Injury Expert: Jamaal Charles, Dickson, Allen, Bell, Harris

Injury Expert: Jamaal Charles, Dickson, Allen, Bell, Harris

By Russell Manalastas (Injury Expert), last updated Aug 16, 2013

Russ Manalastas's picture

Russ is a Board Certified Sports Physical Therapist and Clinical Director at Lattimore Physical Therapy in Rochester, NY. He has a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University at Buffalo as well as his Bachelors Degree in Exercise Science. His board certification credentials in sports is what is required for PT's that work at the NFL level. Russ provides a unique perspective on NFL injuries as they relate to fantasy football.

Follow Russell on Twitter: @russmanalastas.

As Week 1 of the NFL Preseason comes and goes, the injuries continue to pile up which has many fantasy owners nervous heading into draft day. There are a lot of question marks with some prominent names involved that can change the landscape of a draft. Here are updates on some key fantasy injuries to keep an eye on as draft day approaches. The themes of this week's column are uncertainty and vagueness, a bad combination when attempting to assess injury risk.

Jamaal Charles 

Strained foot - There are many ligaments and small muscles of the foot that are susceptible to be strained (muscle) or sprained (ligament) depending on activity. Sprains/strains occur in the foot usually with the body moving one way and the foot still planted and fixed in the ground, which is what happens on the regular in the NFL. 

Reports were that Charles had to be helped back to the locker room after hurting his foot in practice yesterday. Since then Charles has seen two doctors and they say it's just a minor strain. 

Bottom Line -  Confirmation from two orthopedic surgeons as just a minor strain to his foot allows everyone to exhale for a little while. He'll be held out of practice for the next few days to see how he responds to treatment and I wouldn't be surprised if the Chiefs are very slow to return him back to any high level activity. They need to control his pain first and foremost to make sure he's painfree before retuning to any football activity. He might've escaped the worst but he's not in the clear just yet. I don't think should affect his draft position, but any setbacks before the regular season could change that notion. 

(Note: The image above is from the 2011 season)


Ed Dickson

Hamstring Strain - The hamstring is the main muscle in the back of the thigh which is responsible for bending the knee and extending the hip. When it relates to sports, it's a very important muscle to help accelerate/decelerate the lower body to allow proper running and cutting.

Just when Dickson has an opportunity to step in and be the primary tight end, he gets hurt. Reports are that he has only a grade 1 strain which means he just has some mild discomfort, mainly with activity, but the risk of it getting worse is high if he attempts to rush back. 2-3 weeks is the timetable for a grade 1 strain, but hamstrings are never really straight forward.

Bottom Line: Whenever your team signs a slot receiver (Brandon Stokley) and a tight end (Dallas Clark) you know you're in trouble. Dickson has the talent to be a very good tight end but the problem is consistency. With Dallas Clark and Vicanthe Shiancoe in the fold, if Dickson can't get healthy he could be looking at reduced playing time. There's also the possibility he tries to rush back so he doesn't lose his job and could suffer a setback. Keep an eye on his situation and also the TE battle that Baltimore now has on its hands.


Dwayne Allen

Foot Injury (see Charles for injury description) 
Allen was seen on crutches and in a boot this past week after suffering a foot injury. Both the team and Allen say he will be ready for Week 1 of the regular season. The vagueness of the report makes it difficult to report timetables as foot injuries can range anywhere from 1-2 weeks or 4-6 weeks depending on what Allen is dealing with which hasn't been revealed.
Bottom Line - Reports are saying Allen will be ready for Week 1, but I'm hesitant to assume Allen will be ready by then due to the fact that he's in a boot and on crutches. It could just be to prevent further irritation, but I think the Colts could be downplaying the severity. Allen just went to get a second opinion on his foot, so although the Colts are saying all positive things, there is definitely some level of concern. Coby Fleener has more upside and chemistry with Andrew Luck, so Allen has some limitations on draft day but can contribute when he finally does get healthy. Keep an eye on his progress through pre-season. I would say he needs to be out of the boot and participating in some running drills before the start of regular season to considered using a late round flyer on him.


Le'Veon Bell

Sprained Knee - A sprain refers to the ligaments in the knee being overstretched which causes pain. There were no specific reports as to what ligament Bell sprained.

Bell returned to practice yesterday and looks to be OK after being held out of the first pre-season game this past week.

Bottom Line - A lot is being made about the Steelers looking for Bell to be a three-down back. He has a lot of upside as a rookie with a team looking to re-establish their run game and take pressure off of injury-prone Big Ben. Look to see if Bell plays in the next pre-season game without any restrictions to give you confidence in drafting him without reservation.


DuJuan Harris

Sprained Knee - There were no specifics released with regards to Harris' knee injury

Harris was just activated off the PUP and is participating in practice after being out the last 2 weeks.

Bottom Line - Eddie Lacy was the clear favorite to run away with the starting job, but Coach McCarthy came out and said Harris would be their starting RB when he was activated off the PUP. It's not exactly what fantasy owners want to hear, but Lacy would still be the back to pick up in drafts. Keep an eye on if Harris is wearing a knee brace as that may show whether or not he's fully recovered, or if it may be an issue moving forward. Harris is also recovering from a procedure to remove a cyst on his lung, so his conditioning could still be lagging. 

Filed Under: Preseason, 2013

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