Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Analyzing the injuries that matter most
By Pat Yasinskas
Posted by ESPN.com’s Pat Yasinskas
As we do each Wednesday, let’s look at the key injuries around the NFC South.
We’ll check in on New Orleans, Tampa Bay and Atlanta, but we’ll wait a day on Carolina. That’s because the Panthers aren’t playing until Monday night, so they’re a day behind everyone else and won’t issue an injury report until Thursday.
Saints. Coach Sean Payton already ruled offensive tackle Jammal Brown out and that’s no surprise. He’s missed the first two games and probably will miss some time beyond Sunday’s game. The more pertinent injury situations are running back Mike Bell, receiver Lance Moore and a trio of defensive linemen – Kendrick Clancy, Bobby McCray and Charles Grant. Bell has a sprained knee and didn’t practice. That probably means a healthy dose of Pierre Thomas against Buffalo. Moore has a hamstring injury and there still is optimism he might be ready, but receiver is New Orleans’ deepest position. Clancy and McCray didn’t practice and Grant was limited. We’ll see how those three injuries play out as the week goes on, but this situation has the potential to cut into the depth on the defensive line. Tackle Anthony Hargrove could get more time in the middle and the Saints will have Jeff Charleston ready if McCray and/or Grant can’t go.
Buccaneers. Center Jeff Faine isn’t going to play for a few more weeks and Sean Mahan will continue to start in his place. There are a couple of others to keep an eye on. Rookie defensive tackle Roy Miller sat out practice with an ankle injury and that’s a potential problem. Miller has been working in a rotation with starters Chris Hovan and Ryan Sims. Miller’s been one of the few defensive bright spots. If he can’t play Sunday, there’s not much depth behind him and Hovan and Sims need to stay fresh to be effective. Receiver Antonio Bryant (knee) returned to practice on a limited basis and coach Raheem Morris said he’s hopeful Bryant can play Sunday. That would be nice because Maurice Stovall, who started in Bryant’s place last week, did not practice because of a knee injury.
Falcons. Running back/return man Jerious Norwood was held out of practice after suffering a head injury Sunday. Nobody’s termed this a concussion, but nobody has said that’s not the case. Norwood took a pretty good shot against Carolina and I think there’s a decent chance he could miss some time. Jason Snelling looked good as a backup running back against the Panthers and Eric Weems picked up Norwood’s return duties. I’m thinking we could see more of the same against the Patriots.