Damage Report: Bush Whacked

Damage Report: Bush Whacked
By Christopher Harris
October 30, 2006

Christopher Harris
Yahoo Sports
That stampeding sound you heard Sunday afternoon was all the leprechauns racing out of the Superdome at the same time. The New Orleans Saints' charmed season took a downturn Sunday, as Baltimore made the Crescent City's newest favorite son look decidedly mortal. Reggie Bush could do nothing right in the Saints/Ravens game, and then made about a million fantasy owners throw up in their mouths a little as he writhed on the Superdome turf.

It turns out the ankle Bush hurt in the fourth quarter on Sunday is almost certainly merely sprained, and after the game Bush was already talking to reporters about how he expected to be able to play next week in Tampa. Still, the "genius" of New Orleans's '06 draft coup was fixing to go the way of Bum Phillips and Bobby Hebert for a few minutes of heart failure. Bush has had flashes of brilliance this season (real-football brilliance, if not fantasy), but chose Week 8 to remind us that he is, indeed, corporeal. Anyway, let's take a look at Sunday's other key injuries:

Quarterbacks
Byron Leftwich, Jac – Leftwich didn't play against Philadelphia; in his stead, David Garrard led the Jags to a key road victory. Without question, Leftwich's ankle is sprained, and that's the nominal reason for his not playing. However, speculation has already begun that Garrard's exponentially better mobility gives the Jags a better chance to win. It remains to be seen if the starting job is still Leftwich's when he's healthy.

Damon Huard, KC – Huard was questionable after straining his groin in practice last Thursday, but was able to play, and played very effectively. Kansas City journalists are now speculating that Trent Green may have a difficult time winning his job back when he returns from his concussion in mid-November.

Ben Roethlisberger, Pit – Big Ben should've stayed in bed. After being concussed last week against the Falcons, Roethlisberger was questionable all week, but made the trip west and evidently convinced Bill Cowher he was good to go. He wasn't. Not that I'm saying Roethlisberger's dreadful performance Sunday can entirely be blamed on post-concussion stuff. But something's wrong with the guy.

Running Backs
Reggie Bush, NO – As I mentioned above, it was a scary moment in a bad game for the lightning-quick rookie; after accounting for two turnovers and about 20 yards' worth of total offense, Bush had his ankle rolled on by Baltimore LB Bart Scott late in Sunday's contest. It looked bad at first, and Bush needed help getting off the field, but according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, coach Sean Payton said X-rays were negative.

Tatum Bell, Den – The reemergence (or is that a re-reemergence?) of Mike Bell reportedly came because Tatum couldn't go at full speed. The Denver Post reports that Tatum told coaches at halftime that his turf toe had been aggravated, which explains why Mike got the bulk of carries in the second half. One wonders if Tatum is going to get his job back after Mike's fantastic performance.

Fred Taylor, Jac – Taylor was excellent until midway through the third quarter in Philadelphia, when he appeared to land on the ball. He also may have slightly strained his hamstring, as Maurice Jones-Drew took over most of the carries thereafter. After the game, Taylor claimed his injury was minor, and that he'd be fine for next week, but we've heard that before from Fragile Freddy. I'm just saying …

Vernand Morency, GB – Morency carried it 11 times for 101 yards before having to be carted off the field in the fourth quarter with what PackersNews.com reports was a "lower-back injury."

Brian Westbrook, Phi – It wouldn't be a summary of injuries if we didn't mention Westbrook. The fleet Villanova product sprained his ankle, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, but came back to the game after a series. He should be fine.

Brandon Jacobs, NYG – The New York Daily News says, and I quote, "RB Brandon Jacobs suffered an undisclosed injury in the fourth quarter." How's that for cryptic?

LaMont Jordan, Oak – Jordan had been questionable with an injured back, and in fact, he didn't start on Sunday. He did play enough to log seven carries for 21 yards, but appeared limited.

Verron Haynes, Pit – Haynes suffered a knee injury in the Steelers' loss in Oakland, and coach Bill Cowher told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Haynes was out for the season. Expect Najeh Davenport to move up into Haynes's third-down role, and Duce Staley to be active from here on out.

Tyson Thompson, Dal – Thompson, who enjoyed a brief moment in the sun last season when he entered the mix in the Cowboys' running back rotation, broke his ankle on a first quarter kickoff return in Carolina on Sunday. The injury actually occurred on a late hit out of bounds, for which the Panthers were flagged for unnecessary roughness.

Maurice Hicks, SF – Hicks, who fumbled away the Bears' kickoff when the score was just 3-0 on Sunday, suffered a concussion. He'll be questionable for the Niners' next game against Minnesota.

Derrick Wimbush, Jac – Wimbush sprained his ankle in the second quarter of Sunday's game in Philadelphia, but the Florida Times-Union reported, "the injury didn't appear serious." Easy for them to say.

Brandon Miree, GB – Miree suffered a hyperextended elbow on his fourth and final reception of the Arizona game, and didn't return.

Wide Receivers
Greg Jennings, GB – The standout rookie tried his injured ankle in pre-game warm-ups on Sunday, but determined he couldn't play.

Tight Ends
David Martin, GB – Martin caught a touchdown in his second consecutive game, but was also hit in the jaw by a helmet in the fourth quarter. According to PackersNews.com, he was scheduled for an X-ray after the game, though he told reporters he thought the damage was to the "inside of his mouth, and not the bone." Charming.

Offensive Linemen
Jeff Hartings, Pit – Bad news for Willie Parker owners, as Hartings, the Steelers' starting center, left the Oakland game in the first half with a knee injury. Bill Cowher told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the injury could cause Hartings to be out "for an extended period of time."

Joe Andruzzi, Cle – Andruzzi was bent over backwards on a rushing play in the second quarter of Cleveland's game against the Jets, and had to be carted off the field. Romeo Crennel told the Cleveland Plain-Dealer that Andruzzi "won't need surgery," but it remains to be seen how much time the guard will miss.

Ephraim Salaam, Hou – Fill-in starter at tackle Salaam left Sunday's game in Nashville with injuries to his ribs, ankle and knee, but returned each time. He should be okay.

Nick Hardwick, SD – The Chargers' starting center injured his knee, and according to the San Diego Times-Union will have tests Monday to determine the extent of the injury.

Defensive Linemen
Mike Patterson, Phi – This second-year man out of USC, who returned a turnover for a long and humorous touchdown earlier this year, broke his hand in the game against Jacksonville. Philadelphia has a Week 9 bye; it's possible Patterson plays thereafter.

Orpheus Roye, Cle – Roye left Sunday's game with a pulled hamstring and didn't return.

Trevor Pryce, Bal – Pryce left Sunday's game in the third quarter with a thigh contusion, but told the Baltimore Sun he didn't anticipate missing next week's game against Cincinnati.

Antwan Odom, Ten – The Nashville Tennesseean reports that Odom suffered a right knee injury and had to be carted from the field on Sunday. Jeff Fisher told the paper that he "didn't know the extent of the injury."

Gerard Warren, Den – Warren had planned on playing with his sprained big toe, but couldn't. He told the Denver Post he'd be back Sunday in Pittsburgh.

Darren Howard, Phi – The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Howard left the field in the fourth quarter, but that Andy Reid didn't comment on his status.

Ellis Wyms, TB – Wyms, who missed two days of practice last week with an ankle injury, left the Giants game in the fourth quarter.

Tank Johnson, Chi – The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Johnson left the Bears' win over San Francisco in the fourth quarter with a right shoulder injury, and didn't return.

Brent Hawkins, Jac – The rookie defensive end strained his groin, according to the Orlando Sentinel, and his status for next week against Tennessee is questionable.

Linebackers
Brandon Short, NYG – In a season where defensive depth is getting more and more precarious for the Giants, Short injured a quadriceps muscle in the second quarter on Sunday and didn't return. He did tell the New York Daily News that "the preliminary (evaluation) said it's not anything severe."

Willie McGinest, Cle – The overpriced veteran McGinest, who's registered 14 tackles and two sacks in six games, left Sunday's contest late with an ankle injury and didn't return.

Pisa Tinoisamoa, StL – Tinoisamoa, a Damage Report regular, couldn't play this week after breaking his left hand during practice. Considering the slate of injuries he's suffered this year, however, this guy may just be the toughest man in the NFL.

Arnold Harrison, Pit – Harrison is out for the season, according to Bill Cowher, due to a knee injury he suffered against Oakland this week.

Defensive Backs
Champ Bailey, Den – Bailey didn't leave the game, but told the Denver Post he was injured in the second half of the Broncos' game against Indianapolis. An opposing player reportedly stepped on Bailey's lower leg, but he stayed in the game and pretended he was okay. The Colts were so busy torching Darrent Williams, they hardly noticed.

Ken Lucas, Car – Lucas left the Sunday night game against Dallas in the first quarter with an injured groin and didn't return.

Andre Dyson, NYJ – Dyson, who's never quite lived up to advance billing and whom the Titans cut before this season, missed most of the second half of the Cleveland game on Sunday with an ankle injury.

Brian Dawkins, Phi – The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Dawkins left the field in the fourth quarter, but that Andy Reid didn't comment on his status.

Kevin Kaesviharn, Cin – Kaesviharn was able to leave Sunday's game against Atlanta under his own power after injuring his left knee, but didn't return after the third-quarter injury. He did tell the Cincinnati Enquirer that, "I just landed on it. I'll be fine. It's nothing too serious."

Clinton Hart, SD – According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Hart suffered a strained hip flexor. The Chargers will have more on the injury on Monday.

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, Oct 30, 2006 2:04 pm, EST

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