Stephania Bell: Donovan McNabb

It's time for fantasy owners to make midweek moves to boost their fantasy rosters. Injury concerns naturally factor into those decisions as we try to gauge who is going to miss time and just how long that absence will be. This week there are four teams on bye: Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints and San Diego Chargers, so be sure to secure your replacements. Here are some status updates as we look ahead to Week 5.


Eli Manning, New York Giants: On Tuesday, I detailed plantar fasciitis, the condition afflicting Manning. On Wednesday, Manning sat out practice and coach Tom Coughlin indicated Manning would be considered day-to-day. For his part, Manning appears intent on playing and Coughlin has said that his star quarterback could play even if he's unable to practice during the week. The bottom line at this point is that this is shaping up to be a potential game-time decision, one which will depend on whether Manning can maintain his normal throwing mechanics despite the pain.

Matt Hasselbeck
Steve Dykes/US PresswireMatt Hasselbeck wants to play this week, but will injuries elsewhere hurt his chances to get a start?
Matt Hasselbeck, Seattle Seahawks: Hasselbeck sat out Weeks 3 and 4 while recovering from a broken rib and was still having pain with deep breathing last week. Coach Jim Mora told reporters his quarterback is "without question doing everything possible to get out on the football field." Offensive coordinator Greg Knapp remarked that Hasselbeck's throwing motion looked fine but that he was not quite in football shape. However, he shared practice time with Seneca Wallace on Wednesday, according to The Seattle Times. Hasselbeck indicated that he wanted to come back, but would go with what was in the best interest of the team. A main concern for the Seahawks will be providing him enough protection up front should he be able to play Sunday. Despite the team's recent struggles, the goal is clearly to avoid any setbacks and to have him available for the long haul. On the other hand, the Seahawks have been plagued with offensive line injuries, which may also factor into the decision as to whether he gets the start in Week 5.

Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia Eagles: McNabb will start Sunday. Coach Andy Reid said it himself Wednesday and made it clear that McNabb is resuming control at the helm in Week 5. McNabb is reportedly feeling much better, but knows he is not yet 100 percent recovered. He acknowledged on the Eagles' official Web site that things like laughing and coughing still cause discomfort, but he does not expect to be restricted at all playing football. McNabb will no doubt be wearing some extra protection over his ribs this weekend, but now that he's back in practice, fantasy owners can expect to have him back in their lineups as well.

Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions: Stafford reportedly suffered a patellar subluxation in Week 4 (although the Lions are staying mum on the topic), and on Tuesday I outlined the nature of such an injury. He did not practice Wednesday, which is not especially surprising given the nature of the injury. Although coach Jim Schwartz is not speculating as to whether Stafford is going to be available for Sunday's contest against the Pittsburgh Steelers, if the rookie misses another day, it would be hard to imagine him playing. From the physical perspective, Stafford would need to have enough resolution of pain and swelling to allow his quadriceps muscle to function normally. He needs to be able to play the position without apprehension that his patella (kneecap) will go out on him again, so quadriceps strength plays a large role. Although Stafford could (and most likely will) eventually play with some sort of support around the kneecap, it seems unlikely that he would be turned loose against the Steelers' defense if he is not fully mobile. If Stafford is on your fantasy team, it is probably best to secure another option at this point.

Marc Bulger, St. Louis Rams: Kyle Boller filled in for Bulger last week as Bulger nursed a bruised throwing shoulder. Bulger did perform some throwing in pregame warm-ups, however, and continued with light throwing Monday. On Wednesday, Bulger continued to progress with his throws, but ESPN's NFC West blogger Mike Sando reports that it is almost certain the Rams will hold Bulger out another week. With his shoulder still on the mend, some issues with the offensive line and a tough Minnesota Vikings pass rush, the decision might be to simply allow him another week of healing and avoiding hits.

Running Backs

Felix Jones and Marion Barber, Dallas Cowboys: Barber was a full participant in Wednesday's practice and Felix Jones was absent. While nothing definitive has been said regarding Jones' status, at the time of his injury (PCL sprain), there were rumblings that he would miss a couple of weeks and fantasy owners should plan on his not being available. Meanwhile, Barber, whose quad tightened up in the second half of last week's game, should fare better this week. If he continues to practice fully throughout the week, he can be expected to start Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs. By the end of the week, we should have a better idea as to how much work we can expect from Barber in the game.

Willie Parker
Rich Gabrielson/Icon SMIWillie Parker hoped he'd play last week but didn't. Now, he's far less optimistic that he'll play this week.
Willie Parker, Pittsburgh Steelers: Parker sat out Week 4 with a case of turf toe sustained during the Week 3 contest in Cincinnati. Although Parker appeared to be holding out hope during the week that he would play, as the Sunday deadline approached and he was still unable to run, it became apparent that he would need to rest the painful toe. As is often the case with turf toe, this is not a problem with a quick fix. Parker seems to be resigned to that and is not nearly as optimistic heading into Week 5. After not practicing Wednesday, Parker told reporters that although he wants to go out and compete, he is not where he needs to be right now to perform. Given Rashard Mendenhall's solid performance in Week 4 and knowing the Steelers are headed to the turf of Detroit's Ford Field, it is sounding as if Mendenhall will again take the place of Parker in Week 5.

Brian Westbrook, Philadelphia Eagles: Westbrook will join his teammate Donovan McNabb back in the lineup in Week 5. Westbrook missed Week 3 as he recovered from a sprain to the right ankle he had surgically addressed in June. It appeared that Westbrook's intended return would follow the bye week, and so far things are going according to plan. Coach Andy Reid has already indicated on the Eagles' official Web site that he expects to rotate Westbrook with LeSean McCoy. We have been saying for some time now that this was the likely evolution at the running back position so that the Eagles could make use of Westbrook's talents while not overloading his joints. Barring a setback late in the week, Westbrook should at least be in line for a portion of the action Sunday, but how much time he sees is unknown.

Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers: Regular readers won't be surprised to learn that Frank Gore has been ruled out for this Sunday's contest with his ankle injuries, according to Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. Gore was initially projected to miss a few weeks and was not expected to return until after the 49ers' bye week (which is in Week 6) at the earliest.

Correll Buckhalter, Denver Broncos: Buckhalter suffered a sprained left ankle in Week 4 and it looks as if the door has been opened for rookie Knowshon Moreno to get his first career start. Buckhalter missed practice Wednesday and reports suggest that the Broncos may be without his services when they face the New England Patriots in Week 5. Moreno appeared to be progressing toward a starting role for the Broncos as his workload has expanded over the first few weeks of the season. Buckhalter's injury may have just moved the timetable along. Moreno's fantasy owners have to be excited about the prospects here.

Clinton Portis, Washington Redskins: The Washington Times reports that Portis will be ready to face the Panthers in Week 5 despite aggravating an ankle injury. Earlier this year coach Jim Zorn indicated that Portis was dealing with bone spurs in both ankles and had been trying to play through pain. Just last week, Portis remarked how much better his ankles were feeling with his current treatment regimen. Despite that optimism, this situation is likely to be ongoing throughout the season. Nonetheless, Portis was not on Wednesday's injury report, which is a good sign heading into the weekend.

Fred Taylor, New England Patriots: Taylor did not practice Wednesday and was listed on the practice (injury) report as "ankle." Given the Patriots' notorious secrecy when it comes to injuries, there are no indications as to whether this is a serious injury that could result in missed time or whether they are resting Taylor's ankle in advance of this week's contest. Stay tuned for practice reports as the week progresses.

Wide Receivers

Roy E. Williams, Dallas Cowboys: Williams says he expects to play in Week 5 despite injured rib cartilage, according to The Dallas Morning News. That said, Williams did not practice Wednesday. His status could evolve heading up to game time, so stay tuned for updates.

Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions: Johnson rested his bruised thigh Wednesday and did not practice. Although the Lions have not indicated whether or not they expect Johnson to be available, his status will remain day to day until proven otherwise.

Wes Welker, New England Patriots: Welker was finally able to get back on the field in Week 4 after being limited with a mysterious knee ailment that had kept him out since Week 2. Welker had a modest fantasy performance Sunday but showed that he was able to run at full speed and make some plays. Welker was held to a limited practice Wednesday, suggesting that the Patriots are still being cautious when it comes to his knee. However, if he continues to practice daily it's likely he will see the field again this week.

Antonio Bryant, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Bryant was able to get in the end zone Sunday and appeared to be more Antonio Bryant-like in Week 4. He has been working his way back from post-surgical knee soreness that appeared after his Week 1 debut. Although Bryant was limited in practice Wednesday, this may well be a precautionary measure to ensure his availability for Sunday.

Be sure to check back on Saturday for post-Friday NFL injury report updates on all your fantasy players heading into the weekend.

See you at the injury chats (Tuesday 11:00 a.m.-noon, Friday 11 a.m.-noon and Sunday pregame 10:00-10:30 a.m.). And check out Fantasy Football Now on Sundays at from 11:30 a.m. to kickoff for last-minute inactives, rankings and more!

It's time for fantasy owners to make those midweek moves to boost their fantasy rosters. Injury concerns naturally factor into those decisions as we try to gauge who is going to miss time and just how long that absence will be. Here are some status updates as we look ahead to Week 3.


Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia Eagles: McNabb has yet to practice since fracturing his rib in Week 1 and it appears that Kevin Kolb may be in line for his second start. Although the Eagles have not ruled McNabb out, it certainly seems as if he could rest this week, especially with a bye coming up next week. It's worth noting that they also have Jeff Garcia available and, as of this week, Michael Vick.

Matt Hasselbeck, Seattle Seahawks: Hasselbeck suffered a broken rib in the Seahawks' Week 2 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. According to Associated Press reports, the rib Hasselbeck injured is in the upper back area, causing pain in his shoulder. Although the pain can be equally severe no matter which rib is broken, the abdominal muscles attach only to the lower ribs (where McNabb suffered his injury), so it's possible that the injury might not hamper Hasselbeck's throwing ability to the same degree.

Hasselbeck did not practice Wednesday and might not practice all week, but coach Jim Mora told the Tacoma News Tribune that missing practice would not prevent his starter from playing Sunday. "This is a guy who can pick things up without having to do the repetitions on the field," Mora said. However, he was quick to add that "the key thing is what's best for Matt's health and for this football team in terms of long-term success." The Seahawks are preparing Seneca Wallace to start, and fantasy owners should keep that in mind.

Running Backs

Marion Barber
Kim Klement/US PresswireMarion Barber has rushed for 203 yards and two TDs this season, so a cut in playing time would hurt fantasy owners.
Marion Barber, Dallas Cowboys: Barber strained his left quadriceps muscle (large muscle on the front of the thigh) on a long run in Sunday's game. An early report had Barber missing one to two weeks, but the Cowboys have not ruled Barber out for Week 3. In fact, Barber surprised many by participating in practice Wednesday, albeit on a limited basis. He was reportedly catching some passes and jogging lightly. Although this early activity is a very good sign, it is a far cry from what Barber needs to do to perform in a game. Despite the fact that the Cowboys have a Monday night game, giving Barber an additional day of healing time, it is still unlikely that his muscle will have fully recovered by then. The big concern with soft tissue injuries is that overloading still healing tissue will result in more severe injury, and ultimately more missed time. In other words, we will track Barber's progress throughout the week but even if Barber does make an appearance, expect Felix Jones and Tashard Choice to get the bulk of the work.

Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings: Uh-oh. The appearance of Peterson on Wednesday's injury report is enough to strike fear in the hearts of fantasy owners who have no doubt been riding his Week 1 and 2 performances to victory. Peterson was limited in practice because of his back (which might just be a result of fatigue from the physical workload he's been carrying), but it is too early to panic. After all, he has missed only two games in two years. This is something to keep an eye on, though, as the week progresses.

LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego Chargers: Tomlinson missed Week 2 because of a sprained ankle, which he has suggested is minor. Nonetheless, Tomlinson did not practice Wednesday. He likely will attempt to get back into practice during the latter part of the week to test the ankle. Tomlinson was ruled out early last week, but this week might come down to a game-time decision.

Pierre Thomas and Mike Bell, New Orleans Saints: Not only do they play the same position, they suffer the same injuries. Bell came out of Week 2 with a sprained right MCL, but early indications are that the injury was not serious. It might have been a minor sprain, but it was still enough to keep Bell out of practice Wednesday. Thomas, who suffered a more serious version of the same sprain in the preseason, is on the upswing and the roles of the two running backs may well be reversed this week. Thomas saw some (very limited) game action in Week 2 but, most importantly, emerged no worse for the wear. Thomas was a full participant in Wednesday practice and is expected to increase his workload in Week 3. The timing might be perfect to allow Bell to either sit this week out or at least limit his activity.

Brian Westbrook, Philadelphia Eagles: Westbrook's sprained right ankle (his surgically repaired ankle) kept him out of practice Wednesday. This pattern of resting during the week and playing on Sunday is so familiar to owners that it's almost automatic. While it's too early to say that Westbrook will play for sure, it would not come as a surprise. And while this ankle injury has not been deemed serious, it is probably an indicator of the ongoing challenge Westbrook will face when it comes to maintaining the health of his joints.

Jamal Lewis
Icon SMIEven if Jamal Lewis were healthy, he's not a great option to start as he faces the Ravens.
Jamal Lewis, Cleveland Browns: Lewis missed practice Wednesday because of a hamstring injury, and The Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting that Lewis likely will be listed as questionable when Friday's reports come out. It is hard to imagine Lewis not suiting up if at all possible, given that he will be facing the Baltimore Ravens. There is backup available. Rookie James Davis, who sat out Week 2 with a shoulder injury sustained during the season opener, did return to practice Wednesday and is expected to play.

Wide Receivers

Kevin Walter, Houston Texans: Walter missed Week 1 after pregame warm-ups made it clear that he could not go full speed. The following week everyone, including Walter, was upbeat about his chances of playing in Week 2. But after a full practice that Wednesday, Walter's hamstring did not respond well. He was limited in practice the remainder of the week and then could not play Sunday. Unfortunately, this is often how it goes with muscle strains. The athlete's perception as to how the muscle feels is the biggest determinant of how hard to push it in practice and competition. It is often the case that the very work the athlete needs to do to test the muscle can result in a setback, and it appears that was the case with Walter.

So how is this week shaping up? Walter started the week limited in practice and there are no declarations of his availability just yet. Assume that the Texans will have Walter gradually increase his work through the week in the hopes that he can be available Sunday. This might again come down to a game-time decision.

Anquan Boldin, Arizona Cardinals: Boldin has been steadily improving from the hamstring injury that limited him in the preseason and was much more of a factor in the Cardinals' Week 2 contest than in the season opener. The good news is that Boldin was a full participant in practice as of Wednesday, and at least at this stage, it appears the worst is behind him. Meanwhile, teammate Early Doucet, who had been sidelined with a rib injury, was also a full participant in Wednesday's practice and should be available this week. Steve Breaston, who has been recovering from a sprained PCL, was able to contribute in Week 2, so despite not practicing Wednesday, it is expected that he too will be available in Week 3.

Deion Branch, Seattle Seahawks: After missing the first two games this season, Branch, who over the larger part of the past two years has dealt with injuries including an ACL reconstruction, a heel bruise and the hamstring, appears to be in line to make his season debut. Branch was a full participant in Wednesday's practice and coach Jim Mora told the Tacoma News Tribune that he expects Branch to play this week. It's worth keeping an eye on the receiver situation since Branch's teammate T.J. Houshmandzadeh missed Wednesday practice because of a sore back. The back was bothering Houshmandzadeh last week but he did play Sunday.

Be sure to check my Saturday blog for post-Friday NFL injury report updates on all your fantasy players heading into the weekend.

See you at the injury chats (Tuesday, 11:00 a.m.-noon; Friday, 11 a.m.-noon; and Sunday pregame, 10:00 a.m.-10:30 a.m.). And check out Fantasy Football Now on Sundays at from 11:30 a.m. ET to kickoff for last-minute inactives, rankings and more!

Welcome to the post-Week 2 breakdown. Literally, some more guys are breaking down this week. I think there's a copycat phenomenon happening in the NFL. In the preseason, I thought it was the MCL sprain. Now I think it might be the rib fracture. Forget bruised ribs, these guys are taking it to the extreme with broken bones. When does a fantasy owner need to start worrying about making roster moves? Here's what we have so far ...

Matt Hasselbeck
AP Photo/Ben MargotMatt Hasselbeck suffered a broken rib in very similar fashion as Donovan McNabb.
Matt Hasselbeck, QB, Seattle Seahawks: In a chapter out of the Philadelphia Eagles' playbook, Hasselbeck suffered a fractured rib when a San Francisco 49ers player collided with him as he went down to the ground. Hasselbeck struggled to get off the field and there was concern that he might have suffered additional internal injuries. The good news there is that imaging tests showed no internal damage, but unfortunately they did confirm the presence of a broken rib. For his part, Hasselbeck told the Seattle Times that he has "definitely felt worse." He went on to say that he has woken up on a Monday feeling worse than he did this week, which he finds encouraging. Hasselbeck says he hopes to play, but the fact of the matter is that it really comes down to what happens as the week progresses. While his optimism is encouraging, it would not be surprising to see Seneca Wallace start in his place.

Marion Barber, RB, Dallas Cowboys: His injury was painful to watch. Barber, who had been running beautifully, reached for his left leg as he pulled up and then crumbled to the ground. The fact that he reached for the front of his thigh suggested a quadriceps strain, the question was how severe it was. Barber underwent an MRI on Monday and the Dallas Morning News is reporting that the test confirmed a strain. Although the team has not indicated the severity of the strain, we take our clues where we can get them. A confirmation of tissue damage on MRI suggests a Grade II, or moderate, strain, which represents a wide range of injury. Depending on just how much bleeding there is in the area, the healing time frame can range from two weeks to more than a month. Remember that St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson suffered a quadriceps strain last year and it cost him four games and part of a fifth. Coach Wade Phillips says they will "have to wait and see" whether Barber misses any time and certainly his ability to practice will help determine that. Fantasy owners should plan on seeing more Felix Jones and Tashard Choice this week.

Mike Bell, RB, New Orleans Saints: It may be the running back carousel in New Orleans and not necessarily by design. After stepping up ably for the injured Pierre Thomas in the first two weeks, Bell suffered an injury of his own. He sprained his right knee, his medial collateral ligament (MCL) to be exact, just like Thomas. However, it sounds like Bell's injury may be slightly less serious, as his MRI showed no structural damage, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune (suggesting a Grade I, or minor, sprain). This is still something that could cause Bell to miss time, although perhaps only a week or two, so the healing Thomas could ramp up his workload as a result. The Saints are not yet saying whether Bell will sit this week out, but fantasy owners should prepare for that eventuality.

Other quick hits

• Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb is still feeling pain where he broke his rib, which is no surprise. After all, this is the kind of injury that hurts for weeks. Just imagine how much worse his pain would be if he had played. There is still a question as to whether McNabb will indeed start Sunday. You have to imagine that if there is any doubt as to whether he can be effective, Kevin Kolb will get the start against the Kansas City Chiefs and McNabb will rest until Week 5 (the Eagles have a bye in Week 4). Once again, it all will depend on whether he can practice this week or not.

Brian Westbrook
AP Photo/Matt SlocumNot surprisingly, Brian Westbrook is banged up again, although for now it looks like he'll be able to go on Sunday.
• Sticking with the Eagles and a familiar name when it comes to injury, running back Brian Westbrook suffered a sprained right ankle in Week 2. It is worth noting that this is the ankle he had surgery on during the summer. This should not come as a complete surprise to regular readers here. As I indicated in June, when Westbrook made the decision to undergo surgery, the damage to the joint likely reflected some instability, and that is likely a contributing factor here. While the injury itself has not been deemed serious, it is probably indicative of the challenges Westbrook will continue to face from week to week. Expect a healthy dose of LeSean McCoy in Week 3. Also, wide receiver DeSean Jackson appeared to aggravate the groin injury suffered in Week 1, although it didn't hurt his fantasy stats. Jackson probably will be held to limited practice this week, but it will not become clear whether the groin will threaten his playing status until later in the week.

• The New York Giants added to their injury roster this weekend. Most notably, defensive end Justin Tuck had a hard fall onto his shoulder. Tuck was not only in pain after the injury, he was angry about how it happened. Tuck was visibly tripped by Cowboys left tackle Flozell Adams and referred to the play as "bush league." X-rays taken at the time were negative. However, according to the New York Times, Tuck, who was wearing a sling after the game, was in so much pain that he was having trouble dressing. MRI results have not been released but Tuck says he will play. As a defensive end, he needs to be able to get his arm up high and have enough strength to wrap up an opponent as his shoulder is getting yanked. We will see if he can get to that point in time for this Sunday's contest. Meanwhile, wide receiver Domenik Hixon suffered a knee sprain in that same game, but was seeking to get back into the game, suggesting that it is not terribly serious.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Bryant stayed home this weekend to rest his sore post-surgical knee, skipping the team trip to Buffalo. The Tampa Tribune is reporting that Bryant has a bone bruise, but no timetable has been issued as to when he can return. Much will depend on Bryant's pain, which he currently describes as dull, an improvement over the sharp pain he was experiencing previously. He hopes to play this weekend but is mindful of the big picture, i.e. his availability for the long haul of the season. Fantasy owners should not panic over Bryant's condition at this point as it appears he will be available within the next couple of weeks.

San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore had an awesome week! He also suffered a mild right ankle sprain. X-rays were negative and the San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that Gore is probable for this week's matchup against the Minnesota Vikings.

We will update these injuries and others as the week progresses.

See you at the injury chats (Tuesday 11 a.m.-noon, Friday 11 a.m.-noon and Sunday pre-game 10-10:30 a.m..) and we'll have the latest injury updates affecting Week 2 in the Saturday morning blog!

Hopefully no one's fantasy team was terribly decimated by injuries last week, although a few big names did crop up on the injury report in Week 1. Perhaps the most surprising player sitting out in Week 2 is LaDainian Tomlinson who is missing his first ever regular season start due to injury. For those fantasy owners who drafted LT hoping that this would be his bounce back year, don't give up yet. This appears to be a minor hiccup in what will be a long season.

Last week I outlined the definition of each injury designation which is what teams are required to report when anticipating player status for the upcoming weekend. It's easy when you know a guy is out and you won't have him available. But what about the question marks? To help fantasy owners make the tougher decisions, we delve into those players and what we know about their activity during the week.

At the end of the blog, key fantasy players listed Friday as "Out" for this week's games appear as a group. Good luck in Week 2 everyone! May your players stay healthy and win for you.

Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia Eagles, (D):
There has been a lot of discussion about McNabb's injury in this column and around the airwaves this week. All along I have thought it highly unlikely that he would play and nothing has happened to change that opinion. Yesterday coach Andy Reid labeled McNabb doubtful despite the fact that he's made some progress in his healing. The reason McNabb has made progress is due, at least in part, to the fact that the only thing he's done at practice is watch. Remember, it's not just toughing out the pain, it's playing effectively and avoiding a setback. Indications are that Kevin Kolb will start and with recently signed Jeff Garcia also available, it seems all but certain that McNabb will continue to watch this week.

Matt Cassel, Kansas City Chiefs, (Q):
Cassel remained limited in practice throughout the week and remains a gametime decision for Sunday. That is the first line from the Cassel entry in my blog last Saturday, and it is equally valid as the first line this week. But it also proves the point that the designation (Q, gametime decision) does not tell the whole story. Last week, Cassel was clearly still hampered in his mobility and was visibly uncomfortable, making him an unlikely start, particularly against a stalwart Ravens defense. Oh what a difference a week makes! Cassel appears to be feeling better, is running and moving around the field more nimbly, and despite still being limited in practice, is doing more this week than last. This week the questionable designation has a different feel to it as it seems far more likely that Cassel could go. Coach Todd Haley still wants to see how Cassel looks in pregame warmups, but assuming there are no surprise setbacks, it appears he just may get his first regular season start for the Chiefs.

Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys, (P):
Plan on seeing Romo under center Sunday night when the Cowboys host the Giants. His sprained ankle didn't cause him to miss a snap during last week's game and he didn't miss a beat during practice this week.

Kyle Orton, Denver Broncos, (P):
While it might not have been the prettiest game, Orton did start and play through it with no reports of a setback. He's been fully practicing all week, and his finger has had additional healing time. Expect him to start.

Running Backs:
Pierre Thomas, New Orleans Saints, (Q):
Fantasy owners who paid a good price for Thomas are wondering when the payoffs begin. Not this week I'm afraid. While there is still a reasonable chance that Thomas plays, it does not appear that he is fully recovered and the team may yet hold him out another week. Thomas did practice with the team this week and he clearly wants to get back out there on the field, but -- and this is a significant "but" -- after putting in a full practice Wednesday, Thomas was limited Thursday and Friday, suggesting that his knee is perhaps not ready for prime time. Even if Thomas does suit up, the Saints face a tough Philadelphia Eagles defense. Expect Mike Bell to see more action again.

Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers, (P):
It may seem puzzling that Stewart was not on the report last week, yet is this week. Did he suffer a setback? No, none that we're aware of, but he did see limited practice reps this week, which requires that he then be listed on the injury report. In fact, Stewart did not practice Wednesday and then had limited practice Thursday followed by full practice Friday. This may be a trend to have Stewart rest post-game and then gradually ramp up his activity for the next game in order to manage his sore Achilles. It makes good sense and allows him to be ready to go Sunday. Last week he saw only slightly fewer touches than teammate DeAngelo Williams, and it seems as if the Panthers could go with similar splits this week.

Knowshon Moreno, Denver Broncos, (P):
Moreno, like Thomas, has been working his way back from a sprained MCL suffered during the preseason. The difference is that Moreno was healthy enough to play in Week 1 and got a fair amount of work, given his abbreviated practice time. This week he has been fully practicing with the team, is expected to play and may see even a bigger role.

Jamal Lewis, Cleveland Browns, (P):
Lewis made a somewhat surprising appearance on the Browns' injury report this week with a neck problem, surprising in that there was no mention of injury after the Week 1 games. Lewis was limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday, but was a full participant Friday. That, along with the probable designation, suggests that this is nothing to worry about and that he is expected to play. Meanwhile his teammate, rookie James Davis, left last week's game with a shoulder injury, has been limited in practice all week and is listed as questionable.

Wide Receivers:
Steve Breaston, Arizona Cardinals, (Q):
Last week was a valuable lesson in late pregame scratches, as in they do happen, despite a player being listed as probable. Breaston suffered a sprained PCL and a bone bruise in mid-August but had been a full participant in practice leading up to Week 1, making it seem virtually certain to everyone, including his coaches, that he would play. Apparently Breaston developed some swelling in the knee before Sunday's contest though and clearly could not perform. As a result Breaston rested and Anquan Boldin, surprisingly, started.

This would not be the first time that a PCL sprain has caused some ups and downs in the recovery of an athlete so Breaston is not out of the woods. In fact, this week he has been extremely limited in practice, and while the team hopes he can be available, as one can infer from the questionable designation, they are less confident. Even if he can play, it seems as if he will not play a major role this week and it could be a toss-up between him and teammates Boldin and Early Doucet (recovering from a rib injury) as to how many snaps each one sees. Not a clear-cut situation for fantasy owners.

Anquan Boldin, Arizona Cardinals, (Q):
The paragraph on Breaston tells the story. Boldin, who played last week but was clearly not himself, has been able to do more in practice this week and seems to be further along in his healing process. Boldin has the same status as last week, but there seem to be more murmurings in advance of Sunday that he will indeed play, but how much time any of the receivers see is anyone's guess. None are exceptionally healthy.

Kevin Walter, Houston Texans, (Q):
Walter wisely sat out last week, but given his gametime decision status it seemed that he was really close to being healthy enough to play. In fact early this week, both Walter and coach Gary Kubiak were very confident in Walter's availability this weekend. Not so fast. Walter, who fully practiced Wednesday, was then limited Thursday and Friday, with the Texans again announcing that he would be a gametime decision. They will test his hamstring in pregame warmups. It sounds as if they're leaning towards him playing, but it also sounds like we should not expect him to be quite 100 percent healthy.

Antonio Bryant, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (D):
Heads up fantasy owners; this is a significant downgrade from last week. Bryant, who injured a meniscus in the preseason which required arthroscopic surgery, had been recovering nicely and played in Week 1. He had to leave the game early though and has been dealing with swelling and soreness in the knee since. After being unable to practice late in the week, it does not appear that he will play this weekend. No reason to panic. These types of setback after surgery are not uncommon, particularly as a player ramps up to the highest level of "game" shape. Expect him to work his way back gradually, hopefully within the next one to two weeks.

TJ Houshmandzadeh, Seattle Seahawks, (P):
After a surprise appearance on the injury report Thursday because of back spasms that kept him out of practice, Houshmandzadeh was back at full practice Friday and is expected to play. Meanwhile teammate Deion Branch is still questionable with his balky hamstring, practicing only on a limited basis late in the week. He does not appear ready for competition just yet.

Greg Jennings, Green Bay Packers (P):
No worries here fantasy owners. Jennings jammed his wrist in last week's game and consequently took less reps in practice, making him a candidate for the injury report. He assures everyone he will play and that the wrist is a non-issue.

Tight Ends:
Desmond Clark, Chicago Bears, (D):
Clark suffered a rib injury and was clearly in pain when he left Sunday night's game. There has been some speculation that he could miss several weeks, so do not expect him out on the field this week.

Bo Scaife, Tennessee Titans, (D):
Scaife injured his knee in the Week 1 contest and hasn't been able to practice all week, making it highly unlikely that he will appear in Week 1. Rookie Jared Cook could get the start in his place. He's listed as questionable with an ankle injury that kept him out of Week 1, but he's improved to the point where he's been able to practice on a limited basis. It could be interesting if he plays as he was a featured receiving target during the preseason.

Jeremy Shockey, New Orleans Saints, (P):
This is certainly not the first time that an ankle ailment has placed Shockey on the injury list. It does not sound as though this will keep him from playing his usual role in the Saints' offense this week.

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.

LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, San Diego Chargers:
A sprained ankle is sidelining Tomlinson this week, but it sounds as if this might be the only week. Tomlinson is eager to prove that he is not on the decline, but the team wants his services for the majority of the season, so resting him now makes sense.

Troy Polamalu, S, Pittsburgh Steelers:
A sprained MCL will keep an explosive all coverage safety like Polamalu down for a few weeks, but not a season. Don't count on him for at least a month while the ligament heals.

Limas Sweed, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers:
It's bade enough to suffer an injury in any given week; somehow it feels worse when it's during practice. Sweed apparently injured his midfoot during practice this week. No word yet as to how long he'll be down, but his absence this week is guaranteed.

Anthony Gonzalez, WR, Indianapolis Colts:
Earlier this week I detailed why it's so difficult to establish a timeframe on a complex injury like the one Gonzalez suffered in Week 1.
He will be out for a while, at least a month and perhaps longer.

Chaz Schilens, WR, Oakland Raiders:
Schilens is still recovering from foot surgery and was predicted to be out the first two weeks. It will be interesting to see how he progresses in the coming week.

Brandon Jackson, RB, Green Bay Packers:
Last week he was doubtful and didn't play because of a sprained ankle. This week, after not practicing all week, it was clear he wouldn't play. DeShawn Wynn backs up Ryan Grant.

Danny Ware, RB New York Giants:
A dislocated elbow will likely sideline Ware for more than just one week. Stay tuned.

Hakeem Nicks, WR, New York Giants:
Although the Giants are disappointed that the rookie suffered a foot injury that could sideline him for a few weeks, they are relived that it was not the dreaded Lisfranc injury which might have meant season-ending surgery. His projected timeline is two to four weeks.

See you at the injury chats (Tuesday, 11 a.m.-noon p.m, Friday 11 a.m. noon p.m. and Sunday pre-game (10 a.m.-10:30 a.m.). Be sure to check out Fantasy Football Now on Sundays at from 11:30 a.m. EST to kickoff for last minute inactives, rankings and more!
The injuries are mounting quickly, so let's get right to 'em:


Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia Eagles: On Tuesday, I outlined McNabb's rib injury and the challenges he would face in attempting to play. The information we since have learned further supports the prediction that he will be on the sideline this week. ESPN NFC East blogger Matt Mosley reported the details of McNabb's injury that coach Andy Reid outlined in his news conference. Reid described McNabb's fracture as one in which the bone was broken "all the way through."

Donovan McNabb
Bob Donnan/US PresswireThe Eagles haven't ruled out Donovan McNabb for Week 2, but he's looking doubtful.
This is an important distinction when it comes to fractures, because if it were just a crack or a stress fracture (in which there would be evidence of injury to the bone but not a complete separation), the healing time might be quicker. But when the bone is broken all the way through, it is essential to minimize movement in the area so the two ends can bridge together and heal. Since a rib cannot be effectively casted, the athlete must limit movement, including muscle contraction, to help protect the rib. As the doctors treating McNabb told Reid, the rib "has to get sticky." This stickiness is an indicator of the tissue healing. Once there is evidence that the two ends are intact enough that they are not moving, the doctors and the Eagles can consider allowing McNabb to increase his activity. Once McNabb is cleared for activity, it becomes an issue of pain tolerance and how effective McNabb can be as a quarterback in the presence of that pain.

Suffice to say that the process undoubtedly will take longer than the few days remaining until game time. Other evidence -- McNabb's not practicing Wednesday, backup Kevin Kolb's taking all the first-team snaps, the Eagles' signing of Jeff Garcia -- supports the notion that McNabb will sit out this week. From that point forward, it becomes a day-to-day assessment. The Eagles were wise to get insurance. Fantasy owners need to do the same thing.

Matt Cassel, Kansas City Chiefs: Cassel sat out Week 1 because of his sprained medial collateral ligament, which clearly was still hampering his mobility late in the week and preventing him from full practice. But the Chiefs appeared to be encouraged by Cassel's improved running ability Wednesday and have increased optimism for his availability for Week 2. Coach Todd Haley told reporters that Cassel still did not participate in the entire practice and would not commit to Cassel's being the starter Sunday, but he did acknowledge that Cassel was doing everything he could to get ready.

It appears Cassel might indeed play, especially if he can participate fully in practice by the end of the week. It's reasonable to expect that he will remain braced, just as it's reasonable to expect that the ligament is still healing and that he will not yet be 100 percent. Nonetheless, if he shows he can be effective under center in practice this week, the Chiefs might opt to bring him back.

Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys: Romo had some tests done on his right ankle, including an MRI, this week. According to The Dallas Morning News, the tests came back negative, so it appears all systems are go for Romo on Sunday. He was able to fully participate in practice Wednesday, another positive indicator.

Running backs

LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego Chargers: Tomlinson rolled his ankle in Week 1 but managed to play on and off throughout the remainder of the game. After the game, however, it seems Tomlinson's ankle felt a little worse. He did not practice Wednesday and was seen sporting a protective boot on the ankle to minimize motion at the joint. (Editor's Note: LaDainian Tomlinson has now been ruled out for Sunday's game versus the Ravens).

If there's some good news here, it's that Tomlinson says this injury does not begin to compare to the toe and groin injuries he suffered last season, and Tomlinson told the San Diego Union-Tribune on Wednesday that he doesn't expect the injury to sideline him for long, in other words, this does not seem to present long-term concerns. Fantasy owners should make alternate plans for this weekend but shouldn't give up on LT just yet.

Pierre Thomas, New Orleans Saints: Thomas says he will play this week, and he did participate fully in practice Wednesday for the first time in weeks. Nonetheless, as the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported, his leg was wrapped during practice and he was icing it afterward. Now, both of those things are to be expected as a player returns to practice from this injury, but it does remind us that he is not yet 100 percent recovered. We will track his progress throughout the week, but bear in mind that even if he does play, his touches likely will be limited.

Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers: Stewart seemed to make it through Sunday's contest just fine despite missing the preseason because of a sore Achilles. The key will be managing this issue over the course of the season since it is not likely to disappear until the season is long over. To that end, Stewart did not practice Wednesday, which appears to be a precautionary maneuver to protect his foot and ankle. Watch Stewart's activity as the week progresses, but expect him to play Sunday.

Wide receivers

Anthony Gonzalez, Indianapolis Colts: The Indianapolis Star is reporting Gonzalez suffered a posterior cruciate ligament sprain and is expected to miss at least four games; the early goal is for him to return just after the Colts' bye week (which is Oct. 18). There were signs from the outset that this injury was on the serious side. Gonzalez went down untouched, which is not uncommon with the more serious anterior cruciate ligament and PCL sprains. Team president Bill Polian indicated that Gonzalez sprained knee ligaments (as in more than one), and while Polian expressed relief that the injury was not season-ending, this certainly suggested a more complex scenario. If Gonzalez did indeed suffer additional damage, even to another less-significant knee ligament, it further compromises the joint stability and makes it that much tougher to rehab.

We have seen other receivers suffer PCL sprains during the season, and it has hampered their effectiveness, even after their returns (which take, on average, four to six weeks). Houston Texans' receiver Andre Johnson suffered this injury in 2007 and missed seven games. In 2008, Minnesota Vikings' receiver Sidney Rice sprained his PCL and seemed a step slower upon his return.

So why the difficulty? Well, the PCL complements the ACL and contributes to overall joint stability. It is much more complicated to repair and consequently is not always surgically treated, especially if the injury is anything less than a Grade 3 or complete tear. The consensus is that most athletes can be functional once the ligament has scarred in to heal. If problems persist, the athlete might undergo offseason surgery to clean up the area, but in the meantime, he or she tries to play through it. A damaged ligament, however, means the body must compensate for that instability, and it can take extended time, even an offseason, for that to occur. In other words, Gonzalez might be able to return, but whether he can function at the level he was at to start the season is, as of now, unknown.

What does that mean for fantasy owners? Well, Gonzalez will be out for more than a month, so an immediate replacement is in order. But that replacement might be permanent, because not only could Gonzalez's recovery timetable change, but it also remains to be seen how effective he will be when he returns.

Anquan Boldin
Mark J. Rebilas/US PresswireAnquan Boldin had just 19 yards receiving Sunday.
Anquan Boldin, Arizona Cardinals: It might still be a guessing game when it comes to Boldin's Sunday status. Boldin was active in Week 1, but he did essentially nothing, as predicted. Boldin, who had not participated fully in practice since late August, clearly was not himself, and he notched only two receptions. That said, there might have been some pressure for Boldin to play because Steve Breaston, somewhat surprisingly, could not (apparently, his knee swelled up Sunday morning). Boldin practiced Wednesday, but Breaston was limited to the walk-through, according to the East Valley Tribune, so it does appear Boldin will get the nod. We will keep an eye on practices throughout the week to get a better indicator before Sunday.

Kevin Walter, Houston Texans: Walter, who sat out Week 1 with a hamstring strain, appears good to go in Week 2. He practiced fully Wednesday and indicated he was ready to play. According to the Texans' Web site, coach Gary Kubiak seems to agree with Walter, even adding that the receiver will start. One fewer guess to make leading up to Week 2 games.

Be sure to check my Saturday blog for post-Friday NFL injury report updates on all your fantasy players heading into the weekend.

Note: Catch Stephania's injury chats Tuesdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to noon ET, as well as Sundays from 10 to 10:30 a.m. ET. And check out Fantasy Football Now on Sundays at from 11:30 a.m. ET to kickoff for last-minute inactive announcements, rankings and more!

Romo, Tomlinson escape major injury

September, 15, 2009
With the first week of real games in the NFL season comes a whole new set of injuries to discuss. After all, this is football we're talking about here. The question for fantasy owners is how much shuffling needs to be done before Week 2. Here's what we know so far:

Donovan McNabb, QB, Philadelphia Eagles: McNabb suffered a broken rib when he was fallen on in the end zone during the Eagles' rout of the Carolina Panthers, and McNabb's status for this week is now in doubt.

McNabb was clearly in pain as soon as he was hit, but it was not immediately apparent where the injury was. ESPN's Sal Paolantonio reported that coach Andy Reid said in a postgame news conference that the injury was to a rib in McNabb's lower left side. The location is significant because while any rib injury is painful, the lower ribs also serve as the attachment point for the large abdominal oblique muscles. It is no secret how challenging an oblique injury is to a thrower because of that muscle group's involvement in trunk rotation and throwing. As the left-sided obliques contract, they pull at their attachment site on the ribs. When one of those ribs is broken, each time the muscle contracts it places a movement force on the injured area, causing pain, which can potentially interfere with the healing process.

The primary issue for return to play following this type of injury is pain. While McNabb has proved over time that he is certainly tough when it comes to dealing with injuries, the fact is that the pain might simply override his ability to function. If he cannot be effective throwing the ball, and if playing simply exacerbates or prolongs his pain, then the Eagles might consider resting McNabb this week in hopes that he'll be more effective thereafter.

The primary treatment at this point will be rest. There are various rib belts that can help limit movement, which will in turn help with pain relief. When McNabb does return to play, he can wear padding to help protect the area and might be given a local injection for pain. Once the rib heals, it should not present any long-term concerns, but in the short term, fantasy owners should make alternate plans.

Tony Romo
Cliff Welch/Icon SMI Tony Romo suffered an ankle injury Sunday versus the Bucs but was able to play through it.
Tony Romo, QB, Dallas Cowboys: When Tony Romo was seen favoring his right ankle following Sunday's game, it was cause for concern with fantasy owners. The good news is that, according to The Dallas Morning News, an MRI did not show any major structural damage, and Romo is expected to play this week.

The injury is being termed a sprain, and it sounds as if it is a mild one. Romo, who was injured in the third quarter, was able to finish out the game, which is always a good sign when it comes to assessing the seriousness of an injury. It would not be surprising if he does a little less running this week in favor of alternate cardio work, and we can expect his ankle to be heavily taped for support. But it sounds as if Romo escaped a major injury and should be ready to go Sunday night.

Anthony Gonzalez, WR, Indianapolis Colts: In what might turn out to be the Week 1 injury with the most long-term fantasy impact, Gonzalez crumpled to the ground with a noncontact knee injury in the first quarter of Sunday's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. According to The Indianapolis Star, team president Bill Polian said Monday that Gonzalez sprained ligaments (note the plural) in his knee. While Polian did not offer a timetable for a return, he did say "we know that it isn't year-ending." Although the Star reports that sources close to Gonzalez say he could miss up to six weeks, it sounds as if this timetable is very open-ended, and likely will be updated based on Gonzalez's progress.

Many fantasy owners drafted Gonzalez in hopes that he would replace Marvin Harrison as the starting wide receiver, and run away with it. Now it sounds as if the Colts might seek another receiver to sign, depending on how much time they believe Gonzalez will miss. Without any additional details about the specific ligaments that were injured or the severity of the injury, it is impossible to speculate as to what constitutes a reasonable time frame. There is no question, however, about the need for Gonzalez fantasy owners to find a replacement that will suffice for at least a month.

Other quick hits:

LaDainian Tomlinson
AP Photo/Paul SakumaLaDainian Tomlinson took some pretty big hits Monday night against the Raiders.
&#8226 According to The San Diego Union-Tribune, the reason San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson was in and out during the second half was because of a sprained ankle. Although he was seen limping after the game, the good news is that he did continue to play, albeit on a limited basis. It does not appear that this will affect his status for next week; in fact, it might just add to the chip on his shoulder regarding theories that he's on the decline. Nothing helps healing like motivation.

&#8226 Pittsburgh Steelers' All-Pro, all-over-the-field safety Troy Polamalu sprained his left medial collateral ligament (MCL) last Thursday night. For more details on the injury, click here. The good news is that Polamalu will not require surgery; the not-so-good news is that the Steelers' defense will be without him anywhere from three to six weeks.

&#8226 Speaking of defensive losses, the Chicago Bears lost star linebacker Brian Urlacher for the season because of a dislocated right wrist. Urlacher underwent surgery to repair the injury and will now spend the rest of the season wondering what might have been. The Bears' defense also is dealing with the tenuous health of other players, including cornerback Charles Tillman, who missed the entire preseason while recovering from back surgery. Tillman was active Sunday but might take awhile to get to full strength. The Bears' defense also lost linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa Sunday night when he sprained the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) in his right knee. Depending on the severity of the injury, it could cause him to miss time, although his status is currently being termed day-to-day.

&#8226 The New York Giants suffered a couple of losses on offense Sunday, including wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, a first-round draft pick this spring. Nicks left the game with a sprained left foot, but the Giants can at least be thankful he didn't suffer the dreaded Lisfranc injury, which can require season-ending surgery to the midfoot if it's severe. According to the Newark Star-Ledger, he did not suffer that specific injury, and it sounds as if the initial projection of two to three weeks is reasonable. Meanwhile, Giants running back Danny Ware also left the game with an elbow injury. The always-unsightly elbow dislocation is likely to keep Ware away for a few weeks as well.

&#8226 In the good news department, Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak has already indicated that wide receiver Kevin Walter, who sat out Week 1 because of a hamstring strain, will play this week.

Note: Stephania will update these injuries and others as the week progresses, including a Saturday update. Also, catch her injury chats Tuesdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to noon ET, as well as Sundays from 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. ET.

This week was not quite as devastating as Weeks 1 and 2 in terms of major injuries, although fantasy owners who have Brian Westbrook on their roster are anxiously awaiting word on his status. The good news is that the majority of players who were listed on the injury report but took the field in Week 3 emerged no worse for the wear.

Here's our first look at the injury story headlines for Week 3:

Brian Westbrook
Hunter Martin/Getty ImagesBrian Westbrook injured his ankle on this play in the second quarter trying to avoid stepping on a teammate.
Brian Westbrook, RB, Philadelphia Eagles:

Westbrook is the complete fantasy running back package. He can run, catch passes and, most importantly, score. But his owners always have to worry that his physical play will result in missed time. Westbrook was forced out of Sunday's game early in the second quarter with an ankle injury that has yet to be definitively diagnosed. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Westbrook was on crutches and in a walking boot after the game and will have an MRI on Monday. Coach Andy Reid told the Inquirer that early X-rays indicated Westbrook's ankle wasn't fractured, but that more will be known once other tests are completed.

Westbrook is a tough athlete who has shown in the past that he will play and perform through pain. In particular, he has played despite suffering a recurring knee inflammation. Nonetheless, he has missed a game because of injury in each of the past two seasons, and fantasy owners have to wonder whether Week 4 will be that week (and whether it might be the only one) in 2008. Or maybe this will be just another one of those classic Westbrook weeks when he is banged up on Sunday, then rests during the week and returns to outperform just about everyone else the following game day. Stay tuned for updates.

Donovan McNabb, QB, Philadelphia Eagles:

The Eagles definitely took some hits on offense Sunday. McNabb stayed in the locker room for some extra attention after halftime because of a bruised chest. The Eagles' official Web site called the injury a chest "contusion," which is a fancy name for a bruise. McNabb was able to return later in the third quarter and finish the game, but he's definitely sore. The Eagles may limit him some in practice this week to allow him to recover. He is expected to be re-evaluated Monday, but the injury at this point is not too worrisome. After all, it's a good sign that McNabb was able to return to the game, even if the soreness somewhat hampered his throwing. Keep an eye on McNabb's activity the next few days, but he appears to have escaped major injury.

Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers:

There was much discussion about Roethlisberger's shoulder this past week. Separated? Sprained? Sore? All of the above? Most importantly, was Roethlisberger ready to play? Roethlisberger is another tough quarterback who has shown he can play through some pain, just as he did in Week 2 when his injury was fresher. With another week under his belt, he was bound to improve as long as he could stay on his feet. The biggest risk to the still-healing acromioclavicular joint of a quarterback is that he gets pile-driven into the ground, shoulder first.

Let's see. Roethlisberger was sacked eight times. Not so good. But it wasn't the shoulder that got the worst of it. Apparently he injured his throwing hand (his right hand) in the fourth quarter on one of those sacks and left the game, no doubt having suffered enough abuse for one day. According to the Steelers' official Web site, coach Mike Tomlin indicated that X-rays were negative but acknowledged that Big Ben "got hit quite a bit." This week's practices will show the extent to which his hand has been affected, but at this point the team appears confident that he will be back next Monday. It's nice that he'll have an extra day of rest.

Jon Kitna, QB, Detroit Lions:

This is one of those "adding injury to insult" situations. Kitna was sacked four times, and the last one was the proverbial final straw. The Lions lost Kitna near the end of the game to what the team is calling a sprained right knee. The Detroit Free Press quotes Kitna as saying, "It feels pretty bad right now," and, "They say it doesn't feel like anything structural right now." Because no more information is available yet, it is hard to project any sort of time frame for Kitna. He will undergo further evaluation Monday, and we will watch for updates.

On a positive note for Week 3, although Minnesota Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson was limited compared to his first two outings because of a sore hamstring, he told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that he came out of the game "feeling good, and [the hamstring] did not bother me in the game." If all continues well, Peterson should be back to form next week. Meanwhile, although Oakland Raiders rookie running back Darren McFadden was slipping and sliding on the field surface at Ralph Wilson Stadium, he does not blame that on his big toe. Still, the toe and cleat issues had to influence his running gait somewhat, but he, too, should be better after another week's recovery.

Be sure to check back here throughout the week, as we update these and other injuries. Also, this week we add a Tuesday morning injury chat (11 a.m. ET), in addition to the regular Friday morning time. Hope to see you there!

Update on Reggie Bush

December, 7, 2007

Thursday night football has not been kind to the starting quarterback. In Week 13, Packers quarterback Brett Favre was forced out of the game with a bruised forearm that affected his ulnar nerve. Thursday, Rex Grossman of the Chicago Bears and Jason Campbell of the Washington Redskins both went down with injury, both as a result of taking a hit to their plant leg as they delivered the ball. For more on these injuries as well as a look ahead to who will be affected by injuries, please, read on.


Matt Schaub, QB, Texans: Still recovering from a dislocated left shoulder, Schaub does not have a timetable for his return.

D.J. Hackett, WR, Seahawks: Hackett is out again due to re-injury of his ankle, but the team expects he could return within a week or two. We'll update his status later.

Roy Williams, WR, Lions: Williams injured his knee and will not return for your fantasy team this season.

Larry Johnson, RB, Chiefs: Still out, yet the team still expresses hope. There is no information to suggest one way or the other whether Johnson will return this season, but as a fantasy owner, you just can't count on it.

Anthony Thomas, RB, Bills: A torn popliteus muscle (small muscle behind the knee) will keep Thomas out the remainder of the season. Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson will take it from here.

Ahman Green, RB, Texans: The Texans announced today that they are placing Green on injured reserve because of lingering problems with his knee. They tried to hold out hope, but to no avail. Green's football future may be in question.

Here's what we know so far about other players with injury concerns heading into Sunday.

Running Backs

Marshawn Lynch, Bills: Lynch practiced all week on a limited basis, progressively improving as he returns from a high ankle sprain. The Bills will undoubtedly ease him back into the game, meaning he is likely to lose some action to Fred Jackson, but is expected to play. There is always a bit of a risk when an athlete returns from a high ankle sprain, but this is a good matchup for Lynch against the Dolphins.

LenDale White, Titans: Despite some residual swelling and stiffness in his middle finger, White (probable) is expected to play Sunday. He should be able to go the distance, but may struggle some with ballhandling.

Brandon Jacobs, Giants: Jacobs is expected to play, according to a report in Newsday, and there is no Derrick Ward to share carries with anymore. There is Reuben Droughns, however, and he will likely absorb some of Jacobs' work. Jacobs is returning from a hamstring strain, always a bit risky for the first game back, but he has been working out well and sounds ready to go.

Reggie Bush, Saints: ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported Friday that Bush has a torn posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), which was confirmed by the Saints, although they have not indicated the degree of injury. Bush is getting a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews, but it appears doubtful that he will play Monday. Coach Sean Payton told the New Orleans Times-Picayune that he is still hopeful that Bush can play Monday given that he practiced some this week, but this really does not appear likely. All you have to do is look at how long it took Travis Henry and Andre Johnson to return from a PCL injury to appreciate the time frame Bush is dealing with, if it is a nonsurgical injury. The injury apparently occurred Nov. 4, and this may go a long way toward explaining why Bush really hasn't seemed like himself over the past month. There is some question as to whether Bush may now miss the remainder of the season. Stay tuned for updates regarding his status. In the meantime, find a replacement for your fantasy roster.


Jason Campbell, Redskins: Campbell took a hit on his plant leg which forced it inward as he fell to the ground. This is often a mechanism for a medial collateral ligament (MCL) injury, but it appeared that Campbell took the hit just slightly lower on his leg, forcing it to rotate inward as his leg collapsed, more of a mechanism for a patellar (kneecap) dislocation. If you saw the game, perhaps you saw Campbell grab the outside of his leg with his hand. Had he torn his MCL, you would expect him to grab the inner knee, where it would be most painful. Campbell grabbed his outer knee because he was trying to put a hand around his kneecap, which he had just dislocated. The response of the medical staff also suggested a patellar dislocation. Campbell was immediately placed in a knee immobilizer, the best position to allow the kneecap to resume its proper alignment, and the least stressful for it. The bottom line for Campbell is that his season has essentially ended, as the tissue that was stretched on the outside of the knee during the dislocation has to heal. After immobilizing the knee for a few weeks, which allows the tissue to heal while preventing a repeat episode, Campbell will have to gradually regain his range of motion and strength. Coach Joe Gibbs said in his postgame news conference that it was fortunate that no ligaments were involved, which is true because the injury he did suffer is nonsurgical. Consequently his overall healing time should be reduced. The Redskins could conceivably have Campbell available the final week of the season or if they venture into the playoffs, but from a fantasy perspective, he is done.

Rex Grossman, Bears: Poor Rex. He didn't make it through even a full quarter before the injury bug bit him. Grossman also suffered a blow to the outside of his leg that forced his knee inward, the mechanism described above that typically affects the MCL. And so it is. The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that Grossman sprained his MCL and given the recovery time for this type of injury, it is fair to assume that we will not see Grossman again this season.

Brett Favre, Packers: He's had a week now to let the forearm rest and has resumed practice. As of the end of the week, Favre was handling the majority of the reps with the first team and throwing quite a bit without limitation according to the Packers' official Web site. You can expect to see him Sunday and expect the streak to stay alive.

Brodie Croyle, Chiefs: Croyle missed Week 13 with a deep back bruise, but the time off seems to have helped. Croyle was able to practice fully all week, is listed as probable and is expected to start Sunday. This news is as good for Dwayne Bowe fantasy owners as it is for Croyle fans.

Jeff Garcia, Buccaneers: Garcia's status will be a game-time decision as coach Jon Gruden wants to see how Garcia's back feels once the team gets to Houston, according to a report in the Tampa Tribune. Garcia, who sat out Week 13 with a back injury, was able to gradually increase his activity tolerance over the past two weeks, but is not yet 100 percent. Garcia has looked good in practice, although he was given Friday off to rest, and the expectation is that he will play Sunday. He may be a little stiff, but if his offensive line is able to protect him so that he can avoid significant contact, he should be able to play well.

Donovan McNabb, Eagles: McNabb (probable) is primed to make his return Sunday from a jammed thumb and sprained ankle that caused him to sit out two games. McNabb has been practicing and although his mobility may yet be limited somewhat by the ankle, he should be able to be effective. McNabb wanted to play this past Sunday but was held out by coach Andy Reid, who wanted him to be closer to 100 percent before returning to a game situation. Given Reid's criteria, I expect McNabb will be able to perform heading into Sunday's contest.

Marc Bulger, Rams: Bulger is listed as questionable on the Friday injury report after suffering a setback during the week. Bulger, recovering from a concussion, had been cleared to practice Tuesday. But as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports, Bulger did not feel well after practice Thursday, causing the Rams to downgrade him. This is why athletes are gradually returned to activity after concussions; there is always the possibility that symptoms can return with increased intensity of exercise, which indicates the brain has not fully recovered. Coach Scott Linehan wisely says he will not return Bulger if he is not fully healthy, and he will use the next 12 to 24 hours to make that decision. Plan on another quarterback.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Marvin Harrison, Colts: Could it be? Could Harrison actually make a return Sunday? Harrison practiced some on Wednesday and was seen walking without a limp afterward, a good sign. He was held out of practice Thursday as a precaution. According to the Indianapolis Star, coach Tony Dungy has indicated that the Colts are being more cautious than if they were in a must-win situation to get into the playoffs. Harrison is clearly not 100 percent and the Colts do not want to risk losing him for the time when it really counts. There is a chance, albeit a slight one, that Harrison plays Sunday, but even if he steps on the field it will be on a limited basis. There is no fantasy value here.

Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals: Boldin dislocated a toe Sunday and has been unable to practice all week. According to the Arizona Republic, the medical staff has been trying to find a supportive insert for his shoe that would allow him to run without pain, but so far that has not happened. There is still a chance that he could be outfitted with something before Sunday, but Boldin has said that he does not like to play without having practiced at least once during the week. Add to that the fact that his hip is still bothering him and it is unlikely he sees the field this week. Teammate Fitzgerald has been contending with a groin injury, but has been increasing his activity, and was running routes late in the week. Also listed as questionable, Fitzgerald is more likely to see playing time, but may not yet be fully recovered. The concern with the groin injury is lateral cutting and speed, so Fitzgerald may not be up to the monster performances that he has put up of late, but there is a reasonable chance that he is active and efficient on Sunday.

Brandon Stokley and Javon Walker, Broncos: Stokley, who was reported to have injured his knee this past Sunday, had not practiced during the week and appeared unlikely to play. Friday, however, Stokley was able to put together a full practice and, although listed as questionable, he is expected to start, according to the Denver Post. Teammate Walker has been hampered by his knee and has not had a strong outing since returning, which is a bit surprising as he had looked good in practice. The expectation is that Walker will play, but he is not yet fully healthy and remains a risky start.

Santonio Holmes, Steelers: Holmes is off the injury report, a good sign that his high ankle sprain has healed enough to allow him to play. Expect to see Holmes in action Sunday, but he is returning after a relatively short time frame. We have seen the high ankle sprain injury regress after a player returns (D.J. Hackett, Michael Pittman) and until Holmes has fully tested it, temper expectations for his return.

Laveranues Coles, Jets: Coles remains a game-time decision as he recovers from his high ankle sprain. Coles is tough and can be expected to play through pain, as he has done many times before. With Cotchery out, the Jets need Coles even more, so expect him to be on the field. He is not likely to be 100 percent, but unless he suffers a serious setback during the game, don't expect that to limit his performance.

Don't see your player here? Be sure to check back Saturday when we check late Week 14 updates and add a few defensive players.

Broncos RB carousel continues

December, 5, 2007

Well, it finally happened. My injury-laden fantasy team in our GMC Pro Grade League finally succumbed in a loss that pushed me out of playoff contention. But not without a fight! Despite the multiple injuries over the season, which forced me to nearly completely renew my roster, I lost by a hair (six points) to Matthew Berry, the Talented Mr. Roto, he of the high-scoring Tom Brady, Wes Welker, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Justin Fargas crew. In fact, had Brett Favre, whom I just recently acquired via trade because of the recent injuries to Donovan McNabb, not left Thursday's game with an injury, I am confident that I would have won. I guess my point is two-fold: 1) Berry can mock my undying loyalty to my 49ers, but he cannot gloat in his barely eked-out victory, and 2) I believe that I have demonstrated, by virtue of my injury-laden team, that I understand and sympathize with fantasy owners everywhere whose teams have been decimated by those unpredictable injuries that can make all the difference between agony and ecstasy.

So for those of you fortunate enough to have made the playoffs, and for those of you just trying to spoil the playoff dreams of others, here are some of the injuries fantasy owners should be aware of early this week. Keep in mind that the Thursday matchup will feature Chicago at Washington.

Running Backs

Adrian Peterson, Vikings: Well, it seems the questions about Peterson's readiness to return have been answered. He looked remarkably solid in his first outing since tearing his lateral collateral ligament, brace and all. The Vikings somewhat limited Peterson's activity as planned -- he had 15 carries and did not appear in the fourth quarter -- but he is so dangerous whenever he touches the ball that his numbers made it seem as if he played the entire game. According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Peterson felt as good as he has all year after Sunday's outing, so we can expect to see him and Chester Taylor utilized in tandem the rest of the season.

Marshawn Lynch, Bills: Coach Dick Jauron still is being cautious about Lynch's status for Sunday, saying Lynch has made a lot of progress but he doesn't want to "overstep it right now." Jauron's comments on the Bills' Web site are the most positive since Lynch's injury about four weeks ago, but they are necessarily guarded, given the nature of the injury (high ankle sprain). Lynch will be evaluated on a day-to-day basis as he practices throughout the week, and we should have a better idea of his status late in the week.

Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward, Giants: The Giants have made it official. Ward has been placed on injured reserve after suffering a broken fibula in Sunday's contest. So will Jacobs make it back this week? It appears that way if you listen to coach Tom Coughlin. Coughlin told the New York Daily News that all along, the plan has been for Jacobs to return this week, and he is not being rushed back because of Ward's injury. That sounds reasonable. Now, let's hope Jacobs can not only make it back, but also stay to finish out the year healthy.

Selvin Young and Travis Henry, Broncos: Young appeared to be the healthier back headed into Sunday's game and, in fact, was the starter. But he managed to sustain yet another injury, this one to his arm, according to the Denver Post, and his status is uncertain for this week. Meanwhile, Henry received word from the NFL that he won his suspension appeal, so now his game availability depends only on his health. Henry was able to get back in the lineup last week, so if Young cannot go, Henry likely will start. There always are more running backs to be found in Denver, though, so starting does not necessarily translate into more fantasy points. It is worth watching the practice reports throughout the week to see how the running back lineup is shaping up.

Larry Johnson, Chiefs: Johnson already has been ruled out for Week 14, but the Chiefs continue to be guarded in their statements regarding Johnson's status for the season. In comments made on the Chiefs' Web site, coach Herm Edwards reinforced the idea that no decision has been made, saying only that Johnson is "getting better" and the team will continue to evaluate him. He did say that if the star back were to return too soon and re-injure his foot, it could result in Johnson requiring surgery, which always is the potential scenario for a mid-foot injury. It is not totally clear what is going on with Johnson and the Chiefs. Johnson being ruled out so early in the week suggests he is a long way from being able to return. Yet the Chiefs continue, at least outwardly, to indicate there is hope he will return this season. Perhaps there is some motivational incentive; the potential of getting back on the field might help Johnson maintain the intensity of his rehabilitation. And he might yet return, but it remains just a possibility, not one worth taking up a spot on your fantasy roster.

LenDale White, Titans: According to the Tennessean, White (dislocated middle finger) is expected to play Sunday against the Chargers. On Monday, we mentioned fumble concerns as a possibility, especially if the finger remains sore and swollen. Given Chris Brown's effectiveness Sunday after White exited the game, there could be concern Brown will steal some action from White this week, especially if White shows any signs of struggling with the finger.


Jeff Garcia, Tampa Bay: According to the St. Petersburg Times, Garcia said his back is feeling better by the day and he expects to return to practice Wednesday. Despite some residual soreness, Garcia plans to play Sunday against the Texans while his mobility and flexibility continue to improve. It still is wise to check back at the end of the week, but at this point, it sounds as if he is preparing to make his return.

Donovan McNabb, Eagles: has reported that McNabb is expected to return this week from the thumb and ankle injuries that have caused him to miss two straight games. Coach Andy Reid said McNabb can grip the football well now but might wear a brace on his hand to protect the thumb. The bigger concern is his mobility with the ankle, but Reid said McNabb moved around better in practice last week. Nonetheless, he held McNabb out of Sunday's contest because he did not feel he was ready to go from a health standpoint, and the extra rest no doubt has helped the quarterback. Barring a setback in practice this week, expect McNabb to get the green light Sunday.

Marc Bulger, Rams: According to a report by ESPN's Len Pasquarelli, Bulger underwent another battery of tests Tuesday as a follow-up to his concussion a week ago and was cleared to return to practice Wednesday. The Rams are optimistic that Bulger will be available Sunday, but it should be noted that he will be monitored throughout the week to ensure his symptoms do not return as his practice activity increases. Bulger's replacement, Gus Frerotte, suffered a shoulder injury Sunday that might keep him out for at least one game. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Frerotte has a sprained shoulder and a partial tear of the labrum, the ring of cartilage that helps reinforce the shoulder joint. Frerotte injured the shoulder in the third quarter of Sunday's contest but was able to return to finish the game; however, the shoulder was much more sore the next day, prompting the additional tests. If neither Bulger or Frerotte is able to go, it could be Brock Berlin. Fantasy owners, keep your fingers crossed that practice agrees with Bulger.

Brodie Croyle, Chiefs: Croyle sat out last week's contest with a sore bruised back but could make his return Sunday if, as coach Herm Edwards said on the Chiefs' Web site, he's "mobile enough to get out of the way." Edwards also said that although the Chiefs would like to see Croyle back in the lineup, the team will not risk putting him in there if he is not fully recovered. Croyle is expected to return to practice Wednesday, and his progress, particularly his mobility, will be evaluated throughout the week.

Alex D. Smith, 49ers: Smith has sat out the 49ers' past two games because of lingering pain in his shoulder (a Grade III, or complete, separation) and his forearm (tendinitis, which developed after he injured the shoulder, possibly while trying to rehabilitate the arm). Smith might yet face shoulder surgery, but before that decision is made, Smith will try to throw this week, according to ESPN's Len Pasquarelli. Smith will see how the arm feels while throwing and then will consult with the medical staff to evaluate his status. Either way, he is not a factor for the remainder of the fantasy season (not that he was much of a factor beforehand). His progress will be relevant for next year, so we will monitor him with that in mind.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Roy Williams, Lions: Williams sprained his posterior cruciate ligament Sunday and, according to a report in the Detroit News, is expected to miss the last four games of the season. ESPN's John Clayton is reporting that the Lions do not plan to put Williams on season-ending injured reserve in the hope that he can heal quickly, but it is a slim hope. This is an injury similar to the one that kept Broncos running back Travis Henry out four weeks and Texans receiver Andre Johnson out eight weeks. Coach Rod Marinelli said the ligament is not torn, usually a reference to the ligament not being completely torn, since any sprain reflects some degree of injury to the tissue, even if microscopic. The timeframe will depend on how long it takes any swelling and pain to subside, and the amount of tissue healing that needs to take place. Williams then would need to regain his strength and mobility, as well as the confidence that his knee is stable enough to support him running, cutting and jumping. That is a lot to ask in less than four weeks. Nonetheless, if the injury is minor, there is a chance he could return, but it is a small one. If Williams is on your fantasy roster, you need to find a replacement that you can count on for the duration of the season.

Santonio Holmes, Steelers: Holmes, who missed the past three games with a high ankle sprain, could return in Week 14, according to a report in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Coach Mike Tomlin said "it depends on how [he] perform[s] in practice." Even mild high-ankle sprains often require about four weeks before a player can return, so Holmes is just now coming up on that mark. Practice will resume Wednesday, meaning we won't have a real indicator as to whether Holmes is likely to play until late in the week. Stay tuned.

Don't see your player here? Be sure to check back later in the week when we check further Week 14 updates. We also will quickly touch on any Thursday game injuries at that time.

Brandon Jacobs out again

November, 23, 2007

OUT: The following players have been listed as officially out for Week 12 Sunday games.

Steve McNair, QB, Ravens: McNair's left shoulder still is listed as the official reason for him sitting out.

Demetrius Williams, WR, Ravens: An ankle injury will keep Williams out of the lineup this week.

Larry Johnson, RB, Chiefs: We detailed what we know about his injury on Wednesday. You can expect to see him on this list for a while longer.

Ahman Green, RB, Texans: As expected, Green did not practice this week and is not expected to play, according to the Houston Chronicle. Ron Dayne likely will get the start again for the Texans.

Marshawn Lynch, RB, Bills: Lynch has not practiced all week and has been ruled out for this Sunday's game. To make matters worse, the Bills' Web site reports that Lynch has a high ankle sprain. Originally reported as an ankle sprain, Lynch's injury immediately becomes more serious because of the location. High ankle sprains, as we have reported many times, generally are more difficult to recover from and can be easily aggravated if a player returns too soon (see Michael Pittman). We will check back in on Lynch next week. Until he begins to test the ankle in practice, it will be difficult to project his timetable. Anthony Thomas will get the start in Lynch's place.

Brandon Jacobs, RB, Giants: Jacobs is out with a hamstring injury (more information below).

Travis Henry, RB, Broncos: Henry continues to struggle with his left knee (PCL sprain) and did not practice all week. Keep an eye on him as he could return in Week 13, contingent on his knee healing enough and him winning his appeal.

Here's what we know so far about other players with injury concerns heading into Sunday.

Running Backs

Selvin Young, Broncos: Young, who injured his knee in Monday night's game (no specifics given by the team), did not practice until Friday, when he did limited work. According to the Broncos' Web site, Young will test his leg before the game (late start Sunday) to see if he will be able to play. Andre Hall will get the start if Young cannot go Sunday.

Adrian Peterson, Vikings: Peterson (torn LCL) has taken part in very limited practice this week, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, wearing a knee brace all the while. Although he has not been officially ruled out, do not expect him to play this weekend, despite the upgrade to questionable. It sounds as if the Vikings are suggesting he could return very soon, but again, I believe he really needs to show he can do everything in practice before the Vikings risk putting him back on the field (see Wednesday blog).

Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward, Giants: Jacobs missed practice all week with a sore hamstring and is out for Sunday. According to a report in Newsday, Jacobs and coach Tom Coughlin gave the impression earlier in the week that Jacobs would miss Sunday's game. The major concern, as it always is with a hamstring injury, is that it could get worse and end up costing Jacobs more missed time overall. With other capable backs in the wings, the Giants are smart to play it cautious. But then there's Ward, who also is currently hampered by lingering injuries. Ward has been dealing with an ankle sprain, which reportedly is much improved, and a groin strain, which he sounds less confident about. Ward's comment -- "You never know. It might regress, it might progress" -- does not exactly evoke optimism. Ward has been a limited participant in practice, and his status may well come down to a game-time decision. Reuben Droughns looks to get the start Sunday, and the Giants' Web site quotes Coughlin as saying that Ahmad Bradshaw is the No. 2.

Reggie Bush, Saints: Bush was limited in practice all week with a shin bruise, but coach Sean Payton is hopeful that Bush can play Sunday, according to a report in the New Orleans Times-Picayune. He will be a game-time decision.

Shaun Alexander, Seahawks: Insert last week's report here. Alexander has not practiced, and if he does not practice, he does not play, according to coach Mike Holmgren. The Tacoma News Tribune reported that Alexander also is trying to get rid of the cast. Apparently that is not going to happen, but the medical staff is trying to find a way to make the cast smaller. Once again, expect Maurice Morris to start in Alexander's place.

Michael Pittman and Earnest Graham, Buccaneers: Pittman, who worked so hard to get back to the playing field, re-injured his still-healing high ankle sprain, perhaps seriously, and is out indefinitely. There has been some speculation that Pittman could be put on injured reserve, but that does not appear to have been decided yet. According to a report in the St. Petersburg Times, Pittman's swelling is severe, but the athletic training staff expects him to make a return in a few weeks. Meanwhile, Graham still is nursing a sore ankle and has been limited in practice this week, but he is expected to play.

Jesse Chatman, Dolphins: The Dolphins most certainly don't need this. Chatman has an ankle problem that limited him in practice the whole week. The Orlando Sun-Sentinel reported Chatman still is limping, which does not help his chances to play Monday night. Granted, there are a few days before the game, but if Chatman is limping now, he will not be at his best come Monday. Could this signal the return of Ricky Williams? It more likely signals some increased action for Patrick Cobbs at this point, but stay tuned to this scenario, because if Chatman's ankle problem lingers, there might be a new starting running back in Miami right around the time of fantasy playoffs.


Donovan McNabb, Eagles: McNabb has two problems that kept him out of practice all week: a sprained ankle and a jammed thumb. Coach Andy Reid told the Associated Press that McNabb "has gotten a little better each day." Neither of these injuries appears particularly serious, but they could be just bad enough to either keep McNabb from starting Sunday night, which appears more likely, or keep him from performing effectively if he does play. Either way, with the game being on Sunday night, and the opponent being the Patriots, this probably is one for fantasy owners to avoid.

Receivers/Tight Ends

Santonio Holmes, Steelers: Holmes is recovering from a high ankle sprain and remains doubtful for Monday's game.

T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Bengals: Houshmandzadeh participated in full practice Friday after resting earlier in the week with a bruised back. He is listed as probable and is expected to play. Houshmandzadeh still is feeling soreness in his back and told the Bengals' Web site that if he can't tolerate the pain, he won't play. Given that comment, be sure to check his status before game time, but with the probable designation, it does appear he will be active.

Javon Walker, Broncos: Walker had good practice sessions this week and is looking like he will return Sunday. Walker has made nice, steady progress, and although he is reported to have had some swelling after Thursday's practice, he expects to play, according to the Broncos' Web site. His status is questionable, so be sure to check Sunday's inactive reports before the game.

Reggie Williams, Jaguars: Williams is a late addition to the injury reports with a back problem. He is listed as questionable after being limited in practice Friday. If you have him on your roster, be sure to check before game time.

Todd Heap, Ravens: Hopefully you have found a fantasy replacement for Todd Heap by now. He is listed as doubtful again this week because of the lingering problems with his hamstring. Despite his efforts to return, the hamstring has not cooperated, and there is no telling when his leg will be healthy enough to allow him to come back.

Don't see your player here? Be sure to check back this weekend when we have the latest practice reports before the games, as well as a few IDP additions.