Thursday, September 16, 2010
A look inside AFC North injuries
By James Walker
Here is a look at the key injuries in the AFC North:
Baltimore Ravens (1-0)
Opponent: at Bengals
Inside key injuries: Things are looking promising for cornerback Lardarius Webb, who is coming off major knee surgery but isn't listed on this week's injury report. It looks like there's a good chance he will make his 2010 debut Sunday against Cincinnati. A lot of Ravens are limited in practice, but key members such as linebacker Ray Lewis (foot), receiver Anquan Boldin (thigh), and tight end Todd Heap (shoulder) say they will play. Rookie defensive lineman Terrence Cody is trying to work his way back from knee surgery, but his status remains up in the air. Also, a new injury popped up as linebacker Jarret Johnson (back) missed practice Thursday.
Cincinnati Bengals (0-1)
Inside key injuries: The Bengals are pretty healthy going into their big game against Baltimore. The exception is defensive lineman Jonathan Fanene (hamstring), who missed his second straight practice and likely won't play Sunday against the Ravens. Linebacker Keith Rivers, who hurt his foot in Week 1, returned to practice on a limited bases Thursday. But I'm hearing Rivers expects to play barring any major setbacks. Running back Cedric Benson (shoulder), receiver Andre Caldwell (groin) and cornerback Brandon Ghee (head) are all fully participating in practice, as well as running back Brian Leonard (foot), who should return this week.
Cleveland Browns (0-1)
Opponent: Kansas City Chiefs (1-0)
Inside key injuries: The big injury here is starting quarterback Jake Delhomme, who missed his second straight practice with an ankle injury. I saw Delhomme hobbling into the locker room with a boot Wednesday. I’m not a doctor. But based on my own eyes, I expect backup quarterback Seneca Wallace to play unless Delhomme forces himself to suit up Sunday at less than 100 percent. After watching Delhomme play hurt the entire second half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, starting a hurt Delhomme is risky. Browns coach Eric Mangini said he will decide later in the week. Defensive tackle Shaun Rogers also missed his second practice with an old (ankle) and new (hip) injury. He only played limited snaps last week. Browns linebacker D'Qwell Jackson could try to return to practice on Friday, but the team wants to be careful with his pectoral injury.
Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0)
Opponent: at Tennessee Titans (1-0)
Inside key injuries: Starting left tackle Max Starks (ankle) will not play Sunday, which likely leaves backup Jonathan Scott protecting Dennis Dixon's blind side. But Starks' injury isn't as bad as originally projected, so there's a chance he could return within the next couple of weeks. Another injury to watch is Pittsburgh Pro Bowl nose tackle Casey Hampton. He didn't play in the second half against the Atlanta Falcons because of a hamstring injury. Hampton is questionable for Sunday. The Steelers could use him to help stuff Titans Pro Bowl running back Chris Johnson.