Injuries to key players could decide fate of certain teams

Greg Adler, Staff Writer

Image courtesy of US Presswire

“Are you hurt or are you injured?” Anyone who has ever played a sport, any sport, has probably heard this at one time or another. It is simple, injured means medically unable to continue playing, while hurt means rub some dirt on it and get that butt back in the game. At this point in the NFL season coaches of every team in every division are frantically asking this question, with their hopes of hoisting the Lombardi trophy slowly getting closer and further away at the same time.

Heading into week eight, it’s that time to take a look at where players and coaches stand on injuries that could very well make or break a season. But before we take on this task let’s go through a breakdown of the terminology of an injury report. The levels are quite simple: “Out” means there is a 0% chance that the player will return, “doubtful” indicates a 25% chance of the player returning to the field, “questionable” means the odds are fifty/fifty for the player’s return, and “probable” shows a 75% chance a favorite or key player will be suiting up to bring their special set of skills to the turf.

The Green Bay Packers have suffered the loss of defensive tackle B.J. Raji to an ankle injury while on the other side of the line wide receiver Greg Jennings is out with a groin injury and is scheduled to have surgery. Nothing has been more of an agent of change to the “GO PACK GO” chant to “STOP PACK STOP” than the injury to safety Charles Woodson in the week seven match-up against the St. Louis Rams. Woodson suffered a broken collarbone which will keep him out for six weeks and has definitely hindered the Packers defensively. The defining downside of losing Woodson was that he’s consistently known as a player that can rally the Pack to victory.

Players that play are one thing, but players that clearly motivate their teammates to perform better and dig deeper are another. A perfect example of this type of player is the Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis. No. 52 has been with the team since their super bowl win a few years back and is clearly a driving force on and off the field. Add to that big loss cornerback Darius Webb tearing his ACL and the fate of the Ravens no longer lies with their infamous defense, but in the hands of quarterback Joe Flacco, who has been inconsistent at best. With a current record of 5-2 and one of the toughest divisions in the NFL, it is unclear what the final weeks of the season will hold for the Ravens.

With the Monsters of the Midway currently having the best defense in the NFL, it is critical that the Chicago Bears stay fit and ready to tackle any opposition in order to maintain their impressive 5-1 record. That being said, it is important that wide receiver and special team dynamo Devin Hester gets back into the swing of things as soon as possible since suffering a strained quad. Quarterback Jay Cutler is also under scrutiny after suffering a debilitating hit to his ribs in the week seven match-up against the Detroit Lions. As if the Bears slowing down weren’t bad enough, it seems that Coach Lovie Smith has made a decision to pull Linebacker Brian Urlacher from practice. With one their defensive leaders out of the mix it is uncertain if the Bears can growl their way to a solid season.

The question is simple, “Are you injured or are you hurt?” No matter what team you root for, it can be guaranteed that fans across the country are hoping for the lesser of two evils, and have the response simply be “hurt.”