Wednesday, November 17, 2010
NFC West: Injury situations that matter
By Mike Sando
Arizona: The Cardinals have started the same five offensive linemen for every game this season. That changes Sunday when veteran Jeremy Bridges replaces right tackle Brandon Keith, who suffered a season-ending hamstring injury against Seattle. Bridges has generally risen to the challenge when needed, previously at left tackle. He has 43 career starts and is more experienced than Keith, which could help in a difficult environment such as Arrowhead Stadium. Arizona expects to get running back Beanie Wells on the field this week after Wells rested his surgically repaired knee last week. On defense, a shoulder injury continues to limit Darnell Dockett. The Cardinals missed him badly against Seattle and it's unclear whether he'll play Sunday.
Seattle: Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck will wear a wrap to protect cracked bones in his left wrist. He could have a harder time handing off or securing the football. He could have a harder time bracing himself during falls. But as he showed Sunday, he can still throw the ball effectively when given time. The Seahawks hope to get left tackle Russell Okung back from an ankle injury. Their running game is less effective without him. Hasselbeck and Okung both practiced without limitation Wednesday. The team will remain without run-stuffing defensive lineman Colin Cole. Guard Mike Gibson, fullback Michael Robinson, receiver Brandon Stokley, receiver Golden Tate and linebacker Lofa Tatupu also missed practice Wednesday. The team uses far fewer base personnel packages on offense without Robinson being available.
St. Louis: Left tackle Rodger Saffold's sprained ankle is the top injury concern for the Rams heading into their game against Atlanta. Every player on the 53-man roster practiced at least in a limited capacity Wednesday after the team placed rookie tight end Fendi Onobun on injured reserve. Saffold could not finish the game against San Francisco last week. The Rams need him because their depth is stretched thin without him.
San Francisco: Turning to Joe Nedney for a game-winning kick will not be an option for the 49ers in Week 11. The team re-signed Shane Andrus to handle kicking duties while Nedney recovers from a knee injury. Andrus spent Week 17 with the 49ers last season. He did not attempt a field goal. He has one attempted field goal in five games with three teams. Barry Sims becomes the likely starter at left tackle after Joe Staley suffered a broken left fibula. Sims played well in relief last season. He is 35 years old and owns 134 regular-season starts, including 15 with the 49ers. The 49ers placed running back Frank Gore on the injury report Wednesday. Gore participated fully in practice despite a foot injury, as did cornerback Nate Clements (ankle) and offensive lineman Adam Snyder (shoulder).