It’s not often that we get advance notice of key players who will sit out Sunday, but it certainly makes for easier planning. On that note, here are some key players who are already ruled out for Week 3 or won’t be starting:
Out for Week 3
Steven Jackson, RB, Atlanta Falcons (hamstring): Two bits of noteworthy information: First and foremost, the thigh injury that forced Jackson to make an early exit from Sunday’s game will definitely sideline him this week. On Tuesday, coach Mike Smith indicated Jackson would be out for more than a week, telling reporters, "It's short term. Don't know if that's two or three weeks.” Still, it’s nice to have confirmation via the official league reports that Jackson is listed as out for Week 3.
The second bit of information is that the word “hamstring” is listed next to his name on the injury report. The Falcons originally described this as a thigh injury; now we know it is the muscle group on the back of the thigh. As noted earlier this week, Jackson is no stranger to soft-tissue injuries, and this is just an additional incident. The early projection of Jackson being sidelined a few weeks hints at a moderate strain. With a 30-year-old athlete such as Jackson, the best protection against having this turn into a more severe injury is adequate rest.
Brandon Weeden, QB, Cleveland Browns (thumb): OK, so maybe this isn’t the biggest news to come out of Browns headquarters in the past 24 hours. But it’s still worth noting that the Browns have definitively declared Weeden out for this week after he injured his thumb late in the fourth quarter Sunday. On Wednesday, the Browns announced that Brian Hoyer would start in Weeden’s place when the team faces the Vikings this weekend. It is not clear what the quarterback situation will be going forward.
Not yet ruled out but not starting
Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay Packers (concussion): After Lacy suffered a concussion on his first carry of last week’s game, it appeared there would be a good chance he would miss this week. While there are encouraging signs that Lacy is making some progress in the healing department (attending meetings despite not practicing), Packers coach Mike McCarthy indicated Wednesday that James Starks would get the “starting opportunity” in Week 3.
Starks is not without his own injury history, notes ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky. In fact, that history has been significant enough to cause him to miss more than half of the team’s regular-season games during his four-year career. Starks showed last week what he can do when healthy, rushing for 132 yards and a touchdown. With Lacy potentially sidelined for Week 3, the Packers are hoping Starks will start -- and finish -- against the Bengals.