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NFL Week 5 Injury Report: Ben Roethlisberger, Vincent Jackson Expected To Play

As Week 5 of the NFL season approaches, SBNation Medical Expert Dr. Ali Mohamadi discusses some of the most significant injuries impacting this weekend’s games and how they might affect your fantasy rosters:


Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (foot -- probable)
PIT (2-2) vs. TEN (3-1), 1pm

Roethlisberger suffered a sprained left foot injury in the fourth quarter of the Steelers' Week 4 loss to Houston and left the stadium in a walking boot and using crutches. Roethlisberger has been fitted for a special shoe that includes a protective metal insert to guard against re-injury, and after having practiced the past two days, he has been listed as probable for Sunday's game against Tennessee. It bears noting that last season Roethlisberger played from December through the Super Bowl with an injured right foot, so he is no stranger to the situation, although his mobility may be limited.

Running Backs

Brandon Jacobs, New York Giants (knee - doubtful)
NYG (3-1) vs. SEA (1-3), 1pm

Jacobs has not practiced this week and is listed as doubtful for Sunday's game against Seattle with a sprained medial collateral ligament (MCL). The MCL spans the distance from the end of the femur (thigh bone) to the top of the tibia (shin bone) and is on the inside of the knee joint. Its function is to resist forces applied from the outer surface of the knee, thereby preventing the medial (inner) portion of the joint from widening under stress. Because team has described it as a "mild sprain," Jacobs likely has a Grade 1 injury, in which less than 10% of the ligament fibers are torn. Patients usually complain of pain with pressure on the MCL, and may be able to return to action within 1-2 weeks of play. RB Danny Ware will back up Ahmad Bradshaw in Jacobs's absence.

Rashard Mendenhall, Pittsburgh Steelers (hamstring -- questionable)
PIT (2-2) vs. TEN (3-1), 1pm

Mendenhall pulled his right hamstring in the third quarter of last Sunday's loss to Houston and was replaced in the lineup by RBs Isaac Redman and Mewelde Moore. Mendenhall was limited in practice this week until Friday, when he fully participated and split starting reps with Redman. Muscle strains can take anywhere from days to weeks for a full recovery and are prone to aggravation if not rehabbed appropriately. Although Friday's improvement bodes well for Mendenhall's being able to take the field Sunday, if he suits up he would likely split carries with Redman, especially since Moore has been ruled out with an ankle injury.

Wide Receivers

Andre Johnson, Houston Texans (hamstring - OUT)
HOU (3-1) vs. OAK (2-2), 1pm

Johnson injured his right hamstring in the second quarter of the Texans' 17-10 win over Pittsburgh last week and on Tuesday had a surgical procedure to remove scar tissue behind the knee that had built up from a previous injury. The Texans' All-Pro receiver suffered the injury after a 13-yard reception, pulling up before the play had ended and clutching the back of his right thigh as he lay on the ground writhing in pain. On Friday, Johnson told the media that he expect to miss two weeks and that he hasn't felt pain in the leg since the surgery. However, Johnson will not be able to fully test the hamstring until the stitches are removed in several days, and so while early indications are far less dire than the original projections, his prognosis for a return to action will be much clearer at this time next week. WRs Jacoby Jones and Kevin Walter will see an increased workload in Johnson's absence.

Vincent Jackson, San Diego Chargers (hamstring - probable)
SD (3-1) @ DEN (1-3), 4:15pm

Jackson, who had previously been suffering from an abdominal muscle strain, suffered a hamstring injury in last week's 26-16 victory over Miami and was limited in practice until Friday, when he was a full participant. By all accounts, Jackson's hamstring injury is mild enough for the Chargers not to be worried about aggravation, and even though he is still listed on the team's injury report, Head Coach Norv Turner Friday indicated Jackson will take the field Sunday.

Mike Williams, Seattle Seahawks (concussion - OUT)
SEA (1-3) @ NYG (3-1), 1pm

Williams suffered a concussion while throwing a block on RB Marshawn Lynch's 11-yard touchdown run in the third quarter of Seattle's 30-28 loss to Atlanta last Sunday. He failed a concussion test performed by the team's medical staff Friday and has been ruled out of Sunday's game against the Giants. WR Ben Obomanu is likely to start in his place.

Tight Ends

Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers (foot - doubtful)
SD (3-1) @ DEN (1-3), 4:15pm

Gates has missed the Chargers last two games and once again hasn't practiced at all this week after aggravating the right foot injury that has plagued him since the 2010 season. Gates tore the plantar fascia of the foot early in the 2010 season but played through the injury into December. After seemingly having healed in the offseason, by report in Week 2 Gates tore some of the scar tissue that had developed at the site of the original injury, causing him significant pain. With the Chargers having a bye next week, all indications are Gates will miss Sunday's game and continue to rest in hopes of a return in Week 7 at the New York Jets.

Defensive Ends

Justin Tuck, New York Giants (groin, neck -- doubtful)
NYG (3-1) vs. SEA (1-2), 1pm

Tuck, who has been battling a neck injury since suffering a stinger in August, now has suffered a groin injury that kept him out of practice Friday after taking the field on Thursday. Now listed as doubtful for Sunday's game with Seattle, one of the Giants' greatest concerns will getting the timing of Tuck's return to action just right, as groin injuries can be easily aggravated if individuals are rushed back too soon.