Adam Levitan

Football Daily Dose

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Sizing Stafford

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

There are excuses and then there are reasons. Credit Matthew Stafford for not using his fractured right index finger as an excuse for his woeful inaccuracy in last Sunday’s loss to the Bears. But should he have?

To help us get a better handle on Staffords’s injury, we chatted with Marisa Pontillo, PT, DPT, SCS and senior physical therapist 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: Fractured right index finger
Status: Will play Week 11

How tough is it to play with a fractured finger?
It’s obviously not ideal. But we send our kids out there with all sorts of sprains and fractures in their fingers just because you can actually stabilize them. You can usually support them. You can put a removable splint on them and then put a glove on top.

How much does the glove limit someone?
I think it would be analogous to taping or bracing an ankle. It’s going to be a little awkward when you first get it on, but once you start practicing with it, you’re not going to notice it. They are form-fitting enough and the gloves have enough traction that it should impair him minimally.

ROTOWORLD OPINION: Although Stafford was wildly inaccurate while playing with the glove in Week 10, there’s no reason to panic. It was really windy and the Bears defense is playing at an elite level right now. Expect a bounce-back against the Panthers in the dome this week.

Injury: Sprained AC joint
Status: Questionable for Week 11

What is the AC joint?
The AC joint is where your clavicle meets your shoulder blade, so it’s right in front. When peole say they separated their shoulder, they usually don’t mean they dislocated their shoulder -- rather they separated the joint that’s in front. It’s a very common injury in football players and usually it’s happening if you have direct impact on that shoulder, or falling on that side.

So how bad is a sprain of that joint?
The ligaments in that joint are stretched. So he’s going to be sore, but you can actually tape it to give it a little more stability. You won’t be immobilized for a long period of time unless you're actually getting disruption in that joint.

Will Maclin’s ability to reach for balls be hampered?
All the way over your head and all the way to the side are going to be painful. But if they do keep him out, it will only be for a short period of time. Even if you have a moderate sprain, a Grade 2, they usually only sit players out for a week or two before putting them back out there.

ROTOWORLD OPINION: The Eagles’ haven’t disclosed the grade of Maclin’s sprain, but this obviously is not a serious injury. Andy Reid didn’t express much concern on Monday, hinting at a possible Grade 1 sprain. If active, Maclin needs to be in lineups.

Injury: Concussion
Status: Week to week

How bad a sign is it that it’s been over a month and Best is still not symptom-free?
They are not even going to start any type of exercising until the concussion symptoms are gone. And then they start a rehab program. It seems like he’s having really prolonged post-concussion symptoms.

Considering how long Best has been out, is it possible he just gets shut down?
We can’t tell, but unfortunately, the more concussions you sustain the more you’re at risk of having another and also having these symptoms that really linger.

ROTOWORLD OPINION: There’s not much reason for optimism here. Even if Best’s symptoms suddenly subside -- which there is no guarantee they will -- he’ll still have to work his way back into shape. It’s hard to see him playing anywhere near a full complement of snaps anytime this season.

Injury: Fractured two lower ribs
Status: Questionable for Week 11

Is it better to have fractured ribs lower rather than up high?
From a complications standpoint, it’s better if it’s lower because there are less structures underneath the lower ribs. However from a pain standpoint, they are all going to be difficult. Any type of impact is going to bother you -- breathing is going to even be painful.

Are lower rib injuries more susceptible to aggravation?
He’s susceptible to aggravation no matter what.

ROTOWORLD OPINION: Rib injuries are often a matter of pain tolerance. Vick is a “tough nut” as Andy Reid likes to say, so we’re certainly not ruling him out. The bigger concern is that he might be hesitant to run and aggravation is very possible. Add Vince Young.

Editor’s Note: For early rankings, projections, the Running Back report, the top-200 going forward list and much more, check out the Season Pass!

Here’s a scary quote from coach Jim Harbaugh for Frank Gore (knee, ankle) owners: "I would plan on (Gore) playing, but you just feel like right now that we've got a stable of backs.”

Harbaugh feels good about taking it easy on Gore for a number of reasons. The Niners are 8-1. They have a short week coming up as they play the Ravens on Thanksgiving. Kendall Hunter is showing signs of having starting-caliber ability. And Gore is banged up with multiple injuries.

Gore owners should also note that he faces the Steelers and Seahawks in Weeks 15 and 16, respectively. That’s as tough as it gets for a running back.

Darren McFadden (foot) could reportedly be out “a couple more weeks.” … Willis McGahee (hamstring) is very iffy for Thursday. Lance Ball will start if Willis can’t. … Christian Ponder (hand) is expected to be fine. … LaDainian Tomlinson (knee) is out Thursday. Look for 7-9 touches out of Joe McKnight. … Andre Johnson (hamstring) will be back after the bye. … Kevin Kolb (foot) is doubtful. John Skelton gets another start. … Ben Roethlisberger has a broken thumb, but isn’t worried as the Steelers head into their bye. … Stevie Johnson (shoulder) is day to day. … Calvin Johnson passed his concussion tests. He’s fine. … Dallas Clark (leg) could be back in three weeks.

Hines Ward has accepted his demotion out of three-receiver sets. … The Cowboys confirmed that DeMarco Murray is the feature back even though Felix Jones (ankle) is ready to go. … Montario Hardesty (calf) appears to be ahead of Peyton Hillis (hamstring) in their race to get healthy. … The Colts haven’t named a quarterback for Week 12 yet. Could we see the Dan Orlovsky era get underway?

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.
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