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Don’t forget to check me out over at FantasyPros.com every week for “Put him in the game OR Sit him on the bench” to get the latest take on the injured players of the week!

If I don’t cover the player you are interested in, contact me @DrPettyIRD before game time to get expert injury analysis that may save you from that poor performance or goose egg out of your fantasy player.

Good Luck!

DEZ BRYANT’S INJURY MAY BE MORE SERIOUS THAN YOU THINK

Have you ever had a rock hit your windshield and leave a little crack? Unfortunately I can answer yes to this many times over. If you have had this happen a few times, you can appreciate that what starts off as a little tiny crack that you can barely see can eventually turn into a crack that extends the entire length of your windshield.

Once you have been burnt once with that windshield replacement deductible, you learn to get that crack sealed as soon as possible. What I have learned is that the more you drive, the quicker the crack expands. Once the crack is sealed, it will stop spreading and you are in the clear.

When it comes to hairline fractures to weight-bearing bones, they can be very similar to the windshield with the small crack. The biggest difference with this analogy is that our bodies don’t need a windshield repair place, they just need time.

The information is not clear on which bone is fractured in Dez Bryant’s knee, but you can assume that it is one of the weight-bearing bones of the knee based on the mechanism of injury. The importance of a weight-bearing bone as compared to a non weight-bearing bone is that weight-bearing can be a gift or a curse.

Weight bearing can be a gift in that many weight-bearing exercises can improve bone density and strength; but a curse because excess weight or force can also be the cause for fractures or a reason why they don’t heal well. With many fractures, weight-bearing will be restricted. Some patients carry a non weight-bearing designation, some are allowed partial weight-bearing, some are allowed to only touch their toes to the ground, and some are WBAT “weight-bearing as tolerated”. This is an imperative designation that is given by orthopedic surgeons which guides the patients therapy and their daily function.

As this evaluation progresses with Dez Bryant, I am sure that a medical professional will advise him on the risk associated with playing on this injury. If he is cleared by the medical staff, you can be sure that there is little to no risk of this fracture progressing. 

Without the specifics of the Dez Bryant case, I can not give a definitive prognosis; but if Bryant was on my fantasy team I would be working hard on my plan B now. My guess is that this will be a waiting game for Bryant and the Dallas Cowboys that will strictly depend on ongoing scans of the fracture site and how Bryant feels. I would be very surprised if he played this week, and if I had to take a guess I would assume a two to three-week absence.

The worst option here would be to just put him back on the field and let him play through it, as this puts him at risk for furthering this injury or possibly creating another injury. If the Dallas Cowboys and Dez Bryant play this right, Bryant should return at full strength in a few weeks and have no lingering effects from this injury and no significant changes with his injury profile. If they play this wrong, we could be in for a season long issue that would prove to be awful for Dez Bryant and all who are invested in him.

As we get more details, I will update my thoughts on this…

The common training thread between The Two Best Wide Receivers of the past 10 years

(featured image from Stack.com)

The wide receiver position is in the spotlight with fantasy football now after taking down the running back position as the most important fantasy position, but what will they do with it.

With week one ending with at least three of the top 20 wide receivers being injured, will this position be able to hold its advantage over the running backs who were shunned due to poor reliability. While the wide receiver position holds a lower injury risk with contact injuries, it seems that the dynamic nature of the position may be neck and neck with running backs when it comes to non-contact injuries.

This made me look a little closer to find trends to these injuries. I initially went with my usual thought process which is valid but can be trumped. I typically believe that Freaky Talented players are at a higher risk for injuries as their bodies endure so much force from their above average size and/or speed. I thought I would find that the receivers were just getting so talented that injuries were increasing with that talent.

This hypothesis led me to the most recent, best wide receivers I could think of….

Calvin Johnson retired last year as the best wide receiver in the league. His production faded a little toward the end of his nine years, but I can win the argument that he was the best when he left.

NFL: Detroit Lions-Training Camp

The best argument to Johnson being the best when he left would have been the current best receiver in the league Antonio Brown. I am sure some of you will point to Julio Jones as an argument, but I will simply sit this link right here and in my most manly voice say “boy, bye!”

antonio

These two wide receivers are clearly the two best receivers of the last decade or so, but they are like night and day if you just glance at them. Calvin Johnson stands 6-foot and 5-inches tall and weighs in at 236 when he retired and Antonio Brown is a pedestrian 5-foot 10-inches and weighs in at 186 lbs.  Physically I could find no comparison to explain why both receivers who played nearly every play for their team were able to stay on the field and avoid injury.

At first glance I would have expected ligament and joint injury from Calvin Johnson, considering he moved that 236 lbs around faster than nearly every wide receiver in the league with a 4.35-40 yard dash time. Johnson was rumored to have bad knees but they couldn’t have been that bad as he only missed 9 games in 9 years and is scheduled to hit the “Dancing with the Stars” stage this season.

At first glance with Antonio Brown, I would have expected a DeSean Jackson type wide receiver who has missed 17 games in 8 seasons as his small frame appears to make him vulnerable to injury. Brown defies this logic as in six seasons, he has only missed three games due to injury.

In essence Calvin Johnson should have been getting beat up by his body and Antonio Brown should be getting beat up by other bodies.

This has not been the case, and it makes sense when you study each player closely. I have always been a proponent of functional training that incorporates balance and control. I value eccentric movements more than concentric movement, as eccentric usually protects from injury, while concentric many times causes injury. This is why I frown upon players who seem to only focus on becoming more explosive. Like many things in life, the best decision is to have balance be the goal.

The best way to avoid an injury is to be in control. Almost every non contact injury you can think of stems from losing control. If your body moves in a direction too far, something gets injured. If something moves too fast, something gets injured. Control is the key, and it seems that Johnson and Brown both understand this.

Both of these star wide receivers incorporate Pilates into their training, and I believe this is one of the primary reasons they enjoyed such healthy careers.

The three factors I like to look at first when I analyze a players injury profile is their weight, speed, and training regimen. Often times I get to the training part and see the same thing over and over. Players are focused on more speed, more strength and more explosion. I have nothing against these areas of focus when there is a need, but sometimes I feel like athletes are trying to put more water in a glass that is already full. This reminds me of the guy in the gym who only bench presses, despite the fact that his chest is huge, his max is 500 lbs, but his calves look like toothpicks. In this scenario, the explosive skill set that players are striving for represents the chest and the lack of control that some of these athletes have are the toothpick calves.

I hate to see a player coming back from injury show off these crazy fast twitch muscle fiber drills as a sign that they’re back. I usually want to jump through the screen and encourage them to meditate, do yoga, join a Pilates class, or focus on some eccentric contraction activity. 

I am glad to see that some of them get it, when it comes to how to train a body and skill set that has been blessed with talent. Sometimes talent just needs to be controlled.

If players like Julio Jones and Odell Beckham Jr. follow in the footsteps of Calvin Johnson and Antonio Brown with training regimens that are conducive to preservation and progression in a balanced way, we all win by getting to watch their greatness for longer.