Friday, September 23, 2011
Checking the injuries that matter most
By Pat Yasinskas
The final injury reports are out, so let’s check on the most significant injuries around the NFC South.
Carolina safety Charles Godfrey (concussion) is listed as doubtful and coach Ron Rivera said he doesn’t expect any miracles. That likely means Jordan Pugh will move into the starting lineup. Cornerback Chris Gamble tweaked an ankle in Thursday’s practice, but took part on a limited basis in Friday’s practice. Rivera said he expects Gamble to play against Jacksonville.
Tampa Bay linebacker Quincy Black (ankle) missed his third straight day of practice and is listed as doubtful. That likely means Dekoda Watson will start in Black’s place on the strong side. Middle linebacker Mason Foster is expected to wear the radio helmet, which Black had been wearing. Foster will call the defensive signals and is expected to remain on the field for passing downs.
New Orleans linebacker Jonathan Vilma (knee) is listed as doubtful and cornerback Tracy Porter (calf) is questionable. If Vilma can’t go, Jo-Lonn Dunbar likely will get the start, but the Saints have been rotating their linebackers steadily this season. Patrick Robinson is the likely starter if Porter doesn’t play. The Saints went ahead and ruled receiver Marques Colston and kicker Garrett Hartley out for Sunday’s game with Houston.
There’s positive news on the injury front out of Atlanta. Center Todd McClure, who missed the first two games with a knee injury, is probable and participated fully in Friday’s practice. If he’s able to go, McClure’s experience and leadership should only help an Atlanta offensive line that’s struggled in the first two games. Also, quarterback Matt Ryan (knee) is probable and practiced fully on Friday after being limited Wednesday and Thursday. As expected, defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux will be out with a knee injury. The Falcons also declared cornerback Kelvin Hayden out with a hamstring injury. That likely means the Falcons will turn back to Chris Owens as the nickel back.