Adam Levitan

Injuries in Depth

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Sidney's Mystery

Monday, August 23, 2010

As we approach the peak of fantasy football drafting season, average draft positions (ADPs) are affected severely by current bumps and bruises. Injured players almost always have sinking ADPs, opening up two paths for owners to follow: A chance to grab an excellent player at a discount, or the opportunity to avoid a potential headache all year.

We chatted with Dr. Brian Eckenrode, a board-certified orthopedic clinical specialist and the sports team leader for GSPP Penn Therapy and Fitness at the Penn Sports Medicine Center in Philadelphia, to get a better handle on some of the big-name players currently sidelined.

Check out his earlier thoughts on injuries like Steve Smith's fractured arm and Leon Washington's leg here.

Editor's Note: To see where the injured folks rank this season, check out the 2010 Rotoworld Draft Guide!

Injury: Lingering hip pain
Timetable: Questionable for Week 1

The Vikings and Rice have both declined to specify the exact nature of Rice's injury even though this has lingered for seven months. What could be going on here? It could be anything from a hip pointer to a sports hernia to a bad bruise or bursitis. We don't know if it's something internal like a labrum type of thing or something external related to soft tissue.

Rice reportedly saw three specialists and two recommended surgery. What does that tell you? If he has labrum damage or cartilage damage in his hip, that's where they'd probably come in and do surgery. But if you have that type of surgery, you're looking at several months off from sports.

So if he has labrum damage as suspected, will he be limited when he tries to play through it? Well, it might just be pain. He'd get an injection and be able to play. I don't think he's going to suffer any gross weakness or gross instability. Hockey players and goalies have this all the time. You can argue that 10 years ago that no one was really doing this kind of surgery. That type of procedure was very uncommon but players did function.

Rotoworld opinion: We've dropped Rice to 15th in our wide receiver rankings. There's real concern here.

Injury: Hamstring strain
Timetable: Expected to be ready for Week 1

How can we tell how severe this is? Hamstring strains are something that are common because it crosses over the hip joint and crosses the knee joint. The demand on it is more than other muscle groups. Someone who has a Grade 1 hamstring strain is usually walking that day. Grade 3, they're probably on crutches for a little bit because it hurts just to walk. Completely rupturing a hamstring is a rare thing.

Moreno is expected back at practice shortly, but what are the chances this will linger? If he comes back too fast, certainly it can linger. These hamstring things can become chronic. But since it's the preseason and they can take it slow, he should be fine. It's nothing where a hit is going to affect it.

How will he get ready for Week 1? When he first returns, it's all just having him testing. Have him go at 85, 90 percent and then next week have him push it to make sure it's not going to come back. Once the season gets going, as long he maintains his flexibility and strength, he should be good.

Rotoworld opinion: Draft Moreno as you normally would. He'll be at 100 percent before Opening Day.

Editor's Note: Did you know you can get the Rotoworld Fantasy Football Draft Guide on your iPhone and iPad? Get our Top 200 rankings, Cheatsheets, Tiers, and more in a convenient on-the-go package!

Injury: Sprained MCL in right knee
Timetable: Done for preseason, but expected to be ready for Week 1

What exactly is a sprained MCL? Your knee has four main ligaments to help control its stability. The MCL is the ligament on the inside part of your knee. When he's pushing off, this will partly control that.

How does MCL damage compare with ACL damage? An MCL injury is definitely less severe than an ACL. It will be rare that they have to do surgery for an MCL, unless someone has really gross instability. Fitzgerald's injury sounds like a Grade 1 sprain where he's got pain but it's not loose or gives way on him.

Is there any risk of aggravation for Fitzgerald? Essentially not. If he's back playing, the doctors and medical staff feel that he's comfortable enough to play on it. I don't think he should have a problem, considering how mild it sounds. He might not even be braced.

Could it affect his speed or cutting at all? No, especially because we have a couple weeks before the season starts. This is not major.

Rotoworld opinion: Draft Fitzgerald as you normally would. He could probably even play through this if he really needed to suit up tomorrow.

Editor's Note: Create your own fantasy league at!

Injury: Concussion
Timetable: Already back on field

Are you surprised he came back on the field just a couple days after suffering a concussion? If they're sending him back this quick, his symptoms and his injury weren't severe. Concussions are graded on different levels, a lot of times it depends on how much time unconscious you are and also depends on how quickly you can return to baseline and don't have any symptoms.

What are the risks going forward? Now that we know he's had one concussion, if he has another one his symptoms might be extended a little bit longer.

Is he more likely to suffer another concussion? Not if he's 100 percent back to baseline. You used to see that in hockey a lot more, but now they're a lot more cautious where they scan these guys and they make sure they're back to baseline.

Rotoworld opinion: Draft as you normally would.

The Upenn rehab specialists interviewed in this story have not examined the athletes discussed. Their statements are general guidelines regarding their experience with injured athletes, and should not be taken as medical opinions.

For more information on Brian Eckenrode, PT, DPT, OCS and GSPP Penn Therapy and Fitness, visit

Editor's Note: For constantly updating rankings, projections, cheatsheets, tiers and more, get the 2010 Draft Guide!

Adam Levitan is in his seventh season covering football and basketball for Rotoworld. He won the Fantasy Sports Writers Association award for Best Series in 2011 and 2009, and ESPN's overall fantasy football title in 2000. Find him on Twitter.
Email :Adam Levitan

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