NFC West: Injury situations that matter

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Arizona: Receiver Anquan Boldin could have played against the Bears in Week 9. The Cardinals decided to rest his injured ankle, a wise move given the Cardinals' convincing victory in Chicago. Expect Boldin to start and play extensively against Seattle. The Cardinals have options at tight end if starter Ben Patrick's knee bothers him. Stephen Spach has sufficiently recovered from his ankle injury. Patrick should be available, however. Inside linebacker Gerald Hayes could return after resting a back injury Sunday. Left tackle Mike Gandy had some struggles late in the game. He has an abdominal injury. The Cardinals have started the same five offensive linemen every game since the start of last season. Jeremy Bridges would replace Gandy if the injury prevents Gandy from playing. Gandy could practice this week, however.

San Francisco: The short week presents challenges for the 49ers heading into their Thursday night game against the Bears. Tight ends Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker are a bit banged up. Davis is an every-down player. Walker played nearly half the snaps against Tennessee. The 49ers have had some success with their three-receiver offense. Perhaps they'll use it more against the Bears depending upon how Walker feels. Backup running back Glen Coffee and receiver Isaac Bruce probably will not play. Neither should be needed based on how the 49ers' offense is evolving.

St. Louis: Right guard Richie Incognito will miss another week while his sprained foot recovers. If that means more snaps for rookie Jason Smith at right tackle, the Rams come out ahead over the long term. Adam Goldberg plays right guard for Incognito. The Rams' offensive line has made strides. The challenge grows in Week 11, with or without Incognito, if the Saints' high-scoring offense puts the Rams in catch-up mode. Receiver Danny Amendola is expected to play after suffering a concussion on a vicious hit before the bye week. Amendola has provided a spark in the return game. Will he be as aggressive after the concussion? Keep an eye on receiver Donnie Avery. Nagging injuries were weighing him down heading into the bye. If he's healthy, the Rams' downfield passing game could improve.

Seattle: The team expects all 53 players to be available for the second game in a row. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck could not throw deep passes against the Lions after aggravating a shoulder injury early in the game. That little tidbit, courtesy of coach Jim Mora, could set expectations for Hasselbeck against the Cardinals in Week 10. Hasselbeck has played hurt most of the season. He is less than two months removed from breaking two ribs. The Cardinals will probably gang up against the Seahawks' running game. They could try to make him force the ball down the field. Perhaps Hasselbeck will handle those duties capably after being limited in practice. He'll certainly be vulnerable if the Cardinals can hit him, though. Sean Locklear could return to the lineup at left tackle. Damion McIntosh has stabilized the position, however.