As Thursday winds to a close here in the NFC North, there are three huge and still-unanswered injury questions hovering among us. We'll hit them in alphabetical order:
Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs: He has played much of this season with a left ankle injury that appears to have worsened this week. Briggs sat out his second consecutive practice Thursday, and coach Lovie Smith said, via Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com: "Whenever you don't practice for two straight days, it's a little bit of a concern." Briggs has only missed three games in his eight-year career, but a decision on this one could come down to the wire. Brian Iwuh would start for Briggs if necessary Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks.
Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson: He was a limited participant in practice for a second consecutive day because of a shoulder injury. Chris McCosky of the Detroit News reports Johnson didn't lift his right arm above his shoulder during the portion of practice open to reporters, suggesting Johnson will have to make significant progress over the next two days to play Sunday against the New York Giants.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers: He returned to practice Thursday and has been cleared from a medical standpoint to play Sunday against the Miami Dolphins. Rodgers said he is "very optimistic" that he will start, according to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
We'll hit all three of these injuries with more authority Friday, when NFL teams are required to classify each player's status for the weekend's games.