Stephania Bell: Steve Breaston



Since most of Tuesday's blog was dedicated to two star players with significant injuries, quarterbacks Brett Favre and Tony Romo, today's blog will be a series of quick hits to get you caught up on your other fantasy players from around the league. Six teams are on bye this week -- Atlanta Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles, Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens and New York Giants -- so get those replacements early as the pickings may be slim by the weekend.

Brett Favre
AP Photo/Andy KingBrett Favre was wearing a walking boot on Wednesday but it was gone by Thursday.
Before jumping into the variety of injuries across the league, here's the latest on Favre: He did not practice Wednesday and may not practice the rest of the week. Favre is resting his ankle and getting regular treatment in the hope that he will play Sunday against the New England Patriots. Head coach Brad Childress told reporters that Favre would not have to practice but would have to prove that he is mobile enough to play effectively. In the meantime, Favre has now been spotted without a walking boot, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. The Star-Tribune reports that Favre, who may wear a shoe larger than his usual size to play, was not expected to practice Thursday but his Sunday status has yet to be determined. Favre, who certainly has not ruled himself out because of the injury, perhaps summed it up best saying, "I wouldn't put anything past me to be honest with you." Nor would his offensive coordinator apparently. Darrell Bevell, who was with Favre in Green Bay when he played through a broken thumb, told the Star-Tribune, "It would surprise me if he wasn't able to be out there." Friday should yield more clues but it's looking more and more like Favre will attempt to play.

Favre isn't the only injured quarterback in the spotlight this week. Many teams have seen rotations under center this season, more often as a result of injury than performance.

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford will rejoin his team on the field after missing six weeks with a separated throwing shoulder. Stafford has been working his way back gradually and the entire team is coming off a bye. While Stafford's shoulder has been rehabilitating, the rest of his body has enjoyed over a month free from contact, so he should be particularly fresh.

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback David Garrard is expected to return this week after sitting out Week 7 with a concussion. The Dallas Morning News reports that Garrard passed post-concussion tests Tuesday, then worked out at the team facility. The Dallas Cowboys will be hosting the Jaguars this week.

• The Tennessee Titans' Vince Young, who sprained his left knee and ankle in the Week 6 Monday night game, was back in full practice Wednesday and Thursday. According to the Tennessean, Young says he is getting better each day. Coach Jeff Fisher says, "If he is able to move around in the pocket and be effective under center, then he'll have a chance to play." Backup Kerry Collins, who started in Week 7 despite a torn flexor tendon in his right (throwing) middle finger, did not practice Wednesday or Thursday. He should be available this week, but it appears that Young is indeed on track to face the San Diego Chargers on Sunday.

Oakland Raiders coach Tom Cable continues to state that Bruce Gradkowski will resume the starting role as his team's quarterback once he's healthy. It's not looking as though that will happen this week, however. Gradkowski, who suffered a right shoulder injury that caused him to miss the past two games, was still not in practice Wednesday. Jason Campbell, who took all the first-team reps in his absence, appears in line for another start.

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Max Hall says he's feeling better after taking a blow to the head in Week 7 that forced him to exit the game. Hall passed his concussion tests Tuesday and was a full participant in Wednesday practice. He has been named the starter for this week's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.



• And across the pond, where the San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos have traveled for their Week 8 contest at London's Wembley Stadium, it will be a different Smith taking the snaps for the 49ers. Troy Smith, who came to San Francisco from the Baltimore Ravens, has been chosen to start this week. Alex Smith suffered an AC (acromioclavicular) sprain to his left (nonthrowing) shoulder in Week 7 and is expected to miss two to three weeks. Backup quarterback David Carr, who stepped in to finish the game after Smith was hurt last Sunday, wasn't injured. He just wasn't good. The 49ers are hoping for some kind of spark from Troy Smith, who, incidentally, had never taken a snap with the first team until this week.

Beyond the injuries to those who throw the ball in the NFL, there are numerous ailments among those who run and catch the ball as well. Midseason is that difficult time of year when no one is expected to be fully healthy, simply by virtue of playing the sport of football, but the question is who is healthy enough. Just what is healthy enough? Fantasy owners have seen players who are healthy enough to take the field but have little impact (Antonio Gates in Week 7) and those not fully healthy yet but amazingly productive (Steven Jackson in Week 4). Here are the running backs, wide receivers and tight ends we're talking about this week:

• The San Diego Chargers continue to nurse a multitude of players back from injury. Wide receiver Malcom Floyd is expected out in Week 8 and is not an automatic for Week 9, either. Teammate Legedu Naanee appears to be improving from his hamstring injury and did take part in some practice Wednesday. His late-week activity will be telling.



New Orleans Saints running backs Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush are not likely to be available for your fantasy rosters this week. Bush, who indicated earlier this week that he was medically cleared to return to practice, has not done so. While he has increased his activity to include outdoor running, he is not yet doing the activities that would suggest he is ready to resume his role. Bush needs to clear some more hurdles before he is thrown to the wolves, also known as the Pittsburgh Steelers' defense. Meanwhile it's no secret that Thomas has been somewhat "stuck" in his progression and reports Thursday are not especially encouraging. Jeff Duncan of the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported via Twitter that coach Sean Payton announced that Thomas consulted with a foot and ankle specialist, who advised reducing his workload. That's enough for fantasy owners to know not to expect Thomas to return this week. It does raise more concern going forward. We will be following this closely to see if more details emerge.

• On Tuesday, we noted that St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson underwent surgery on his finger. Jackson did not practice Wednesday, which is not surprising given his surgery was just two days prior. So far there is no indication that he will be limited for this Sunday's contest against the Carolina Panthers.



• That might not be the case for his counterpart on the opposing team, however. DeAngelo Williams left Sunday's game against the San Francisco 49ers with a foot injury that was not considered serious. He sure looked uncomfortable when he left the field and he was not in practice Wednesday or Thursday. Williams owners need to be prepared with a replacement if Williams does not show he can run on that foot by Friday.

Knowshon Moreno
Brian Spurlock/US PresswireFormer Bulldog Knowshon Moreno would have to be considered the best running back of the Mark Richt era.
• Denver Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno gave folks a scare when he grabbed his right hamstring near the end of practice Wednesday and was then seen talking it over with the medical staff, according to the Denver Post. On Thursday, coach Josh McDaniels told the Post he believes that Moreno will be ready to go "for at least some duty in Sunday's game." Not exactly completely reassuring. This is the same hamstring that Moreno injured this season, causing him to miss three games. Moreno appeared strong in his performance the past two games, but there's always concern for reinjury with the hamstring. Let's see what Moreno does Friday. Teammate Eddie Royal seems to be in worse shape with his groin injury, although the Broncos have him on the trip to London. According to the Post, they want to see his progress before Sunday. Given his limitations last week, it's hard to imagine Royal being in top form by game time.

• Oakland Raiders wide receiver Louis Murphy looked to be in great pain after a big collision in Sunday's game and the immediate thought was that he aggravated a previously bruised collarbone. Murphy apparently has a chest contusion and according to the San Francisco Chronicle, coach Tom Cable says the deep bruise is "in the lung area," and Murphy is doubtful for Sunday. Depending on the severity of Murphy's injury, he could miss extended time. That means more targets for Zach Miller.

• Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Steve Breaston was kept out of last week's game partly due to wet field conditions, according to coach Ken Whisenhunt. Breaston was involved on a limited basis in Wednesday practice and appears to have a good shot at playing this week.

• San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis has not practiced for two days over in London because of an ankle injury. Although details about the injury itself have been limited, Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee reports that Davis is not limping and his status should be apparent by the end of Friday's practice.



• And then there's the banged-up Indianapolis Colts. First off, wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez insisted earlier this week that his ankle was fine and that he expected to play Monday night. It's a good thing, too, since fantasy rock star Austin Collie is expected to be sidelined for several weeks following thumb surgery. Blair White is in the receiver mix as well. Gonzalez missed the majority of last season and most of this season with injury, so fantasy owners have little confidence. But the Colts, while fairly secretive when it comes to injury information, seem skilled at decision-making when it comes to returning players to activity. Their solid depth helps, but typically when their players return, they return strong. Pierre Garcon is proof of that already this season. And Gonzalez has been a full participant in practice both days this week.

Joseph Addai
Win McNamee/Getty ImagesJoseph Addai's shoulder could keep him out this week, and with the Monday night game, fantasy owners may need to look elsewhere.
• Meanwhile, in the running game things appear even less certain for the Colts. Joseph Addai, who injured his left shoulder in Week 6 and described his arm as "dead," has been slow to recover. Since the Colts play Monday night, they did not issue a Wednesday injury report, but Addai did not practice Thursday. Coach Jim Caldwell told reporters that Addai's status is day-to-day and that he has an "unusual" pain tolerance. Meanwhile, Donald Brown has been nursing a hamstring injury for weeks and it's unclear whether he'll be ready to take the field by Monday night. In fact, according to Tom James of the Terre Haute Star-Tribune, Brown did not practice Thursday, raising questions as to how healthy he truly is. According to the Indianapolis Star, Caldwell showered praise recently on Mike Hart (who had a hip issue of his own a couple of weeks ago), suggesting he would have to "be the guy to step it up a little bit" if Addai is unable to go. Friday's practice is even more important for the Colts this week with the game coming on Monday night.

See you at Friday's 3 p.m. injury chat and we'll have the latest injury updates affecting Week 8 in the Saturday morning blog!



It is at this midweek point that we fantasy owners typically agonize over whether the injured players on our rosters will be available this week. With only one day of formal injury reports under our belt (at least that's the case for most teams at the time this blog is written), there is a big question as to whether many of the players appearing on these reports will be well enough to play in their games. Occasionally we find out early in the week that a player's injury is significant enough to sideline him. Disappointing as that news is, at least we can start searching for ways to make roster adjustments. Unfortunately, that early news is rare. However, this week, for better or for worse, we already know of several players who are projected to be out Sunday so we might as well get to those names straight away.



Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson is still dealing with the effects of the concussion he sustained Sunday following a collision with Atlanta Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson. Jackson did not practice Wednesday and head coach Andy Reid has already indicated that he does not expect the wide receiver to play this week. It also appears quarterback Michael Vick will be out another week, despite putting in limited practice Wednesday. Vick, still healing from his rib cartilage injury, has already spoken about targeting Week 9 (the Eagles have a bye in Week 8), so expect Kevin Kolb to get another start.



The San Diego Chargers have already indicated that two of their players will be out this weekend. According to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune, kicker Nate Kaeding will be out for Week 7 because of a groin injury. Meanwhile, wide receiver Malcom Floyd injured his hamstring in the Week 6 contest, which was severe enough that the Chargers are already preparing for his absence. The question will be whether he can return in time for the following week and whether Legedu Naanee can step back into the lineup this week. Naanee missed last week with a hamstring strain of his own and didn't practice Wednesday, but did do some side running and hopes to return to practice Thursday.

This is an off week for the Detroit Lions, New York Jets, Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts, so that extra time off is most welcome. However, even with the bye week, there's already a lot of bad news with the Colts.

Dallas Clark
AP Photo/John RaouxFantasy owners were already going to have to do without Dallas Clark this week, but the absence may be much longer.
First off, there's tight end Dallas Clark, as he's facing an "indefinite" absence as a result of a wrist/hand injury. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that in the wake of the injury, Clark would be seeking multiple opinions as to the optimum course of treatment. On Thursday, Colts general manager Bill Polian confirmed Clark's indefinite absence. According to the Indianapolis Star, Clark is seeing a specialist in Cleveland on Thursday for what is a "relatively rare" injury and the team is awaiting word on the course of treatment before providing any more details, including a timetable. Said Polian, "This is not the kind of injury that is very common where our doctors can say, 'Hey, look, this is a four-week injury or this is a six-week injury.' So we'll know more later tonight."

Clark was apparently injured late in Sunday night's game when he put his left hand down to break his fall. He was then seen sporting a cast on his forearm and hand while at a fundraiser earlier in the week, hinting at the seriousness of the injury. Fantasy owners obviously need to make lineup adjustments in preparation for the possibility that Clark's absence is extensive.



And if you thought it couldn't get any worse for the Colts, Polian also revealed Thursday that wide receiver Austin Collie has an undisclosed injury that is being further evaluated. Adam Schefter reports that Collie has already undergone hand surgery and is expected to be sidelined for several weeks. No word as to the specifics of the injury and subsequent surgery, but suffice it to say fantasy owners will need a fill-in if he is out a few weeks.

Fantasy owners who own both Clark and Collie in their leagues (including this writer) may need to be restrained from acting out in frustration, but fortunately they were already going to be out this week anyway. More details as they emerge.



Meanwhile, there are also questions at the running back position. Joseph Addai, who suffered an injury to his neck and shoulder area in Week 5 but played in Week 6, was forced out of last Sunday's game after injuring his left shoulder. The Indianapolis Star reports that Addai says he is dealing with a "nerve" injury that could take up to five weeks to heal. Without knowing more about his diagnosis, it's hard to tell how accurate Addai's own prognosis about his condition is. NFL.com reports he is currently seeking a second opinion. The good news is that the Colts are on a bye this week and Donald Brown is getting healthier. Fantasy owners will want to be sure they target Brown in the event Addai misses some extended time.

As for the rest of the Week 7 injury concerns, read on ...

Quarterbacks

Brett Favre, Minnesota Vikings: Favre's elbow is reportedly feeling better than it did a week ago and he should be fine to take the reins for Sunday. Although he was listed as a limited participant in practice, he did do some throwing Wednesday. This is likely to be a condition that will have its ups and downs as the season continues, but with careful management, Favre could manage to play through it.

David Garrard, Jacksonville Jaguars: Garrard rested at home Wednesday and Thursday rather than participate in activity at the team's facility as he recovers from a concussion sustained Monday night. As is often the case with these injuries, Garrard is resting from cognitively demanding activities, such as meetings and film review, while also laying off physical activity. The evidence would suggest that Garrard will not be ready to play in Week 7.



The question then becomes who will be under center for the Jaguars? Trent Edwards injured his thumb Monday night and was not at Wednesday practice either. At issue will be how much pain and swelling interfere with Edwards' ability to grip and control the ball. The Jaguars may rely on Todd Bouman to face the Kansas City Chiefs.

Vince Young, Tennessee Titans: Young, who sprained his left knee and ankle Monday night, did not practice Wednesday and was seen "limping on the sideline," according to the Tennessean. Backup Kerry Collins did not practice Wednesday either as he rested a sore right middle finger, but it appears he was set to return to practice Thursday. Young relies on his mobility so if he cannot maneuver well by Friday, expect Collins to get the start.

Running Backs

Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders: He split reps Wednesday with Michael Bush. The Oakland Tribune specifically noted that the plays did not seem to be testing the "burst" of McFadden, something he suggested he would do earlier in the week to evaluate the progress of his injured hamstring. Whether McFadden can practice on successive days and work up to full speed by the end of the week will give a better clue as to his status for Sunday. There's a possibility that the team could head into the game against the Denver Broncos with a load-share situation.

Wide Receivers

Steve Smith
Derick E. Hingle/US PresswireThe return of Steve Smith would be most welcome for his fantasy owners and the Panthers' struggling offense.
Steve Smith, Carolina Panthers: When possible, we like to bring good news to fantasy owners in this column and the sight of Smith putting in back-to-back full practices this week is indeed good news. Last week at this time, it seemed as though Smith might be headed for a more prolonged absence, but the prognosis has since improved.

The Gaston Gazette reported Wednesday that Smith said he felt "healthy," adding "I'm out of the boot and I don't have much pain so I'm able to move around. So I feel good." Smith reportedly has been recovering from a high-ankle sprain and it has only been three weeks since the injury. While his practice activity is certainly encouraging and indicates his likely availability against the San Francisco 49ers, it will be more encouraging long-term if he gets through that game without a setback.

Quick Hits


• Chargers tight end Antonio Gates did not practice Wednesday, as expected, to rest his sore toe. Coach Norv Turner has indicated that this injury does not appear serious and the team hopes to have him back in practice Thursday. At this point, it does not appear that his Sunday status is in doubt, although fantasy owners will want to see what Gates is able to do as the week progresses.

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driver strained his quadriceps late last week but still managed to play in Sunday's game. Nonetheless, the quad did seem to hamper him and he was held out of practice Wednesday and Thursday. Friday's practice should give a better clue as to his availability but it is possible, even if he plays, that he will not be at full health.

• Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic expects both Steve Breaston (knee surgery) and Early Doucet (sports hernia surgery) to be back in the mix this week for the Arizona Cardinals. Both players participated in limited practice Wednesday.

• Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Mike Sims-Walker was limited in Wednesday's practice because of a shoulder ailment. There is no word of a major injury, but it is worth keeping an eye on his activity the remainder of the week.

• Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy did not practice Wednesday, but expect him to be in the action again this week. Every week that goes by is another week of the rib fracture healing itself, so there appears to be no cause for concern here.

Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis continues to slog it out through his thigh injury. He was kept to a limited practice Wednesday but based on his prior performance, expect him to suit up this week.

New Orleans Saints running backs Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush were not in practice Wednesday. According to Jeff Duncan of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Bush is targeting next week for a return to practice, hoping to return to play in Week 8 or 9. Thomas was hoping to resume running this week, suggesting that he is more than a few days away from returning. As of Thursday, expect Chris Ivory and Ladell Betts to be in at running back.



Baltimore Ravens tight end Todd Heap did not practice Wednesday because of a sore neck. Heap, who was on the receiving end of a big -- and much discussed -- hit from the New England Patriots' Brandon Merriweather, remained in Sunday's game after the hit but apparently the soreness lingered. The good news is that Heap returned to practice Thursday and appears to be on track to play in Week 7.

• At this point, Cleveland Browns coach Eric Mangini is suggesting that Colt McCoy could get his second start of the season, barring dramatic improvement in the ankle health of Jake Delhomme or Seneca Wallace. Given their injuries, McCoy is likely to be running the offense this week.

• Oakland Raiders quarterback Bruce Gradkowski only watched practice while Jason Campbell and Kyle Boller split reps, according to the Oakland Tribune. When asked by Denver reporters during a conference call who would start for the Raiders this weekend coach Tom Cable responded, "We have no idea at this point."

See you at the injury chats (Tuesday, Friday 3-4 p.m.), when we'll have the latest injury updates affecting Week 7 in the Saturday morning blog!

There are so many injuries cropping up this week that we won't waste any time. Let's jump right into the discussion.

Running Backs

Ryan Mathews
AP Photo/ Bill NicholsRyan Mathews was limited to five carries for 26 yards and two catches for 29 yards in Sunday's win over the Jaguars.
Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers: Hmmm. All indications were that Mathews' ankle sprain was minor -- and it may still be -- but now Mathews is reporting that his injury is a high ankle sprain, according to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Even in the case of a lesser-degree sprain, a high ankle injury can be more challenging, especially for a running back. The fact that Mathews sat out practice Wednesday is also somewhat of a concern.

That said, it's possible that with rest early in the week, Mathews could be active, but the question will be how effectively he can perform. In fact, if he is active, it would not be surprising if it was in a planned backup role. After all, why risk the chance of turning a mild high ankle sprain into one that's more severe?

Fantasy owners should consider that Mike Tolbert, who clearly demonstrated his value last Sunday when he had to step in, would see the bulk of the workload Sunday if Mathews is limited.

Beanie Wells, Arizona Cardinals: Wells is perhaps the most discussed fantasy player when it comes to injury as his status has been unclear heading into each of the past two Sundays. And it may remain that way this week.

Wells, who has missed time with a bruised knee, has been battling swelling when he tries to increase activity, a sign that the knee joint remains irritated. The key to his return will be his ability to practice at an increased intensity on consecutive days. Coach Ken Whisenhunt has been clear all along that he does not want to risk Wells' health late in the season by rushing him back before his knee is ready. While Wells' fantasy owners may be frustrated, imagine how much more frustrating it would be if he were to be active on game day, only to have to exit in the first quarter because of the knee.



The encouraging news out of Arizona this week was the report from Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic that Wells increased his activity in practice Wednesday. That's Part 1. Part 2 will be Wells' successful return to practice through the remainder of the week. If signs are positive, he faces a nice matchup against the Oakland Raiders on his home surface (grass). Nonetheless, fantasy owners should remain prepared to replace Wells in the event that he doesn't play or is projected to return on a limited basis.

Joseph Addai, Indianapolis Colts: It didn't take long for the oft-nicked Addai to appear on the Colts' injury report. He is listed as having a knee injury although the team, as is its custom, has provided no details.

At this moment there does not appear to be great cause for concern for the following reasons: Addai had a big game Sunday and may be benefiting from some proactive rest and the Colts are known for their lengthy injury reports, where many players listed early in the week end up playing on Sunday.

Jerome Harrison, Cleveland Browns: Harrison did not practice either Wednesday or Thursday and much like his teammate Jake Delhomme, Harrison appears headed for inactive duty on Sunday. Harrison is reportedly dealing with a thigh injury and he would also be dealing with the Baltimore Ravens' defense if he were to play. There is still the chance that Harrison returns to practice Friday, but between the injury and the matchup, there's not a lot of encouraging news here.

Wide Receivers

Andre Johnson, Houston Texans: After spraining his ankle Sunday, Johnson was held out of Wednesday practice, but fantasy owners should not be alarmed. As we pointed out Tuesday, Johnson did return to the game following his injury.

According to the Texans' official website, Johnson says the ankle is feeling better daily and he expects to play Sunday, barring a setback. I believe him.

Steve Breaston, Arizona Cardinals: Breaston appeared on the injury report as a limited participant Wednesday because of his knee. He had a limited impact in last Sunday's game, perhaps as a result of this. According to Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic, Breaston is expected to practice Thursday, suggesting that he will be available this week.

The better news here is that Larry Fitzgerald does not appear on this week's injury report, suggesting that his knee (MCL sprain) continues to improve.



Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens, Cincinnati Bengals: Despite tweeting that he had a "cracked rib," Ochocinco was a full participant in Wednesday practice and is not listed on the team's injury report. Apparently the rib issue is not serious enough to cause concern.

His teammate Owens did appear on the injury report as limited, however, because of his back. According to The Associated Press, Owens expects to play this Sunday when the Bengals face the Carolina Panthers.



Fantasy owners should expect the Batman and Robin tandem to show up on Sunday.

Quarterbacks

Jake Delhomme, Cleveland Browns: Delhomme's ankle injury took on a more grim outlook this week when it was reported that he actually suffered a right high ankle sprain in Week 1. Add to that the fact that Delhomme has not yet practiced, and it is looking more likely that he will be sitting out Week 3. While Delhomme as quarterback will not place the same demands on the ankle as a running back, meaning he could likely return to play more quickly, he still needs to be strong enough to push off his back leg, mobile enough to move around the pocket and pivot on the foot, and to be at a relatively low risk of reinjury.

As ESPN AFC North blogger James Walker points out, it is rare for a quarterback to miss the majority of practice and play Sunday. Seneca Wallace, who started in place of Delhomme last week, is expected to be the starter again in Week 3 after taking all practice reps with the first team.

Until Delhomme shows that his ankle is functional, fantasy owners should expect him to be sidelined.

Dennis Dixon, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers apparently are giving everyone a turn at quarterback. This week it will be Charlie Batch who gets the nod since Dixon is recovering from knee surgery.

Dixon, who started last week's contest, tore the lateral meniscus in his left knee (the same knee in which he tore his ACL during his final year at Oregon) and underwent surgery Wednesday. Varying timetables have been issued, but most recently ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that his absence is expected to be on the order of six weeks. By that time, Ben Roethlisberger will be back in the mix and Byron Leftwich, out since the preseason because of a sprained MCL, should also be available. And then there's Batch.

Fantasy owners who picked up Dixon as a fill-in could better use that spot on someone else. As far as the Steelers' situation at quarterback, it is likely to remain fluid through Week 4, at least.

Quick Hits

Michael Turner
Jason Bridge/US PresswireIs Michael Turner going to tease fantasy owners again with his injury status?
Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner was a limited participant in practice Wednesday because of the groin injury, but returned to full practice on Thursday. Despite the lack of concern in Atlanta around Turner's health, some may recall last season, when positive reports would only lead to disappointment on Sunday. At that time Turner was trying to return from a high ankle sprain which was more serious than initially projected. Turner's groin strain is reported to be mild and his return to practice is encouraging, but fantasy owners will want to see proof that he is truly 100 percent healthy before they can breathe easy.

• A lot of folks are asking whether Maurice Jones-Drew's knee has something to do with his apparent struggles on the field in Week 2. Interestingly Jones-Drew appears on this week's injury report because of an ankle, not the knee. He was limited in practice Wednesday, but there's certainly no hint that he won't be available Sunday. Are these small nicks taking a toll? Unfortunately, only time will tell but it's impossible not to put this guy in your lineup if he's on the field. For now, there is no evidence for a serious injury, but naturally, we'll be watching.

St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson was limited in Wednesday practice because of his knee, but that might well be proactive planning. Jackson ran well last Sunday after rest early in the week, so the expectation is that he will do so again.

Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis appears on the injury report again this week because of his wrist. Portis played last Sunday after being listed as questionable (although he practiced fully all week) and should do the same again.

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin sat out Wednesday practice, but not because of the hip ailment that hampered him during Sunday's game. This time it's the migraine issue again. After a rough bout with migraines during the preseason, Harvin had expressed optimism that the issue would be behind him once he was diagnosed with (and being treated for) sleep apnea. While the sleep apnea may well be a major contributing factor, it was unlikely that the migraines could be eliminated, as Harvin is finding out. He did return to practice Thursday, according to 1500 ESPN's Tom Pelissero. It will be interesting to see what happens Friday since Harvin was downgraded late in the week last week after early practice. There is no question the Vikings want Harvin in their lineup; the question for fantasy owners will be what they can expect if he's there. Check back Saturday.

• The Baltimore Ravens had a trio of fantasy players on the early injury report. Wide receiver Derrick Mason did not practice because of his knee. No word yet of anything serious, but we'll keep an eye on what he does as the week progresses. Meanwhile tight end Todd Heap, who played last week despite a strained shoulder, was a full participant in practice, as was running back Ray Rice. Rice told the Baltimore Sun that the ankle he tweaked last Sunday felt "great" and that he expects to play Sunday.



• Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith showed up as a limited participant Wednesday and Thursday because of a thigh injury (note that it's not the wrist that was bothering him after the game). The Panthers may be controlling his activity so that he can run full speed Sunday, but there has to be some concern about how he will blend with new starting quarterback Jimmy Clausen.

Jason Witten
AP Photo/Sharon EllmanJason Witten tried to argue his way back into Sunday's loss to the Bears despite suffering a concussion earlier in the game.
Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten had improved enough from a concussion to participate on a limited basis in Wednesday practice. Assuming he doesn't have any post-workout symptoms, Witten is looking like a guy who will suit up on Sunday. Teammate wide receiver Dez Bryant also was limited Wednesday because of a rib injury. While the fact that he practiced at all suggests that this is not serious, the frequency with which Bryant appears with an injury could be. He remains a risky player who has yet to prove his fantasy reward.

• Well, the good news for Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Kevin Kolb is that he's getting healthier. As of Wednesday, he was a full participant in practice. The bad news is it doesn't matter as far as fantasy owners are concerned. Coach Andy Reid stated earlier this week that Michael Vick will be the starting quarterback and it appears it will remain that way until, well, we'll see.

See you at the injury chats (Tuesday and Friday 3-4 p.m.) and we'll have the latest injury updates affecting Week 3 in the Saturday morning blog!

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