Week Sixteen NFC Injury Analysis

<b><u>Cowboys</u></b> <br> <b>Injury:</b> Al Singleton (groin) <br> <b>Analysis:</b> He missed last week's game and was replaced admirably by reserve linebacker Scott Shanle. There's a pretty good possibility that Singleton doesn't return to play this season.

Singleton is arguably their best cover linebacker so his presence will certainly be missed but the team will get a good chance to evaluate Shanle the rest of the way.


Injury: Wide Receiver Terrell Owens (leg, ankle)

Analysis: Although initial X-Rays showed no breaks after being injured in the first half of Sunday's game against Dallas, further testing on Monday showed a fractured fibula and damage to his ankle.

While this week's surgery will put him on the shelf for several weeks, the team feels Owens has an outside chance of playing in the Super Bowl should the team make it that far. The bottom line is the team will move on and get the rest of their receivers to fill the huge void that Owens leaves.

The coaches will rotate reserve receivers Greg Lewis and Freddie Mitchell in to the lineup to replace Owens. The big problem here is neither of them is considered a physical type of receiver and that's one of the best traits Owens brings to the table. When being asked to have a bigger role, Mitchell and Lewis could be exposed since they will be playing against better competition. Getting off the line will be a big issue since teams have five yard to disrupt their routes and neither of them is strong.

The X-factor here reserve receiver Billy McMullen who has looked good in the past two training camps. The rarely used second-year pro has the physical ability and size to match up against bigger defensive backs but it's hard to gauge where he's at since he has mainly been a weekly inactive in his two seasons.


Injuries: Running Back T.J. Duckett (knee), Tight End Alge Crumpler (knee), Cornerback Jason Webster (groin)

Analysis: Duckett had surgery prior to last week's game and is considered questionable this early in the week to play against the Saints. With Duckett out last week against Carolina, veteran running back Warrick Dunn handled 28 carries which is the most he has seen in any game over the last four seasons.

Crumpler suffered a PCL sprain, which is an injury that will take several weeks to heal, but a player can perform with it in short order. However, while a player can come back to play in a short period of time, their level of play can certainly be questioned since the injured knee won't allow the player to perform normally. It's quite possible since the team has little to play for in the final two games that they rest him until they play in Week Two of the playoffs. That will give Crumpler over three weeks of rest.

Webster has missed the last three games due to a groin injury. Veteran cornerback Kevin Mathis has been filling and has done a decent job but as we saw last week against Carolina, the better passing teams will hurt their secondary without Webster in the lineup.


Injury: Wide Receiver Robert Ferguson (neck)

Analysis: The fourth-year pro suffered a sprained neck late in this past Sunday's game against Jacksonville after a vicious hit by safety Donovin Darius.

Ferguson temporarily lost feeling in his legs but has regained movement in all of his extremities and had to spend two nights in a near by hospital.

With Ferguson out, the team will move reserve receiver Antonio Chatman up in the rotation.

Once Ferguson is cleared to practice, the team will get a better idea when he'll be able to return to the playing field.


Injury: Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck (elbow)

Analysis: He suffered an elbow injury during Sunday's game at the Jets and was replaced by veteran quarterback Trent Dilfer. An MRI taken on Hasselbeck's throwing elbow showed to structural damage and the team will wait until later in the week to see if he'll be able to throw without any problems.

St. Louis

Injury: Quarterback Marc Bulger (shoulder)

Analysis: He missed the last two games after suffering a shoulder injury three weeks ago during their game against San Francisco.

The backup quarterbacks have struggled mightily in Bulger's absence. In fact, veteran signal caller Chris Chandler was pulled after first quarter in last week's game at Arizona after being quite ineffective.

The team was rather optimistic that Bulger would be able to play this Monday night against Philadelphia and as long as Bulger can practice, something he hasn't been able to since getting injured, he should be able to play.


Injury: Cornerback Antoine Winfield (ankle)

Analysis: The team's best defensive back has missed the last two games due to a high ankle sprain suffered in their game three weeks ago at Chicago.

Winfield has done limited work since then but has been running better and the team is optimistic that he will be able to have a role in this Friday's game against Green Bay.

Without Winfield in the lineup, veteran cornerback Terrence Shaw has stepped in and the team has given up 17 catches for 239 yards and three scores to the opponents best receiver in the past two games. Needless to say, they badly need Winfield back on the playing field.

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