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News » Injury analysis: Week 4

Injury analysis: Week 4

Injury analysis: Week 4
It was a frightening scene Sunday in New York as Cardinals wide receiver Anquan Boldin was carted out on a stretcher following a helmet-to-helmet collision with Jets defender Eric Smith.

Boldin lay motionless on the field as he was quickly attended to by the Jets athletic training staff. Despite Boldin's request to walk off the field, the medical staff followed head and spinal injury protocol and stabilized his cervical spine and carried him out on a stretcher. Early reports out of Arizona are positive as the sixth year wideout has full feeling in his extremities and told teammate Larry Fitzgerald he would be fine. Medical and neurological tests ruled out any serious complications, and Boldin returned to Arizona late Sunday night. Arizona head coach Ken Whisenhunt stated he was unsure if Boldin was concussed, but after reviewing the hit it is hard to believe Boldin didn't at least suffer a moderate concussion. Several scales exist that grade the severity of a head injury, and on all these scales a loss of consciousness like Boldin experienced is a Grade II concussion at minimum.

Boldin did need stitches to close a laceration in his lip, and there are reports he also sustained a fractured sinus membrane. While it appears Boldin has avoided any potentially serious injury he will undergo further testing. Boldin will likely miss this week's game, and his status should be closely monitored. Wide receiver Steve Breaston will move to the second receiver spot opposite Fitzgerald.

Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers departed the Packers loss early after spraining his shoulder. While Rodgers did return to the game against the Buccaneers and completed a touchdown, he did so with an intense amount of pain. Early indications suggested Rodgers had separated the shoulder, but medical testing showed the shoulder suffered no structural damage. The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint with the head of the humerus acting as the ball rotating in the socket of the scapula, or shoulder blade. The humerus (the ball) is free to move around an indefinite number of axes while the glenohumeral ligaments help constrain it within the glenoid cavity of the scapula (the socket). In Rodgers' case these ligaments have been stretched resulting in a shoulder sprain. As the QB attempts a pass the stress placed on these injured ligaments results in pain. Rodgers has stated he intends to play in the Week 5 matchup against Atlanta, but will test the shoulder throughout the week in practice. If he can't go rookie Matt Flynn will start in his place.

Cincinnati quarterback Carson Palmer was a late scratch from Sunday's game thanks to inflammation in his right elbow, but an MRI showed no structural damage. The ulnar collateral ligament is of primary concern and is the ligament repaired in "Tommy John surgery". Fortunately for Palmer owners, the Bengals quarterback insists surgery is not an option, and he will continue to rehab the elbow in hope of playing against the Cowboys in Week 5. Palmer is currently undergoing laser treatment to reduce the inflammation and accelerate the healing process. The laser most commonly used in physical therapy is a Helium-Neon laser, and it works in a process similar to basic acupuncture. With a tough matchup looming against a difficult Dallas defense, and his sub par play prior to the injury, Palmer isn't the safest start in Week 5 even if the elbow is healed enough for action.

Vikings quarterback Gus Frerotte had two stitches to repair a laceration in his hand. A blood vessel was cut when Frerotte hit his non-throwing hand on a helmet resulting in a laceration with a large amount of bleeding. Despite the cut, Frerotte shouldn't miss any time and remains ahead of the benched Tavarius Jackson on the Vikings depth chart.

Detroit quarterback Jon Kitna returned to practice on Monday, and it appears the bye week allowed his sprained knee to heal - not that you necessarily want the struggling Kitna starting for you anyway at this point.

Eagles running back Brian Westbrook is still recovering from an ankle strain that kept him out of Philadelphia's loss at Chicago. While Westbrook warmed up in an attempt to play on Sunday, pain in his ankle would not allow him to make the cuts necessary to run in his normal style. The muscles Westbrook has likely injured are responsible for moving the foot inward and outward in directions known as inversion and eversion. When the running back attempts to cut in a lateral motion these muscles are stretched and stressed resulting in pain. Another week of rehab and limited practice appears likely for Westbrook. Monitor his status throughout the week, and if you haven't already locked up Correll Buckhalter as insurance, do so now.

Unfortunately for Pittsburgh fans the news wasn't as encouraging for Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall. In his first career start the rookie back suffered a fractured shoulder when he collided with Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis. Mendenhall has already been placed on the IR and will miss the remainder of the season. With Willie Parker already ruled out for a second straight week as he recovers from a knee sprain, Mewedle Moore will assume the starting running back responsibilities. The Steelers will get the comfort of the bye week following their Week 5 match up against the Jaguars, giving Parker more time to heal and making a Week 7 return likely. In the meantime, former Steeler Najeh Davenport worked out for the team and will likely be signed to give the depleted backfield some much needed depth.

Article first appeared 10/1/08

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: October 2, 2008

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Mark Clayton Name: Mark Clayton
Position: WR
Age: 26
Experience: 4 years
College: Oklahoma
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