There aren't many injuries on the docket this week. A few bye week players are dealing with some issues (Roy Williams, Glen Coffee, Frank Gore and Felix Jones to name a few), but we'll wait until next week to focus on them. In the meantime, enjoy the sparse, and mostly unimpactful Week 6 injury report. It won't be like this very often.
Carson Palmer: Sprained left thumb
Palmer sprained his thumb in Sunday's dramatic win over the Ravens. Luckily for fantasy owners, it was on his left, non-throwing hand, and the only limitation he had was being forced to make handoffs with his right hand the rest of the game. He sported a glove over the sore digit in Wednesday's practice but participated fully. Don't let a little off-handed thumb sprain prevent you from starting Palmer against the very generous Houston defense on Sunday.
Matthew Stafford: Sore right knee
Stafford has made progress in his attempt to recover from a partially dislocated kneecap. Shhhhh ... don't tell Jim "Zippermouth" Schwartz that I told you about the dislocation. He might start executing team employees one-by-one until he figures out where the leak occurred.
The first overall selection was a limited practice participant on Wednesday, and Schwartz has said that his availability against Green Bay will hinge on his ability to move around in the pocket as the week progresses. In all honesty, neither Stafford, nor his backup, Daunte Culpepper, are of much use this week against an aggressive Packers defense. Not even if Megatron plays. Speaking of which...
Calvin Johnson: Injured upper extremity located on the lower half of the body
Johnson was questionable all last week with a thigh injury but managed to suit up and play. He then caught one ball for two yards before leaving with what was thought to be a sprained knee. According to the Detroit Free Press, Johnson was "in sweats and stiff-legged" at Wednesday's practice, but he was curiously listed on the injury report as being out with a "thigh," not the seemingly more significant "knee."
Very confusing stuff from a team that's becoming "Belichick-ian" in the way they discuss injuries. To his credit, Schwartz did give owners this nugget of info:
"My code word has been 'significant.' I wouldn't label his injury 'significant' right now."
Thanks, Jim. I especially like how he tossed in "right now" at the end of the sentence, just to cast even more doubt on the exact seriousness of the ailment. Keep abreast of this situation like a teenager checking the mail for the new Sears catalogue; it's destined to be a game-time decision.
Percy Harvin: Shoulder injury
The hair-trigger fast Harvin was slowed in practice this week by a bum shoulder. He fell awkwardly on it while making a catch in Sunday's victory over the Rams, and while nobody around Vikings camp seems overly concerned, it could limit the number of offensive plays he's on the field this week.
Harvin's already fallen behind Sidney Rice and Bernard Berrian among the Minnesota receivers, and he's probably best left on the bench against a tough, and angered, Baltimore defense. That said, he's always a threat to take one downtown, so if he's on the field and you're playing desperate, I'll forgive you if you want to roll with the banged-up Harvin.
Pierre Thomas/Mike Bell: Hamstring/Knee
In four games this season, Bell started two at running back for the Saints, and rushed for 229 and a touchdown. Thomas started the other two and rushed for 212 yards and three touchdowns. Neither has been healthy at the same time...until now.
Bell made a speedy recovery from a sprained knee ligament, and has declared himself "full go" this week, while Thomas, despite an off-week, was limited in practice with a sore hamstring that Sean Payton said has been "nagging for a little bit." He's expected to be active for the Giants game, but it remains a mystery as to how (and how much) he'll be utilized.
Unless something definitive comes out, be very wary about trusting either of these New Orleans RBs this week. Oh, and in case I wasn't clear enough, do pick up Bell if he's still flopping around in free agency. He's far more valuable than that sixth receiver you drunkenly picked up over the weekend.
Eli Manning: Plantar Fasciitis
Manning's still dealing with the dreaded plantar fasciitis -- and will be all season long -- but don't be alarmed by his sporadic practice habits and the early pull job last week against Oakland. The Giants were leading by 30 when they took him out late in the second quarter, and it was reported he suffered no further damage to his inflamed foot during the outing.
He was held out of large portions of practice this week, but unless something catastrophic happens, he'll start -- and play the entire game -- against the undefeated Saints in his hometown of New Orleans. Ironically enough, it's not the tough matchups Manning's owners need to be concerned with, it's the potential blowouts that present the opportunity for the blossoming fantasy stud to be benched mid-game. Fortunately, this is not one of those weeks.
Ahmad Bradshaw: Lingering right ankle injury
In what's becoming a common sight, Bradshaw was seen on the sidelines sporting a protective boot on Wednesday. The boot is there to protect a lingering ankle injury that apparently has no effect on the way he runs on Sundays (Bradshaw's averaging a ridiculous 7.0 yards per touch on a healthy 64 opportunities). He has been wearing the boot for two straight weeks now though, and that's why I'm mentioning it.
I have no reason to suspect he'll be MIA this weekend, but the obviously precarious nature of his ankle injury should at least dampen the speculative talk of Bradshaw supplanting Brandon Jacobs as the Giants' starting running back.
Jerricho Cotchery: Strained hamstring
In a classic case of ill-advised competitive spirit, Cotchery suited up Monday night despite a hamstring injury that prevented him from practicing towards the end of last week. Predictably, he caught just one ball and appeared to tweak the injury, while the newly acquired Braylon Edwards endeared himself to the Jets coaching staff by hauling in five balls for 64 yards and a touchdown.
The man whose name makes me giggle every time I say it (yes, I'm that immature), was a practice spectator for much of the week, and he doesn't appear to be a viable option heading into Sunday. With fellow receiver Brad Smith (foot) also ailing, it's finally time for preseason darling David Clowney to show he can actually catch passes when they count. If you're hunting for a Week 6 sleeper, "Bozo the Clowney" should be a prime target.
Willie Parker: Sprained left big toe
Parker was back practicing this week for the first time since spraining his toe over two weeks ago. He's wearing a protective cleat specifically designed by Nike to stabilize the turf toe injury, and he feels "a lot better" than he did at this time last week. Assuming the toe still feels good enough to play on Sunday, fantasy owners will be waiting with bated breath to see how Mike Tomlin decides to utilize the Rashard Mendenhall/Fast Willie duo.
Personally, after watching Parker manage 3.1 yards per carry through the first three games, and then watching Mendenhall average 5.5 yards a pop in the next two contests, I'm going all in with "Delicious" (apparently that's what Tomlin calls him ... I have no clue why). Parker will probably see some carries, but it's Mendenhall's job to lose, and I can guarantee he won't lose it against the Browns, the NFL's worst-ranked run defense.