Reggie Bush Injury: Dolphins RB Is Risky Fantasy Option Despite Progress

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistSeptember 28, 2012

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - SEPTEMBER 23: Reggie Bush #22 of the Miami Dolphins runs with the ball against Darrelle Revis #24 of the New York Jets on September 23, 2012 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. The Jets defeated the Dolphins 23-20 in overtime. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Reggie Bush was able to avoid any significant damage after being forced to leave last week's game, giving the Miami Dolphins running back a chance to play in Week 4. However, even if he does suit up on Sunday, he's a risky fantasy play.

Ben Volin of the Palm Beach Post reports Bush returned to practice on Thursday and believes he will be ready to roll when the Dolphins take on the Arizona Cardinals. He missed practice on Wednesday, so progress has clearly been made pretty quickly.

That said, fantasy owners are going to have a tough decision to make regardless of how much Bush is able to contribute during the week's remaining practices. The difference between the practice field and game day is enormous.

Normally, Bush would be an automatic starter. He's become one of the most valuable fantasy running backs over the past year and currently ranks fourth in average scoring at the position, proving his improvement last season wasn't a fluke.

There are a lot of risks involved this week, though—starting with his injury. The Dolphins aren't going to take any unnecessary risks with their star and potentially put him in danger of missing an extended period of time due to further injury.

Should he have a setback during pregame warmups or feel even the slightest tweak during the game, the coaching staff probably won't hesitate to sit him down. It's the type of situation fantasy owners dread with one of their stars.

The other issue is Miami's opponent. The Cardinals defense has been terrific during the first three weeks and have yet to allow a rushing touchdown, one of just four teams left in that category.

So even if Bush gets the green light to play and receives his full compliment of touches, it's not a guarantee that he'll have a good game. Arizona held LeSean McCoy, a similarly dynamic back, to just 78 total yards last week.

If he were going up against a weak run defense on Sunday, thus giving him a chance to replicate his 31-point performance from Week 2, he would be worth starting despite the risks. Unfortunately, that's not the case.

The Dolphins are going to be cautious with their most dependable playmaker, and fantasy owners should do the same. Bush's status should be a lot more clear next week when Miami plays a Cincinnati Bengals team that has struggled to contain the run.

At that point, it will likely be safe to return Bush to all lineups. It's best to look for a different option in Week 4, though.