It was like a massive expressway pile-up in Week 9. And not a pile-up involving Festivas, Sunfires and Caravans, either. The wreckage from Sunday's games involves nothing but luxury models – older luxury models in many cases, but still …
Let's get right to it.
Chad Johnson, head/neck
Ocho took a few big hits in Cincinnati's 33-21 loss to Buffalo. The final hit, late in the fourth quarter, was unquestionably the scariest. Johnson left the game on a stretcher, suffering from neck pain. The early reports are encouraging, and Marvin Lewis told reporters that Johnson had movement in his extremities. But if anyone has to use the word "extremities" to describe your injury, then you know something serious has happened.
If you've ever had any doubts about just how fundamentally violent the NFL is, consider safety Donte Whitner's post-game comments to the Cincinnati Enquirer: "Great players … you rarely get a great hit on them because they're going to see you out of the corner of their eye, and they're going to get down. So when you get a chance to hit a guy that talks so much, and everybody I had this week (said) 'Please hit Chad Johnson.' And that's how everybody feels, especially when you have a good player that talks so much."
No word yet on how this will impact Johnson's availability for that spectacular Degree promotion. Or for Week 10.
Larry Johnson, right ankle
The best possible scenario here would seem to be a multi-week ankle sprain. Most of A.J. Hawk's weight came down directly on LJ's right ankle, twisting it at something just beyond a 90 degree angle. Johnson clutched his foot immediately after the tackle and couldn't place any weight on it as he was helped from the field, hopping. Johnson was having a spectacular fantasy day, too, with two touchdowns and 95 combined yards.
Those of us who just traded for LJ in anticipation of his excellent second-half schedule – Denver twice, Oakland, Detroit, and the Jets – are obviously hoping he can return by December. That's how you need to think; the injury looked that bad. Priest Holmes will replace LJ. You can't expect the old pre-injury Holmes, of course, but he should still be a good start against Denver in Week 10.
You've seen Denver, right? They're allowing 4.9 yards per carry and an NFL-worst 161.5 rushing yards per game.
Shaun Alexander, left ankle and knee
Another loss, another game that Alexander couldn't finish. He was already playing with a broken left arm, and the rest of his left-side may have collapsed in the first half on Sunday. "His ankle and his knee got a little tweaked," Mike Holmgren told the AP. "As the game went along, it got a little colder and his knee stiffened up on him."
That's a thing we often say of old men. In cold weather, their parts hurt.
For the fourth straight game, Alexander finished with 2.5 yards per carry or less, and fewer than 50 rushing yards. Seattle still leads the NFC West at 4-4, and they'll play 2-6 San Francisco next Monday in a game that has playoff implications, absurdly enough. If Alexander finally sits, the unspectacular-yet-healthy Maurice Morris would benefit.
Ryan Grant, concussion
If you're this week's hottest waiver add, you'll almost certainly make it into the next week's Injury Rundown. That seems to be how things work. So look out, Justin Fargas and Priest Holmes.
Grant demonstrated little elusiveness on Sunday against Kansas City. He makes his cut, then runs hard. It's not a wholly ineffective approach, but you can't be surprised to see him take a few hits. After Green Bay's 33-22 win, Mike McCarthy said that Grant sustained "a possible concussion." Brandon Jackson replaced him late. No Packers running back is a great play in Week 10 against Minnesota; the Vikings allow only 70.4 rushing yards per game and an obscene 2.8 per carry.
Travis Henry, knee
At the end of his only respectable run on Sunday, Henry's knee plowed into the ground, and he was clearly shaken. After the game Henry reportedly said that he felt OK. It looked like a painful injury, though, and Selvin Young replaced him late in that brutal 44-7 loss at Detroit.
Gosh, if only there were some sort of herb that could be used medicinally to relieve pain …
Ahman Green, knee
To absolutely no one's surprise, Green left Sunday's game at Oakland with a recurrence of that vague, persistent knee thing. He was kind enough to give you a TD before exiting, though. Ron Dayne appears to be the most ownable of the Houston running backs right now, which is another way of saying, "Stay away from Houston running backs."
In deep leagues, of course, staying away from any specific team isn't really an option. After their Week 10 bye, the Texans will get New Orleans and user-friendly Cleveland.
Jerious Norwood, ankle
Like so many other weeks, Week 9 was supposed to be the week that, finally, Norwood emerged as the fantasy threat we all expect him to be someday.
It didn't happen on Sunday. Another day, another single-digit carry performance. But this time it had more to do with Norwood's health than with the play-calling. Norwood hurt the ankle in the first half, then aggravated the injury in the third quarter. Warrick Dunn, who's only 37.8 percent owned, took advantage of the unusually full workload and managed to get his first 100-yard rushing day of the 2007 season. Dunn scored only his second touchdown of the season, too. He finished with 27 carries for exactly 100 yards.
Jay Cutler, left leg contusion
Shaun Rogers mauled Cutler on a first-half sack, then other Lions piled on. Cutler seems to think his leg injury might be something more than a contusion, which was the initial report. "There might be a hairline (fracture) in there," the 24-year-old quarterback said after the game. Patrick Ramsey replaced him, and would obviously continue replacing him if Cutler misses significant time.
The Patrick Ramsey Experience was not pretty. Ramsey had both an interception and a fumble returned for touchdowns.