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Wednesday, December 28, 2011
NFC West injury situations that matter

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Arizona: It's looking like John Skelton will remain the Cardinals' starting quarterback while Kevin Kolb continues to work through concussion-related symptoms. Kolb is practicing on a limited basis. Skelton was the player Cardinals officials made available to Seattle reporters on a conference call Wednesday. Patrick Peterson's injured Achilles' tendon will not require surgery, but his availability for Sunday remains in question. Peterson, right tackle Brandon Keith and free safety Kerry Rhodes missed practice Wednesday. Playing without Peterson on Sunday would affect the Cardinals significantly in the return game and on defense. Running back Beanie Wells was limited. His knee injury remains a factor. Wells has not exceeded 15 carries in any of the Cardinals' past three games. He has had no runs longer than 9 yards in the four games since setting a franchise record with 228 yards against St. Louis.

St. Louis: Kellen Clemens appears likely to finish the season as the Rams' starting quarterback while starter Sam Bradford (ankle) and backup A.J. Feeley (thumb) remain sidelined. The Rams, having already placed 10 cornerbacks on injured reserve this season, lost another one when learning Justin King's shoulder injury would require surgery. An abdominal injury continues to limit another cornerback, Josh Gordy, although he has picked off passes in consecutive games. Defensive tackle Fred Robbins and linebacker Brady Poppinga have been ill this week. Expect defensive end Chris Long to continue playing through an ankle injury. He has 13 sacks and had two against San Francisco when the teams met previously this season.

San Francisco: The 49ers need to beat the Rams to ensure themselves a first-round playoff bye, but they also need to guard against aggravating existing injuries. Linebacker Patrick Willis, sidelined by a hamstring injury suffered against the Rams in Week 13, returned to practice this week. Receivers Ted Ginn Jr. (ankle) and Kyle Williams (concussion) are not practicing. The team will likely sign Joe Hastings or John Matthews from the practice squad. Both are receivers. One could get playing time against the Rams. San Francisco's offense faces a transition while tight end Delanie Walker recovers from a broken jaw.

Seattle: The Seahawks, like the Rams, have a long list of players on injured reserve. Unlike the Rams, their 53 active players are relatively healthy, and they have developed young depth throughout the roster. Linebacker David Hawthorne and receiver Ben Obomanu missed practice Wednesday. Both have knee injuries. Depth at receiver is a concern for the Seahawks now that Sidney Rice and Mike Williams are on injured reserve. The team expects to have Obomanu against Arizona on Sunday. Linebacker Malcolm Smith (concussion), defensive tackle Clinton McDonald (concussion), quarterback Tarvaris Jackson (pectoral) and defensive back Kennard Cox (hamstring) practiced fully.