Stephania Bell: Matt Jones

Barber's status still up in the air

December, 10, 2008
So what do we know about Week 15? Based on early practice reports, here's what we're hearing on the injury front.

Marion Barber, RB, Cowboys: When was the last time a pinkie toe caused so much drama? Considering a teammate's pinkie finger generated even more drama, perhaps we should not be surprised that there is so much discussion in Dallas about a digit. Barber, who sat out Week 14's contest because of a dislocated toe and a strained calf, looks as if he will play Sunday night, but the Cowboys now have more confidence in backup Tashard Choice, should they need to turn to him.

Marion Barber
Nelson Chenault/US PresswireIt didn't help fantasy owners, but it might've been in Marion Barber's best interest to miss the tough Steelers defense.
To recap, Barber dislocated his pinkie toe Thanksgiving Day and was forced to exit the game early. Subsequent tests revealed no fractures, meaning his injury was less complicated than it could have been. Sighs of relief could be heard all around fantasy leagues, as Barber had 10 days to recover between games and was expected to play in Week 14. By the middle of the week, Barber owners felt reassured because coach Wade Phillips had indicated Barber would play against the Steelers. However, by Friday, that confidence began to waver, as Barber had not made an appearance on the practice field and apparently was having a little more difficulty returning than expected. On Saturday, anxiety turned to panic as Barber owners scrambled to find a replacement -- it was announced Barber hadn't even traveled to Pittsburgh with the Cowboys because they were that certain he could not play.

It didn't end there. On Monday, following the Cowboys' 20-13 loss, team owner and general manager Jerry Jones said Barber could have played. Wow! It's one thing for us to wonder what exactly kept Barber sidelined when it seemed he should have been in the lineup, based on the nature of the injury and early indications from the team. It's a much bigger issue when it appears Barber essentially was called out by the boss. Jones then attempted to clarify his comments to a San Antonio radio station Tuesday, saying he did not intend to question Barber's toughness; he was just surprised that someone as tough as Barber did not play.

So why didn't Barber take the field? It's true that under normal circumstances, with a simple pinkie toe dislocation and no significant associated damage (meaning no broken bones, no major soft tissue trauma, etc.), it is reasonable to expect that an athlete can play football the following week. He might require some tape to splint the toe, or a shoe modification or insert to prevent excessive mobility and stress on the toe. He also might benefit from a pain-relieving injection that basically would numb the toe. But even with those adjustments, an athlete sometimes struggles initially with the new footwear or his running style might change as a result of trying to avoid putting pressure on the painful toe. These sorts of compensations can render the athlete ineffective or, in some cases, lead to a secondary injury.

As it turns out, this apparently is what happened to Barber when he was trying to do some running workouts earlier in the week. He strained his calf, and according to Mickey Spagnola in his blog on the Cowboys' Web site, it was a collective decision by the athletic trainers to hold him out of Sunday's game in the interest of his long-term health. In other words, he physically could have taken the field, but in evaluating the risk versus reward ratio, a decision was made to keep him off it.

Although fantasy owners might have been frustrated by Barber's absence, it's possible that had he played, he would not have done much or, worse yet, would have injured himself more seriously. Giving him the additional week of recovery might enhance what he is able to do when he takes the field and makes it less likely that he will suffer another setback. Breathe deeply, fantasy owners. The Dallas Morning News is reporting that Barber says his calf is feeling much better. If he is able to practice throughout the week, it is reasonable to expect him to start Sunday against the Giants.

Joseph Addai, RB, Colts: In Week 14, Addai was not the running back fantasy owners were hoping for headed into the playoffs. Sunday might not be any different.

Addai was a late addition to the injury report Friday after he was limited in practice by what the team referred to as a sore knee. He was questionable heading into Sunday's game, and although he was active, he didn't do much before exiting in the third quarter. Following Sunday's contest, Addai again appeared on injury reports, this time because of his shoulder. Of concern is the fact that the Colts added running back Najeh Davenport to their roster, meaning they could be concerned about Addai's availability for this Sunday. The amount of practice time Addai sees through the remainder of the week will give a better clue as to his status. Dominic Rhodes owners should be on alert as the weekend approaches.

Some other players to watch as the week progresses:

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Giants coach Tom Coughlin told the Newark Star-Ledger that they will do "the smart thing, the thing which is medically recommended" when asked whether the team will be cautious with Brandon Jacobs this week. Jacobs was not in practice Wednesday because of a sore left knee. His fantasy owners should be prepared for the eventuality that he might rest Sunday, given his recent issues with both knees. Wide receiver Domenik Hixon also sat out Wednesday's practice because of a sore ankle, but reportedly, he has less swelling than he did following the game.

Redskins running back Clinton Portis has played through a plethora of injuries this season but didn't see any second-half action Sunday night, raising concerns as to how much injuries were limiting him. Coach Jim Zorn indicated Ladell Betts saw increased playing time because Portis missed so much practice (and was pass blocking ineffectively). Portis defended himself with a verbal tirade. As of Wednesday, Zorn and Portis had gotten together to sort through their differences, and all appears well again, including (perhaps) Portis' banged-up body. Ultimately, limited playing time Sunday might have been a blessing in disguise for Portis, as he was back in a Wednesday practice for the first time in weeks. Portis has dealt with a hip flexor strain, a sprained MCL, an oblique strain and, most recently, a forearm to the neck. He has played through it all and has been the feature back in the running game throughout. Expect a fired-up and slightly rested Portis to be in the game -- the whole game -- Sunday.

Adding to the list of ailing backs, 49ers ace Frank Gore left Sunday's game with an ankle sprain. The good news is there was no fracture. The less than good news is coach Mike Singletary announced Wednesday that Gore has an "inside ankle sprain" (as in the inner aspect of the ankle joint). The mechanism for spraining the inner ankle is less common (the foot rolls so the sole points out), and the medial (deltoid) ligament is flat and strong; it doesn't sprain easily. That translates into the fact that this injury, depending on the degree of severity, can be tougher to recover from than a standard lateral ankle sprain. Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported that Gore did not practice Wednesday, and Singletary hinted Gore will be a game-time decision. It's not looking great for him this week.

The Denver Post is reporting Tatum Bell is in place to be the feature back Sunday. The Broncos lost Peyton Hillis for the remainder of the season to a hamstring injury, and Selvin Young still is struggling in his recovery from a groin strain. Young practiced fully last week for the first time in well more than a month, but as the Post reports, coach Mike Shanahan felt he was not recovered enough to play. Bell is still available in more than 80 percent of leagues.

Bills quarterback Trent Edwards might be a game-time decision Sunday. Edwards sat out Sunday's contest with an injured groin, and he might be sitting again. The fact that J.P. Losman was taking all the first-team snaps in Wednesday's practice does not bode well for Edwards. And the Bills started off the season so well.

Players you need to replace!

Matt Jones, WR, Jaguars: We knew the suspension was inevitable, and now it is official. Jones will be sidelined for the remaining three weeks of the season. The Florida Times-Union is reporting that the Jags are considering placing Jerry Porter on injured reserve after he strained his groin last weekend, meaning Mike Walker and Reggie Williams likely will become the two primary receivers.

Fred Taylor, RB, Jaguars: According to the Florida Times-Union, coach Jack del Rio said on his Tuesday radio show that the injury Taylor suffered to his thumb Sunday could land him on injured reserve. Even if that does not come to pass, it's an indication his thumb injury is serious enough to keep him off your fantasy playoff roster.

Don't forget that the Saints face the Bears this Thursday, so get your lineups in early! We'll have the latest injury updates affecting the Week 15 weekend contests and any postmortem on Thursday injuries in the Saturday blog.

Bush and Portis are game-time decisions

November, 22, 2008
Just when fantasy owners are coming up on their playoffs, it's the time of the season when NFL teams start thinking about their playoffs. And then they start resting their players to save them for the postseason -- shame on them. Fortunately, there are still some tight playoff races around the league, so we won't see too much of that happening just yet. So who will play this weekend? Here's what we know as we head into the Week 12 contests.

[+] EnlargeClinton Portis
Jim McIsaac/Getty ImagesClinton Portis owners' are getting used to his game-time status lately.
Clinton Portis, RB, Redskins: Portis is listed as questionable, and his status remains a game-time decision for Sunday. Wait, isn't this what we were saying a week ago? Actually, it's exactly what we were saying when the Redskins were preparing to face the Cowboys. And, much to our collective surprise, Portis played. He didn't emerge any worse from that contest, or so he says, so why the questions about his status a week later?

Well, even though Portis played in Week 11 despite reporting a Grade 2 medial collateral ligament (MCL) injury, he was not Portis-like. In fact, he sat out the majority of the second half. Portis himself said he lacked burst and explosiveness and had difficulty shedding tackles. Portis said he would focus on those things this week and, according to the Washington Post, said, "No ifs, ands, buts about it, I'll be playing."

But then there's the matter of practicing what you preach. Portis didn't practice all week, doing only limited work Friday. Coach Jim Zorn didn't appear quite ready to hand Portis the reins, saying only that Portis would need to work out before the game Sunday and prove that he was ready to play. In fact, Zorn seemed to retreat a bit from Portis' assurance that he would play, telling the Post that Portis was still not at full speed and that as much as he would love for Portis to play, Zorn would need to see Portis go at game time.

Given that Portis did play last week, it's hard to imagine him a week later at least somewhat healthier and still sitting on the sideline. Unfortunately for fantasy owners, he is playing in a late game, so the information about his status will come late in the afternoon. Ladell Betts is listed as probable and is expected to play, despite the fact that he himself practiced on a limited basis this week because of his knee, which was aggravated during Sunday night's matchup. It will likely be a mixture of Betts and Portis on the field, but it remains to be seen how their time will be distributed. When Portis plays, the Redskins' tendency has been to feature him, even when they say (as they did before last week's contest) that they plan to limit his use. If you can afford to wait until game time to set your lineup, that may be the best plan.

Reggie Bush, RB, Saints: Bush is listed as questionable for the Saints' Monday night game and we likely won't have confirmation of his status until just before kickoff. It seems as if the team is hopeful that Bush will be able to play on Monday, which would mark a five week return after surgery to address a torn meniscus.

Bush tore the meniscus in his left knee in Week 7 and did not make the trip to London with his teammates so that he could stay behind for surgery. This knee is the same one in which he suffered a partial tear of his posterior cruciate ligament last year, an injury that forced an early end to his 2007 season. Given his injury history, the initial projected timetable for Bush of two to four weeks seemed a bit ambitious. Most meniscal procedures require closer to four weeks of recovery, and there is the issue of Bush already having had some trauma to that knee. Even a small amount of instability in his knee requires that Bush compensate for that deficit with improved quad and hamstring strength as well as excellent directional control, especially given his style of frequent lateral running and cutting. Therefore, it came as no surprise last week that the Saints opted to hold Bush out a little longer to have him continue to focus on the high-level skills that would prepare him to return to play.

Bush himself said earlier this week that with the extra day going into this game, he felt confident that he had enough time to do "all the things necessary" to help him be 100 percent for Monday. According to Mike Triplett of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Bush even looked better this week as compared to last, running more fluid routes in practice. But the fact remains that Bush saw only limited action in practice throughout the week. Bush did not practice Friday but this was apparently a planned rest day since the Saints have an extra day before their game. He did some work Saturday, but again was limited.

The questionable tag is appearing more questionable than it did just 24 hours ago. The fact that Bush has not yet seen a full practice is of some concern. Nonetheless, I still think there is a chance that Bush is active, barring some episode of swelling or other such last-minute setbacks. Even if he does suit up, expect the Saints to control his playing time, perhaps choosing not to have him return kicks straight out of the gate, and limiting his overall number of touches. It appears a risky play from a fantasy perspective because there is no way of knowing in advance of Monday night whether Bush will play, and how much time he sees.

Other noteworthy items

[+] EnlargeBrian Westbrook
Scott Boehm/Getty ImagesWestbrook is facing a tough defense and is far less than 100 percent.
• All is not well with Brian Westbrook. He is officially listed as questionable because of his knee and his ankle, and -- you guessed it -- he is a game-time decision. This is not the same scenario of a Westbrook who rests during the week, then shows up Sunday and changes the entire Philly offense. This is an ailing Westbrook: His yards per carry has decreased in recent weeks, and he is dealing with not only a swollen knee (which he has managed for years), but also the lingering effects of an ankle sprain back in Week 3 (which looked as close to a high ankle sprain as it gets). Westbrook told the Philadelphia Inquirer that his ankle feels healthy enough to play each week but then gets "reinjured" during the game. He acknowledges that it limits him by affecting his ability to cut and avoid tackles. For his part, coach Andy Reid limits Westbrook's practice time when the team practices inside on the turf to try to minimize the stress on his joints. Despite the fact that the Eagles face a tough Baltimore run defense, according to the Philadelphia Daily News, Reid says that if Westbrook can go, he will play. In other words, this is not going to be a planned rest day for him. Reid also said, however, that he will call on Correll Buckhalter to do more Sunday. So here's your dilemma, fantasy owners: Westbrook may be active and yet may play very little. The game is early, so the best bet is to wait until game time to see whether Westbrook is even playing. But something tells me that this is the time to rest him, and that even if he sees the field, he will see a lot less of it this week than usual.

Brandon Jacobs seems to have recovered nicely from the minor injury to his knee that forced him to leave last week's game early. After an MRI early in the week came back negative, Jacobs minimized the injury and said that he was feeling good. By the end of the week he had practiced fully and insisted that he had no pain and was ready to play. But will he play? Jacobs is listed as probable and therefore is almost certain to start. But you have to wonder how long the Giants will leave him in the game when they certainly don't want to risk any major setback and can be secure in their backfield depth in Derrick Ward and Ahmad Bradshaw. After all, Jacobs suffered an MCL sprain that kept him out for three weeks last year. When he said initially that this injury was similar to last year's (although he said he knew right away it was not as serious), the Giants had to be holding their collective breath until the test results came back negative. Fantasy owners can take a chance here. Jacobs is indeed expected to start. But I don't see him playing much, if at all, in the second half, especially if the Giants are faring well. Then again, he can rack up some nice first-half numbers. Let's put it this way: His knee will not be limiting him heading into Sunday.

• Fellow Giant Plaxico Burress was a midweek addition to the injury report with a hamstring strain. He did not practice Thursday or Friday, is listed as questionable, and really is one of those 50-50 designations to play. The Giants will have him warm up before the game and see how his leg feels running routes. Burress seemed very cautious when discussing his leg injury throughout the week, so even if he is active, it doesn't appear he will be 100 percent.

Tony Romo (pinkie) and Jason Witten (ribs) are both listed as probable, and you know they're playing. You should also know that both are feeling better, and Witten in particular should have better numbers this week.

Matt Jones went through a full practice Friday, is listed as probable and is expected to play. Jones sat out last week with a bruised thigh and was limited in the early part of this week. The Jaguars want him back in their offensive lineup, though, because he has been their top receiver so far this year.

Kellen Winslow is listed as questionable for the Browns this weekend after suffering what the team called a shoulder sprain Monday night. If anyone can tough it out through an injury in this league, it's Winslow, and this week should be no different. The fact that he returned to practice Friday improves his chances of playing.

Derrick Mason played pretty well for having only one good wing last week. Nonetheless, the challenges of his injured left shoulder became apparent when he could not bring both arms overhead to catch what would have been a touchdown pass. Mason did not practice Wednesday because of soreness in the shoulder and was limited Thursday and Friday. He is listed as questionable, and his status will not come down until just before the game, but given that he managed to tough it out last week, you can probably expect the same Sunday.

[+] EnlargeCarnell Williams
Paul Jasienski/Getty ImagesWill the engine get started this week for Cadillac?
• The potential return of Carnell Williams has created much anticipation. Williams is expected to see his first game action this week. Well, he was expected to, based on the hints coach Jon Gruden was tossing out all week, but surprisingly, he was an addition to the Friday injury report because of a hamstring problem. Williams has been out for 14 months recovering from a torn patellar tendon. He has made great strides -- so great, in fact, that the Buccaneers activated him from the physically unable to perform list and made room for him on the active roster. It seemed perfect timing to have him available Sunday with the loss of Earnest Graham to a season-ending ankle injury last week. Williams is listed as questionable, and it may come down to a game-time decision, but you can bet that if anything could compromise his recent tendon repair, the team will play it safe and sit him. Warrick Dunn is expected to remain the starter in Tampa.

Out: This is a list of key fantasy players, not including those who have been moved to injured reserve status, who are officially listed as additions to the "Out" listing for Week 12.

Steven Jackson, RB, Rams: The Rams decided to make it easy on fantasy owners, and Jackson himself, by making this announcement early in the week. There's still no telling when Jackson is expected to return from his lingering quadriceps strain. Antonio Pittman gets the start again for the Rams.

Matt Schaub, QB, Texans: Early in the week, Texans coach Gary Kubiak hinted that Schaub could miss up to another month with his slow-healing MCL sprain. For fantasy purposes, it is probably worth dropping him to secure a playoff replacement.

Felix Jones, RB, Cowboys: This week the Cowboys announced that although Jones' hamstring had recovered, during his rehab workouts he sustained a torn ligament at the base of his big toe that will require surgery, officially ending his season. It's a bummer for the rookie who had such a bright start to his year. Something about switching from the field at Arkansas to the pros has an effect on big toes; the Raiders' Darren McFadden and Jones will both have missed playing time as a result of their respective toe injuries.

Marty Booker, WR, Bears: Booker has a knee ailment that will sideline him this week. Brandon Lloyd, who has not been much of a factor since spraining his posterior cruciate ligament early in the season, is listed as probable (now with a calf strain) and should play. With Booker out, Lloyd should see some more targets this week.

Arnaz Battle, WR, and Josh Morgan, WR, 49ers: Not only is Battle still battling his foot injury, but now we also are hearing that Morgan is not expected back anytime soon because his groin injury is fairly severe. In fact, the Sacramento Bee reports that offensive coordinator Mike Martz said of Morgan's injury: "That was a pretty significant injury. I'm not sure we're going to get him back in the near future." Look for Bryant Johnson, who is now healthy (and who was a factor in the 49ers' receiving corps early in the season), to see some extra balls thrown his way.

Good luck in Week 12! Be sure to check out our site Sunday for pregame chats and Fantasy Football Now at noon ET.

Orton looking like a go

November, 15, 2008
Uh-oh, it's fantasy crunch time. Playoff scenarios are starting to shape up, and victories in the next couple weeks are critical if you're on the bubble. Every player in your lineup has a crucial contribution to make to help you jockey for position in those divisional playoffs. You certainly don't want to accidentally leave in somebody who is going to be a gameday scratch, but there are a lot of question marks on the Friday NFL injury report.

So who will play this weekend? Here's what we know as we head into the Week 11 contests.

Kyle Orton, QB, Bears: What a difference a week makes. Orton has all of a sudden risen to a "probable" designation and by all accounts appears ready to take the field as the starter for the Bears on Sunday. Orton's injured right ankle has been faring better, and although it is still wrapped for support and he is not yet 100 percent recovered, he is doing just about everything in practice to convince his teammates and coaches that he is ready to play.

Initially, Orton's injury was reported as a high ankle sprain, and it certainly appeared at first that he would miss more time. But all sprains are not created equal, and Orton is certainly proving that with his speedy recovery. Coach Lovie Smith told the Chicago Sun-Times that Orton has "gotten better each day [and] there's no reason to think that won't continue [through] Sunday." His biggest challenges will be rolling right on the still-tender right ankle, and the unavoidable tangles that he is destined to be a part of during a game. If he can handle those obstacles, there's no reason to think that he cannot be essentially healthy going forward.

[+] EnlargeClinton Portis
Drew Hallowell/Getty ImagesFantasy owners need to look for someone other than Portis to help them this week.
Clinton Portis, RB, Redskins:

Portis is listed as questionable, and his status remains a game-time decision for Sunday night. It's really not looking good for Portis, especially when you consider the nature and severity of the injury (grade 2 MCL sprain), his limitations this week (he could not fully bend or extend his knee at the start of the week), and his inability to practice through Friday. That being said, Portis was earnestly doing everything he could from a treatment perspective, and coach Jim Zorn wanted to see how he would fare in the Saturday walkthrough.

From a fantasy perspective, despite how outstanding Portis has been this year, look elsewhere for your running back this week. Even if he does play, which would come as a surprise, Zorn has already indicated that he would only use Portis in a limited capacity. Ladell Betts (probable) is hopeful to return after missing several weeks himself with a knee sprain, and beyond Betts, Shaun Alexander and Rock Cartwright are available for the Redskins to sprinkle into their running back mix. Assume that Portis will take a while longer to get his knee fully healthy before he can perform up to the high standard he has set this year.

Other noteworthy items

Tony Romo (probable) is expected to start for the Cowboys. Romo is returning after a four-week absence due to a broken pinkie in his throwing hand. His only discomfort remains with taking snaps under center, but according to coach Wade Phillips, Romo has been throwing well in practice. The Cowboys have to be excited about their deep-ball option returning to the game plan this week. And Romo has to be excited that he will be able to throw to his buddy Jason Witten, who is expected to return to the field this week despite a still-healing broken rib. Witten may not feel quite 100 percent, but he has been able to practice on a limited basis, and with some extra rib padding for insurance, along with his rep as the toughest guy on the field, he provides a boost for his team.

• Wide receiver Matt Jones has a potential suspension looming over him, but that won't be what keeps him off the field this week. If Jones can't suit up for the Jaguars on Sunday, it will be because of a thigh injury that has kept him out of practice most of this week. If Jones is on your team, it's probably best to secure a backup given that the Jags have a late game, and even if Jones plays, he is not expected to be at full strength.

• "Fast" Willie Parker is off the injury report and will be on the field for the Steelers on Sunday. Sure, he may be in a harness to protect his shoulder, but that should not interfere with his function as a running back. He is bound to experience some soreness if he takes hits to the shoulder, from a defender or the ground, but more important for Parker is that his knee appears healthy and he's running well. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is also off the injury report, so expect him at least to start for the Steelers. If he experiences another late game decline however, don't expect Tomlin to hesitate to pull the switch and insert Byron Leftwich.

• Ravens receiver Derrick Mason injured his shoulder during last Sunday's game. On Monday we talked about how soreness and swelling is often worse in the first few days post-injury and how Mason's practice activity would go a long way to indicate what his chances of playing this week really are. Well, Mason did not practice Wednesday or Thursday and did only a limited amount Friday. He is wearing a harness to protect his left shoulder but coach John Harbaugh was noncommittal regarding Mason's availability, telling the Carroll County Times, "We'll see how he is on Sunday." Hmmm. A less than fully healthy Mason who is a game-time decision versus a tough opponent? You may want to consider another fantasy option.

• Raiders' quarterback JaMarcus Russell was able to move around much better in practice this week. Russell has been contending with a bone bruise in his knee along with tendinitis. Although listed as questionable, he is expected to play. Meanwhile, running back Darren McFadden had quite an improvement in his status this week. His tag remains "questionable," but if you take into account that McFadden was able to practice all week -- albeit on a limited basis -- and that he is feeling more comfortable and confident in his new shoes, his chances of playing Sunday look much better. According to the Contra Costa Times, McFadden has been running and cutting without pain and has tossed his protective boot. McFadden even went so far as to say that he had "a different pep" in practice. It's unclear how much playing time he'll see, but expect him to be out there.

• The Seahawks will enjoy the return of their signal-caller, Matt Hasselbeck, who has been disabled by weakness in his leg as a result of sciatic nerve compression linked to a bulging disc. Pain was never the issue for Hasselbeck, weakness was, but gradually the nerve function, and thus his muscle strength, has improved. Hasselbeck was able to practice all week, is listed as probable, and is expected to start. Joining him on the field will be Deion Branch, who after making an impressive return from ACL reconstruction was almost immediately sidelined again, this time with a bruised heel on his opposite leg. Branch has finally been able to get back on the practice field. He, too, is listed as probable but is expected to play. Expect both to be a little rusty, but nonetheless welcome additions to an otherwise anemic offense.

• In Tampa, there is much excitement about the return of Carnell Williams to the roster after missing nearly a year with a torn patellar tendon, but don't expect him to see much, if any, playing time just yet. The Bucs will be cautious with Williams after such a severe injury; his first contact drills took place just this week. But Earnest Graham is still ailing with a sprained knee suffered before the bye week, and Warrick Dunn, although able to practice all week, is just returning from a pinched nerve in his upper back. Graham is listed as questionable and may play, but in a limited capacity. Dun is listed as questionable but based on his ability to practice, looks to be the more sure bet to go. The idea that Williams can contribute soon has to make coach Jon Gruden happy. For fantasy purposes though, don't count on Williams or Graham this week, but do expect Dunn to get the start and get the bulk of the work.

• Ten players listed as questionable this week? The Colts made liberal use of the designation in Friday's injury report but have strongly hinted that two of the key fantasy players on that list, Anthony Gonzalez and Reggie Wayne, are likely to suit up Sunday. Gonzalez had a hamstring strain that kept him limited in practice this week, but it is reportedly minor. Wayne had an ankle ailment that was bothering him, and after recently tweaking his knee, the Colts were no doubt trying to preserve his overall health by limiting his practice reps early on. Both Gonzalez and Wayne went through full practice Friday, so it does appear that they will be available for Sunday's matchup against the Texans.

Out: This is a list of key fantasy players, not including those who have been moved to injured reserve status, who are officially listed as additions to the "Out" listing for Week 11.

Steven Jackson, RB, Rams: Jackson's thigh is not healing as fast as anyone would like, including Jackson himself, who stayed behind while his teammates traveled to San Francisco so that he can confer with a specialist. Jackson ran fairly well in practice Wednesday but was then unable to do anything the remainder of the week because of persistent stiffness and soreness in his thigh. Antonio Pittman gets the start again for the Rams.

Matt Schaub, QB, Texans: Schaub will miss another week, at least, with his sprained knee (MCL), and Rosenfels will again start in his place.

Felix Jones, RB, Cowboys: The Cowboys were hoping to get Jones back from a hamstring injury after the bye week along with teammates Romo and Witten. The nature of Jones' particular injury, though (distal hamstring, near the knee), makes it a tough one to heal, and a little extra recovery time is not unexpected.

Heath Miller, TE, Steelers: Miller is still sidelined with a high ankle sprain. Matt Spaeth continues to start in his place.

Reggie Bush, RB, Saints: Despite doing some limited work in practice Wednesday, Bush did not practice later in the week, and coach Sean Payton decided to hold him back. No reason to hurry back from meniscal surgery, especially given that this is the same knee in which Bush suffered a sprained posterior cruciate ligament just last year. His return will likely take place when the Saints host Monday Night Football in Week 12.

Arnaz Battle, WR, and Josh Morgan, WR, 49ers: Battle remains out with a foot sprain and is joined this week by Morgan, who has a groin injury. Jason Hill, who showed that he could connect with Shaun Hill, is an interesting receiver option.

Javon Walker, WR, Raiders: Yet another injury ends Walker's season early. This time it's his ankle, and he's already undergone surgery to implant some hardware in his injured leg. What will his future hold? That has yet to be determined, but this latest setback doesn't help.

Good luck in Week 11! Be sure to check out our site Sunday for pregame chats and Fantasy Football Now at noon ET.