Stephania Bell: Daniel Thomas

Week 3 Thursday injury update

September, 20, 2012
9/20/12
10:05
PM ET
Here is what we're looking at so far for Week 3:

Quarterbacks

Blaine Gabbert, Jacksonville Jaguars (glute): Gabbert was a full participant in practice Wednesday and Thursday. He appears on track to play Sunday.

John Skelton, Arizona Cardinals (ankle): Skelton missed Week 2 because of his ankle sprain, and Kevin Kolb started in his place. Will Kolb start again in Week 3? Early signs point to that being the case. While Skelton was "walking around," according to the Cardinals' official website, he did not practice Wednesday. Skelton did manage a limited practice Thursday, but it seems hardly enough to suggest he'll take over the reins again this weekend.

Running backs

[+] EnlargeRyan Mathews
Jeff Gross/Getty ImagesAll signs point to Ryan Mathews returning to the Chargers' backfield this week.
Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers (shoulder): Well, well, well. It looks like we are about to see the highly anticipated season debut of a certain Chargers running back. The timing does not come as a complete surprise, as it's consistent with the typical healing timeframe for this type of injury (fractured clavicle).

This is from my entry on Mathews in the 2012 Fantasy Football Draft Kit: "... Before a player is cleared to resume contact, there must be sufficient evidence of bony repair to alleviate concerns of reinjury. Every fall onto the shoulder, direct hit to the shoulder (especially if the player is hit from both sides simultaneously), even a stiff-arm move, will translate force through the collarbone area. For an athlete such as Mathews, who will incur contact through his clavicle (directly or indirectly) on virtually every play in which he carries the ball, the confidence that the bone will remain intact must be high before allowing him to compete. Normal bone healing takes approximately six weeks, which, given Mathews' injury date, would suggest he could be ready by Week 3."

Mathews was cleared for contact late last week but had very limited practice reps and was held out of competition for another week. That was smart. Now Mathews has had a chance to turn it up a notch in practice, and his collarbone has had another week of bone remodeling. According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Mathews said, "I feel great; I feel healthy and strong." That's what fantasy owners like to hear.

Steven Jackson, St. Louis Rams, (groin): On Tuesday, we noted that Jackson missed time in Sunday's game because of a groin injury and nothing else. While coach Jeff Fisher and Jackson made it seem as though the injury was not serious -- and an MRI seemed to confirm as much -- it remains to be seen whether Jackson will be ready to go this weekend. He did not practice Wednesday or Thursday, but according to the Rams' official website, he "remains hopeful" he'll be ready by Sunday. This may well come down to a game-time decision.

Matt Forte, Chicago Bears (ankle): As we noted Tuesday, we said it would be a surprise to see Forte this week, and his non-participation in practice Wednesday or Thursday supports that idea. While it does seem that the injury was not as serious as initially expected, it's still looking like, barring a Friday surprise, Michael Bush will start for the Bears in Week 3.

Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks (back): Lynch has been on the injury report since prior to Week 1 because of his back. So far he has managed to play in the first two games of the season. Since the Seahawks play Monday night, there is only one day of practice (Thursday) to report so far, and Lynch again appeared as a limited participant. No reason for major concern as of now.

Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs (knee): Charles fell on his surgically reconstructed knee in Week 2 and sustained a knee bruise, according to the Kansas City Star. He was able to return to full practice Wednesday and followed it up again Thursday, boding well for him playing Sunday.

Rashard Mendenhall (knee) and Jonathan Dwyer (toe), Pittsburgh Steelers: Mendenhall has again been listed as a full participant in practice both Wednesday and Thursday this week. Here's what I said last week after he practiced both days: "Pittsburgh does have an early bye week (Week 4), and it's possible we do not see Mendenhall before then." I still feel the same way. Each week, Mendenhall has been exposed to increasingly more work and increasingly more contact. Like others coming off ACL surgery, there is a process for evaluating how the player -- and his knee -- responds to each upgrade in activity. There is nothing official from the team to indicate he will wait another week, so it remains possible that he could be activated. If that does happen, he would not likely get a heavy workload in his first outing.

Meanwhile, Dwyer is dealing with a case of turf toe, which may have hindered his productivity somewhat in Week 2. He rested Wednesday but was back in full practice Thursday, hinting at him being active for Week 3.

Rashad Jennings, Jaguars, (knee): Again this week, Jennings has not practiced due to a knee injury. It will be the Maurice Jones-Drew show on the ground in Indianapolis when the Jaguars visit the Colts regardless.

Daniel Thomas, Miami Dolphins (concussion): Thomas missed last week's game due to a concussion but returned to full practice Wednesday. Barring a setback, he should be available this weekend, although he will serve as a backup to Reggie Bush.

Wide receivers

[+] EnlargeCalvin Johnson
AP Photo/Marcio Jose SanchezNo worries, Megatron owners. Calvin Johnson is expected to play Sunday.
Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions (ankle): Last week it was his foot, this week it's his ankle. Johnson will probably appear on the injury report fairly regularly; hopefully, he will continue the pattern of resting early in the week and playing later. He did not practice Wednesday but was back in limited practice Thursday. If he continues the trend, expect him to play Sunday.

Greg Jennings, Green Bay Packers (groin): Jennings sat out last week's game because of a groin injury. It wasn't much of a surprise considering he had suffered the injury just four days prior, The expectation was that the extra time off would have him in good shape for Week 3. In fact, coach Mike McCarthy told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel late last week he would be surprised if Jennings did not play in Monday night's contest.



Then came Tuesday's practice. Jennings was on the field in full pads, and all seemed to be progressing well. It turns out Jennings didn't do much Tuesday other than run, and on Thursday he was unable to practice at all. According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, McCarthy said Jennings was limited to rehab Thursday and was not progressing "as well as hoped." While there are still a few more days before game time, if Jennings is still this limited 11 days post-injury, how much improvement can realistically be expected by Monday? His status could come down to a game-time decision, but if he isn't able to practice at all Friday, fantasy owners should be concerned.

Jeremy Maclin (hip) and DeSean Jackson (hamstring), Philadelphia Eagles: These two were both on the Thursday injury report last week, and both ended up playing Sunday. The difference is that this week Maclin was forced out of the game because of his hip. Jackson finished the game -- and played well -- despite a hamstring strain late in the week. While Maclin was unable to practice Wednesday, he did return on a limited basis Thursday. Jackson practiced on a limited basis Wednesday and returned to full practice Thursday.

At this point, Jackson appears to be in better shape heading toward Sunday, presuming there are no setbacks beforehand. As far as Maclin's status is concerned, he does appear to be making progress and as long as he shows he can perform sufficiently before kickoff, there is still a reasonable chance he plays. Friday's practice should yield better clues for both receivers.

Pierre Garcon, Washington Redskins (foot): Even though he did not play Sunday, the rest might not have been enough for Garcon's foot. He participated in limited practice Wednesday and Thursday, but according to the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, coach Mike Shanahan says Garcon's injury is "nagging him a little bit more than I was hoping it would." That's certainly not the most optimistic sounding assessment. If Garcon continues to experience this level of discomfort, it's hard to imagine him suiting up in Week 3.

Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints (foot): Colston was listed on the injury report last week because of his foot, but still managed to play Sunday. According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Saints interim coach Aaron Kromer says the foot injury is affecting Colston's speed. Perhaps the limited reps in practice this week will help him get back up to speed. He is expected to play Sunday.

Julio Jones (thigh) and Roddy White (knee), Atlanta Falcons: Jones and White both on the injury report? Not to worry. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that coach Mike Smith offered this explanation: "The reason a lot of those guys are limited in their participation is [because] we are on a short week." They did play Monday night, and it was, after all, a very long game. Both were restricted to limited work in practice Wednesday and Thursday, but from the sounds of things, both are expected to play Sunday.

Brandon Lloyd, New England Patriots (thigh): Lloyd was limited both Wednesday and Thursday with what is being listed as a thigh injury. There has been nothing to suggest the injury is serious, though, including the fact that Lloyd did not completely miss a practice. The Patriots do not play until Sunday night, so hopefully there will be a better indication after Friday's session.

Tight ends

Antonio Gates, Chargers (ribs): Despite missing Sunday's game due to sore ribs, Gates did get right into practice this week, an encouraging sign for this week's status. Although he was limited Wednesday, his response to practice was positive enough to bump him up to a full workload Thursday. Thankfully, it does not appear he will be a game-time decision this week.

Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers (abdomen): Miller has not practiced yet this week because of a rib cartilage injury. Any injury in the rib area can be exceptionally painful; Antonio Gates missed last week's game with a similar ailment. This could come down to a game-time decision.

Dustin Keller, New York Jets (hamstring): Keller missed last week's game because of his hamstring injury but appears to be making progress. He wasn't in practice Wednesday but did return to limited work Thursday. Now the test will be to see how the leg responds and whether he can repeat the effort Friday.

Week 2 Thursday injury update

September, 13, 2012
9/13/12
7:03
PM ET


Thursday practice reports are perhaps the most torturous. They can breed false hope -- athlete practices Thursday and looks like a lock to play only to have more soreness the next day and end up downgraded in Friday practice -- or insecurity -- injured athlete is still not doing much by Thursday, so there's no way he'll be ready by Sunday, right? Except the past three times you thought that, he not only showed up Sunday, he was also the top scorer.

Welcome to our world. While Thursdays bring us a little closer to game time, there are still many things that can change in the next 72 hours. Still, there are often hints as to which way a player's status is trending, and we want you to be tormented right along with us.

Here's what we're looking at so far in Week 2:

Running Backs

Arian Foster, Houston Texans, illness: Foster's knee (or the "area around [his] knee") turned out to be a nonissue in Week 1, and his prediction that he would play was accurate. He did not practice Wednesday due to an unspecified illness but was back in business Thursday. Expect Foster to be his usual self Sunday.

Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers, shoulder: Mathews is approaching five weeks since his surgery to repair a fractured clavicle. Although he has done individual drills and worked out intensely, the protocol shifted Wednesday. Mathews did not practice with the team Wednesday, which, as reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune, was a part of the team's plan, not a reflection of a step in the wrong direction.

"He worked pretty hard to the side," coach Norv Turner told the Union-Tribune. "He just didn't practice. We'll get him out there as soon as we can."



The protocol shifted again Thursday when Mathews turned up in practice in helmet and shoulder pads, the first time he has been in equipment since his injury. This is an encouraging sign, as clearance for contact represents the final barrier to Mathews' return.

Still, the team is not saying he is ready to suit up Sunday just yet. There is no doubt the Chargers will want to see how he responds to this level of practice and perhaps follow up with additional evaluation Friday. With any luck, there will be some indication as to his game status before the actual game time.

Rashard Mendenhall, knee, and Jonathan Dwyer, foot, Pittsburgh Steelers: Mendenhall has been listed as a full participant in practice on Wednesday and Thursday. He continues to make strides in his recovery from ACL reconstruction, but it is not clear whether he is ready to face his first game action just yet. Pittsburgh does have an early bye week (Week 4), and it's possible we do not see Mendenhall before then.

Meanwhile, Dwyer showed up on Wednesday's report because of a sore foot. Not to panic. He was in full practice Thursday, and the expectation is that he will play. Coach Mike Tomlin complimented Dwyer's Week 1 performance in his Tuesday news conference, saying he thought Dwyer "represented himself well and will probably get an increased opportunity because of it."



Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers, ankle: Stewart did not play in Week 1 because of a sprained ankle even though he had resumed planting and cutting late in the week. Apparently he has improved on those fronts. Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Stewart was moving more decisively this week, according to Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer. Knowing how rarely Stewart misses games, it's hard to imagine him missing Week 2 with his improving mobility.



Rashad Jennings, Jacksonville Jaguars, knee: Despite coach Mike Mularkey's comment after Sunday's game that Jennings' knee injury did not appear serious, there has still been no indication as to the specifics of the injury. Mularkey told reporters Wednesday that an MRI showed no significant damage, which leaves us to wonder as to the nature of the problem. Last year, Jennings suffered a sprained knee that resulted in him landing on injured reserve. This latest injury was reportedly to the same knee, although there has been no indication as to whether the two injuries are related. The strongest indicator that he will not be ready by Sunday: Jennings has not practiced this week. Looks like the rock will go to Maurice Jones-Drew.



Daniel Thomas, Miami Dolphins, head: Thomas, who suffered a concussion in Sunday's game, did not practice Wednesday or Thursday. He is expected to miss Week 2.

Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills, knee: Jackson is out this week; this we already know. What remains less clear is how long he will be out. On Tuesday, I explained the reasoning for re-evaluation within seven to 10 days. Jackson essentially confirmed as much on the Bills' official website stating, "What we're going to go re-evaluate is my healing. That's what we're going to look at in seven to 10 days. We've got a good picture of it and know what we need to do to get it right."

His point was that the MRI gave a good picture of the injury, but how his knee responds initially is to be determined. He is optimistic that he can return on the shorter end of the timetable. "Hopefully sooner, but I'll definitely be back in four weeks," said Jackson. "Without a doubt." Love the attitude.

Wide Receivers

Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions, foot: Johnson made everyone nervous when he missed Wednesday's practice with what was termed a foot injury. After all, ever since he was anointed the face of "Madden NFL 13," superstitious types have been fearing the worst. (Most who appear on the cover go on to be beset by injury that season, never mind the odds of any football player sustaining an injury in a given year).

Put those fears to rest, at least for now. Johnson returned to practice Thursday. Now might be a good time to point out that the physical play of Johnson has often left him bruised, battered and sitting out midweek practices in the past. If a similar pattern plays out this year but Johnson still shows up big on Sundays, no one is going to complain. It just might make for a case of the nerves each week.

Jeremy Maclin, hip, and DeSean Jackson, hamstring, Philadelphia Eagles: Maclin's right hip continues to be an issue, as he did not practice Wednesday or Thursday. According to CSNPhilly.com, Maclin said he felt better than he did earlier in the week and then was off to test his hip with some running. There's no word on how that went, but since it was not followed by practice, it's reasonable to assume it was less than ideal.

The surprise was the addition of Jackson to the injury report. Jackson was a regular participant Wednesday, but on Thursday, coach Andy Reid informed the media before practice that Jackson would not be present due to a hamstring injury. According to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Jackson hurt the hamstring at the end of Wednesday's practice and was seen sporting an ice wrap on his left leg.

There's no telling the severity of Jackson's injury by the limited information available, but late additions to the injury report are never popular. The closer it is to Sunday when an injury crops up, the riskier the player's status given the minimal recovery time. If an athlete returns to Friday practice, most concerns are alleviated. What Jackson does -- or does not do -- Friday could swing fantasy owners' hopes one direction or another.

Reid made it sound Thursday as if both players were improving and that they could both play Sunday. It would feel so much better if we could see both of them in some form of practice before the weekend.



If there's some good news to be found, receiver Riley Cooper (fractured clavicle) returned to limited practice for the first time Wednesday. It still seems like a stretch that he would be available in Week 2.

Pierre Garcon, Washington Redskins, foot: Remember how coach Mike Shanahan said the team would know more after Garcon tested his foot in Wednesday's practice? Well, he didn't practice Wednesday. He didn't practice much Thursday either. Grant Paulsen of 106.7 The Fan quoted Shanahan as calling Garcon "very limited" Thursday. Now Shanahan says the team should know more Friday. Early in the week, Garcon seemed confident he would be able to play.

Foot injuries are often difficult to assess for a receiver until he tries to make high-speed pivots and cuts where the foot is subject to increased shear forces. At this point, it does not look encouraging, but there is still another day to go -- another day to worry for fantasy owners. Heck, it could be another three days to worry if this goes down to Sunday.

Steve Smith, Carolina Panthers, knee: Smith was officially limited at practice Wednesday and Thursday because of soreness in his right knee, but it does not seem to be a major concern. The Charlotte Observer quotes Rivera as saying Smith is expected to play Sunday.

Nate Washington, leg, and Kenny Britt, knee, Tennessee Titans: Washington is listed with a leg injury on this week's report (no head injury as was initially suspected). He did not practice Wednesday or Thursday but expects to play Sunday. If he returns to practice Friday, it would go a long way toward confirming his availability.

Meanwhile, Britt is back and practicing with the team. He was a limited participant Wednesday and Thursday. According to Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean, coach Mike Munchak expects Britt to be in the range of 15 to 25 plays Sunday. It's worth remembering that this will be Britt's first game action since undergoing three knee surgeries, one of which was an ACL reconstruction. His participation in the game could evolve -- or devolve -- depending how his knee responds. There is little doubt the Titans are eager to reincorporate him into the offense given his talent, but whether he is ready to pick up where he left off remains to be seen.

Denarius Moore, Oakland Raiders, hamstring: Moore has been a full participant in practice and impressing his teammates. According to the Contra Costa Times, quarterback Carson Palmer said of Moore, "He looked like the Denarius of old." Moore also said his conditioning was improved, another indication that holding him out of Monday's game was probably wise. It appears he will be ready to play in Week 2.

Devery Henderson, New Orleans Saints, concussion: Henderson did not practice Wednesday or Thursday and appears unlikely to play in Week 2.

Tight Ends

Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers, ribs: Gates has not practiced this week due to sore ribs. Before anyone panics, remember the Chargers played in a Monday night game, so he has had one fewer day of recovery. If anyone can take a couple of days off from practice and still perform in a game, it's Gates. I'm not overly concerned ... yet.

Quarterbacks

Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans, left shoulder: Locker returned to limited practice Wednesday and increased his participation Thursday, strongly hinting at a return Sunday.



John Skelton, Arizona Cardinals, ankle: On Tuesday, it seemed highly unlikely that Skelton would be ready to return this week after getting carted from the field with an ankle injury. Coach Ken Whisenhunt did not want to commit to Kevin Kolb early, but by Thursday, ESPN's Adam Schefter was reporting a decision had been made. Kolb will be the starter in Week 2 against the New England Patriots.



Week 1 is in the books! And yes, unfortunately, there are injuries to report. Here's what we know so far:

Running backs

[+] EnlargeFred Jackson
Ed Mulholland/US PresswireFred Jackson is out at least three weeks, but will it be more?
Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills (knee): What a shame for Jackson, coming off a season that ended prematurely because of a broken right fibula, to be forced out in Week 1 with a serious injury to the same leg. Jackson is going to miss some time, the question now is how much. The Bills report that Jackson has a lateral collateral ligament injury and is expected to miss at least the next three weeks. The lateral collateral ligament (LCL) is one of the four primary stabilizing ligaments of the knee, reinforcing the outer (lateral) aspect of the knee joint. It is injured less frequently than its counterpart on the inner knee, the medial collateral ligament (MCL), primarily because the typical mechanism of injury for an LCL (blow to the inside of the knee) is less common. The LCL can also be injured during a hyperextension or rotational injury. This appears to have been the case with Jackson as he was actually hit on his left leg by New York Jets safety LaRon Landry, yet his right knee sustained the injury. Jackson told the Buffalo News he was immediately worried when his knee "popped." The biggest concern with these injuries is damage to any surrounding structures on the lateral and particularly the posterolateral aspect of the knee. Structures in this area which lie close to the LCL help control stability in the back corner of the knee, an area which is subject to high biomechanical forces during normal movement. Any instability can be threatening to the overall health of the knee.

Thus far reports out of Buffalo have only referenced the LCL itself. If it is an isolated sprain of minor to moderate degree, there is a good chance it can heal with restricted motion (via bracing) and rest to protect the ligament. Even minor damage to other surrounding tissues can respond well to early treatment. This explains the report that the Bills will see how Jackson responds over the next 7 to 10 days. If his knee is improving over that time and showing good stability, the chances of him returning in several weeks are encouraging. If he still has marked pain, swelling and instability, the time frame could be extended. Everyone, including Jackson and the Bills, is in a wait-and-see mode right now.

Rashad Jennings, Jacksonville Jaguars (knee): Jennings got the start on Sunday but he didn't last long. Jennings exited the game in the first half with what was later reported to be a knee injury. There have been no more specifics released as to the nature of the ailment but the Florida Times-Union reports coach Mike Mularkey said of Jennings' injury, "I don't think it's serious." Still, this opens the door for more of Maurice Jones-Drew, perhaps sooner than expected.

Daniel Thomas, Miami Dolphins (head): Thomas suffered a concussion in Sunday's game and will be monitored closely throughout the week. There has been no official word as to his status for Week 2 but it would not be surprising if he is out.

Wide receivers

Greg Jennings, Green Bay Packers (groin): Jennings suffered a groin injury late in Sunday's game and was sore afterward, according to coach Mike McCarthy. Jennings was not in practice Tuesday during the portion that is open to the media. The concern here is that the Packers have a Thursday night game. Jennings' status should become clearer Wednesday.

[+] EnlargeJeremy Maclin
AP Photo/Brian GarfinkelJeremy Maclin put up solid numbers against the Browns despite Michael Vick's woes, but he suffered a hip injury in the contest.
Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia Eagles (hip): Maclin had a good day Sunday (96 yards, 1 TD) but it came at a price. Maclin injured his right hip, although the exact nature of the injury remains a bit unclear. ESPN's Adam Shefter reported Maclin had a hip pointer injury per coach Andy Reid. Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer referred to the injury as a hip flexor. There are differences. The hip flexor is a muscle that sits deep in the pelvis and, as the name implies, is responsible for flexing the hip as well as contributing to overall stability and power at the hip. Not only is a strain of the muscle painful, it diminishes the ability to drive the leg forward while running. A hip pointer refers to a deep bruising of the pelvis, typically not far from where several muscles attach. If the bruising impacts muscles which contribute to moving the hip, then the function of those muscles can be affected.

No matter which injury it is, the end result may not vary much. Maclin is undoubtedly sore and moving slowly as a result. He will receive treatment to reduce any associated swelling or bruising and may be limited in or even removed from practice early in the week, depending on the severity. It is too soon to say whether he will be available in Week 2, as it may well depend on his progress over the next few days. Teammate and fellow receiver Riley Cooper is still recovering from a fractured clavicle and will not be available in Week 2.

Nate Washington, Tennessee Titans (leg): Washington took a hard hit in Sunday's game and left with what the team later called a leg contusion (bruise). There was some question as to whether Washington had also suffered a head injury, but Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean later reported there was no concussion. Wyatt also said Washington should be available to play this week.

Pierre Garcon, Washington Redskins (foot): And he was off to such a great start! Garcon was forced out of Sunday's game with a foot injury, but X-rays were reported to be negative. Garcon later told Grant Paulsen of 106.7 The Fan DC he felt good and expected to play in Week 2. Coach Mike Shanahan offered an explanation which really provided no clarity as to the nature of Garcon's injury. "It's kind of like when you have turf toe but it's not the toe," Shanahan told reporters Monday. According to the Washington Post, the team will know more after Garcon tests the foot in Wednesday's practice.

Devery Henderson, New Orleans Saints (head): Henderson left in the second quarter with what was later announced to be a head injury. Presume the protocol of close evaluation and monitoring as the week progresses.

Quarterbacks

Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans (shoulder): Locker injured his left (non-throwing) arm while trying to make a tackle after throwing an interception (note to Locker: no more tackling). Reported by The Tennessean as a shoulder separation, Locker underwent an MRI on Monday. According to news reports, Locker is expected to return to practice in some capacity by midweek but likely will wear a brace. As long as he can perform the functions of quarterback, he will play. The Titans sound at this point as if they do not expect him to miss any time but as coach Mike Munchak said after Sunday's game, "We'd rather him not go in there and tackle anybody." Right.

John Skelton, Arizona Cardinals (ankle): When Skelton was carted off the field Sunday, the natural assumption was that he had a serious enough injury to force him out for multiple weeks. Maybe not. X-rays of Skelton's ankle reportedly came back negative and initial fears of a high ankle sprain were alleviated. Coach Ken Whisenhunt says Skelton's ankle sprain is of the "low" variety and he has not yet been ruled out for Week 2, according to the Cardinals' official website. It's worth reminding that even lateral ankle sprains can be problematic, making it difficult to bear weight normally, much less move around in the pocket or scramble when necessary. It seems highly unlikely Skelton will be ready to play in Week 2, but between health and performance, the quarterback situation could remain fluid in Arizona.

Tight ends

Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers, (ribs): Gates looked to be in pain while being evaluated on the sideline for sore ribs during Monday night's game. He even left the game briefly in the third quarter to be further examined in the locker room. Tough player that he is, Gates returned to the game, although he clearly appeared to be in some discomfort throughout the remainder of the night. His return to the game is a good early sign with regard to Week 2.

And we're keeping an eye on

[+] EnlargeRyan Mathews
Jeff Gross/Getty ImagesRyan Mathews missed Week 1 but there's still a chance he could play in Week 2.
Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego Chargers (shoulder): Mathews sat out Week 1 as his healing collarbone has not yet allowed him to be cleared for contact. The big question now is whether he will be available for Week 2. No word on that front yet; this is purely a matter of the doctors giving him clearance. Mathews has been maintaining his cardiovascular fitness and working in individual drills in anticipation of being ready to go as soon as he's given a green light.



Kenny Britt, WR, Tennessee Titans (knee): Britt is coming off three surgeries since last season, two on his right knee and one on his left. He was forced to sit out Week 1, serving his one-game, league-imposed suspension. Britt is expected to return to team practice Wednesday, and the Titans expect him to be available Sunday, barring a setback. It's worth remembering he was just activated from the PUP list on Aug. 28 and has had very limited work with the team. (Translation: His knees, one of which is post-ACL reconstruction, have hardly been tested.) All of this makes his being "available" very vague in terms of what type of contribution he can actually make on the field in his first appearance. Still, the threat of Britt is a nice thing for the Titans to have in their arsenal.



Never a dull moment in the world of injuries. Whose health could impact your fantasy roster this week?

Quarterbacks

[+] EnlargeSam Bradford
Jeff Curry/Getty ImagesSam Bradford may not be able to take advantage of newly acquired wideout Brandon Lloyd this week.
Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams: Coach Steve Spagnuolo told reporters Bradford suffered a high ankle sprain Sunday, and Bradford has been wearing a protective boot on that left leg since. Wednesday, ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported that Bradford will not test his ankle until Friday. According to ESPN.com, Bradford is expected to start Sunday, despite the injury, "because although mobility would be compromised, the plant leg is not affected." While it's true that the injured ankle is on Bradford's front leg, as he noted, "Obviously, I have to be able to drop back. I have to be able to have some mobility where I'm not just standing back there." Mobility is important for Bradford to function effectively and protect himself. Quarterbacks are more at risk in the pocket, and if Bradford were to get tackled with his left foot planted, it could easily aggravate the injury, turning what appears to be a mild high ankle sprain into something more serious. No doubt all these factors will be taken into consideration when the team evaluates what Bradford can do Friday and before a final determination about his status for Sunday is made. Don't consider him a lock just yet.

Running Backs

Peyton Hillis, Cleveland Browns: Hillis was still not practicing Wednesday because of his injured left hamstring. Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer reported via Twitter that Hillis would do pool running Thursday (this allows him to practice running gait in water resistance with less impact) and noted the Browns are calling him day-to-day. It will be interesting to see if Hillis can practice at all Friday, which would certainly hint more at his availability Sunday. At the very least, it's reasonable to expect Hillis will not be at full strength by the time the weekend rolls around, suggesting that even if he is active, he's likely to share the workload with Montario Hardesty.

Jahvid Best, Detroit Lions: The Lions haven't said much about Best's condition since he suffered a concussion last Sunday, but their roster moves may be saying a little more. ESPN.com reported James Davis was signed to the practice squad, while Keiland Williams and Maurice Morris split reps in practice. The Lions had acquired Ronnie Brown from the Eagles for Jerome Harrison, but that trade was voided Wednesday after Harrison failed his physical (ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Harrison has a brain tumor). The Lions have been challenged by injury at the running back position since rookie Mikel Leshoure went down in the preseason with a ruptured Achilles tendon. Best has now suffered his third concussion in two years; the first caused him to miss the last four games of his final season at Cal and the second occurred during this preseason. There is much that remains unknown when it comes to concussions, but it is no secret that returning to play before the brain has completely recovered places the athlete at greater risk for subsequent and potentially more severe injury. While there's no way of knowing when Best will return, it appears highly unlikely he will be on the field in Week 7.



Wide Receivers

Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons: Jones was not in practice Wednesday, but according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, coach Mike Smith has not yet ruled him out for Sunday. Smith acknowledged that Jones would likely try to push himself to return but will leave the decision-making to the medical staff. The Falcons do have a bye in Week 8, and while that alone would not drive the decision to sit Jones, it certainly could help sway in the direction of rest if there is any question as to his health. There should be clearer indications by Friday as to whether Jones will indeed miss another week.

Tight Ends

[+] EnlargeAntonio Gates
Jeff Gross/Getty ImagesAntonio Gates hasn't had a catch since Week 1 against the Vikings.
Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers: For a couple of weeks, we have heard rumblings that Gates was targeting a Week 7 return, and the signs are still pointing in that direction. Gates practiced Monday and participated in an official limited workout Wednesday. The hope is that he will continue to increase his activity and be available Sunday. Gates has stayed away from guaranteeing that he'll play Sunday, understanding first-hand that his condition has the ability to flare up at any time. Even if he does return, there is no way of knowing how he will respond to his first game action in more than a month. Gates has expressed hope that once he returns he could stay "active," but he has also learned from experience that this will be an ongoing management issue. For fantasy owners, it appears Gates will be in line to suit up Sunday, but you will want to check Sunday morning to be sure.

More news:


• The bye week looks to have helped a lot of other Chargers dealing with injuries. Wide receiver Vincent Jackson, who had a hamstring injury heading into Week 5, did not return to practice Wednesday but is expected to return Thursday and play Sunday. Jackson has been playing through abdominal and hamstring injuries and has been largely productive. The hope is there will be no setbacks and Jackson's health will continue to improve. On the running back front, Mike Tolbert and Ryan Mathews were back in practice Wednesday. Tolbert (concussion) and Mathews (calf) are expected to play Sunday.

LeGarrette Blount may have traveled across the pond to London with his Tampa Bay Buccaneers teammates, but he is not practicing with them. The Bucs still have not said much about Blount and his injured knee (reported to be an MCL sprain) but his action, or lack thereof, says plenty about his not being ready to return. Indications are that Earnest Graham will again start in Blount's place.



Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson is making progress with his activity but is not yet back in practice. The Houston Chronicle reports coach Gary Kubiak has not ruled Johnson out for Sunday's game but he acknowledges Johnson still has a ways to go to return to action. According to Kubiak, Johnson is "right on schedule," running routes and catching some passes. Earlier in the week, Johnson noted there was still some weakness in the leg, which is perfectly reasonable, considering it has been exactly two weeks since his surgical procedure to address the torn hamstring tendon. Johnson's comment that he had been told at the time of the procedure it could take "six weeks at most" to recover set off alarm bells, but it's important to look at Johnson's entire statement. He also noted that he felt like he would be ready sooner and that he was making progress. The key for Johnson, beyond the immediate healing of the area following surgery, is returning to normal strength so as not to risk a subsequent injury in another part of the hamstring. Based on his current activity, it's looking like a Week 8 return is possible, which would be consistent with early projections following his procedure.

[+] EnlargeAndre Johnson
Brett Davis/US PresswireAndre Johnson is making progress from his hamstring injury but it's tough to rely on him in your lineup this week.
• Johnson's teammate, quarterback Matt Schaub, is a bit beat up but is still expected to play. Schaub has a sore chest, hip and knee and has been held to limited practice to allow his body some recovery. He is still expected to start this week at Tennessee but will need to try to avoid incurring additional physical abuse.

Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Mike Wallace is another star receiver dealing with a strained hamstring. Wallace's injury was referred to as minor from the start, but his absence from Wednesday's practice had many wondering whether he could make it back for Sunday. There seems to be little concern that Wallace will be able to play, but fantasy owners should keep an eye on his practice participation over the next two days.

Miami Dolphins running back Daniel Thomas seemed to emerge just fine from Monday night's game. Wednesday, Thomas was kept to a limited practice, understandable given the recent injury and the late game. Thomas told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that he thinks he could handle a bigger workload, and he may have to. Teammate Reggie Bush did not practice Wednesday, not because of the neck injury that caused him to exit the Monday night game early but because of a groin injury suffered in Week 2, according to the Palm Beach Post. Wide receiver Brandon Marshall also sat out Wednesday practice with a sore quad. Bush and Marshall practiced Thursday, however, so another effort on Friday should secure their status for Sunday.

Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen did not practice Wednesday because of a turf toe ailment, although by all accounts it looks to be a mild case. Coach Ron Rivera told the Gaston Gazette the team wanted to let it "calm down a little bit" but that he expected Olsen to return Thursday. If Olsen practices without issue the next two days, it should not affect him Sunday.

Indianapolis Colts running back Joseph Addai strained his right hamstring in Week 5 and has not yet returned to practice. Addai is not expected to play Sunday night against the New Orleans Saints.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Tarvaris Jackson has been doing perhaps better than expected since suffering a pectoral strain in Week 5, but that doesn't mean he'll be under center on Sunday. Charlie Whitehurst has been taking the first team reps thus far, and coach Pete Carroll told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that the team was preparing for Whitehurst to start. Jackson's activity does indicate, however, that his return may not be far off.

See you at the injury chat Friday at 11 a.m., and we'll have the latest injury updates affecting Week 7 in the Saturday morning blog!



Let's start with what we know: There are six teams on bye this week. The San Diego Chargers, Seattle Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals, Kansas City Chiefs, Tennessee Titans and Denver Broncos are all off this week, good news for all of their currently injured players.

Of the teams playing in Week 6, at least one has given fantasy owners a heads-up regarding player status. Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith announced Wednesday that wide receiver Julio Jones will not play Sunday because of his injured hamstring. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the team hopes to have Jones back in Week 7. In the meantime, No. 3 receiver Harry Douglas will start opposite Roddy White. Douglas, who missed all of 2009 with a torn ACL, showed some brilliant flashes in the preseason and could see a target boost this week. Meanwhile, White, who has struggled off and on with a bruised thigh and some dropped balls (although he still leads the team in number of receptions and found the end zone in Week 5), continued with a limited practice schedule Wednesday but returned to full practice Thursday. White is expected to start Sunday as usual.

With that, we turn to other injured players who could impact your fantasy roster in Week 6.

[+] EnlargeMatt Schaub
Thomas B. Shea/Getty ImagesMatt Schaub missed Wednesday's practice with a shoulder injury but looks good to go for Sunday.
Matt Schaub, QB, Houston Texans: Schaub took a big hit near his knee from Oakland Raiders defensive end Richard Seymour and appeared to be moving gingerly late in the game. Apparently, Schaub is also dealing with a sore shoulder, according to coach Gary Kubiak, and missed Wednesday's practice. However, Schaub returned to practice Thursday and it sounds as if he's in no danger of missing Sunday's game.

LeGarrette Blount, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: As noted in Tuesday's blog entry, Blount took a helmet to his left knee in the Week 5 game against the San Francisco 49ers. He has not practiced yet this week and it appears he is unlikely to suit up in Week 6. Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman is certainly providing hints that the team plans to lean on veteran Earnest Graham, saying "... now this week he's going to get the majority of the reps, the majority of the carries." And Rick Stroud of the St. Petersburg Times reported Thursday that Blount's injury could cause him to miss 1-2 games. He cited sources that say Blount is doubtful for Week 6 and questionable for Week 7.

Joseph Addai, RB, Indianapolis Colts: Add Addai to the long list of hamstring-injury sufferers. Addai left the Week 5 game in the second quarter with an injury to his right hamstring and underwent an MRI on Monday, although the results have not been shared. Addai did not practice Wednesday and the sense is he will not play Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. After Friday we should get a better idea as to whether it will be Donald Brown or Delone Carter starting in his place.

Daniel Thomas, RB, Miami Dolphins: Sometimes the bye week comes at just the right time and that appears to have been the case for Thomas. An additional week of rest for a hamstring injury that has bothered him since the preseason allowed Thomas to return to practice all week. With the Dolphins not playing until Monday night, his chances of being on the field are encouraging.



Quick Hits


• Speaking of the bye week coming at the right time, it certainly appears to be the case for the collective offensive weaponry of the Dallas Cowboys. Tony Romo got a week to rest his broken rib and further the healing process. Running back Felix Jones was able to give his shoulder a week without contact. Wide receivers Miles Austin (hamstring) and Dez Bryant (thigh) were allowed to rest their wheels. All have been full participants in practice this week and all are expected to start Sunday. The Cowboys must have forgotten what it's like to have this many offensive threats on the field at once (not to mention a healthy Jason Witten, who does not appear on the injury report). While it remains to be seen whether all of them can make it through a game and still be healthy, they are putting their best lineup on the field to face the New England Patriots.

[+] EnlargeBenJarvus Green-Ellis
Elsa/Getty ImagesBenJarvus Green-Ellis burned the Jets for 136 yards and two TDs last week but his status for this week is up in the air.
• Will the Patriots have all of their offensive weapons against the Cowboys, though? Maybe not. After a great performance Sunday, running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis is now on the injury report because of a toe ailment. After being limited Wednesday, he didn't participate at all Thursday, which is definitely a concern. If he does not improve Friday, it could mean more work for Stevan Ridley this weekend. Meanwhile, teammate Danny Woodhead returned to limited practice this week after missing Week 5 with an ankle sprain.



Tight end Aaron Hernandez continues to sport a brace on his left knee designed to limit excess medial-lateral motion at the joint but is practicing. Hernandez played in Week 5 and at times appeared uncomfortable, but pressed through it and played for the majority of the game, even looking more comfortable as the game wore on. Hernandez is expected to play again Sunday.

New York Giants running back Brandon Jacobs is still not back in practice after a "mild" MCL sprain kept him out of Week 5. Jacobs said he was ready to run last Thursday but apparently his knee doesn't quite agree. Given his history of knee injuries and his style of running, there is good reason to be very cautious before he's ready to get back to the grind of running against contact. Friday's practice will speak volumes, but it's looking as if Jacobs could miss another week.

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall is off the injury report after serving as the "emergency" back in Week 5 due to a hamstring strain. Mendenhall has been a full participant in practice and is expected to play Sunday. Less clear is how the workload will end up being shared between Mendenhall and Isaac Redman.

• Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson is still recovering from a procedure on his injured hamstring and is not expected to play this week. Running back Arian Foster remains on the injury report, now listed as limited because of his quadriceps, but is still expected to be the starter and the feature back. Ben Tate has an Achilles injury listed along with the groin but was still a limited participant in practice. Derrick Ward was also limited with his high ankle sprain. As it stands, Tate appears to be second in line to Foster.

Washington Redskins running back Tim Hightower and tight end Chris Cooley both continue to be limited in practice even after the bye week. Hightower had what coach Mike Shanahan referred to as a "sore" shoulder, while Cooley has been dealing with knee issues since undergoing offseason surgery. The Fredericksburg Freelance-Star reports Hightower actually injured his shoulder in the season opener but didn't disclose the injury and continued to play through it. Hightower insists he'll be ready to play this week. Meanwhile, John Keim of the Washington Examiner reports Cooley had fluid drained from his knee this week. It was Cooley who said before the season started that he expected to have to manage knee pain all season long. That appears to be playing itself out and his productivity has been limited as a result.

See you at the injury chat Friday at 11 a.m. and we'll have the latest injury updates affecting Week 6 in the Saturday morning blog!

Holmes, Bryant, Nicks among iffy WRs

September, 18, 2011
9/18/11
1:09
AM ET


After a stellar performance in Week 1, San Diego Chargers running back Mike Tolbert gave everyone a scare when he exited the game in the fourth quarter with what appeared to be a knee injury. Tolbert was medically cleared to return to practice by the start of the week, however, and never even showed up on the team's injury report. In other words, he put in a normal week of practice and is ready to face the New England Patriots.



Also off the injury report: Matt Cassel (QB, Kansas City Chiefs), Steve Breaston (WR, Chiefs), Austin Collie (WR, Indianapolis Colts) and Visanthe Shiancoe (TE, Minnesota Vikings)

Good luck in Week 2, everyone! May your players stay healthy and win for you.

Quarterbacks

Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams, index finger, (P): The Rams play in the Monday night game, so it is nice to know there is every indication that he will play. On Thursday, we noted the team's optimism after Bradford returned to practice and how he was going about treating his finger . The concern after this injury, naturally, is how well Bradford can grip and deliver the ball, but those concerns were put to rest early in the week with the accuracy Bradford showed in practice. After doing limited work Wednesday and Thursday, Bradford put in a full practice Friday, enhancing his chances of leading his team in New York on Monday night.

Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals, right wrist, (P): Dalton's bruised right forearm made it difficult for him to effectively use his wrist and hand to grip the ball early in the week, but as the inflammation has improved, so has his function. Dalton was able to do some work with the right hand Thursday (after using only his left on Wednesday) and on Friday was able to put in a full practice. He showed the team what he needed to for them to list him as probable. Plan on Dalton starting Sunday.

Jason Campbell, Oakland Raiders, foot, (P): Despite being added to the injury report this week with a foot ailment, Campbell put in a full practice daily. He is expected to start in Buffalo.

Running backs

Arian Foster
AP Photo/Eric GayAfter missing Week 1, Arian Foster is looking good to play on Sunday against the Dolphins.
Arian Foster, Houston Texans, hamstring, (Q): Still the most intensely observed fantasy player in Week 2, Foster appears on track to play this week after sitting out the season opener. This really doesn't come as a shock after tracking Foster's progress throughout the past two weeks. Although he didn't practice last week, he did increase the intensity of his running workouts daily. This week, Foster returned to practice, and though he was listed as limited each day, head coach Gary Kubiak noted as early as Wednesday that Foster was taking the normal reps of a starter. By Friday, Kubiak sounded confident in Foster's recovery. With teammate Derrick Ward already ruled out (ankle, shoulder), it appears Foster is in line to start, with Ben Tate available to come off the bench. It is worth noting that Kubiak indicated Foster would likely not take his usual number of snaps, but these are the types of things that often change during the game. If Foster shows any signs of discomfort or suffers a setback, Tate could come in early. But if Foster shows that the hamstring issue appears to be a thing of the past and he's running well, he could see the bulk of the action. Despite the desire of fantasy owners to make it so, it is impossible to be certain an athlete is fully recovered from a muscle strain until he is able to prove it on the field. Game situations are more demanding and are simply not duplicated in practice. So everyone hopes for the best, knowing the week of rest undoubtedly benefited Foster in his recovery process. The Texans have shown they are interested in his availability for the long haul by not pressing him into service in Week 1. No doubt Foster is eager to prove to everyone -- even himself -- that the worst of this injury is behind him.

Steven Jackson, St. Louis Rams, quadriceps, (Q): Like teammate Sam Bradford, Jackson plays Monday night, only his status is less certain. While Jackson maintained late in the week that there was still an "outside chance" he could suit up Monday, that chance appears to be very small indeed. Jackson left the Week 1 contest shortly after delivering a touchdown on a 47-yard play and hasn't practiced since. As noted Thursday, the team has confidence in Jackson's ability to recognize how his body is responding, but the signs are not encouraging. Even Jackson, while trying to keep the door open for a Monday night appearance, acknowledged to reporters that it's still early in the season and they want to be smart. The uncertainty, combined with a Monday night game, makes Jackson a risky play. Cadillac Williams would get the start in his place.

Knowshon Moreno, Denver Broncos, hamstring, (Q): Moreno again appears on an injury report because of a hamstring ailment. Moreno has missed time in the past because of hamstring problems and it had to be a concern for fantasy owners coming into the season. This week, it's a particular concern because Moreno has not practiced at all. To complicate the fantasy scenario, this is a late game Sunday. Coming off a Monday night game (translation: less recovery time) with no practice whatsoever, it appears unlikely Moreno will be on the field to face the Cincinnati Bengals.



Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders, shoulder, (P): After taking his share of hits Monday night, McFadden was limited Wednesday and Thursday with a sore shoulder but returned to a full practice Friday, much to the relief of fantasy owners everywhere. The buzz in Oakland, along with the probable tag, indicates he is ready to play Sunday.

Daniel Thomas, Miami Dolphins, hamstring, (P): Thomas injured his hamstring Sept. 7 in practice and was held out of the season opener as a result. Thomas returned to full practice this week, and as his probable designation would suggest, is expected to play. Between coming off the injury and a less than stellar preseason, Thomas is not likely to get the majority of carries. Teammate Reggie Bush is expected to start Sunday, but it's worth keeping an eye on Thomas, whose role could expand going forward.

Wide receivers

Santonio Holmes, New York Jets, knee/quadriceps, (Q): Holmes suffered a knee injury in last week's contest against the Dallas Cowboys, but it did not appear particularly serious given that Holmes practiced fully Wednesday. On Thursday, however, Holmes injured his quadriceps (front of the thigh muscle) during practice and told reporters he did it while running. It's unclear whether the two injuries were on the same side, but since the quadriceps crosses the knee joint, the injuries could certainly compound one another. Coach Rex Ryan's concern about Holmes' status was evident and even Holmes, after expressing confidence about playing Thursday, told "The Michael Kay Show" on Friday that the decision would be up to the doctors. In other words, this likely comes down to pregame warm-ups and evaluation, but it also suggests Holmes is not likely to be at full strength by game time. Murky.

Plaxico Burress, New York Jets, ankle, (P): Burress played last week, practiced fully every day this week and is expected to play this week as well.

Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions, ankle, (Q): Despite being listed as questionable, there is every expectation Johnson will play. Swelling in an ankle he sprained in Week 1 kept him off the practice field Wednesday and Thursday, but he did return to limited practice Friday. All along, Johnson did not seem overly concerned about his status and he has certainly rested during the week in past seasons in order to recover for Sunday. While it may not be a full recovery for his ankle, it's likely enough to allow him to be a big-play guy for Matthew Stafford to target.

Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants, knee, (Q): Just what fantasy owners love. A Monday night game-time decision for a star player who has indicated he plans on playing but may not be up to full speed. That essentially summarizes the Nicks situation. Swelling in his knee kept him out of practice Wednesday and Thursday and he did only limited individual work Friday. While the New York Daily News reported Friday that Nicks indicated he would be "out there Monday" and that the pain and swelling were gone, head coach Tom Coughlin reiterated it would be a medical decision. The fact that Nicks got in a couple of days of limited work is a positive, but there's no telling how his knee will be feeling come Monday. The bottom line is if the swelling has returned to a degree where it compromises his ability to move effectively, he will be held out. On the other hand, an additional day of rest this week allows for more recovery. Given how Nicks has responded in the past and his late-week progress, the scale tips in his favor to play, but this is why they're called "dreaded" game-time decisions.



Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys, thigh, (Q): Bryant is not only questionable, he's very questionable. After looking clearly impaired in the second half of last Sunday's game, Bryant did not practice all week because of a deep thigh bruise. Although team owner Jerry Jones sounded confident Thursday about Bryant's chances of playing, he retreated a bit from his remarks on Friday. While the Cowboys have indicated they would give Bryant up until game time, it's not just a question of desire on the part of Bryant. A deep bruise indicates bleeding within the muscle, which can render the tissue stiff and painful. The athlete will not be at full strength, will lack flexibility and, depending how limited he is, could be at risk for further injury. It would not be a surprise if Bryant sits; if he does not, it's hard to picture him performing at full capacity.

Miles Austin, Dallas Cowboys, knee, (P): Last week, he was probable. He played. He scored. This week, he's probable as well. He plays again and perhaps gets more attention given teammate Bryant's status.

Brandon Lloyd, Denver Broncos, groin, (P): Despite telling reporters he was not injured in the Monday night game, Lloyd appeared on the injury report and did not practice Wednesday or Thursday. He did make an appearance Friday, increasing his chances of making an appearance Sunday. That said, he will undoubtedly warm up before the game before a decision is made. It's hard to feel confident about a receiver with a groin injury coming off a short week and practicing only once, and on a limited basis at that.

Lance Moore
Patrick Green/Icon SMILance Moore could make his season debut Sunday against the Bears, but how effective will he be?
Lance Moore, New Orleans Saints, groin, (Q): Another receiver, another groin injury. In Moore's case, however, the injury was several weeks ago, he rested the first week of the season and he has been able to practice all week, albeit on a limited basis. With teammate Marques Colston out with a broken clavicle, Moore has an opportunity to be the beneficiary. It appears he might begin that campaign this week. The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that, as early as Thursday, head coach Sean Payton expressed optimism Moore would play this week. That said, even if he does play, it's hard to project how much action he will see. Everyone knows by now that quarterback Drew Brees has a multitude of receiving weapons and Moore is coming off a multiweek injury to an easily aggravated body part. And he is, after all, questionable, so be sure to check pregame inactive reports.

Michael Crabtree, San Francisco 49ers, foot, (Q): Crabtree will likely be a game-time decision and last week's scenario had to be a bit unnerving for fantasy owners. Crabtree, who dealt with a foot injury that required surgery in the offseason, left the game early because of pain. According to the Sacramento Bee, Crabtree later said he would likely have to play through pain all season and would just "remove himself from the game" when it becomes unbearable. Not exactly what fantasy owners want to hear.

Darrius Heyward-Bey, Oakland Raiders, knee, (Q): Heyward-Bey's status becomes more important this week with teammates Louis Murphy and Jacoby Ford already ruled out due to injury. Heyward-Bey has a knee issue that limited him on Thursday (he did not finish practice after sustaining the injury) and he did not practice on Friday. The Raiders under Hue Jackson are being very mum on injuries, but there is definitely some concern about Heyward-Bey's late-week injury, perhaps even more so because the team is already thin at receiver this week. If he plays, it's not likely his well-documented speed will be up to par.

Tight ends

Chris Cooley, Washington Redskins, knee, (Q): Cooley, not surprisingly, struggled in Week 1. He did increase his practice activity this week, however, fully participating daily. It seems likely that if he could play last week, he will again this week, but how effective he can be is still questionable. Keep in mind this is an issue Cooley said he expected to have to manage throughout the season, so until we see him perform better, it's hard to have confidence.

Marcedes Lewis, Jacksonville Jaguars, calf, (D): Lewis did not practice at all Wednesday or Thursday and was limited Friday. The doubtful tag tells you all you need to know. He is highly unlikely to play in Week 2.

Out


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

Peyton Manning, QB, Indianapolis Colts, neck: Get used to this one. Manning will be out for several months after undergoing a cervical (neck) fusion.



Sidney Rice, WR, Seattle Seahawks, shoulder: The Seahawks spared everyone another Sunday lineup decision by announcing in advance that Rice is out for Week 2. He did do some practicing this week, though, so keep an eye on him for next Sunday.

Be sure to check out Fantasy Football Now, Sundays on ESPN2 at 11:30 a.m. ET, and don't forget our game-day chat and the online version of Fantasy Football Now on ESPN.com starts at 10 a.m. ET for last-minute inactives, rankings, injury impact and more!

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