Matt Stroup

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Sunday Injuries: Guts and Gore

Monday, November 14, 2011

We’ll discuss injuries to Willis McGahee, Matthew Stafford, Julio Jones, Jeremy Maclin and A.J. Green in a moment, but we begin with an update on Frank Gore, in part because he’s a big name who finished Sunday’s game on the sidelines, and in part because we think it’s high time that this injury column got a chance to use the word “gore” in its headline.

As for Frank Gore the person, the 49ers RB was ineffective while on the field (6 rush, 0 yds; 1 rec, 8 yds), then was unable to finish the win over the Giants due to ongoing ankle trouble and a new knee injury. Before fantasy owners panic, Niners coach Jim Harbaugh has already said that Gore will be able to play in Week 11, but he’ll obviously be at risk for an in-game aggravation, and could see a somewhat reduced workload against Arizona. With that in mind, Kendall Hunter (6 rush, 40 yds, TD) should be added off the waiver wire wherever available.

In other injury news…

On a day that they went absurdly run-heavy against the Chiefs (55:8 run-pass ratio), the Broncos lost Willis McGahee (hamstring) and Knowshon Moreno (knee), with the Denver Post already reporting that Moreno will miss Thursday night’s game, and early word being that he’ll be out “for a while” (a Monday MRI should clarify the timetable). Meanwhile, McGahee said that he could have returned in an emergency, but his status has to be considered iffy with just a few days until the Broncos’ next game. The upshot: Say hello to Lance Ball. He wasn’t especially impressive on a per-play basis Sunday (30 rush, 96 yds), but anyone with the potential for that kind of workload obviously needs to be vacating the waiver wire quickly.

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Matthew Stafford has a fractured index finger on his right (throwing) hand, according to beat writer Dave Birkett. It’s unclear when the injury occurred, but some combination of the finger and high winds at Soldier Field led to an erratic Sunday for Stafford (35-for-66, 338 yds, TD, 4 INTs). The Lions QB is classifying the finger as “not bad,” so for now, fantasy owners should expect him to be active (and hopefully more accurate) in Week 11.

A.J. Green caught his sixth TD of the season, but was forced from the game with a right knee injury soon thereafter. After the game, Green described his injury as a hyperextension, and said (per beat writer Joe Reedy) that “It doesn’t feel [like] anything serious.” At the moment it doesn’t like a significant cause for concern, but we may not get a clear sense of Green’s Week 11 outlook until practice begins this week.

Julio Jones (2 rec, 9 yds) left early Sunday with an apparent injury to his right hamstring. The right hamstring is not the same one that caused Jones to miss two games this season, but obviously any day-ending hamstring injury could mean trouble for next week. On a positive note, Falcons beat writer D. Orlando Ledbetter reports that Jones was “Pleading his case” to return, so it’s possible that the Falcons were simply exercising caution with the rookie receiver. If Jones does miss time, Harry Douglas (8 rec, 133 yds – both career-highs) would be worth a look, though he was unreliable during Jones’ previous absence.

Slowed by shoulder and hamstring injuries, Jeremy Maclin had his worst statistical day of the season (2 rec, 6 yds). The hamstring injury is the bigger issue here, with beat writer Adam Caplan reporting that Maclin didn’t sound “overly optimistic” about playing in Week 11. Steve Smith (5 rec, 47 yds) stands to benefit if Maclin can’t play, but should only be a deep league consideration given how rusty he looked on Sunday.

Matt Cassel sustained a left shoulder injury, and left the stadium with his right (throwing) hand in a cast. Beat writer Kent Babb reports that Cassel had his middle and index fingers immobilized, and though Cassel thinks he’ll be ready to face the Patriots, the shoulder-finger combo could hinder his chances of suiting up in his sort of anticipated return to New England. Tyler Palko would get the start (and theoretically represent a downgrade) if the Chiefs’ starting QB can’t go, but then again, Cassel threw for just 93 yards on Sunday, so it’s not like things could get much worse.

Meanwhile, the Seahawks lost Sidney Rice (2 rec, 14 yds) and Doug Baldwin (1 rec, 50 yds) to head injuries, with reporting that Rice suffered a “mild” concussion. As a result, Golden Tate got an extended look (3 rec, 46 yds – both season-highs), but he’s not a high-upside consideration even if Rice and Baldwin are unable to play next week.

Redskins WR Leonard Hankerson broke out (8 rec, 106 yds), but came down with a hip strain. The good news is that Hankerson (per beat writer Rich Campbell) doesn’t believe the injury is serious, and isn’t expecting to miss any time. The bad news is that players tend to be overly optimistic when assessing their own injuries. If the hip situation is indeed mild, Hankerson will be worth a look on waivers this week.

Other Injury Notes: LaDainian Tomlinson limped off late with an apparent leg injury … Wes Welker was leveled on a big hit late in Sunday night’s game, but got up and appeared to be fine … Sam Bradford left with a thigh injury, but was able to return … DeMarco Murray sustained a shoulder injury late in the first half, but returned and showed no signs of being slowed down in the second half… Michael Vick took a number of big hits and had the wind knocked out of him in one instance, but only missed one play … Owen Daniels sustained a hyperextended knee, but was able to return (and has a Week 11 bye to heal) … Devin Hester picked up an 82-yard punt return TD, but saw his day end early due to strep throat … Rams TE Michael Hoomanawanui (knee) could be done for the season … Most embarrassing injury of the day: Cadillac Williams sustained a calf injury while running onto the field (according to the Akron Beacon Journal).

Editor’s note: If you want to draft a new fantasy team, check out SnapDraft here.

Defense/Offensive Line Injuries: Bengals CB Leon Hall (torn Achilles’) is reportedly done for the year … Bills C Eric Wood (knee) was helped off the field … Bears beat writer Mike Wright reports that LG Chris Williams will need surgery on a fractured and dislocated wrist … Rams LT Rodger Saffold left with a head injury … Rams DB Al Harris (knee) may be done for the season … Seahawks RG John Moffitt left in the first quarter with a right knee injury … Bucs DE George Johnson was carted off with a knee injury … Jaguars CB Rashean Mathis left with an apparent knee injury … Chiefs DL Glenn Dorsey was carted off with a leg injury ... Asante Samuel was sidelined briefly due to an undisclosed injury, but was able to return … Seahawks SS Kam Chancellor left with a head injury … The Cardinals lost RT Brandon Keith to a knee injury … Eagles DB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie sustained an ankle injury and didn’t return … Redskins DE Kedric Golston (MCL) is expected to miss a few weeks, according to beat writer Chris Russell … Giants LB Michael Boley was knocked out of Sunday’s game due to a hamstring injury … Patriots DB Devin McCourty left with a shoulder injury.

(Note: For a complete breakdown of all the key happenings from Sunday, check out Chris Wesseling's The Morning After column on Monday.)

Also, here's Gregg Rosenthal's early look at the top waiver wire pickups for Week 11.

Matt Stroup covers basketball, baseball and football for You can find him on Twitter here .
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