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NFC West: Injury situations that matter

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Arizona: Left tackle Mike Gandy's ankle problems have led the Cardinals to help him in pass protection, one reason the team used the tight end more in the early going at Seattle. Gandy reportedly looked better in practice Thursday, but the line's ability to handle the Giants' pass rush remains a concern. Injuries to Travis LaBoy (ankle) and Clark Haggans (foot) could hurt the Cardinals' pass rush if either is limited. Another injury in the secondary could prove costly while cornerback Rod Hood deals with injured ribs.

St. Louis: Chris Draft's foot injury continues to deprive the Rams' defense of needed depth and production at linebacker. Fellow linebacker Will Witherspoon (thigh) is also hurting. Losing left tackle Orlando Pace meant more when Pace was a dominant force on the Rams' line. Backup Adam Goldberg played effectively in the run game when forced into the lineup against Dallas in Week 7. Right guard Richie Incognito expects to play through a shoulder problem, but line depth is a concern. And with Steven Jackson (thigh) still not a threat, the Rams' offense isn't scaring opponents.

San Francisco: Injuries in the secondary could be a problem now that Tony Romo is back at quarterback for the Cowboys. Starting safety Mark Roman (groin) and backup Dashon Goldson (knee) are hurting. The 49ers lack speed at the position. Pro Bowl linebacker Patrick Willis expects to play despite a hip injury and flu-like symptoms. On offense, Jason Hill and Bryant Johnson could figure more prominently in the passing game while Josh Morgan (groin) misses an extended period. The 49ers have become more predictable from their two-tight end packges without Delanie Walker. Walker (shoulder) remains limited in practice.

Seattle: Patrick Kerney's season-ending shoulder injury dramatically affects the Seahawks' ability to rush the passer. A healthy Kerney would have created significant matchup problems for aging Redskins right tackle Jon Jansen. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is still recovering from the beating he took against Arizona. The Redskins haven't been a great pass-rush team, but Hasselbeck's health remains a concern. Seattle's depth on the offensive line is critically low now that left guard Mike Wahle has a shoulder injury and could be wearing down. Floyd Womack and Ray Willis entered the season as backups, but they could start at guard. Unexpectedly losing guard Chris Gray before the season could prove costly.