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Will health questions cast a shadow on MJD's fantasy stock?

Will Maurice Jones-Drew's knee issues affect his fantasy draft value?

You don't have to scramble for a copy of your favorite medical reference guide to know that it's not a good sign when "knee issues" and "running back" are brought up in the same sentence. But it's not possible to talk about Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew these days without also bringing up -- yep -- knee issues.

Jones-Drew finally seemed to put aside questions about his size and durability when he ran for 1,391 yards, gained 1,765 yards from scrimmage, and scored 16 touchdowns in 2009. He was one of the top handful of picks in most 2010 fantasy drafts.

But then came whispers about his knee in training camp. He carried only six times for minus-2 yards in the Jaguars' first two preseason games and sat out the next two games. Internet reports indicated that he had his knee scoped.

In the end, reports of surgery turned out to be false, although the knee was indeed banged up. Turns out that Jones-Drew damaged cartilage in the knee. He played through the hurt -- and played through wrist, ankle and abdomen injuries, too. The knee held up long enough for him to rush for 1,324 yards in 14 games before the Jaguars shut him down for the final two games of the regular season.

That was just when owners needed Jones-Drew for the playoffs. That fact was not lost on the back, a fantasy player himself. He even apologized for letting down his owners at crunch time.

By all accounts, Jones-Drew's rehab from surgery has gone as well as can be expected. And the Jaguars have given no indication that Jones-Drew will be anything less than a true featured back again this year. Still, don't be surprised if the team decides to cut back on his workload a bit to keep the knee healthy. Rashad Jennings has proved he's a capable backup. The Jaguars can lean on him more than they have in the past.

Fantasy owners everywhere are rooting for Jones-Drew to return good as new this year. How can they not root for one of their own? Still, rooting for him and spending a first-round draft pick on him are two different things.

Bottom Line:Maurice Jones-Drew's knee issues are enough of a concern to drop him out of the first round in fantasy drafts this year.

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