LT has torn tendon – how effective will he be?

According to ESPN.com, San Diego Chargers’ tailback LaDainian Tomlinson has a detached tendon that connects to his groin muscle to his public bone.

Tomlinson has been listed as a game-time decision against the Indianapolis Colts in Saturday night’s AFC wild-card playoff game with a groin strain, and sources say he is going to attempt to play because physical therapy has given him some relief.

His playing status is expected to be determined after he tests the injury during a pregame warmup.
Doctors discovered through scans that Tomlinson had an “avulsion” on one of three adductor muscles, meaning a tendon that connects the muscle to the pubic bone has detached, team sources said. The injury can affect Tomlinson’s ability to make sharp cuts and other movements.

It is unknown if Tomlinson eventually will require surgery to reattach the tendon.

First of all, ouch. Secondly, there’s no way the Chargers can rely on LT against the Colts. Darren Sproles should get the majority of the carries, while Philip Rivers and the passing game will be the main focus. Jerome Bettis said on “Football Night in America” that he had a similar injury during his playing days and wasn’t that effective. That’s just one player and one injury, but I highly doubt LT will be that effective come kickoff Thursday night.

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NFL Playoff Preview: Wild Card Weekend

What a bizarre season this has been. Two teams that many pundits figured would meet in the Super Bowl – the Cowboys and Patriots – didn’t even make the playoffs. While two teams expected to dwell the cellars of their respective divisions for another season – the Dolphins and Falcons – will be playing in round one of the postseason, which kicks off this weekend.

Below is a complete playoff preview for the four Wild Card games this weekend. In each game preview you’ll find a matchup breakdown, a player to keep an eye on, odds, and a predicted score. (What’s a game preview without a prediction?)

Rather amazingly, all four home teams are underdogs this weekend.

Matt RyanAtlanta Falcons (11-5) at Arizona Cardinals (9-7)
Saturday, January 3, 4:30 PM FOX
Opening Odds: Falcons –2
Over/Under: 51
Game Outlook:
Outside of having to face Kurt Warner and a Cardinals’ offense that averages over 290 passing yards a game, this is a great matchup for the Falcons. Arizona has had issues stopping the run over the past couple weeks and before Edgerrin James cracked 100 yards Sunday against the Seahawks, no Cardinal rusher hit the 100-yard mark in the previous seven games. Offensively, that means Atlanta can do what it does best – put the game in the hands of Michael Turner. “The Burner” is coming off a 208-yard rushing performance in Week 17 and hasn’t shown signs of wearing down despite this being the first season that he’s had to carry the full rushing load. Look for the Falcons to try to wear down Arizona’s front seven throughout the game and keep the Cards’ explosive offense on the sidelines. Once the Cardinal safeties start to creep up to stop Turner, Atlanta offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey can start taking shots down the field with rookie quarterback Matt Ryan. Defensively, the Falcons will have to keep their safeties back in coverage and rely on their front seven to stop the Cardinals’ run game because corners Chris Houston and Dominique Foxworth can’t contain Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald in one on one coverage. Although Boldin has missed the final two games with a shoulder injury, he’s expected to play, which is obviously huge for Warner and the passing game. But if they can’t run the ball they’ll be to one-dimensional and the Falcons will be able to sit back in coverage.
X-Factor: John Abraham, Falcons DE
Abraham has been an absolute beast this season and if the Falcons can build a decent lead with their running game, it will allow Abraham to pin his ears back and head straight for the quarterback. Atlanta has done a nice job rotating their defensive linemen all season to keep them fresh and if Abraham can get pressure on Warner, he’s bound to make mistakes and turn the ball over.
Prediction: Falcons 30, Cardinals 27.
Atlanta’s secondary is a concern (especially with safety Lawyer Milloy nursing a back injury), but the Vikings exposed the Cardinals two weeks ago and the Falcons will use the same blueprint.


Read the rest after the jump...

NFL Playoff Preview: Colts need to get healthy in a hurry

The Indianapolis Colts have a lot going for them these days. They’ve won nine straight, will play the San Diego Chargers Saturday in the opening round of the NFL playoffs, and their starting quarterback just won his third career MVP award.

About the only thing working against the Colts, is the amount of injuries they’ve amassed over the past couple weeks, especially on the defensive side of the ball.

The most notably injury is to strong safety Bob Sanders, whose knee continues to bother him. Tony Dungy says he expects Sanders to play Sunday, although it’s unclear at this point whether or not he’ll be slowed by the injury.

One player who won’t suit up is linebacker Gary Brackett, who missed the entire week of practice due to a fibula injury, and has missed the past four games. Defensive tackle Eric Foster, wideout Pierre Garcon, guards Jamey Richard and Mike Pollack, and defensive back Keiwan Ratliff are all listed as questionable.

Philip Rivers has been outstanding all season despite his top receiving weapon Antonio Gates missing time due to injury, as well as LaDainian Tomlinson having a rare down year. Point being, for as well as Manning has played over the second half of the season, the Chargers are more than equipped offensively to get into a shootout with the Colts.

Having a healthy Sanders in the defensive backfield is the key for Indy. He’s a game changer and he can erase mistakes in the blink of an eye. But if he can’t play, or is slowed by his knee injury, it’s no secret opponents have been able to run the ball effectively against the Colts’ defense. And if the Chargers can get LT and Darren Sproles rolling like they did against the Broncos in their division-clinching win in Week 17, there’s no reason to think that San Diego can’t pull away in the second half and force Manning and the Colts’ offense to be one-dimensional.

Before their 23-20 win over the Chargers on November 23 of this year, the Colts had lost their previous three games against San Diego, including a 28-24 playoff loss in Indianapolis last season. Every team struggles with certain opponents, and the Chargers could be the Colts’ thorn.

It’ll be interesting to see how the Colts’ injuries will affect their play on Saturday. One named not previously mentioned was Indy linebacker Freddy Keiaho, who is expected to play. If they can get a healthy Sanders in the mix, the Colts will be more than ready to take the Chargers best shot. But if Sanders and company can’t go, there’s a chance not even a three-time MVP will save them.

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