a short period of time. He quickly recovered and returned to the field on the team’s next possession however he admitted after the game that his shoulder was still sore. According to reports the injury isn’t considered serious and team officials expect him to play in Week 15, but he will miss some practice time this week while he gets ready.

Vince Young, TEN - Strained Hamstring

Titans’ head coach Jeff Fisher told reporters on Monday that the MRI on Vince Young’s injured hamstring revealed minor damage but Fisher still wasn’t sure if Young would be able to play in Week 15. Young appeared to pull his right hamstring at the end of a career-long run in the first half on Sunday and after jogging out of bounds he limped on the sideline and he was eventually taken back to the locker room where he was evaluated. Young was having trouble moving around and as a result the medical staff decided to hold him out for the remainder of the game. Young said on Monday that he was feeling sore and Fisher indicated that he would likely miss some practice this week. His status for Week 15 is currently unknown and it appears that it could come down to a game-time decision.

RUNNING BACKS

Correll Buckhalter, DEN - Sprained Ankle

Broncos’ RB Correll Buckhalter left Sunday’s game after reportedly spraining his ankle and did not return. Buckhalter was injured in the first quarter and he was having trouble putting weight on his leg while on the sideline. He was later seen leaving the stadium on crutches and according to reports his ankle was stiff and swollen. He was reevaluated on Monday morning however the severity of the injury has not been made public. Buckhalter’s status for Week 15 remains unknown but we should know more about his ankle after Wednesday’s practice.

Kevin Smith, DET - Severe Knee Injury

Lions’ head coach Jim Schwartz confirmed on Monday that RB Kevin Smith will miss the remainder of the season after suffering a severe knee injury. Smith was hurt when his left knee buckled (without contact) as he ran with the ball late in the second half. He appeared to be in a lot of discomfort as he was being examined by members of the team’s medical staff and he was eventually carted off the field and into the locker room where he was evaluated and treated. An MRI was performed and Schwartz said in his Monday press conference that Smith tore “at least” one ligament. He did not say which ligament was involved however there are a number of reports that suggest that his ACL has been compromised. Schwartz went on to say that Smith is scheduled to undergo reconstructive knee surgery (another indicator that his ACL is involved) and that surgeons will find out during the procedure if other ligaments were damaged. Even if the surgery goes well Smith’s status for next season’s training camp will still be in question, so don’t be surprised if the Lions draft a RB high in next April’s draft.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Larry Fitzgerald, WR, ARI - Sprained Knee

Cardinals’ WR Larry Fitzgerald left Monday night in the third quarter with what the team is calling a sprained right knee but he later returned and finished the game. The injury did not appear to be serious but he was taken to the locker room where he was examined and treated and he later returned to the game. The nature and severity of the injury are currently unknown however it is probably not serious since he was able to return and finish the game. We’ll keep you posted.

Jeremy Maclin, WR, PHI - Torn Plantar Fascia

Eagles’ rookie WR Jeremy Maclin, who had been dealing with plantar fasciitis, tore his plantar fascia during Sunday’s game and he will miss at least one week while he recovers. Maclin was hurt in the second quarter and had to be carted off the field because he was unable to put weight on his foot. Head coach Andy Reid told reporters after the game that Maclin tore his plantar fascia and according to reports an MRI on his foot has confirmed the initial assessment. The injury will not require surgery and head coach Andy Reid indicated that he could return as early as Week 16. However there is a good chance that the medical staff plays this one safe and keeps him sidelined for the remainder of the regular season.

TIGHT ENDS

Zach Miller, TE, OAK - Concussion

Raiders’ TE Zach Miller has reportedly been diagnosed with a concussion and since this is his second concussion of the season he will likely miss the team’s Week 15 game. Miller was hit hard in the fourth quarter and he stayed down for several moments before being escorted off the field. The team initially reported the injury as a stinger, however head coach Tom Cable revealed on Monday that Miller was diagnosed with a mild concussion. Miller will be tested and reevaluated on Tuesday and he’ll be monitored closely throughout the week but don’t expect him to play against the Broncos.

INDIVIDUAL DEFENSIVE PLAYERS

Aaron Curry, LB, SEA - Hip Pointer

Seahawks’ rookie LB Aaron Curry is feeling a lot better after leaving Sunday’ game with a painful hip pointer (contusion). Curry, who was injured when he was hit by a teammate while trying to make a tackle in the fourth quarter, stayed down for a couple of minutes before being loaded onto a cart and taken off the field. Coach Jim Mora told reporters after the game that Curry was in a lot of pain when he was hurt and that he was having difficulty moving around in the locker room immediately after. Curry said in an interview that X-rays on his hip were negative and that he began feeling better shortly after the game. He was scheduled to undergo an MRI on Monday and while the results have not been made public team officials aren’t sure if he will be ready for contact in time for their next game.

DeMarcus Ware, LB, DAL - Strained Neck

Cowboys’ LB DeMarcus Ware, who was carted off the field on a stretcher during Sunday’s game, is reportedly at home recovering and his injuries are mild enough that head coach Wade Phillips said that there is a chance that he could be cleared to play in the team’s next game. Ware hurt his neck when his head hit the hip of a Chargers offensive lineman after he lost his balance while trying to get to QB Phillip Rivers. The medical staff was immediately on the field and the decision was made to secure him to a spine board when he said that he felt pain in his neck. As he was being carted off the field he waived to the crowd and team officials later confirmed that he had full feeling and use of his extremities after getting hurt and that he was carted off the field and taken to the hospital as a precaution. The injury was initially called a sprain, however according to the reports it appears that he actually suffered a muscle strain. He was released from the hospital on Sunday night and although his neck is stiff, sore and swollen coach Phillips believes that Ware is going to be OK. His status for Week 15 won’t be known until later in the week. 

Vince Wilfork, DL, NE - Undisclosed Foot Injury

Patriots’ DL Vince Wilfork was in and out of Sunday’s game because of an undisclosed foot injury and status for Week 15 is unknown. Wilfork initially hurt his foot in the first half and remained on the sideline until the third quarter. He briefly returned but he appeared to aggravate the injury and he was forced to leave the game again, this time for good. Wilfork has been dealing with foot and ankle problems all season and although the Patriots have not said whether or not this is a new injury or an aggravation of an old one it appears that it will keep him out of practice this week and it could keep him sidelined for the team’s next game. He’ll likely end up being a game time decision so we probably won’t know something definitive until game day.

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