On Monday, we discussed the possibility that Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles had re-injured his surgically repaired knee at Buffalo — he was tackled from behind late in the first half, then hopped off the field and rode the stationary bike. But the Chiefs are saying it's merely a bruise.
Details here, via the Kansas City Star:
"[Charles] fell on his knee, got bruised, came up limping, so we took him out rather than leave him in there and expose him a little bit more," [Romeo] Crennel said of not using Charles much in the second half.
Charles himself said, "It wasn't a big deal." He practiced on Wednesday, which is obviously good news. We've obviously avoided a worst-case scenario here. I've nudged Charles up a few spots in my Week 3 ranks, from the low-20s to No. 17. He's still likely to share the backfield workload, but he's facing a New Orleans defense that's been shamefully bad, giving up a league-worst 461.0 total yards per game.
• Antonio Gates (ribs) and Ryan Mathews (collarbone) both practiced on Wednesday, and the Union-Trib's Michael Gehlken reports the pair should be good to go for the upcoming match-up with Atlanta. Enjoy these two while they're healthy, gamers.
• Hakeem Nicks won't play on Thursday night, as most of you already know, but it doesn't sound like he suffered a setback against Tampa. So that's a good thing. He just couldn't get right in a short week. This will be a year-long issue, with the NFL's expanded Thursday schedule.
• Jonathan Stewart's status is also in serious doubt for the Giants-Panthers tilt, as he's added a toe injury to his list of complaints. Ron Rivera says it's not turf toe, though, which is good to hear. There's no reason to think Stewart is dealing with a long-term problem. Still, he's a risky play in Week 3. Be prepared to take evasive action, Stewart owners.
• I'm in the unenviable position of actually having to start Mikel LeShoure in a league this week, coming off his two-game suspension for weed-eating. He'll get touches in Week 3, but Kevin Smith remains in the mix for Detroit, still presumably starting. LeShoure needs to be owned in the fake game, though. Here's some propaganda, via the Lions head coach:
"We've been waiting to get him on the field for a long time," Lions coach Jim Schwartz said. "He's a multidimensional back, he's not just a power runner inside, which he can do. He can make guys miss, he's good in the pass game, he's a smart guy."
And these were a few thoughts from Detroit center Dominic Raiola:
"Potential's unreal," Raiola said. "The way he looks in practice, I think he's awesome. But show me (in the regular season). I want to see. I want to see for myself."
"I think he's been one of the bigger pieces we've been missing for a couple years now," Raiola said. "He's got top-end speed. I think he's a downhill runner, hit the hole, he can make somebody miss, so I think he's got it all. I think he just needs to get in the game."
LeShoure is still available in 53 percent of Yahoo! leagues. Add as needed. This is a respectable back tied to a great offense. Don't let the meh preseason scare you off. LeShoure deserves a look.
• "I am still taking it a day at a time," says Rashard Mendenhall of his recovery. But everyone seems to agree that he's looking better in practice, and thus approaching fantasy viability. In other Pittsburgh news, receiver Mike Wallace is dealing with a groin issue of unknown severity, so his owners will need to hawk the end-of-week practice reports. There's simply no way Oakland's secondary can deal with the Steelers' receiving corps, if Wallace, Brown and Sanders are all healthy.
• According to Eagles head coach Andy Reid, receiver Jeremy Maclin "had a good day" on Wednesday, despite not practicing. Maclin's hip issue certainly has the potential to sideline and/or limit him in Week 3 at Arizona, although the team says it's simply a pain tolerance issue, and he can't make the injury any worse by playing. (That claim always seems dubious in the NFL). Still, if I had to set a lineup today, Maclin wouldn't be in it.