My sympathies are with my fellow San Francisco 49ers fans this morning as everyone tries to resolve conflicted feelings of joy over a big Monday night win and sadness from the loss of running back Frank Gore to injury. Gore suffered an apparent right hip fracture and looks to be done for the season. It's an unusual injury to be sure and the details are lacking (such as where exactly the break is), but any fracture is serious and typically requires more than a month to heal, which is about all that is left to the season. Gore, as most people know, is more than just a running back for the 49ers; he represents a significant portion of the offense. Matt Maiocco of Comcast Sports Net Bay Area provided a telling statistic last night: Gore has accounted for 37 percent of the 49ers' total offensive yardage. Think he'll be missed? More than a little, I'd say.
It's worth noting, however, that the fresh legs of Brian Westbrook handled the bulk of the running workload after Gore's injury, making him look like a far more critical acquisition now. Anthony Dixon still found his way into the end zone, but the 49ers saw that Westbrook can provide a spark. Westbrook is no stranger to injury himself, with a history of chronic knee and ankle problems, not to mention the concussion issues that cut his 2009 season short. But the time off -- from fewer games played last season to the paltry five carries he had heading into Monday night's game -- may be a huge benefit now. Westbrook showed that he can still make big plays; whether he can do it for 16 games remains in question. Luckily, the 49ers need Westbrook's productivity for only five more weeks unless, of course, they make the playoffs. After all, they are only one game out of first place in the, ahem, less competitive NFC West. Maybe Westbrook is in your fantasy future after all?
And on that note, here's who else we're talking about in the injury department as we count down to Week 13:
• What would the injury blog be without a section dedicated to the San Diego Chargers? They have dealt with a myriad of injuries on the offensive front, and there appears to be no end in sight. Most notably this week, wide receiver Vincent Jackson was limited to two plays in his 2010 debut before being forced out with a calf injury. And then the conspiracy theories began. Ultimately the questions are just how injured Jackson was and why no one saw it coming. According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Chargers confirm that Jackson's injury, a strain of his right calf, is legitimate. The chronology of Jackson's injury began in Friday practice when Jackson reportedly hurt his left calf but did not leave the field. The injury was decidedly not serious, with some suggesting it was more soreness from overdoing it in practice than a true injury. According to the Union-Tribune, Jackson then injured his right calf in pregame warm-ups but attempted to play, obviously unsuccessfully.
With regard to Jackson's status, Coach Norv Turner told the Union-Tribune, "I would think it would probably be hard for him to play this week. Then, after that, it would be on a week-to-week basis." Good thing Malcom Floyd and Legedu Naanee appear to have emerged relatively unscathed from Sunday's game. Both wide receivers are recovering from hamstring strains.
Perhaps the best news for the Chargers coming out of the Sunday night game was the return of tight end Antonio Gates to the playing field, and the fact that he felt pretty good afterward. According to Turner, Gates felt "better than anticipated," welcome news after his first big test since he tore the plantar fascia in his right foot. Gates did not appear to be moving particularly well early in the game but managed to contribute nonetheless. Considering he was still struggling in practice Thursday, his performance was impressive. While he's not 100 percent, he looks to be able to move forward.
Last but not least, Chargers running back Ryan Mathews has been out for two weeks since aggravating his high ankle sprain. While the Chargers indicate Mathews could be available this week, it remains to be seen whether he can return to practice, a likely precursor to game play.
• Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has an injured right ankle, which forced him to leave the Week 12 contest early. Interim head coach Leslie Frazier told reporters Monday that Peterson had an MRI which revealed "only" a sprain. Peterson's availability will largely depend on what he is able to do this week. Severe sprains can significantly hamper a running back's mobility, especially laterally, so while there has to be relief that nothing is broken, this injury can still present a challenge for Peterson.
• Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young has taken to the social media airwaves again, tweeting that his thumb surgery was a success. Since he's on injured reserve, we'll wait until next year to see how his thumb is faring. Of more immediate concern is who will run the Titans' offense in Week 13. Kerry Collins has been sidelined with a calf strain but appears to be approaching a return. Coach Jeff Fisher indicates that the team will have a better idea of Collins' status late in the week.
• The Pittsburgh Steelers saw their quarterback suffer an injury in Week 12 as well, as Ben Roethlisberger suffered what is being called a foot sprain. ESPN is reporting that Roethlisberger expects to play in Week 13 but likely will wear a protective boot to rest his foot during the week. Coach Mike Tomlin told reporters that they will "see where the week takes us." Roethlisberger has already shown he can perform with limited practice and he never was the most mobile quarterback. So far there is reason to be encouraged about his status.
• The usually quiet Indianapolis Colts have given us a clue about the status of one of their key players for Week 13. According to Phillip Wilson of the Indianapolis Star, general manager Bill Polian said that running back Joseph Addai will need more time before returning. Addai returned to limited practice (noncontact drills only) last week, but his recovery from a nerve injury affecting his left shoulder continues to be slow. Donald Brown likely will be the starter again this week.
• Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Mike Williams sat out Week 12 because of a foot injury. Williams, who was injured in Week 11, was originally believed to have a serious foot injury that might threaten his season. By late last week, however, the Seahawks were comfortable that the injury was not nearly as bad as feared, but Williams was still not able to be on the field. His status for this week remains uncertain. Coach Pete Carroll told the Tacoma News-Tribune that the medical staff examined Williams "and there wasn't a lot of improvement." The team would like to have him practice by the end of the week if he is to play Sunday.
• Wide receiver Greg Jennings suffered a foot strain in Week 12. The Green Bay Packers' website reports Jennings could miss some practice time this week, but he does not appear in danger of missing playing time. Foot injuries can be problematic for receivers when trying to push off and cut, so the test will come when Jennings tries those maneuvers. Fantasy owners should keep an eye on this one just in case it turns into something bigger.
• The Dallas Cowboys initially sounded as if they expected to be without running back Marion Barber for a couple of weeks because of a calf strain suffered on Thanksgiving. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram is reporting, however, that Barber's calf improved significantly over the weekend. While he still appears likely to miss this week's contest, the Cowboys are calling him day-to-day. Calf strains tend to linger a bit, though, and if Tashard Choice is available, fantasy owners may want to go and get him. He'll be the beneficiary if Barber is down.
We will continue to update these injuries and others as the week progresses. Check back for the latest injury updates affecting Week 13 on Thursday and Saturday!