The big injury news of the week is Houston running back Arian Foster undergoing back surgery to repair and alleviate issues stemming from a disc in his lower back. It’s a good thing this finally happened. He missed OTAs with the issue and was having pain down into this legs during the little time he was on the field a training camp.
What is a ruptured disc anyways?
When a disc is ruptured, the jelly-like shock-absorbing “filling” for lack of a better term oozes out. When that does, it can put pressure onto the spinal cord itself and that could be the source of the pain for Foster.
Other symptoms include pain and weakness in the legs (not good for a running back), shooting pains when doing simple things like sneezing or using the toilet, and a low chance of loss of control in the bladder and/or bowel.
Maybe that explains why Houston has crapped the bed for the last two months and lost seven in a row—ruptured disc.
So that leaves (in order) Ben Tate, Dennis Johnson, Ray Graham and Deji Karim as the running backs on the Houston roster. Tate is the lead back despite cracked ribs. Tate was seen heading into the locker room a minute early before halftime last week against Arizona and spent most of the third quarter on an exercise bike.
Johnson didn’t look bad filling in for Tate but doesn’t get enough carries to be fantasy-relevant. Graham had issues with fumbling the ball at the University of Pittsburgh and those could come into play here at the next level. Karim was working as the kickoff returner and only has value in that regard. Johnson might be at best a handcuff for Tate and is worth knowing the name just in case something else happens in the Texans running game this season. Cierre Wood would have been the second back behind Tate but was thrown off the team about three weeks ago.
Who else is hurt around the rest of the league? Let’s take a look.
Michael Floyd of the Cardinals is day-to-day with an AC joint injury. Andre Roberts would be next in line should Floyd not play. Even with a tasty matchup against the Jaguars, neither would be more than a flex play.
Harry Douglas of the Falcons (knee) is questionable after missing yesterday’s practice. Hopefully the updates later today shed some light on the issue as Atlanta takes on lowly Tampa Bay. Running back Steven Jackson is likely to play and likely to be ineffective.
Stevie Johnson of the Bills (groin) is not expected to play this week according to head coach Doug Marrone. Johnson isn’t much more than a FLEX play so look for another option there.
Peyton Manning (ankle) and Julius Thomas (knee) both practiced in full and are good to go against Kansas City.
Calvin Johnson (knee) will play this week but Nate Burleson (broken arm) will not.
Mike Wallace of Miami (hamstring) will need to be monitored. He popped up on the injury report yesterday for the first time this week and is trending towards a game-time decision.
Minnesota wide receiver Greg Jennings popped up on the injury report yesterday with an Achilles injury. Look for more on him today when the VIkes release their report but I am thinking he is going to be closer to a game-time decision and be negative. An Achilles on Thursday doesn’t bode well for Sunday. Neither does visiting Seattle. Quarterback Christian Ponder (shoulder) thinks he’ll be good to go for this week but you’re not starting him.
Shane Vereen of the Patriots (hand) is close to making his return to the field but I won’t use him this week. The Patriots play Monday night and it’s a big risk if you put Vereen in…and he goes inactive. I’d be more apt to use him Week 12.
Oakland quarterback Terrelle Pryor missed a couple days’ worth of practice with a knee injury. He’s back in practice splitting reps with Matt McGloin but both are going to be tough to play this week against Houston.
Seattle WR Percy Harvin (hip) is upgraded to full practice. Look for him to make his debut this week against a pillowy Atlanta secondary. I would start Harvin this week based on the matchup but limit your expectations a bit since it is his first game in 10 months.
Vernon Davis (concussion) and Mario Manningham (knee) are both likely to play this week against the Saints.
Jake Locker of the Titans is done for the season with Lisfranc surgery. Ryan Fitzpatrick didn’t look half bad at the controls last night but has little fantasy value at this point of the season.