WILL WE SEE BIG BEN BEFORE WEEK 10?

Before I get started on Ben Roethlisberger, I want to give a quick disclaimer. I have received some interesting feedback recently on my recommendations. Be sure to understand that I am not just giving you rhetoric to make me sound smart on these injuries; my goal is to give sharp and specific information that can literally help you win money. With this approach, I may be wrong here and there, as I do not give wide range explanations that allow me to be right no matter what the outcome is. In many cases I trap myself in a position in which I am either right or I am wrong. Sharp bettors and fantasy players can appreciate this as this type of approach has much more value than a long dissertation of facts and intelligent rhetoric that that never really gives a specific answer. For those who are not good managers of risk, for when these expert recommendations miss by a bit; you are not likely playing the fantasy game correctly. I tend to lean-to the DFS side of things, and I know that the information that I have provided has won money this season, because I am winning it. So in short, if you can’t handle not getting a “sure thing” explanation, you can stop reading now. For those who want to get real expert opinion that is capped with a specific answer that is much more likely to be right rather than wrong, I am your man.

Sorry for the rant; let’s get back to Big Ben Roethlisberger.

Roethlisberger has been diagnosed with a meniscus tear to his knee and is scheduled to have surgery on Monday. As I outlined with the Adrian Peterson case, a meniscus injury can be tricky as the outer part has good blood supply while the inner part does not. This plays a big role when it comes to healing, as areas that are rich in blood supply heal faster, while those with little or no blood supply heal slower.

Based on the reports that describe the procedure that Roethlisberger will undergo on Monday to be a “clean-up”, we can assume the injury to be the blood rich outer part of the meniscus which should be good news for Ben Roethlisberger and Pittsburgh Steelers fans.

This will be an arthroscopic surgery which is literally one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures and Roethlisberger should be able to transition quickly to Physical Therapy. Physical Therapy will initially focus on reducing the swelling and pain in his knee and once these issues are stabilized, Roehtlisberger should transition to therapeutic exercises focused on stabilizing his knee before finally returning to football activity.

On the short end, Roethlisberger could be ready by week eight, but being that this will be the Pittsburgh Steelers bye-week, the earliest we should expect is week nine return versus the Baltimore Ravens. I would expect Roethlisberger to return by then, but at the very latest we should see him in week ten.

As with any other injury, or anything in life, this is not a “sure thing”; however it is a “more likely than not” thing. Orthopedic surgeons do hundreds of thousands of these procedures per year, and Physical Therapist like myself rehabilitate hundreds of thousands of these conditions per year. The text-book answer will support a two to four-week return as I have mentioned, but in real life I know that some recover even quicker and some take longer. We will have to listen out for how surgery goes and look for signs of how Ben Roethlisberger is moving around during the bye week. Don’t be surprised to see Roethlisberger walking with an assistive device in the week leading up to the New England Patriots, but if you are still catching glimpses of a hobbled Ben Roethlisberger as week nine approaches, that would be a sign that something is not right. 

I will update as needed on Twitter @DrPettyIRD, but otherwise hold tight to Roethlisberger if he is your fantasy quarterback for season long, and DFS players should take advantage of the doubters in week nine or ten, as when he returns he should be at full strength.

Good Luck!

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.

Carson Wentz WILL BE READY FOR WEEK ONE!

The Teddy Bridgewater domino effect has finally produced some actionable fantasy football strategy. I know that knee jerkers everywhere will believe that Adrian Peterson’s value went up because he lost his quarterback, but I believe at best his value stays exactly the same. I downgraded Stefon Diggs a bit and decreased my investment in him with daily fantasy, but overall there really was no big shift that would affect anything I planned to do in week one.

That was until the news broke that if healthy, Carson Wentz would start for the Philadelphia Eagles in week one. I don’t expect many to target Wentz as a season long quarterback, but with the daily game being my fantasy setting of choice, this  news is big. I won’t go too deep into strategy, as injuries are more what I am here to talk about, but take a look at the Cleveland Browns defense and then at the salary for Wentz and you be the judge.

If you come to the same conclusion as me, the only thing stopping you from locking Wentz into a bunch of lineups is the hairline rib fracture that he suffered on August 13th. I am here to tell you that you have nothing to worry about on the injury front, as Injury Science virtually guarantees that Carson Wentz will be ready for week one.

Here are a few reasons that I am so sure:

  1. Wentz was injured on August 13th. A CT scan on August 29th suggested he was 60 percent healed. At this rate of healing, his rib would mathematically be 108 percent healed by opening day.
  2. Rib injuries are mostly about pain tolerance. Because the ribs are not weight-bearing bones, the risk for re-injury is less than other bones which must bear weight. The issue with rib injuries is that pain during movement may disrupt rhythm or the chance that a direct hit may cause intolerable pain. There is always a chance to suffer a more severe fracture if the player returns too soon, but in the case of Carson Wentz this will not be a concern after 4 weeks of healing time.
  3. If you pay attention to Carson Wentz’s personality, there is no way that he will choose to sit out in week one with the chance to take the starting job. I fully expect the medical team to clear him and the only remaining variable will be his willingness to play through any lingering pain symptoms.

I often talk about using the injury angle to your advantage and this will prove to be a perfect example. Those who play daily should build line-ups around Wentz, and those who don’t have a good quarterback or a good matchup in week one for season long should consider starting Wentz. I can almost guarantee that the obscurity of Carson Wentz combined with the questionable tag will make Wentz one of the lowest owned quarterbacks in week one.

I am not promising that Wentz will outscore the likes of Ben Roethlisberger and Cam Newton type players, but considering the low price he will cost across the board, and the defense he will face, I am sure he will prove to be a great investment.