By Christopher Harris
November 13, 2006
Each week we give you a list of the players who left Sunday's games with injuries, and this week's group is as estimable (and damaging) as any other. It's worth noting, though, that a whole bunch of really, really good football players never suited up this week, because of injury. To wit:
Shaun Alexander, Ray Lewis, Willis McGahee, Rodney Harrison, Ty Warren, Derrick Johnson, Matt Hasselbeck, Greg Wesley, Jerious Norwood, Leigh Bodden, Joe Horn, Brian Simmons, Rich Braham, Levi Jones, Marcus Robinson, Bob Sanders, Terry Glenn, Bernard Berrian, Simeon Rice, Carlos Emmons, Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyiora, Brandon Short (in other words, half the Giants' defense), Fred Thomas, Ian Gold, Luis Castillo, Napoleon Harris, Vernand Morency, John Abraham, Ed Hartwell, Vernon Davis, Gary Brackett.
That's quite a fantasy murderer's row. You could argue that at least something was expected of every single person on that least (okay, maybe not the stray offensive linemen), each of whom is due to return at some point in the next few weeks. Not that this list is by any means exhaustive, or that every guy mentioned above will definitely be back. But a little context does help us realize that fantasy football – and the injuries therein that shape our fantasy lives – is a cruel, cruel mistress. Let's take a look at the guys who left Sunday's games:
David Carr, Hou – Carr played quite well in leading the Texans to a second consecutive upset over the Jaguars, but left the game in the fourth quarter after suffering a "bruised shoulder." According to the Houston Chronicle, the Texans don't expect Carr to miss additional time.
Clinton Portis, Was – Portis, who was having a fine season since missing parts of a few games to begin the year with a bad shoulder, broke his left hand against the Eagles on Sunday. The Washington Post reports that Portis could miss the rest of the season, though the Redskins themselves are speculating that he'll be out for more like a month. Either way, it seems hard to believe Portis will be a ton of help in your fantasy playoffs this year.
Frank Gore, SF – Gore had a huge first half (18 carries for 148 yards), but only managed four carries for 11 yards in the second half before leaving with a concussion after he caught a short pass and was tackled by the Lions' Stanley Wilson. Gore didn't return, but it's unknown whether he'll miss additional time.
Tiki Barber, NYG – Barber sprained his right thumb during another great game on his retirement tour (Al and John should be proud for only mentioning it a dozen times Sunday night), and missed a large portion of the fourth quarter, as the game spiraled out of the Giants' control. It remains to be seen if he'll miss additional time.
Ronnie Brown, Mia – Brown told the Miami Herald that he was playing at "70 percent" because of a groin injury he suffered two weeks ago in Chicago. "It kind of tightened up on me," Brown said, though he did stay in the game.
Maurice Morris, Sea – Morris put up his second consecutive 100-yard rushing day against a pretty poor Rams defense, but missed the game's final few plays with an injured shoulder. There's little question that the Seahawks would be well-served if tests on Shaun Alexander's injured ankle came back "healed" early this week.
Musa Smith, Bal – Smith was carted off the field in Tennessee after Keith Bulluck landed on Smith's neck. It looked ugly, and Smith will continue to undergo tests on Monday, but X-rays were reportedly negative.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Cin – Housh was absolutely blown up by Chargers safety Marlon McCree, who can expect to be hearing from Roger Goodell any day now. McGree hit Housh well before the ball arrived, and did it helmet-to-helmet. Housh was down for a while, but left the field under his own power, dutifully concussed. He spoke with reporters after the game, so the assumption is he'll be all right.
Larry Fitzgerald, Ari – Fitz played very well against the Cowboys, looking explosive and dangerous on all but a deep fly on which Matt Leinart overthrew him (and which the old Fitz probably would've caught). For the day, he registered six catches for a team-high 80 yards. However, on his final catch of the day, Fitz leapt and made an outstanding grab, but came down gimpy, left the field, and didn't return. Speculation is that he re-injured the hamstring that kept him out for more than a month, though the Cardinals say they're hopeful Fitz won't miss additional time.
Arnaz Battle, SF – Battle didn't come out of the Niners' win over the Lions, but according to the San Francisco Chronicle, post-game X-rays revealed that he fractured his left hand. Considering he played this week, it seems possible Battle could continue to play with the injury. The Niners will know more later in the week.
Eric Parker, SD – Parker left the game in Cincinnati in the second quarter because of an injured neck, and didn't return. He'll undergo tests Monday.
David Givens, Ten – Givens' horror-show of a season continued against the Ravens on Sunday; he injured his left knee and had to be carted off the field. According to the Nashville Tennessean, Jeff Fisher said the injury "doesn't look good."
Shaun Bodiford, GB – The Green Bay Press-Gazette reports that Bodiford injured his right shin in a collision with the Vikings' Antoine Winfield while returning the game's opening kickoff, and didn't return. He was seen on the sidelines on crutches. Noah Herron handled kickoff return duties thereafter.
Tony Gonzalez, KC – Gonzalez left the Miami game while Kansas City mustered a last, desperate, futile drive, and didn't return. He has what the Kansas City Star is calling a "shoulder sprain," but the early speculation is that Gonzo could miss two or three weeks.
Ryan Neufeld, Buf – The reserve tight end suffered plantar fasciitis against the Colts and didn't return.
Orlando Pace, StL – Pace tore his left triceps muscle in Seattle Sunday afternoon, and is lost for the season. He isn't the same guy he was five years ago, but Pace is still a great offensive lineman, and his loss is bad news for Steven Jackson and Marc Bulger.
Chris Villarrial, Buf – Oft-injured Villarrial, who is nonetheless perhaps the Bills' most important offensive linemen, injured an ankle tendon in the third quarter of Buffalo's close loss in Indy, and didn't return. The Buffalo News reports that Villarrial hurt the same tendon that caused him to miss two games earlier this year.
Mark Tauscher, GB – Tauscher hurt his right leg midway through the third quarter in Minnesota, limped off the field, and didn't return.
Luke Petitgout, NYG – Petitgout fractured his calf bone (don't you love it how everyone calls it a "fibula," and you just know they're not quite sure which leg bone that is?) in the Giants' dispiriting loss to Chicago. Petitgout told reporters that doctors told him the fracture "isn't weight-bearing," and it's unknown how much time he'll miss.
Zach Wiegert, Hou – Wiegert tore his ACL, and is out for the year. He was already replacing Charles Spencer, so the Texans are seriously hurting on the offensive line.
Jeno James, Mia – James re-aggravated an injury to his right knee, on which he underwent arthroscopic surgery less than two weeks ago. James told the Miami Herald his knee started to lock up, and he would have an MRI today to find out if he'll need to miss any time.
Billy Yates, NE – Yates started his third consecutive game in place of Stephen Neal at guard for the Patriots, but according to the Boston Globe, Yates suffered a "leg injury," and was taken to the locker room, from whence he didn't return.
Patrick Kerney, Atl – Kerney suffered a pectoral injury in Atlanta's home loss against Cleveland, and didn't return. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution speculated that Kerney is "unlikely to make a quick return."
Greg Ellis, Dal – According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Ellis tore his Achilles' tendon against the Cardinals this week, and is out for the season.
Antwan Peek, Hou – Peek, nominally a starter a defensive end, suffered a sprained MCL in Houston's win in Jacksonville, and will be lost for at least a couple of weeks. Jason Babin, who already plays a lot, will replace Peek.
Travis Johnson, Hou – Starting defensive tackle Johnson injured his calf, and according to the Houston Chronicle, may miss the rest of the season. The Texans' interior defensive line is officially held together by spit and bailing wire.
Travis LaBoy, Ten – LaBoy suffered a concussion Sunday against the Ravens and didn't return.
Mike Smith, Bal – Smith replaced the injured Ray Lewis in Baltimore's starting lineup, but lasted exactly one series before suffering a dislocated shoulder. The Baltimore Sun reports Smith didn't return, and his status for Week 11 is questionable.
Leon Joe, Chi – Joe left Sunday night's game with a bad hamstring he injured playing special teams. He didn't return.
Jason Glenn, Min – The Vikings special-teamer left the field on a cart in the fourth quarter with a sprained knee.
Troy Polamalu, Pit – Polamalu left Sunday's game against New Orleans with a concussion and didn't return.
DeShea Townsend, Pit – Townsend also left the game with a concussion. Townsend has been forced back into a starting corner role again this year, and has been picked on by opposing quarterbacks.
Tyrone Carter, Pit – Believe it or not, a third member of the Steelers' secondary also suffered a concussion. In Carter's case, his knocked noggin came in the service of helping Pittsburgh hang on and win; he jarred Terrance Copper on a catch deep in Steelers territory, creating a fumble with less than a minute left that sealed the win. Carter spoke with reporters after the game, and seemed to be all right.
Deltha O'Neal, Cin – The mercurial O'Neal left Sunday's contest with San Diego on Malcolm Floyd's long touchdown reception, when Floyd's leg appeared to strike O'Neal's helmet.
Sam Madison, NYG – Madison, who's struggled quite a bit in his first year with the Giants, allowed a long touchdown on a play where he seemed to re-injure a balky hamstring. He didn't return.
David Barrett, NYJ – According to the New York Daily News, Barrett hurt his ankle in the second half and didn't return.
Corey Ivy, Bal – Ivy, a regular visitor to the Damage Report, returned from his kidney tear (ow) in time to suffer a concussion on Sunday against the Titans. He didn't return.
Travis Fisher, StL – Fisher left the Seattle game in the second half with an injured right forearm. He didn't return.
Lewis Sanders, Hou – Sanders suffered a broken hand on Sunday. The starting cornerback will almost certainly miss multiple games.
Kelvin Hayden, Ind – The Indianapolis Star reports that Tony Dungy says Hayden's bruised heel "doesn't appear too serious."
Christopher Harris is a Fantasy Sports Writers Association award-winning columnist and beagle-owner who has written about fantasy sports for SportsIllustrated.com, NBA.com, and TalentedMrRoto.com. Send Christopher a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated on Monday, Nov 13, 2006 12:35 pm, EST
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