NFC West: Injury situations that matter

December, 16, 2009
12/16/09
7:35
PM ET
Arizona: The Cardinals will take a conservative approach with Larry Fitzgerald's bruised knee. Arizona can afford to limit Fitzgerald during upcoming games against the Lions and Rams. There's no need to take unnecessary risks. Fitzgerald did participate in practice Wednesday and his injury is not considered serious. Injuries appeared to slow quarterback Kurt Warner at times against the 49ers. Warner played with a hip pointer and seemed to walk with a limp at times. This could be a good week for the Cardinals to lean more heavily on their ground game. On defense, rookie Rashad Johnson will play more after the Cardinals placed Matt Ware on injured reserve with a knee injury. Arizona needs to get its personnel combinations right in the secondary over the final three weeks of the regular season. Update: The team signed kicker Mike Nugent after Neil Rackers had a hard time getting through the game Monday night. I'm not expecting the kicking game to decide anything when the Cardinals and Lions play Sunday, but anything is possible.

Seattle: Receiver Nate Burleson could miss the rest of the season after suffering a high-ankle sprain against the Texans. Tight end John Carlson and the team's other wide receivers could see more passes come their way. A hip injury is limiting linebacker Aaron Curry, who has been inconsistent anyway. The Seahawks are not listing quarterback Matt Hasselbeck on their injury report because Hasselbeck is taking every snap in practice. But the quarterback's throwing shoulder has been hurting recently. Hasselbeck, sidelined by broken ribs earlier in the season, has been struggling to stay in games while absorbing significant punishment behind a leaky line.

St. Louis: The Rams' depth on the offensive line has disappeared now that left guard Jacob Bell is on injured reserve and the team released right guard Richie Incognito. Right tackle Jason Smith also remains sidelined while trying to work through concussion-related issues. Even center Jason Brown, who missed practice time with an illness, is playing through a sprained knee. With the line ailing, Steven Jackson's sore back could be more vulnerable. Quarterback Marc Bulger remains out. Illness forced No. 2 quarterback Kyle Boller to miss practice Wednesday. A thigh injury is also bothering Bulger. Injuries are undermining an already outmanned Rams team.

San Francisco: Left tackle Joe Staley seems likely to return against the Eagles in Week 15. Staley had been targeting Week 14 as his return date, but the 49ers played it safe with him. Coach Mike Singletary said Staley has shown significant improvement. Staley's steady replacement, Barry Sims, is expected to be available despite a knee injury. Running back Michael Robinson's stinger issues persist. His long-term durability seems to be in question, although the 49ers think he should be able to help on special teams Sunday.

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