Dr. Dan’s Week 5 NFL Injury Updates

Week 5 brought us our fair share of injuries. Running backs continue to drop like flies and it looks like we managed to lose some first round draft picks to bench for week 6 (Has anyone’s fantasy team survived?). Tom Brady obviously had enough of people doubting him in New England and looked like the Tom Brady of five years ago, the Eagles defense and offense seemed to be confused about whose job it is to score points, Peyton Manning was busy breaking records, and Russell Wilson had more rushing yards than Marshawn Lynch. Really?

The Darwin award this week goes to former Lions kicker Alex Henery. Henery missed three out of three field goals on Sunday. When your one job to do is kick the ball through a large post, you better be able to do that. At least some of the time. Henery could do it none of the time, and got the boot (you can decide whether that pun was intended).

Buffalo Bills v Detroit Lions

This is Henery’s “Oh Man I can’t believe I’m getting fired” reaction

Injury of the week

This week we’ll be covering the dreaded hamstring. This is what’s been bothering Eric Decker, Arian Foster, Jordan Reed, and numerous other NFL players. Its an injury that lingers, and one that requires the one thing that NFL players don’t have much of during the season to fix: time.

So what exactly is a hamstring? And who the hell decided to call it that? Turns out the answer to the first question is a bit simpler. The hamstring refers to a group of three muscles on the back side of your thigh. These three muscles are the biceps femoris, the semitendonosus, and the semimembranosus. These connect to your hip bone or femur (the biceps femoris is the only one that attaches to both, bi-ceps=two-heads) They then reach across your knee joint and attach to both of the bones in your leg, the tibia and fibula. By attaching on the backside of the bones, flexion of the muscles, which shortens them, brings the back of your leg towards your rear, as can be seen in the image to the right below.

Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 11.22.57 PM

As far as why they are called hamstrings, well, there’s a few theories. Either because the tendons of these muscles used to be used to hang pigs (or hams) up for slaughtering, because the term ham refers to the thigh muscles and tendons are sometimes called strings (making hamstrings the rear thigh muscles and their tendons, which is pretty accurate), or because in sword-fighting times soldiers used to target this area and leave their opponents hamstrung, or unable to move, once it was cut. You can decide which one you like best.

muscle-strain-grades-xl_crop_exactAnyway, a hamstring injury occurs when you strain or tear one or multiple of these three muscles. Injuries typically occur in sport s with sudden stops and starts. The injury is a result of muscle overload, either rit is stretched to far or challenged with a sudden load that it cannot withstand. Most NFl players have a grade I injury, which is a strain (see right)). A grade II injury is partial tear and takes longer to heal, and a grade III injury is a complete tear and can require surgery.

Treatment is similar to other muscle injuries: RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation), immobilization, and physical therapy. Notice, the R in RICE stand s for rest. So what happens when players like Arian Foster and Eric Decker keep playing through hamstring injuries? They never heal, which is why they linger with them, sometimes throughout entire seasons. Then they end up on my injury list, and I have to write more, and I already have enough injuries to cover!

Notable Injuries

Quarterbacks

  • Jake Locker – Tennessee Titans
  • Thumb injury: Locker took what he has called a “cheap shot” by Browns defenseman Chris Kirksey on what he had assumed was going to be a touchdown run. After undergoing the concussion protocol and returning to the game, Locker hurt his thumb on a different play and did not return. He was replaced by Charlie Whitehurst, who actually managed to throw a pass further than 10 yards. Word is that rookie Zach Mettenberger may get the start this upcoming week.
  • Drew Stanton – Arizona Cardinals
  • Concussion: Stanton suffered a concussion in the third quarter, and was replaced by Logan Thomas (ouch). It sounds like Carson Palmer may return in week 6, or at least week 7, so the Cardinals won’t be relying on Thomas for long.
  • Geno Smith – New York Jets
  • Pride: you sucked so bad you got replaced by Michael Vick. Ouch.
  • Mike Vick – New York Jets
  • Also Pride: You sucked so bad you are getting replaced by the guy you replaced in week 6. Retire already.
    • Actually, Vick already had no pride, he killed puppies.

Wide Receivers

  • Calvin Johnson – Detroit Lions
  • Ankle: Turns out being a decoy still has its risks. Johnson’s ankle got worse on Sunday, and there is a strong chance that he is held out in week 6. While frustrating, it will be better to get him healthy now and have him at full strength for the rest of the season.

Running Backs

  • Rashad Jennings
  • MCL sprain: The severity of the sprain is unknown at this time, but will keep Jennings out at least a few weeks. His backup, Andre Williams, looked good Sunday. Hopefully he’ll be able to keep the Giants running game alive against the Eagles.
  • Montee Ball – Denver Broncos
  • Groin injury: After what was thought to be a surgery-requiring injury, it sounds like Ball is off the hook. It’s being reported that he could return in two weeks, but the 3rd week is a short one with a Thursday night game, so he will probably sit out for three. Other are reporting 4 weeks. Ronnie Hillman appears to be the back who will get the most touches in Ball’s absence.
  • Zac Stacy – St. Louis Rams
  • Stacy strained his calf but is expected back for week 6. Doesn’t seem like there is too much to worry about here.
  • Fred Jackson – Buffalo Bills
  • Ankle injury: Jackson left the game in the 4th quarter but was able to return. He should be good to go against the Pats in week 6.

Tight Ends

  • Jimmy Graham – New Orleans Saints
  • Shoulder sprain: This one hurts. Graham left early in the game on Sunday, but luckily has a bye week coming up, so he was going to be on your bench anyway. Luckily, there’s a lot of depth at TE this year, so finding a replacement until week 7 or 8 shouldn’t be too hard.
  • Vernon Davis – San Francisco 49ers
  • Back: Looks like Davis’ status is still up in the air for week 6, keep an eye out for news.

Dr. Dan

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