Adam Levitan

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Andre Johnson's Hammy

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The details coming out of Houston regarding Andre Johnson’s hamstring injury are muddled.

First, he went down like he got shot upon suffering the initial injury. It looked like he blew out his knee. But then it was revealed that he actually hurt his hamstring and rumor had it he was undergoing PRP therapy. Wrong. Johnson actually had a surgical procedure on his hamstring, which sounds major. Is it?

To help us get a better handle on Johnson’s injury, we chatted with Brian Eckenrode, PT, DPT, MS, OCS and sports rehabilitation specialist for GSPP Penn Therapy and Fitness at the Penn Sports Medicine Center in Philadelphia. For more info on GSPP and the Penn Sports Medicine Center, head to

Injury: Hamstring
Status: Tentatively expected to return in Week 7 or 8.

Johnson’s surgery was reportedly repair the distal tendon in his hamstring. What is the distal tendon?
The term hamstring refers to three different muscles. The distal tendon is the one closest to the knee. Hamstring injuries closer to the pelvis are much more common. Either way you’re going to be limited the same way. They are just managed a little differently, but it really depends on the severity of it.

Hamstring surgery sounds bad. Don‘t most players recover with simple rest?
They do. The one surgery they have to do is if you pull the tendon completely off the bone and they have to reattach it. But the recovery for that is much, much longer than Johnson’s current timetable.

So he could have had some other type of minimally invasive thing. Maybe he had some tissue form and it needs to be released. That would be something you can get from multiple, repeated injuries.

If Johnson did have scar tissue cleaned up, how will he feel going forward?
If he had a restriction of motion and the scar tissue is what they attribute that to, certainly by going in there and taking care of that it will make him feel better and have a quicker recovery. But hamstrings are always tricky anyhow and on top of that we don’t know exactly what procedure he had. There’s kind of a question mark around the whole injury.

ROTOWORLD OPINION: Johnson’s soreness has already gone away and he’s begun his rehab. There’s even talk he could get out on the practice field this week. We can therefore rule out a rupture of the hamstring. It’s a safe guess that Johnson’s procedure was just to clean out the area that connects his knee to his hamstring. The Texans figure to play it safe, but a full return without much risk of aggravation in Week 8 seems reasonable. The Texans insist that the additions of Derrick Mason (see below) and a practice squad receiver don't have anything to do with Johnson recovering slowly.

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The Texans and Jets pulled off the rare NFL trade late Tuesday night, with Derrick Mason getting shipped to Houston in exchange for a conditional seventh-round draft pick.

Mason fell out of favor in New York by predictably being unproductive and then complaining he wants the ball more. The problem is he’s 37 and can no longer get open. That won’t change in Houston, no matter how desperate they are for help during Andre Johnson’s absence. Kevin Walter is a better player at this point and a focused Jacoby Jones likely (maybe) is too. Mason will just fill a jersey in the slot.

Meanwhile, rookie Jeremy Kerley takes over as the No. 3 wideout for the Jets. But they have gone back to two-wide as their base offense, leaving Kerley with only 15-20 snaps per game going forward.

Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski confirmed Monday that Cam Newton will remain the Panthers’ goal-line back. So far this season, Newton has 13 carries from inside the 10-yard line while Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams have combined for three. Newton has five rushing touchdowns already.

"That's one place where it's so compact that it's hard to get good numbers and so with the quarterback as a runner your numbers even out so that you can get hats on hats a little easier," said Chudzinski.

The fallout here is simple: Stewart and Williams are mega-talents that are going to waste in both fantasy and real life. Newton is turning into a weekly top-5 QB play. When quarterbacks are a good bet to run for 50 yards and score, the passing numbers feel like icing. Right, Tim Tebow?

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Rashard Mendenhall (hamstring) is on track to play in Week 6, but his workload is uncertain. … The Colts promoted RB Darren Evans from their practice squad, a sign that Joseph Addai (hamstring) won’t play this week. … Daniel Thomas (hamstring) returned to practice Tuesday but looked tentative. … Seattle's Mike Williams (concussion) is expected to be cleared during the bye. … Julio Jones (hamstring) won’t practice Wednesday. Harry Douglas may very well start across from Roddy White this week. … Tarvaris Jackson (pectoral) may end up needing surgery.

Tim Tebow was officially named the Broncos starter. Tebow time. … Cedric Benson’s suspension decision may take another 3-4 weeks to play out. …  Donald Driver is playing on just 42.2 percent of the Packers’ snaps since Week 1. James Jones is the No. 3 wideout. … Coach Pat Shurmur called Ben Watson a three-down tight end. … Earnest Graham will be the feature back if LeGarrette Blount (knee) sits this week.

Adam Levitan is in his sixth 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.
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