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Injury Report Week 7
By Garth Pearce
Special to gzl-football.com

This week was a pretty lack lustre affair when it comes to injuries, with only 1 being of significance for a team's long term plans, so we'll start there and then move onto the short term stuff of a week or 2:

The #2 DT in Indianapolis that was actively shopped last off-season is now forced out for the rest of the year with a broken wrist. Corey Liuget has some nice athleticism for a DT and that will be the biggest factor the Colts will miss. Ian Williams or Louis Leonard can give some more size and strength inside over Liuget, even if they do lack his polish at the position. I can't see this having a major impact on the team, they just might lose a bit of quick pass rush presence up the middle that will be swapped for a better push and shove game.

The injuries are mounting in Cleveland as veteran Bryant McKinnie sits out 2 weeks with a pinched nerve and they still sweat on the return of Boston Mallett. Cornell Harrell is likely to take this spot for the coming weeks, showing a bit more athleticism than McKinnie as he ages, but definitely a drop in blocking skill. With Mallett already feeling the repercussions of failed blocking this could prove a concern in the Browns' camp, although many teams utilise players with Harrell's skills as their starters, so overall with Jeff Otah on one side and Alex Mack in the middle he should be well supported in his job.

A QB injury is never nice and this one adds on to a growing list for the year. Ricky Stanzi is only looking at a week if he's lucky, but with other QB's struggling to get over similar issues to shoulders then KVW can only hope that his training organisation has the right tools to get him right quickly, otherwise rookie Tyler Wilson will be in charge for a longer period. Wilson is slightly more accurate than Stanzi but is a noticeable drop in field awareness and play making. He could surprise us but I can't see the Cowboys' extending their 5 game win streak against a high scoring 49ers outfit unless he gets significant help from Felix Jones again.

Another DT felt the injury bug this week with the winless Falcons deprived of their best DT in Peria Jerry for at least a week. When I say best it doesn't put him anywhere near Liuget's status, as Jerry provides great pass rushing athleticism for very little strength. Rookie Shevin Vickers will keep his starting role and #3 DT Juan Lee will provide more strength and better tackling ability for less athleticism (funny how this situation looks similar to the Colts, expect for the time off?) With the way things are in Atlanta I'm not sure you'll notice the difference here, unless Lee plugs up more holes than a DT is supposed to.

The best injuries are those that involve a bye week, and that's exactly what the Giants got with Dont'a Hightower. Barring any complications he'll be back in week 9 to face the Bears, fully recovered from his pectoral strain and try to stop the #1 scoring offense in the league.

Rashard Mendenhall must be one tough SOB as he'll only miss one week with broken ribs, which is a good thing for the Steelers as their depth at running back takes a dip into the small or ultra slow range without him. The Roethlisbergr/Mendenhall combo has been the hall mark of the AFC North's dominant team since the conception of the league, but Mendenhall's grunt work on the run has made Big Ben look good and not have to work overly hard to move the chains or score. With a trip to Philly on the cards this week there is little room for error in their ways as they'll need a win to stay ahead in the division and it's a lot to put onto the unskilled shoulders of Anthony Benson or Johnathan Dwyer. Unless Roethlisbergr can make impressive gains they'll feel this loss deeply.
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