Thursday night injury update

October, 30, 2014
Oct 30
1:26
PM ET
The short weeks feel even shorter when teams hit the midway point of the season. The cumulative toll of wear and tear is adding up, making quick recovery more challenging. Factor in the actual injuries and it becomes more difficult to get back on the field in a four-day window. The New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers have been riddled with injuries in their backfield of late. As the running back carousel continues to turn for both teams, here are the official designations of key fantasy players in Thursday night’s game:

New Orleans Saints

Pierre Thomas, rib/shoulder, (out) and Khiry Robinson, forearm, (Q), RBs: At least the Saints have made it easy to know what Thomas will, er, won’t be doing Thursday night. However, Robinson is another matter. The Saints have him listed as questionable to play despite the fact that he did not participate in a single practice this week and missed this past Sunday’s game. He is listed on the injury report with a forearm injury, but the team has offered no additional details. Last week, Robinson was seen wearing a soft, removable splint and downplayed the injury, yet he wasn’t available for the game and hasn’t done anything practicewise since then to suggest he has progressed. Given his lack of participation in practice since the injury, he appears unlikely to play. Still, the team has him listed in a way that suggests he has a 50-50 chance of suiting up; how much he would contribute even if he does dress also is unclear.

Given the performance in Week 8 by a healthy Mark Ingram, fully recovered from surgery to repair a fracture in his hand, the expectation is that he will again bear the brunt of the run workload in this game, with an assist from Travaris Cadet.

Jimmy Graham, TE, shoulder, (Q): After playing through injury the past two games, there isn’t much doubt that Graham will suit up for the Thursday night game. Last week saw an increased number of snaps for Graham -- and more production for fantasy owners -- as he managed to find the end zone among his five receptions, a big improvement over the zero receptions the prior week. Unfortunately, the short week doesn’t help Graham in the recovery process, which is that much more important when still healing from an injury. Graham is far from 100 percent, telling ESPN.com’s Mike Triplett: “I’ve been better. But nobody really cares about that. We’ll just keep going and do what I can to be as healthy as I can on Thursday.”

Graham went from being on the field for 30 snaps and no catches (on just two targets) in Week 7 to 42 snaps in Week 8 with the handful of catches and that touchdown. More importantly, Saints coach Sean Payton indicated they were beyond reserving Graham for just limited packages. Although no one from the Saints has offered a definitive diagnosis on Graham’s shoulder, his own statement that he would “pretty much live in the treatment room” between Sunday and Thursday says plenty. He is playing in pain, and managing any associated inflammation and discomfort between games, but he is doing so while being increasingly productive on the field. Ultimately, that result makes the Saints and fantasy owners happy.

Carolina Panthers

DeAngelo Williams, ankle, (P) and Fozzy Whittaker, thigh, (out), RBs: The big news here is the return of Williams to the Panthers’ backfield. He missed the past four games with an ankle sprain after missing two games earlier in the season with a hamstring injury. Now healthy, Williams comes into the Thursday night game with fresher legs than most and is expected to start. Teammate Jonathan Stewart, who had his best performance in recent memory this past Sunday, can expect to see his share of the workload dip. Stewart also missed time this season to injury (he was sidelined three weeks with a sprained knee), but he stepped up last week with the other backs ailing and touched the ball more than he had in the past two years.

With Williams back in the mix, those touches will decrease for Stewart, but he could still manage to get the occasional red zone look. As far as the remaining backs go, Whittaker has already been ruled out, Chris Ogbonnaya has been dealing with a sore groin recently (although he is not listed on the injury report this week) and had only one carry in Sunday’s game, and Darrin Reaves, who saw some injury fill-in work, was waived by the Panthers on Tuesday.

Tony Romo injury update

October, 28, 2014
Oct 28
6:57
PM ET
Tony RomoRonald Martinez/Getty ImagesTony Romo suffered a back injury that knocked him out of Week 8.
The knee to the back of Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, specifically the knee of Redskins linebacker Keenan Robinson, has been the focal point of the injury that forced Romo to the locker room for evaluation in the third quarter of Monday night's game. Initial reports were that Romo suffered a deep muscle contusion (bruise), something coach Jason Garrett confirmed when speaking to reporters on Tuesday. The Cowboys said results of Romo's follow-up tests were not immediately available, but Garrett attempted to alleviate concerns that this a setback to Romo's surgically repaired back. "It appears to be a separate injury, not related to what happened last year," Garrett said.

But can this injury truly be separated from Romo's two prior spinal surgeries? While there is no doubt that a well-placed blow delivered at high speed by the large knobby-shaped end of the femur (thigh bone) can result in a significant soft-tissue bruise (or even a fracture of one of the small bony projections on the lumbar vertebrae) in even a previously healthy spine, prior history is hard to ignore. In fact, when considering this injury in the context of Romo's entire spinal history, what is perhaps more concerning than the blow itself is his position at the time of the hit.

Romo appeared to be instinctively moving toward a crouch position to avoid contact, which immediately positioned Romo's spine in relative flexion, or bending. Anyone who has experience with disc injuries, whether it be those suffering with the pain or those attempting to treat them, knows that more often than not flexion will aggravate a disc condition. (Flexion, or rounding the spine like the letter “C,” is typically a challenge for patients with disc problems, while extension, or the reverse “backwards C” position, is generally preferred.) Following disc surgery, flexion is avoided early on and as rehab progresses, great care is taken to strengthen the deep musculature of the spine and the core stabilizers to protect the area through all ranges of movement. Sudden extremes of movement in any direction can be hard on the spine, but some structures, like the discs, tend to be more vulnerable in flexion. Add in compression, such as when the weight of another football player is being superimposed, and the vulnerability increases.

Of course one could argue Romo is not currently experiencing a disc problem after having his issue surgically addressed. But even in the post disc-herniation phase, extremes of flexion can render the athlete vulnerable. At the point where Romo absorbed the hit, his head and neck were bent forward, further increasing the flexion of his entire spine (the spine is a continuous entity from the base of the skull to the tailbone, so stress up high has the potential to impact the low, or lumbar, region). In addition to the spinal vertebrae, the discs and the surrounding soft tissue, such as muscles, ligaments and nerves, can be affected.

Tony Romo
AP Photo/Tim SharpKeenan Robinson caught Romo in a vulnerable position.
Following any surgical procedure, the expectation is that there will be some scar tissue; after all, that is how the body heals itself. Scar tissue, however, is not as resilient as the body’s original tissue and doesn’t possess the same elasticity. Normal tissue often doesn’t accommodate the body being forced into extreme positions at a high rate of speed -- and scar tissue even less so. The stress from Romo's position on that hit combined with the force of the hit itself could be enough to provoke a wide range of symptoms, not the least of which is pain. The Cowboys' medical staff obviously sensed there was reason to be cautious, not moving Romo at all initially, then rolling him to his side and keeping his spine in a neutral position to further evaluate him before bringing him to his feet. Once it was deemed safe to walk him off the field, he was taken for X-rays, which were reported to be negative, indicating no visible fracture.

The team then reported Romo had suffered a contusion, not surprising given the impact he absorbed from Robinson’s knee. Even without a prior history of a disc injury and surgery, a deep blow to the soft tissue in the area could result in bleeding, swelling and significant pain, all of which could make it difficult to function both immediately and for days following the injury. San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis was reported to have muscle spasms following a blow to the spine in Week 4. He too had X-rays taken at the stadium on the day of injury which were reported to be negative. After initially dismissing the injury as non-serious, Davis was not able to practice the following week and missed the subsequent game. However, he returned to play in Week 6, and the worst appears to be behind him. While his and Romo’s specific injuries are not directly comparable, Davis’ case does make the point that even a blow to the back that results in no major structural injury can still be problematic.

Garrett is taking a one-day-at-a-time approach when it comes to planning for Romo this week. "We've just got to wait and see how he feels, obviously," Garrett said, noting that Wednesday's practice would be abbreviated given the short week. "We'll see what he's capable of doing."

Much does depend on what Romo is able to do in the course of the coming days. Initially the expectation would be that he will spend more time receiving treatment directed at calming the symptoms and restoring normal movement. The disadvantage for Romo is that this is a short week following the Monday night game, but as of now he doesn't sound as if he plans to sit the next game out. The bigger question then will be whether he can perform at the high level he has displayed in the first half of the season.

Considering his limitations throughout the early part of training camp coming off of back surgery, many have been surprised at how well Romo's season has evolved. Given his toughness and his proven ability to play well even when not at his physical best, it would be premature to assume Romo could not perform this Sunday, just six days post-injury. But the concern about the cumulative toll on his 34-year-old spine as these injuries pile up, whether they are directly related or not, is legitimate.
Stephania Bell discusses DeAngelo Williams and the Carolina Panthers' backfield heading into Thursday night's game.

Key fantasy injuries for Week 8

October, 25, 2014
Oct 25
10:01
PM ET
Darren SporlesAP Photo/Michael PerezDarren Sproles will be a game-time decision this week for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Welcome to Week 8! This marks the fifth of the bye weeks and features a unique kickoff time for the game in London. Teams on bye this week are the San Francisco 49ers and the New York Giants. The Lions and the Falcons get underway at 9:30 a.m. ET. As usual, there are some gametime decisions -- including Calvin Johnson for the Lions in the early game -- but the final injury reports give some guidance as to who’s in and who’s out.

As a reminder, each week in the Saturday blog, we run down a list of key fantasy players, by position, who appear in the Friday injury report along with the injured body part, player status and any relevant developments or insight. The primary fantasy positions are covered (quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end). At the end, key fantasy players listed Friday as "Out" for that week's games will appear as a group. Teams playing Monday night do not have to issue their designations until Saturday. The explanations for each designation are as follows.

Out: This is the easy one; the guy's definitely not playing Sunday. As painful as it might be to see this designation next to a player on your fantasy roster, at least you know in advance he's sitting out, and you can plan accordingly.

Probable (P): This designation indicates a player has a more than 50 percent chance of playing. Most players listed here are expected to play, barring a setback between the final injury report and kickoff.

Questionable (Q): This is the fantasy owner's most dreaded player designation, yet it remains the one most frequently utilized by teams (often to keep everyone guessing). It means a player's status is on the fence; there is a 50-50 chance he's on the field come game time, though as many fantasy owners have come to learn, many teams utilize the questionable designation for any player with a hint of injury. Whether a player ends up active or inactive often comes down to a game-time decision based on how he performs during warmups. It is important for fantasy owners to check status reports leading up to the game.

Doubtful (D): The doubtful designation means a player theoretically has less than a 25 percent chance of playing that week. Rarely does a player labeled doubtful end up playing, unless he experiences a major turnaround before game time. Fantasy owners who need to make roster adjustments beforehand can feel fairly confident about sitting players listed as doubtful.

Good luck in Week 8, everyone! May your players stay healthy and win for you.

Quarterbacks

Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys, back/ankle, (P): Romo continues to appear on the injury report and continues to play.

Robert Griffin III, Washington, ankle, (Q): Griffin has now progressed from being automatically ruled out early in the week, as he has rejoined his teammates on the practice field. Although his progress is encouraging, he has not proven he is ready to resume the rigors of playing in a full game, especially given the type of player (read: runner) he is. It appears the team will give him some additional time to return to form, a wise idea considering his global injury history and the value of having him fully healthy moving forward. By midweek, coach Jay Gruden indicated Colt McCoy would be the starter, and it seems that is likely to remain the case.

Running Backs

Theo Riddick, hamstring, (P) and Reggie Bush, ankle, (D), Detroit Lions: After aggravating his hamstring in Week 6 and being forced to sit out the past Sunday, Riddick has once again made improvement. He was listed as limited Wednesday, but Riddick was upgraded to full participation Thursday and Friday. Bush missed Week 6 with an ankle injury, then returned the past Sunday, only to miss the bulk of the second half after aggravating the ankle. Although he traveled with the team to London, his only practice was a limited one Wednesday. Bush did not return to practice Thursday or Friday, and the doubtful tag tells you everything you need to know about the likelihood of him playing Sunday.

Darren Sproles, Philadelphia Eagles, knee, (Q): After returning to practice on a limited basis, Sproles has a shot to play, but it could come down to gametime.

Chris Ogbonnaya, Carolina Panthers, groin, (Q): Ogbonnaya was added to the injury report Friday with a groin ailment, which is never a good sign. With DeAngelo Williams and Fozzy Whittaker already ruled out, the late injury to Ogbonnaya virtually assures Jonathan Stewart the bulk of the workload Sunday.

Giovanni Bernard, ribs, Cincinnati Bengals, (P): Bernard was limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday with sore ribs but was upgraded to full Friday. The probable tag indicates the Bengals expect Bernard to be on the field Sunday.

Shane Vereen, New England Patriots, illness, (Q): Vereen had an illness that kept him from practicing Friday, but the team’s hope is he will recover enough by Sunday to allow him to play. Be sure to check pregame inactives.

Wide Receivers

Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions, ankle, (Q): Johnson has missed two consecutive weeks with a high ankle sprain, and the question is whether he will miss a third. He was able to practice daily on a limited basis while the team worked out in London, and there were some encouraging signs. Back-to-back-to-back practices indicate his ankle responded positively to each day’s workload. Johnson noted he was able to add some lateral movements to the straight line running he had initiated the week before, and he told reporters the ankle is feeling better overall. Still, it’s unclear whether the Lions will allow him to return to full-blown competition just yet, especially with the bye on the horizon for Week 9. Johnson’s status is expected to come down to a gametime decision, perhaps even more dreaded than usual for fantasy owners given the early start (kickoff in London is 9:30 a.m. ET).

Vincent Jackson, Buccaneers, rib, (Q): Jackson practiced on a limited basis each day this week. Despite the questionable tag, it would seem Jackson is likely to play, given that he did so a week ago. He's a tough receiver who can miss some reps during the week to allow him to be available Sunday. Still, fantasy owners are advised to check pregame inactives.

A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals toe, (D): Despite hints from Green himself that he wanted to return after missing two weeks, the right toe is apparently not quite ready for prime time. Green was not an official participant in practice any day this week, but he did continue to do work on the side. Even if Green is making improvements, it doesn’t appear to be enough to return to competition this week.

Julio Jones, ankle, (P) and Harry Douglas, foot, (Q), Atlanta Falcons: Douglas returned to practice for the first time in weeks but only for two days on a limited basis. Jones is in line to play as usual.

Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys, shoulder, (P): Bryant continues to display his athletic receiving skills each week and show no signs of injury limitation when on the field. No reason to worry about his availability this week.

Eric Decker, New York Jets, hamstring, (P): Decker played in Week 7 and came out of that game with no reported setbacks. He’s not entirely out of the woods, given that the team listed him as a limited participant each day this week. He is expected to play, however, as indicated by the probable tag.

Tight Ends

Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints, shoulder, (Q): Graham played the past week and continued to practice on a limited basis this week, all of which suggest he will play again this Sunday. Fantasy owners of course would like to know whether they can expect more production this week after the past week resulted in a donut. If he is still being guarded, in terms of exposure to contact on the field, it seems his utilization wouldn’t fluctuate wildly. Of course, fantasy owners can still likely recall the game last year in which he played limited snaps and was still highly productive. Which version will we see on Sunday? If only it were that easy to predict.

Martellus Bennett, Chicago Bears, hamstring, (P): Bennett is the latest Bears offensive weapon to be listed on the injury report. A sore hamstring kept him out of practice Wednesday, but he returned to limited practice Thursday and was upgraded to full on Friday. Expect him to return Sunday.

Brandon Pettigrew, Detroit Lions, foot, (D): The Lions are hurting at multiple positions but especially at tight end. Joseph Fauria and Eric Ebron have already been ruled out, and Pettigrew is on the cusp with the doubtful tag after not practicing once this week. Recently signed Kellen Davis is likely to get the starting nod.

Out:

This space is intended for a list of key players, not including those who have been moved to injured reserve status and are officially listed as "out" for the upcoming game.

Pierre Thomas, shoulder and Khiry Robinson, forearm, RBs, New Orleans Saints: Thomas hurt his shoulder in Week 7, and Robinson suffered an injury to his forearm. Neither practiced this week, and both have been ruled out, as expected.

DeAngelo Williams, ankle, Fozzy Whitaker, thigh, RBs, Carolina Panthers: Neither player participated in practice this week, and the team has already ruled them out.

Owen Daniels, TE, Baltimore Ravens, knee: Surprise! Daniels underwent arthroscopic surgery for the knee ailment that kept him out of practice earlier in the week. While the Ravens have only stated Daniels will miss one game, expect it to be longer.

Fred Jackson, RB, Buffalo Bills, groin: Jackson injured his groin in Week 7, and according to him, he suffered what is typically a four-week injury, though he hopes to beat the timetable. It won’t be next week, as the Bills have a bye in Week 9, but the following week will be of interest. Meanwhile, teammate C.J. Spiller was placed on IR/designated for return following surgery to repair a broken clavicle and is out for the bulk of the regular season.

Kyle Rudolph, TE, Minnesota Vikings, abdomen/groin: Rudolph remains out as he recovers from core muscle surgery, but a timetable for his return is nearing.

Joseph Fauria, TE, ankle and Eric Ebron, Detroit Lions, TE, hamstring: Fauria injured his ankle in Week 3 and is yet to practice. Fellow tight end Eric Ebron continues to recover from a hamstring strain. Both were held out of practice all week and will not be playing in London.

Be sure to check out Fantasy Football Now, at 11 a.m. ET Sundays on ESPN2, for last-minute inactives, rankings, injury impact and more!
videoStephania Bell has the latest timetables for the injuries to Buffalo Bills running backs C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson.

Key fantasy injuries for Week 7

October, 18, 2014
Oct 18
4:33
PM ET
JohnsonAP Photo/Bill HaberAll signs point to wide receiver Calvin Johnson resting for another week.
Welcome to Week 7! This marks the fourth of the bye weeks. There are two teams on bye: the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Philadelphia Eagles. As usual, there are some game-time decisions, but the final injury reports give some guidance as to who’s in and who’s out.

As a reminder, each week in the Saturday blog, we run down a list of key fantasy players, by position, who appear in the Friday injury report, along with the injured body part as listed on the report, player status, and any relevant developments or insight. The primary fantasy positions are covered (quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end). At the end, key fantasy players listed Friday as "Out" for that week's games will appear as a group. Teams playing Monday night do not have to issue their designations until Saturday. The explanation for each designation is as follows.

Out: This is the easy one; the guy's definitely not playing Sunday. As painful as it might be to see this designation next to a player on your fantasy roster, at least you know in advance of the game that he's sitting out, and you can plan accordingly.

Probable (P): This designation indicates that a player has a greater than 50 percent chance of playing. Most players listed here are expected to play, barring a setback between the final injury report and kickoff.

Questionable (Q): This is the fantasy owner's most dreaded player designation, yet it manages to be the one most frequently utilized by teams (often to keep everyone guessing). It means a player's status is on the fence; there is a 50-50 chance that he's on the field come game time, although as many fantasy owners have come to learn, many teams utilize the questionable designation for any player with a hint of injury. Whether a player ends up active or inactive often comes down to a game-time decision based on how he performs during warm-ups. It is important for fantasy owners to check status reports leading up to the game.

Doubtful (D): The doubtful designation means a player has theoretically less than a 25 percent chance of playing that week. Rarely does a player labeled as doubtful end up playing, unless he experiences a major turnaround before game time. Fantasy owners who need to make roster adjustments beforehand can feel fairly confident about sitting a player listed as doubtful.

Good luck in Week 7, everyone! May your players stay healthy and win for you.

Quarterbacks

Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys, back/ankle, (P): Romo has proven his health at this point, and it is showing up in his performance. Why change the routine? No practice Wednesday, full practice Thursday and Friday. Romo starts in a big-time divisional matchup when the Giants visit the Cowboys on Sunday.

Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans, right hand, (Q): Locker’s bruised thumb and hand appear to be faring better this week after more time for the swelling to resolve and the mobility and grip to return. Locker was a limited participant throughout the week and still has a chance to suit up Sunday. Coach Ken Whisenhunt indicated the team would see how Locker was doing this weekend but also acknowledged Charlie Whitehurst’s improvement over time. The situation remains cloudy with the Titans unlikely to clear things up before pregame warmups Sunday.

Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals, right shoulder, (P): Palmer threw the ball more in Week 6 than anyone anticipated … and apparently was just fine. It was one thing to get through the entire game, the bigger concern was whether he would experience problems the following day. Palmer said his arm felt great, despite some fatigue, adding it was just a matter of working his way back into throwing shape following the nerve contusion.

He is not completely out of the woods, however; the team is still exercising caution with his workload during the week. Palmer was held to limited work Wednesday and Thursday but was upgraded to full participant status Friday. The probable tag reflects the team’s confidence that he will be ready to roll once again this Sunday when the Cardinals visit Palmer’s former team, the Oakland Raiders.

Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins, ankle, (P): Tannehill appears on the injury report because of his ankle. He was limited Wednesday but was listed as a full participant Thursday and Friday. At probable, he is expected to make his normal start Sunday in Chicago.

Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders, ankle/knee, (P): Carr played in Week 6 after being listed as questionable; this week, listed as probable, he is certainly expected to start. Carr suffered a high ankle sprain and an MCL sprain in Week 4, but the injuries were mild enough to allow him to recover during the team’s subsequent bye week. He emerged from last week’s game with no setback, and after limited practice Wednesday, he returned to full practice Thursday and Friday.

Running Backs

DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys, illness, (P): Murray was sidelined with an undisclosed illness Wednesday but was listed as a full participant both Thursday and Friday. He continues to be the workhorse 'back of not only the Cowboys, but the entire league, and he has now posted six consecutive 100-yard rushing games. He’ll try to make it seven Sunday against the Giants.

Arian Foster, Houston Texans, groin, (no designation yet): Foster has seemingly overcome his hamstring issue to resume his productivity on the field. He makes an appearance on the injury report this week for a different reason -- a groin injury. Although Foster was limited Thursday (the first day of the Texans’ injury report, given the Monday night game), he was bumped up to full participation Friday. Barring a setback over the weekend, the expectation is that Foster will be on the field in Pittsburgh on Monday night to face the Steelers.

Ben Tate, Cleveland Browns, finger, (P): Tate was listed on the report last week because of a finger injury and played through it. After full participation in practice each day this week, he is expected to do so again. Plan on Tate starting against the Jaguars on Sunday.

Theo Riddick, hamstring, (D) and Reggie Bush, ankle, (P), Detroit Lions: Bush sat out last week with an ankle injury, but Riddick played. Expect their roles to be reversed this week as Riddick, who aggravated his hamstring in Week 6, is likely to be sidelined as the doubtful tag indicates. Bush, on the other hand, returned to limited practice Wednesday and Thursday, increasing to full practice Friday. His probable designation indicates the Lions plan on him being available when they host the Saints this weekend.

Lamar Miller, Miami Dolphins, knee, (P): Miller was a limited participant in practice each day to not overload his knee. After all, the Dolphins just lost Knowshon Moreno for the remainder of the season to a torn ACL. They need Miller on the field Sunday, and they will have him.

Zac Stacy, St. Louis Rams, ankle, (P): Stacy may be on the injury report, but he is fully expected to take the field Sunday. After a day off Wednesday to rest his ankle, Stacy practiced fully both Thursday and Friday. The Rams are spreading the rushing workload around their backfield, but Stacy will be one of those available to contribute.

Mark Ingram, hand, and Pierre Thomas, illness, New Orleans Saints, (P): Ingram has missed the past four weeks following surgery to repair a fracture in his hand (below the base of his thumb), but he is now ready to return. Ingram practiced fully each day this week and made it clear to reporters he was able to do everything without limitation. “I’ve been doing everything, catching, running, blocking,” Ingram said. “So whatever’s asked of me, I’m ready to do it.” Thomas was added to the injury report Thursday when he missed practice because of an undisclosed illness. He was back Friday as a limited participant, and the probable tag tells us the Saints are feeling good about his availability for Sunday’s game in Detroit.

Jonathan Stewart, knee, (P) and Darrin Reaves, calf, (Q), Carolina Panthers: Injuries continue to challenge the Panthers' backfield, and each week it isn’t so much "next man up" as it is "last man standing." This week, Stewart is in line to return after missing time with a knee sprain. Reaves is listed as questionable, but he was able to practice on a limited basis two out of three days. Chris Ogbonnaya is available and healthy, but DeAngelo Williams and Fozzy Whittaker have already been ruled out.

Andre Ellington, Arizona Cardinals, foot, (P): This injury report is unlikely to change across the season. Ellington continues to practice on a limited basis daily. At probable, he is again expected to play.

Wide Receivers

Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions, ankle, (Q): Despite all signs pointing to the likelihood of the Lions’ top receiver being sidelined again this week with a high ankle sprain, coach Jim Caldwell has left the door open for his return, citing an “unbelievable tolerance for pain” in guys like Johnson. Caldwell told reporters athletes like Johnson who take great care of their bodies tend to not only push through pain better but also recover more quickly. This appears to be the rationale for the questionable designation for Johnson, opening the possibility for a game-time decision Sunday.

The midweek clues would certainly suggest Johnson rests another week, including Johnson’s own comment implying he would not return until he could perform at his usual elite level.

"There's no point in being on the field if I can't go out there and do what I got to do," he said. "Do what I got to do and do it to a high level that I'm used to doing it at."

Even Caldwell had revisited the possibility of a multiweek absence, hinting that the Lions could hold him out through the team’s Week 9 bye, if necessary. Obviously, Johnson is a game-changer, and the team will re-evaluate his health on a weekly basis before committing to a decision. But is he really healthy enough to return to the “high-level” form that he referenced?

Johnson did not practice at all this week, and there has been no outward sign to suggest he is ready to play in a game. He is, however, Calvin Johnson, and that means the team will afford him the extended time -- perhaps right up until pregame warm-ups -- to determine his readiness. Fantasy owners have to hope the team’s decision helps make their own easier by sitting him an additional week; otherwise no one can really be sure what to expect.

A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals toe, (D): Reasons to expect Green to sit in Week 7: Green did not practice all week. Green is listed as doubtful, indicating the team is preparing for him to be absent. And, most importantly perhaps, Green told ESPN’s Bob Holtzman last week that he expected to sit out this contest.

Green’s flare-up of his right big toe injury in the middle of last week led to further consultation with specialists, a walking boot and the expectation he would have to rest the toe for a period of time in order to potentially return and play effectively for the remainder of the season. Just how long that rest period will be is unclear and will likely depend on a number of factors including, most notably, what the level of discomfort is in Green’s toe as time progresses. For now, the important thing for fantasy owners is that he is expected to miss this week’s game, and with teammate Marvin Jones (ankle) now on injured reserve, Mohamed Sanu is likely to continue his increased role.

Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina Panthers, concussion, (Q): When Benjamin showed up to the team facility Monday and informed the Panthers of his headache, the team immediately placed him on the concussion protocol. Naturally there was a question as to whether Benjamin would progress enough by the weekend to be able to play. So far, the signs are extremely encouraging. He returned to the field Thursday, which, despite being listed as a nonparticipant in practice, is a sign of progress, as it moved him from indoors to the busier, brighter environment outside, even if he was just an observer. Benjamin participated in practice on a limited basis Friday and did everything alongside his teammates. The questionable tag allows for the possibility of any recurrent symptoms, but with clearance to return, Benjamin should play, barring a late setback.

Julio Jones, ankle, (P) and Devin Hester, hamstring, (P); Atlanta Falcons: Both Jones and Hester are expected to play just as the probable tag indicates. Coach Mike Smith made it clear early in the season he would protect players via limiting practice reps during the week in order to preserve their health for Sunday. To that end, both receivers were limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday but returned to full work Friday. They will both be on the field Sunday against the Ravens.

Cordarelle Patterson, Minnesota Vikings, hip, (P): Patterson played last week despite appearing on the injury report, and this week he increased his practice participation. He is expected to play.

Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals, groin, (P): After a limited day Wednesday, Floyd participated in full both Thursday and Friday. He is expected to be on the field with Carson Palmer when the Cardinals face the Raiders.

Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys, shoulder, (P): Bryant is almost as much of a regular on this report as his quarterback. Like his quarterback, he plays every week. On Sundays, there is no hint that the shoulder is an issue, and Bryant practices fully every day. Count on him to be on the field Sunday against their divisional foe, the New York Giants.

Andre Johnson, ankle, and DeAndre Hopkins, hand, Houston Texans, (no designation yet): Both receivers are expected to be available after participating in some measure of practice this week.

Steve Johnson, San Francisco 49ers, hip, (P): Johnson landed hard on his hip in Week 6 and was a little slow to get up. No doubt he has been getting some treatment during the short week, but he was still able to practice each day, including a full session Friday. It appears he will be on the field for the 49ers on Sunday.

Eddie Royal, San Diego Chargers, elbow, (P): Royal’s status is not in question, as he has practiced in full each day this week.

Tight Ends

Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints, shoulder, (Q): It literally is a question mark when it comes to Graham’s status for Sunday, even for him. Graham returned to practice on a limited basis late in the week, but as ESPN.com reporter Mike Triplett noted, it will be a game-time decision. Graham told reporters he’s hopeful but won’t know until Sunday. “They’ve done a great job here [the training and medical staff], but you know we’ll see on Sunday,” Graham said. “I actually don’t know. … Hopefully maybe in two days I’ll feel better.” Hopefully.

Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers, back, (P): Davis is still on the injury report because of his back, but this week it is not a threat to his status. Despite the short week, Davis has been a full participant in practice each day. He is expected to start Sunday night against the Broncos.

Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers, ankle, (P): He was able to practice fully Thursday and Friday after having the day off Wednesday. Olsen is one of Newton’s top targets, and he will be available for him again Sunday.

Eric Ebron, Detroit Lions, hamstring, (D): As ESPN.com’s Michael Rothstein points out, with Ebron expected to be sidelined and Joseph Fauria already ruled out, not to mention the very questionable status of Calvin Johnson, tight end Brandon Pettigrew could play a larger role in the passing game.

Out:

This space is intended for a list of key players, not including those who have been moved to injured reserve status, who are officially listed as "Out" for the upcoming game.

Montee Ball, RB, Denver Broncos, groin: Ball is out again this week after suffering a groin injury in Week 5.

Rashad Jennings, RB, New York Giants, knee: Jennings is out again this week with a sprained MCL. The Giants have a bye in Week 8, and he could return, if all progresses well, in Week 9.

Toby Gerhart, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars, ankle: Gerhart continues to be plagued by the bad ankle and will miss another week.

Harry Douglas, WR, Atlanta Falcons, foot: Douglas is out once again because of his foot injury. He remains unable to practice.

Fozzy Whittaker, thigh, and DeAngelo Williams, ankle, RBs, Carolina Panthers: Williams has already missed time due to the ankle injury and will sit out again this week. Whittaker was originally listed as doubtful with a thigh injury and was downgraded to out Saturday.

Ryan Mathews, knee, and Donald Brown, concussion, RBs, San Diego Chargers: More Branden Oliver.

Shonn Greene, RB, Tennessee Titans, hamstring: Greene was again listed as doubtful due to his hamstring injury, and he hasn’t yet returned to practice. After being downgraded to out Saturday, Sankey is again expected to take the lead.

Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington, ankle: Griffin continues to gradually increase his activity in practice but remains without a formal timetable to return.

Kyle Rudolph, TE, Minesota Vikings, abdomen/groin: Rudolph is not new to the list but is not yet back in practice. He is out again in Week 7.

Joseph Fauria, TE, Detroit Lions, ankle: Fauria injured his ankle in Week 3 and is still not able to practice. He will likely be joined on the sideline this week by fellow tight end Eric Ebron, who is nursing a hamstring strain.

Off the Injury Report:

Jordan Reed, TE, Washington, hamstring: It has taken five weeks, but Jordan is currently off the injury report, apparently recovered from the hamstring injury that cost him Weeks 2 through 5. He appeared to come out of last Sunday’s game with no setbacks and does not return to the injury report.

Be sure to check out Fantasy Football Now, Sundays on ESPN2 at 11 a.m. ET for last-minute inactives, rankings, injury impact and more!

Video: Panthers injury updates

October, 17, 2014
Oct 17
3:15
PM ET
Stephania Bell discusses the health of the Carolina Panthers' backfield and if Kelvin Benjamin will play in Week 7.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo underwent surgery on his right patellar tendon on Thursday morning, according to Tom E. Curran of Comcast SportsNet.

To gain a better understanding of the road ahead for Mayo, here are notes from a Thursday afternoon conversation with ESPN injury analyst and physical therapist Stephania Bell:

Important injury disclaimer. This is a similar injury to what was sustained by Giants receiver Victor Cruz, so there has been no shortage of discussion in recent days about recovery for players following surgery on the patellar tendon. There are different places the tendon can tear. Every tear might have a different dimension. And the health of the tendon prior to the tear is always an important consideration in any analysis relative to the repair and recovery process. These specifics aren’t known with Mayo, which is critical context. “You can’t put every player in the same package,” Bell said, adding that without being privy to the specifics of Mayo's injury, the discussion is limited to speaking in general terms.

Timetable is lengthy. On average, recovery is usually between eight months to one year. “It could take longer, but rarely would it take less,” Bell said, adding that the football-based seasonal calendar is something to consider (e.g. the start of training camp, in late July, would be the nine-month mark and some rehab-based decisions could be made with this in mind).

What happens after surgery. Mayo’s right leg will either be immobile in the early phases after surgery or have “protected/controlled motion.” It depends on the philosophy of those overseeing the rehab, with some varying outlooks on what allows the repair to best heal. The next phase in the process from there would be to regain motion and strength in the quadriceps and eventually move toward more aggressive work such as running and football-type activity.

Biggest challenge in the process. With any player in this situation, “the biggest challenge is restoring full range of motion when talking about bending.” After the repair, the leg is usually kept straight to allow it to heal, and as bending is introduced, the hardest work can come when trying to exceed a bend beyond 90 degrees. “It can be tight after surgery,” Bell said, adding that another significant challenge is getting full girth and circumference back in the quad as the tendon is basically the attachment between the quad muscle and shin bone.

Studies of note. Bell pointed out a study from the American Journal of Sports Medicine that provided more background on the topic. The findings of the study were that 19 of 24 players who suffered the injury returned to play.

Summary with Mayo’s road ahead. Bell pointed out that this is a “difficult, lengthy rehab” but noted the data above in saying “it’s very encouraging” from a standpoint of a player being able to return and potentially function at a high level. Bell highlighted the difference between Cruz and Mayo, as Cruz relies on down-the-field speed, while Mayo needs quickness/explosiveness for his position. Thus, it's hard to compare them because the demands of their positions are unique. Overall, when it comes to “explosiveness and power, those things take a while to come back.” Bell added this: “The Patriots have an excellent medical staff to oversee bringing him back from this injury. I see it as a situation where there is reason to be optimistic about his future.”

Jets-Patriots injury preview

October, 16, 2014
Oct 16
11:17
AM ET

Both teams playing in Thursday night’s game suffered major personnel losses due to injury in Week 6, with little time to recover. The New York Jets lost cornerback Dee Milliner to an Achilles tendon rupture and guard Brian Winters to a torn ACL. Both have been placed on injured reserve. The New England Patriots are expected to place running back Stevan Ridley on injured reserve after he suffered a major right knee injury Sunday (torn ACL and MCL). The biggest blow for the Patriots, however, may have come on the defensive side of the ball with the loss of linebacker Jerod Mayo, also to a right knee injury. Mayo, whose 2013 season also ended prematurely due to injury (torn pectoral muscle), is a candidate to move to injured reserve in the near future.

Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots, ankle (probable): Brady rolled his ankle in practice last Friday and was listed as questionable heading into Week 6. Two days later he posted his best numbers of the season, completing 73 percent of his passes for 361 yards and four touchdowns, much to the delight of fantasy owners who stuck it out with him after a slow start. The Patriots made the necessary adjustments to allow the Brady of old to resurface; his appearance on the injury report was -- and still is -- of far less significance. Despite being listed as a limited participant in practice each day, Brady will start without issue Thursday night.

Eric Decker, WR, New York Jets, hamstring (probable): This is the first week in about a month where Decker’s status is something other than questionable. He remains on the injury report because of his hamstring, but the probable tag indicates the Jets expect to have him on the field Thursday night. Coach Rex Ryan has expressed varying degrees of hope for Decker’s availability each week, but it has often come down to a game-time decision.

In Week 3, Decker was given the green light to play days after aggravating a hamstring strain, even though he appeared tentative in pregame warm-ups. He lasted just 12 plays before having to leave with renewed tightness. In Week 4, Decker was again listed as questionable but managed to get through the game against the Detroit Lions, even finding the end zone. In Week 5, Decker -- who had been pulled from practice earlier in the week due to a flare-up with the hamstring -- traveled to San Diego but was held out of the game. Decker was active in Week 6 after again being listed as questionable, but he was more productive and appeared healthier, perhaps a result of having the prior week to rest. He apparently came out of Sunday’s contest no worse for the wear, able to practice daily in advance of the Thursday night game. Monday was a walk-through for the Jets, but Decker participated on a limited basis Tuesday and was upgraded to full participation on Wednesday. While it’s too soon to say Decker’s hamstring issues are completely behind him (after all, the last month has been a series of ups and downs), it is easier to have confidence that he will indeed start in Week 7.

Chris Johnson, RB, New York Jets, ankle (probable): Johnson has been a regular on the injury report with an ankle ailment, but he routinely shows up as a full participant in practice. He hasn’t missed a game yet, and Thursday will be no different. Unfortunately for Johnson, it is Chris Ivory who continues to get the majority of the work.

Jace Amaro, TE, New York Jets, knee (probable): After being listed as a limited participant for Monday’s practice (an estimate since the team conducted only a walk-through), Amaro put in full practices both Tuesday and Wednesday. He enters Thursday’s game listed as probable, indicating the team plans to have him on the field against the Patriots. After a week in which he saw the most targets and amassed the most receiving yards of any member of the Jets' offense, and scored a touchdown, Amaro appears to be an increasingly valuable presence for quarterback Geno Smith.


Video: Lions injury update

October, 14, 2014
Oct 14
5:44
PM ET
Stephania Bell has the latest updates on some injured Detroit Lions stars.
Stephania Bell has the latest updates on Darren Sproles' knee injury.

Key fantasy injuries for Week 6

October, 11, 2014
Oct 11
4:02
PM ET
Tony RomoMatthew Emmons/USA TODAY SportsTony Romo will play in Seattle on Sunday.
Welcome to Week 6. This marks the third of the bye weeks. Once again, just two teams are getting a break: the Kansas City Chiefs and the New Orleans Saints. As usual, there are some game-time decisions, but the final injury reports give some guidance as to who’s in and who’s out.

As a reminder, each week in the Saturday blog, we run down a list of key fantasy players, by position, who appear in the Friday injury report along with the injured body part as listed on the report, player status and any relevant developments or insight. The primary fantasy positions are covered (quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end). At the end, key fantasy players listed Friday as "out" for that week's games will appear as a group. Teams playing Monday night do not have to issue their designations until Saturday. The explanation for each designation is as follows.

Out: This is the easy one; the guy's definitely not playing Sunday. As painful as it might be to see this designation next to a player on your fantasy roster, at least you know in advance of the game that he's sitting out, and you can plan accordingly.

Probable (P): This designation indicates that a player has a greater than 50 percent chance of playing. Most players listed here are expected to play, barring a setback between the final injury report and kickoff.

Questionable (Q): This is the fantasy owner's most dreaded player designation, yet it manages to be the one used most frequently by teams (often to keep everyone guessing). It means a player's status is on the fence; there is a 50-50 chance that he's on the field come game time, although as many fantasy owners have come to learn, many teams use the questionable designation for any player with a hint of injury. Whether a player ends up active or inactive often comes down to a game-time decision based on how he performs during warm-ups. It is important for fantasy owners to check status reports leading up to the game.

Doubtful (D): The doubtful designation means a player has theoretically less than a 25 percent chance of playing that week. Rarely does a player labeled as doubtful end up playing, unless he experiences a major turnaround before game time. Fantasy owners who need to make roster adjustments beforehand can feel fairly confident about sitting a player listed as doubtful.

Good luck in Week 6, everyone! May your players stay healthy and win for you.

Quarterbacks

Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys, back, (P): No practice Wednesday, full practice Thursday and Friday. This is Romo’s current routine. He will play in Seattle on Sunday.

Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings, ankle, (P): Bridgewater missed the Week 5 game only because it came on a Thursday night and he was close to suiting up then. He has practiced fully all week and is expected to start Sunday.

Tom Brady, New England Patriots, ankle, (Q): Uh-oh. Brady showed up on the injury report Friday as a limited participant due to an ankle injury, with a questionable designation. It’s no secret that Brady has been absorbing some extra blows this season, but no word as to whether that has anything to do with this ailment. The good news is we already know Brady made the trip to Buffalo. Based on experience, it’s hard to imagine Brady sitting and watching from the sideline.

Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans, right hand, (Q): Locker bruised his thumb last week, adding an ailment to the same wrist and hand that was injured in Week 3, causing him to sit out the following Sunday. Locker did not practice all week, making it difficult to envision him starting Sunday.

Carson Palmer, right shoulder and Drew Stanton, concussion, Arizona Cardinals, (Q): Coach Bruce Arians made it clear that the Cardinals' quarterback situation is truly up in the air. "Honest to God, the first time in 20 years I really don't know who's starting," Arians said. "We'll see how it goes. They're all ready.” Not exactly clarity. According to ESPN.com’s Josh Weinfuss, Palmer threw on a limited basis Friday, then flew to Colorado to receive additional treatment. Despite his reported improvement, it’s hard to envision Palmer’s arm suddenly able to endure a full four quarters of football. Stanton, meanwhile, was working his way through the post-concussion protocol and participated in Friday’s workout on a limited basis. On Friday night, he was cleared to play, and reports are that he will start if Palmer cannot. Everyone is going to have to wait until game time to find out, though, and this one doesn’t tip until 4:25 p.m. ET.

Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders, ankle/knee, (Q): Carr was hobbling in Week 4 after a twisting injury to his lower leg which resulted in a high ankle sprain and an MCL sprain in his knee. The bye couldn’t have come at a better time. Although Carr was limited in practice throughout the week, the prevailing thought is that he will start for the Raiders against the Chargers Sunday.

Josh McCown, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, right thumb, (D): There’s no question as to who is starting for the Bucs: It’s Mike Glennon. McCown remains sidelined from practice with a sprained thumb.

Running Backs

Lamar Miller, foot and Knowshon Moreno, elbow, Miami Dolphins, (P): Miller has been handling the bulk of the workload while Moreno has been out. Although he appears on the injury report, Miller is again expected to be active Sunday when the Dolphins host the Packers. He is likely to be joined by Moreno who, despite hinting at being out for another month as recently as a week ago, practiced daily and is expected to be active. Moreno told ESPN.com’s James Walker that the brace he is wearing (to protect against hyperextension) on his left elbow is uncomfortable, but comfort is secondary to protection. Given his monthlong absence and not knowing how effective he will be early in his return, it’s hard to expect Moreno to immediately be back in early season form. But, he should be back.

Ben Tate, Cleveland Browns, finger, (P): In Week 5, Tate proved his knee had recovered nicely from the sprain he suffered in Week 1. He is listed on this week’s report not because of the knee, but due to a finger injury. Tate was a full participant in practice each day, though, and is expected to play again this week.

Joique Bell, concussion, (P); Theo Riddick, hamstring, (P) and Reggie Bush, ankle, (Q), Detroit Lions: Here’s the good news. Bell is expected to return after missing Week 5 due to a concussion. Riddick, despite a hamstring ailment practiced fully each day alongside Bell and is also expected to be available. The not-so- good news relates to Bush who suffered an ankle injury last Sunday and did not practice all week. Bush seemed dismissive of the injury early on, suggesting it was not particularly serious and yet he never made his way to the practice field. Apparently he is taking notes on his teammate Calvin Johnson’s situation and Bush told ESPN.com’s Michael Rothstein he doesn’t want to risk re-injury. Despite downplaying the injury early in the week, Bush has become more cautious as the week has progressed. It sounds like the Lions will lean on Bell and Riddick.

Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills, ankle/illness, (Q): Jackson was a limited practice participant both Wednesday and Thursday, and his absence from Friday’s workout raised suspicion his condition had worsened. Jackson missed Friday however due to illness, not injury. According to ESPN.com’s Mike Rodak, a source says Jackson “should be good to go” for Sunday’s matchup against the Patriots. Fantasy owners should be sure to check the inactives before kickoff.

Zac Stacy, St. Louis Rams, calf, (no designation yet): Stacy did not participate in practice Thursday, raising eyebrows as to his status, despite coach Jeff Fisher’s assurances early in the week that he expected him to play. Stacy was back in full practice Friday however, a more reassuring sight. While there is no official designation at the time of this writing, Stacy is expected to play Monday night.

Matt Asiata, Minnesota Vikings, groin, (P): Despite his appearance on the injury report, Asiata was a full participant in practice each day this week. At probable, he is expected to play.

Jonathan Stewart, knee, (Q) and Darrin Reaves, hip, (P), Carolina Panthers: The injury carousel that is the Carolina backfield continues to turn, rotating names in the process. Fozzy Whittaker is now off the injury report and DeAngelo Williams has already been ruled out. Reaves did not practice Wednesday but full practices both Thursday and Friday, along with the probable tag, indicate the hip is not a serious concern. Perhaps the biggest change in a positive direction is the status of Stewart, who came into Week 5 as doubtful (and did not play) but moves up to questionable this week. When Stewart injured his knee in Week 3 it was originally reported as a “severe” sprain, hinting at an extended absence. By this week however, Stewart was able to turn in back-to-back limited practices on Thursday and Friday. While the news is encouraging, he is not completely healthy and his game status remains a question mark. In fact, Stewart will be a game-time decision but coach Ron Rivera indicated if he plays, he’ll lead the charge for the backfield.

Shonn Greene, Tennessee Titans, hamstring, (D): Alert to Bishop Sankey fans and fantasy owners: He appears in line to start. Coach Ken Whisenhunt has been saying for a while now that Sankey would get more opportunities in time. With Greene likely sidelined due to a hamstring injury that prevented him from practicing Thursday and Friday, the time appears to be now.

Andre Ellington, Arizona Cardinals, foot, (P): Ellington remains on the injury report as he continues with limited workout during the week. At probable, he is again expected to play.

Chris Johnson, New York Jets, ankle, (P): Johnson continues to practice fully each day and is expected to start again Sunday when the Jets host the Broncos.

Storm Johnson, Jacksonville Jaguars, ankle, (P): Johnson practiced fully each day and is expected to play. He could see increased opportunities this week with Toby Gerhart ruled out before Sunday.

Wide Receivers

Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions, ankle, (D): Most fantasy owners have already ruled Johnson out of their lineups even if the Lions haven’t officially done so yet. The doubtful tag, rarely associated with Johnson, reflects the low expectations the team has of anything changing drastically prior to kickoff. At this point, everyone has seen how the high ankle sprain has limited Johnson’s mobility, and it wasn’t helped when he took a “whack” to his right leg last Sunday, as coach Jim Caldwell described it. Unable to practice all week and protected with a walking boot, Johnson’s season outlook would be much improved if he were to rest and afford the ankle an opportunity to heal to some degree. Johnson is not likely to sit on the sideline until he is 100 percent, but 75 to 80 percent of Johnson is better than most. It’s the less than 50 percent of Johnson that has taken the field the last two weeks that everyone would rather not see.

A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals toe, (Q): Green’s setback midweek with the big toe of his right foot has him looking far more doubtful than questionable for Sunday. In fact, ESPN’s Bob Holzman reported Friday that, according to sources, Green is expected to sit out Sunday’s game. The questionable designation from the Bengals suggests the team is leaving the door open for significant improvement between the time of the filing of the injury report and kickoff, but common sense hints at that being unlikely. After all, this is not the first setback for Green, and the severity of the problem seems amplified with reports of Green visiting with specialists to confer about next steps. Even if -- or rather when -- he does return to the field, there is no predicting how the toe will hold up to the task. Fantasy owners no doubt recall Week 2 when Green was forced out of the game after just five snaps (and zero catches) due to a flare-up of the toe. As recently as Week 5, he was more A.J. Green-like, racking up 81 yards and a score. But three days later, he left practice before things even got underway, doing something to aggravate his toe during the stretching portion of the session. On Friday, Green observed practice sporting a walking boot, and if early reports hold true, he will be observing similarly on Sunday.

Julio Jones, ankle, (P) and Devin Hester, hamstring, (Q); Atlanta Falcons: The status of Jones is not in doubt given the probable tag, although he continues to see limited work early in the week. Jones was back in full practice Friday and is expected to start as usual on Sunday. Hester comes in at questionable because of a hamstring issue that kept him out of practice entirely on Wednesday and Thursday. He returned to limited practice Friday and according to ESPN.com’s Vaughn McClure, Hester plan to play Sunday as the Falcons host the matchup against his former team.

Percy Harvin, Seattle Seahawks, thigh, (P): Fantasy owners have to be relieved to see Harvin listed as probable after he was added to Thursday’s injury report as a non-participant in practice with a thigh injury. He was back to full practice status Friday and the probable tag indicates the team expects to have him on the field. If only his scores would just count this time…

Allen Hurns, WR, foot; Marqise Lee, WR, hamstring and Cecil Shorts, WR, hamstring, Jacksonville Jaguars: Hey, three of the Jaguars’ top four receivers might be listed on the injury report but they’re all probable and they all practiced fully each day. That’s a big improvement over virtually every other week this year. With the exception of running back Toby Gerhart, it appears the Jaguars will have their most complete complement of offensive players available since the start of the season.

Cordarelle Patterson, Minnesota Vikings, hip, (P): Although his practice outings were controlled early in the week, Patterson returned to full practice Friday. At probable, he is expected to play as the Vikings host the Lions.

Eric Decker, New York Jets, hamstring, (Q): Decker remains listed as questionable this week but seemingly has a better chance to play. He was a limited participant in practice each day (unlike last week where he missed two days, then sat out Sunday against the Chargers). Whether he takes the field or not is the first order of business, but even if he does, there is still no guarantee his hamstring holds up. He has endured several setbacks and was not able to do as much in practice late in the week as coach Rex Ryan had hoped. He remains a risky play, even if active.

Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys, shoulder, (P): Bryant continues to practice fully each day and continues to play despite the shoulder ailment each week. Based on some of the spectacular catches he has made recently, the shoulder doesn’t appear to be a limiting factor. The Seattle defense could prove to be more challenging this week.

Keenan Allen, quadriceps, (P) and Malcom Floyd, calf, (Q), San Diego Chargers: Allen will play after moving up to a full practice Friday. Allen has been on the injury report with various soft tissue injuries for the bulk of the season but has played anyway. Floyd however appears here with a calf injury, which kept him to limited practice all week. The questionable tag indicates the team’s hesitation to commit to whether he’ll be ready to roll against the Raiders. This is a late game, so fantasy owners need to have a backup plan if Floyd doesn’t go.

Mike Evans, groin and Vincent Jackson, rib, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (Q): Evans was originally expected to miss multiple weeks with a groin injury but his progress has been fairly swift. He was able to get in limited work in practice each day and heads into the weekend listed as questionable. Meanwhile Jackson, who did not let a hairline fracture in his wrist keep him off the field, has been slowed this week by a rib injury. After sitting out Wednesday and Thursday, Jackson was able to participate on a limited basis Friday, hinting at his availability for Sunday’s contest against the Ravens.

Mike Wallace, Miami Dolphins, foot, (P): Wallace was held to limited practice daily because of a foot issue but is listed as probable and is expected to play.

Tight Ends

Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers, back, (no designation yet): Monday night games are maddening when it comes to players with uncertain status. Davis has at least been in practice each day this week, albeit on a limited basis and wearing a non-contact jersey. It appears he is on track to play Monday night, but fantasy owners are always advised to carry insurance in these situations.

Jordan Reed, Washington, hamstring, (Q): At the midpoint of the week, Reed indicated if there were no setbacks in advance of Sunday, he expected to play. The questionable tag indicates there is still no guarantee that he does. Reed has been just a limited participant throughout the week but this is his first week of daily practice since injuring his hamstring in Week 1. According to ESPN.com’s John Keim, coach Jay Gruden says Reed will work out in Arizona and is a game-time decision but there is optimism around the team, including from Reed, that he will indeed suit up. Until he gets through a game where he proves he can run full speed without a setback however, there will still be some apprehension as to whether he is truly past the injury.

Jordan Cameron, Cleveland Browns, ankle/shoulder, (P): Cameron has added an ankle ailment to his ongoing shoulder issue, but neither is going to keep him off the field this week. He has been a full practice participant throughout the week and is expected to start against the Steelers.

Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans, shoulder, (P): Walker has already said the shoulder is likely to be an issue he will have to manage across the course of the season. The good news is that it is not interfering with his ability to be productive.

Out:

This space is intended for a list of key players, not including those who have been moved to injured reserve status, who are officially listed as "Out" for the upcoming game.

Montee Ball, RB, Denver Broncos, groin: Ball had to be helped from the field after injuring his groin last Sunday. It appears the injury will sideline him for several weeks.

Rashad Jennings, RB, New York Giants, knee: Jennings sprained his left MCL in Week 5 and is not yet able to practice. The Giants have a bye in Week 8, so it wouldn’t come as a surprise if he were to be out until the break has passed.

Toby Gerhart, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars, ankle: Last week we announced Gerhart was finally off the injury report. Within 24 hours he was back on it after aggravating an ankle in last Sunday’s game. The setback was significant enough to declare him out early this week. Enter Storm Johnson (alongside Denard Robinson and Jordan Todman).

Marvin Jones, WR, Cincinnati Bengals, ankle: Jones was originally listed as questionable Friday, but on Saturday his status was downgraded to Out. This surprises no one as Jones did not practice at all this week and never really appeared as if he had a chance to play.

Harry Douglas, WR, Atlanta Falcons, foot: Douglas remains out with a foot injury. He has not been able to practice, suggesting the injury is more serious than originally thought.

DeAngelo Williams, RB, Carolina Panthers, ankle: Williams remains out with an ankle injury suffered in Week 4. He has not yet practiced.

Ryan Mathews, knee and Donald Brown, concussion, RBs, San Diego Chargers: Mathews has been out since Week 2 with an MCL sprain in his right knee. According to the San Diego Union-Tribune he has yet to resume running, suggesting his return is at least a couple weeks off. He is joined on the sideline this week by Brown, who suffered a concussion last Sunday. With Danny Woodhead also out (for the year), the running duties could be primarily fulfilled by Branden Oliver, who notched over 100 yards and a score in Week 5.

Robert Griffin, QB, Washington, ankle: Griffin has not played since injuring his ankle in Week 2 but he appears to be making progress. Coach Jay Gruden indicated there is no set timetable for Griffin’s return, and he has yet to increase his running workload.

Kyle Rudolph, TE, Minnesota Vikings, abdomen/groin: Rudolph remains out with a core muscle injury suffered in Week 3. He is not expected to return for at least another month.

Joseph Fauria, TE, Detroit Lions, ankle: Fauria injured his ankle in Week 3 and is still not able to practice.

Off the Injury Report!

Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots, knee, (P): Gronkowski has quietly moved off the injury report this week after easing into the season. A full complement of snaps, perhaps? It looks as if that will be the case going forward, barring, of course, any new injury.

Sammy Watkins, WR, Buffalo Bills, ribs: The rib injury that has been keeping Watkins on the injury report since the preseason now appears to be a thing of the past. He hadn’t appeared limited of late but this validates his recovery.

Frank Gore, RB, San Francisco 49ers, back: Gore’s regular appearance on the injury report never kept him off the field on game day, but it’s still nice to see him moved off the list. One less question for a Monday night game.

Brandon Marshall, WR, Chicago Bears, ankle: Marshall’s status has improved each of the last two weeks along with the health of his ankle. This week he graduates from the injury report, and hopefully for fantasy owners will not be revisiting it anytime soon.

Odell Beckham, WR, New York Giants, hamstring: That didn’t take long! Well, actually, it took six weeks from the start of the season but as soon as Beckham appeared in his first NFL game, he was promptly removed from the subsequent injury report. Apparently the Giants are confident his hamstring is healthy. After netting 44 yards and a touchdown in his debut, Beckham could be in line for even more work going forward.

Be sure to check out Fantasy Football Now, Sundays on ESPN2 at 11:00 a.m. ET for last-minute inactives, rankings, injury impact and more!

Video: Detroit Lions injuries

October, 10, 2014
Oct 10
2:26
PM ET
Stephania Bell discusses the statuses of Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush for Week 6.

Video: Knowshon Moreno's status

October, 10, 2014
Oct 10
2:23
PM ET
Stephania Bell discusses the latest on when Knowshon Moreno will return from injury.

Colts-Texans injury preview

October, 9, 2014
Oct 9
11:05
AM ET
Arian FosterAP Photo/Brandon WadeArian Foster is dinged up heading into Week 6, a familiar condition for the Texans rusher.
This week's installment of "Thursday Night Football" has the Indianapolis Colts traveling to take on their division rival Houston Texans. The Colts don't have any fantasy-relevant injuries to update, but there are three players for Houston whom I've been keeping tabs on this week:

Andre Johnson, WR, ankle (Questionable): Johnson’s status is the only one in question for the Texans. All other players are listed as probable, with the exception of two defensive players who have already been ruled out (Jadeveon Clowney and Darryl Morris).

Johnson is trying to manage an ankle injury and thus far has been playing through it. In Week 5, Johnson was also listed as questionable but ended up active and had five catches on the day. Although he was listed as a non-participant for each practice day in this short week, the veteran is certainly capable of showing up for a game with limited preparation. In fact, as ESPN.com’s Tania Ganguli reported, coach Bill O’Brien has acknowledged the veterans are able to provide more input into how much they are able to do during the week with an eye on game day.

Fantasy owners would be advised to verify Johnson’s status before kickoff, but it appears likely he will take the field.

Arian Foster, RB, hamstring; Alfred Blue, RB, knee (Probable): The probable tag indicates that the Texans plan on having both backs available Thursday night, but it’s worth noting that both are listed on the injury report. Thursday reports are sometimes deceptive, particularly as the season progresses, because so many players have bumps and bruises that will limit their practice time and require treatment, necessitating an appearance on the report. Their status coming into the game may not be in jeopardy, though.

That is seemingly the case for both Foster and Blue. Both were listed as non-participants in Monday’s practice, limited for Tuesday and full for Wednesday, but all practice reports were estimations, since the team conducted walk-throughs each of the three days, according to the official league report. This reflects the priority for teams playing Thursday night following a Sunday game: Allow the players enough recovery so they can perform up to par while minimizing injury risk on just four days' rest.

Perhaps the most encouraging sign of Foster’s relative health is his most recent performance: He racked up 157 yards and two scores on 23 carries in Week 5, his most productive of three high-yield games this season. He has played in four games total, but in Week 4 -- the game after he sat out a week to rest his hamstring -- Foster managed only six yards on eight attempts.

Meanwhile, Blue is healthy enough to be available, but he has primarily had a supporting role thus far. Expect both players to be ready to go Thursday night.

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