So who is still standing and healthy enough to count on in Week 13? Based on early practice reports, here's what we're hearing on the injury front so far:
Expect Westbrook to be active for Thursday's game, but the knee and ankle troubles that have been plaguing him will not have gone away. On the Eagles' official Web site, Westbrook even said, "I don't think we're at the point where he would take me completely out, especially with our injury situation. I still think I can help out this team, whether it's picking up the blitz or running and catching the ball." His productivity, however, is likely to be limited again this week.
Reggie Bush, RB, Saints: As Bush says, "This could be the week." And Mike Triplett of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, who has been tracking Bush's every move since his surgery more than a month ago, seconds that. It looked like Bush would return on the big Monday night stage until late last week, but credit the Saints with holding him back until they were satisfied that he was approaching full health. Apparently, they did not see enough in practice to give them the confidence that Bush was ready to take the field and absorb the unavoidable contact that comes along with playing his position.
Bush might not see a full workload in his first game back, and it would not be a surprise to me if he is held out of special-teams play. Expect him to see some offensive action, though, including catching passes out of the backfield, and if all goes well, his action should continue to increase.
Some other players to keep an eye on as the week progresses
• Lions running back Kevin Smith banged up his shoulder last week and was held out of practice Monday. He returned to a limited practice Tuesday and is expected to play in the Lions' annual Thanksgiving day contest, but he might be less than 100 percent.
• Broncos running back Selvin Young is expected to return from his groin injury this week, assuming he is able to get in some full practices. That should serve only to cut into Peyton Hillis' workload. Broncos tight end Tony Scheffler is quietly getting healthier, and although he hasn't been very productive lately, he has a potentially good matchup Sunday versus the Jets.
• "Fast" Willie Parker might not be so fast getting back on the field after aggravating his knee again last week. Parker reportedly has inflammation in his recently sprained knee, and he's listed as questionable for Sunday's game. The word is that Parker will have more evaluative tests done this week, but it is reasonable to think that Mewelde Moore will again start in his place at New England. Receiver Santonio Holmes suffered a concussion last week, but coach Mike Tomlin said on the Steelers' official Web site that he expects Holmes to be ready to play Sunday.
• Plaxico Burress was scheduled to have his hamstring further evaluated this week. Burress had a disappointing early exit from Sunday's game once he figured out that he could not run fast with the hamstring ailing, but the Giants are hopeful that he will not miss much more time. We should have a better idea as to his status later in the week, but you know how it goes with these delicate hamstring injuries. Have a backup plan in place. Meanwhile, teammate Brandon Jacobs should be able to play Sunday at Washington after he was a surprise late scratch just before this past Sunday's game. Jacobs, who had appeared to be healthy after full practices late last week, reportedly had stiffness in his knee following the team's flight to Arizona, according to the New York Daily News. In any event, the extra week should have helped him, and it would be a surprise if he is not on the field this Sunday.
There are three Thursday games this week, so don't forget to set your lineups early! We'll have the latest injury updates affecting the Week 13 weekend contests and any postmortem on Thursday injuries in the Saturday blog.