Fantasy spin: Westbrook to have ankle surgery

Eagles runningback Brian Westbrook will undergo ankle surgery this week to remove bone spurs that resulted from an injury last season. (Chris McGrath / Getty Images)

Brian Westbrook will undergo ankle surgery this week to remove bone spurs that resulted from an injury last season. (Chris McGrath / Getty Images)

Brian Westbrook’s name has been synonymous with injuries for much of his NFL career.

Whether it’s been knee problems, broken ribs or abdominal strains, the veteran out of Villanova has had more than his share of ailments. His latest injury, a problematic ankle, will require a surgical procedure this week.

That news has fantasy football owners more than a little worried.

The operation is being terms “a debridement” of the ankle, which will remove bone spurs that might have popped up as a result of the high ankle sprain that Westbrook endured last season. He won’t be able to run for several weeks, and there’s a chance he won’t see much (if any) work in training camp.

Westbrook, who is already coming off arthroscopic knee surgery and turns 30 in September, was already considered a risk-reward option for owners. This latest procedure will only accentuate that status.

With the veteran on the sidelines, rookie LeSean McCoy and Lorenzo Booker will share time with the first-team offense in workouts. McCoy will be allowed every chance to prove he can help replace Westbrook, but his struggles with picking up the blitz could limit his time on the field.

Still, the former Pitt Panther remains the favorite to back up Westbrook and is worth a middle-round pick as insurance for owners who draft Westbrook.

The question, then, is when (or if) taking Westbrook is a recommended course of action.

On the positive side Westbrook is always in great shape and doesn’t need much practice time to perform on the field. He’s proved that more than once during his career with the Eagles. Still, he’s no longer a lock to come off the board in the first round of drafts despite his past statistical success.

Instead, there will be a point (likely in the second round) that passing on the risk-reward Westbrook will just be too difficult.

If you do decide to roll the dice, just make sure you target McCoy as well.

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