NFL depth charts have their limits
Another week, another set of injuries that takes the talent level in the NFL -- and your fantasy league -- down just a notch.
A good amount of the questions I get relate to trades or waiver pickups, but I always note we're seeing "fill-ins" more than we're seeing real talent pushing upwards. Sure, people are spending free agent dollars on
The need for the Moss trade was also pushed along by Rice's ongoing rehab from hip surgery. Rice is one of the first football players to have this type of surgery, coined "FAIL" by me, since that's easier to type than femoral-acetabular impingement laparoscopy.
I'll stay away from
I asked Dr.
A "groin separation" sounds like something that would have most men crying. Portis might not be curled up in the fetal position, but he will be out for at least the next six weeks. The injury, actually a Grade III strain to
Vick wasn't the only Eagle to come out of last week's game with a rib issue. McCoy left Sunday's game with a fractured rib, but could be back at practice on Thursday. The Eagles think the rib is stable enough for him to take hits and that they can protect him, both with protective equipment, painkillers and a game plan that will allow him to avoid at least some direct hits. McCoy isn't a straight-ahead runner, so he doesn't take the abuse there, but rib injuries can be very tricky, and even on a stretch play, one wrong hit or push could shift things to a point where McCoy couldn't tolerate the pain. I'm unsure how effective McCoy can be through this, but it seems the Eagles are heading toward giving it a try Sunday. If you have to start McCoy, this is one of those weeks where pairing him would work, if there was a clearer pair.
The Texans' offense is more than just
Crutches are never a good sign. Seeing Smith on them Wednesday gives a good indication that he won't be out there on Sunday, but it's not a clear rule-out yet. This latest injury, an ankle sprain, is just another on a long list for the physical Smith. He's a small, compact guy who doesn't mind taking a hit, which makes him sound a lot like an offensive version of
One of my favorite terms is "self-limiting injury." It's one of those few phrases in sports medicine that don't require a glossary. An injury like what Rice has is self-limiting due to the pain. It's very difficult to do too much and risk re-injury with the kind of pain that this type of bruise causes. Then again, these are not normal people we're watching in the NFL. Beyond the use of painkillers, which is much, much more common than most think, players often have pain tolerances that are well beyond normal. There's an element of evolutionary selection in any sport, finding players with the unique skills necessary for success. Pain tolerance, even masochism, is one of those. Rice was able to play through the pain of the bruise last week when he was called on. He should be able to do the same or more after another week of healing.
The Lions will be going without Stafford again in Week 5, but there's some positive news coming out of Detroit. Stafford has begun to throw, which means that the shoulder is healing properly and has enough strength that he can get back to more functional activities. It doesn't mean that he's close to game-ready status. The Lions' medical staff is going to have to quickly make the determination on whether the injury and resulting weakness will come all the way back. There have been some indications, but as with any rehab, there are going to be setbacks and plateaus. Stafford's original timeline had him coming back in Week 7 or 8 and that still looks about right.
Bears fans are curious how Cutler was back at practice from a concussion after a couple days while
He'll be limited in practice this week as the team makes sure he doesn't take any unnecessary impacts, but they'll also have to figure out a way to do that once the games start. Smartly, the Bears are going to keep him off the field this week to make sure that he doesn't face a second impact so shortly after that last concussion. Cutler was knocked around so much he's lucky it was "just" a concussion.
When Bullitt took a hit and trotted off the field last week holding his arm, it looked to me like a stinger. He held his arm that way, he appeared in pain, but not too much pain, and came back on the next play. It wasn't a stinger. It was a broken bone in his shoulder. That's right -- Bullitt came back in the game, making a couple more plays and tackles with a broken bone. I know I just wrote about pain tolerance, but my goodness ... a broken bone? Yes, this isn't all that uncommon in the NFL, but it does leave the Colts with yet another defensive problem. Bullitt was filling in for Bob Sanders, who isn't on IR, meaning he could theoretically come back after biceps surgery this season. The Colts defense has always worked on the principle that with enough speed, size and talent could be overcome. We'll get a really good look at how true that is against the Chiefs, a team with a lot of speed of their own ... plus talent.