Week 13's Biggest Injury Questions For All 32 NFL Teams

Print

Published on November 30 2017 6:20 am
Last Updated on November 30 2017 6:21 am

By ESPN

NFL Nation reporters assess the biggest injuries across the league for Week 13.

AFC EAST

Buffalo Bills

Wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin tore his meniscus less than two weeks ago in a loss to the Chargers, and the typical timetable for a return from that injury makes it unlikely that he will play Sunday against the Patriots. However, coach Sean McDermott continues to term Benjamin day-to-day; the team's top receiver wore a helmet and went through stretching at the start of Wednesday's practice. He even did footwork drills in plain view of television cameras. At the very least, McDermott is making sure the Patriots have some level of doubt about whether Benjamin will play. -- Mike Rodak

Miami Dolphins

Starting running back Damien Williams suffered a shoulder injury last week and his chances to play Sunday against the Broncos do not look good. Williams could miss multiple weeks, which means second-year backup Kenyan Drake will start and get a majority of the carries. -- James Walker

New England Patriots

Starting right tackle Marcus Cannon and top backup LaAdrian Waddle both have ankle injuries and didn't practice Wednesday, which means No. 4 OT Cameron Fleming could be thrust into starting duty Sunday against the Bills. In addition, wide receiver Chris Hogan (shoulder) appears as if he'll need a little more time but is closer to a return. Expect to see Phillip Dorsett and Danny Amendola continue to serve as the 2a and 2b receivers alongside No. 1 Brandin Cooks. -- Mike Reiss

New York Jets

Matt Forte watch will continue this week. Battling a chronic knee issue, the running back will likely be a game-time decision for Sunday's matchup against the Chiefs. The Jets still rely on him, as evidenced by the fact that he played more snaps last week than Elijah McGuire or Bilal Powell. -- Rich Cimini

AFC NORTH

Baltimore Ravens

Running back Alex Collins missed his first practice of the season with a calf injury. This was a surprise because Collins played the entire game Monday night and was on the field for the final plays. If he can play, the Ravens will rely heavily on Collins in going against the Lions and the No. 24 run defense. If Collins is sidelined, Buck Allen will receive an increase in carries and Terrance West will be active for the first time since Oct. 8. -- Jamison Hensley

Cincinnati Bengals

Linebacker Nick Vigil had to leave last week's game against the Browns after tweaking his ankle. He was seen in a walking boot on Monday and was still walking with a limp, which indicates that it could be difficult for him to get back on the field this week. With Vincent Rey's status also unknown after he missed last week's game with a hamstring injury, rookie linebacker Jordan Evans would be in line for more playing time Monday night against the Steelers, should Vigil be inactive. -- Katherine Terrell

Cleveland Browns

The Browns are a healthy team as they prepare for their road matchup with the Chargers, with no significant injuries. The only player to miss practice Wednesday was backup wide receiver Sammie Coates. -- Pat McManamon

Pittsburgh Steelers

JuJu Smith-Schuster's health is starting to perk up after he missed last week's game with a hamstring injury. The team's second-leading receiver is back into practice action and, barring a setback, has a good chance to play against the Bengals on Monday. Cornerback Joe Haden is out this week but will get an X-ray on his broken fibula sometime next week to determine his practice schedule. -- Jeremy Fowler

AFC SOUTH

Houston Texans

The Texans placed starting left tackle Chris Clark on injured reserve with an ankle injury on Wednesday. Coach Bill O'Brien would not say who would start in Clark's absence, but options include Kendall Lamm, Breno Giacomini (moving from right tackle) or newly-promoted guard Chad Slade. Julien Davenport was listed as a limited participant in practice on Wednesday, and O'Brien said the rookie tackle is "touch and go." -- Sarah Barshop

Indianapolis Colts

Coach Chuck Pagano said he has "zero confidence" that starting center Ryan Kelly will clear the concussion protocol in time for Sunday's game at Jacksonville. Kelly, who has started all 23 games he has played in his career, suffered the concussion in the first half against Tennessee in Week 12. Losing Kelly from an already struggling offensive line is tough for the Colts because the group gave up 10 sacks and an additional eight quarterback hits in Week 7's meeting with the Jaguars. Mike Person, who has started 14 games in his career, will start in place of Kelly. -- Mike Wells

Jacksonville Jaguars

Linebacker Telvin Smith is in the concussion protocol and did not practice Wednesday. His status for Sunday's game against the Colts is unclear. If he isn't cleared and able to practice by Friday, he's unlikely to play. That would be a big loss for the Jaguars because he's their leading tackler and has three interceptions, 11 tackles for loss, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. He's the defense's emotional leader, too, and arguably the best playmaker. -- Mike DiRocco

Tennessee Titans

Wide receiver Rishard Matthews is the player to watch with a hamstring injury. Matthews didn't play Sunday against the Colts after suffering the midweek hamstring tweak, and he didn't practice Wednesday. Coach Mike Mularkey said Matthews was "day-to-day" and could be back any day. This is setting up to be another game-time decision. -- Cameron Wolfe

AFC WEST

Denver Broncos

Only three defensive linemen were healthy enough to practice Wednesday. Rookie DeMarcus Walker was moved from the outside linebacker group to practice with the linemen -- he played on the defensive line in college and for the Broncos in training camp before he was moved to outside linebacker. Derek Wolfe (neck) continues to be evaluated as the Broncos try to determine if he'll be able to return to the field this season. Nose tackle Domata Peko Sr. has a knee injury that could keep him out at least two weeks, and he is not expected to play Sunday against Miami. Defensive end Shelby Harris did not practice Wednesday due to an illness that has hit several Broncos players in recent weeks. Defensive end Adam Gotsis was limited in Wednesday's practice with ankle and shoulder injuries. In short, it could put the Broncos in their specialty packages on defense -- the nickel and dime packages -- even on some early downs if the team is concerned about its depth. -- Jeff Legwold

Kansas City Chiefs

Safety Eric Murray has a high ankle sprain, which makes it unlikely that he will be available Sunday against the Jets. Murray plays a lot on passing downs, so the Chiefs will have to find someone to handle his role. They have six cornerbacks, including the recently signed Darrelle Revis, so they have no shortage of candidates to replace him. -- Adam Teicher

Los Angeles Chargers

After missing two kicks and leaving midway through the Thanksgiving Day win over the Cowboys, kicker Nick Novak was a limited participant in practice on Wednesday with a back injury. Kicker Travis Koons was added to the practice squad this week as insurance in case Novak's back does not get better. However, Novak said he will be healthy enough to play Sunday against the Browns. -- Eric D. Williams

Oakland Raiders

With Michael Crabtree serving a one-game suspension for fighting, all eyes turn to Amari Cooper, who suffered a concussion and a sprained left ankle against the Broncos. Those eyes see that Cooper, who was walking with a bad limp and a walking boot in his hand Tuesday, missed practice Wednesday with those ailments. It is hard to see Cooper playing against the Giants' No. 29-ranked pass defense, so it is up to the unlikely trio of Seth Roberts, Cordarrelle Patterson and Johnny Holton to click with Derek Carr, along with tight end Jared Cook, whose 42 catches are tied for the team lead with Crabtree and Cooper. -- Paul Gutierrez

NFC EAST

Dallas Cowboys

La'el Collins is expected to be available Thursday against Washington, even though he was not able to practice throughout the week because of a sore back. The Cowboys have had players play with little or no practice over the years, but Collins might be one of the least inexperienced players to pull it off. This is just his third season and first at right tackle. He has started 25 games in his career, and the coaches believe he has played enough to get through without practice. Where his injury could impact the Cowboys is in how they set up their 46-man roster. They could go with an eighth offensive lineman for the second straight week. Tyron Smith (groin, back) and Zack Martin (concussion) are also listed as questionable, but they will start. -- Todd Archer

New York Giants

It finally appears that wide receiver Sterling Shepard is ready to return. He missed the past two games with migraines but was a full participant in practice Wednesday for the first time in weeks. Shepard said he's finally symptom-free and expects to play. The Giants need it considering the state of their offense, which is averaging 15.6 points per game. -- Jordan Raanan

Philadelphia Eagles

Middle linebacker Joe Walker, starting in place of Jordan Hicks (Achilles), was sidelined Wednesday with a neck injury suffered against the Bears. Receiver Alshon Jeffery (foot), center Jason Kelce (ankle) and cornerback Patrick Robinson (knee) were all listed as limited participants. No need to panic when it comes to Jeffery and the rest of the limited group unless they're held back all week. -- Tim McManus

Washington Redskins

Left tackle Trent Williams is questionable for Thursday's game against Dallas with multiple knee issues. Williams did not play last week against the Giants, but he was able to practice Tuesday, albeit in limited fashion. Because he will have had 12 days between games, the expectation is that he will play. Still, it will likely be a game-time decision. -- John Keim

NFC NORTH

Chicago Bears

The Bears got good news Wednesday, when inside linebacker Danny Trevathan (calf), who hasn't played since the Oct. 29 game against the Saints, returned to practice on a limited basis. Wide receiver Josh Bellamy (concussion) was also removed from the injury report. Veteran guard Josh Sitton (concussion) and safety Adrian Amos (hamstring) did not practice Wednesday. -- Jeff Dickerson

Detroit Lions

Matthew Stafford (ankle) appears to be fine. The not-as-good news: running back Ameer Abdullah (neck), guard T.J. Lang (foot) and center Travis Swanson (knee) all missed practice. Considering the issues the team's run game already has, that could be a big problem if they continue to be out for the rest of the week. If Abdullah were to be out against the Ravens on Sunday, the Lions would rely on some combination of Theo Riddick, Zach Zenner and Dwayne Washington. It's possible Tion Green could get a shot. On the offensive line, Graham Glasgow would slide into Swanson's spot at center and Corey Robinson will take one of the guard spots. The other? That remains to be seen. But it's not a good sign for an offense that has had three straight games with slow starts. -- Michael Rothstein

Green Bay Packers

Although all eyes will be on whether Aaron Rodgers returns to practice later in the week -- he's eligible to do so on Friday, per IR rules -- he can't play for two more games, so the more practical matter is the status of several other key players for this week's game against the Buccaneers: running back Aaron Jones (knee), outside linebacker Clay Matthews (groin) and defensive tackle Kenny Clark (ankle) all returned to practice Wednesday after missing last week's game. Jones would seem like the biggest long shot to play, given that he is only three weeks removed from his MCL sprain, but Matthews and Clark appear to have better shots this week. -- Rob Demovsky

Minnesota Vikings

Right tackle Mike Remmers is finally out of the concussion protocol and back practicing this week in a limited capacity. It's a good sign since he missed the better part of the past four games after going down early against the Browns and returning to practice ahead of Week 11 only to suffer a setback. Linebacker Eric Kendricks, who leads the team in tackles and has played 98 percent of Minnesota's defensive snaps this season, was held out of practice Wednesday as he deals with a hip injury. -- Courtney Cronin

NFC SOUTH

Atlanta Falcons

There's good news on the injury front for Atlanta, with the return of running back Devonta Freeman to full practice from a concussion. If Freeman is ready to go for Sunday's game against the Vikings, the biggest injury questions marks are cornerback Desmond Trufant, who is in the concussion protocol, and nickel back Brian Poole, who was held out with a back injury. The Falcons have options if neither players is ready by Sunday, with C.J. Goodwin capable of stepping in opposite Robert Alford at corner and free safety Ricardo Allen already showing that he can transition to multiple position, including for Poole at nickel. -- Vaughn McClure

Carolina Panthers

Running back Christian McCaffrey showed up on the injury report as a nonparticipant Wednesday after he was dinged in the shoulder Sunday against the Jets. Coach Ron Rivera simply said McCaffrey's shoulder is sore. But if the eighth pick of the 2017 draft somehow isn't able to play Sunday against the Saints or is limited, that takes away a huge part of Carolina's offense. Besides quarterback Cam Newton and the line, no offensive player is getting more snaps than McCaffrey. That he plays running back and wide receiver would make it like losing two players. -- David Newton

New Orleans Saints

There was some great injury news for the Saints on Wednesday, as both of their starting cornerbacks, Marshon Lattimore and Ken Crawley, returned to practice on a limited basis. They've sorely missed Lattimore the past two weeks and Crawley the past one. Their pass defense, which ranked first in the NFL from Weeks 4 through 10, ranked 31st in Weeks 11 and 12. There are some injury concerns, though, as left tackle Terron Armstead (thigh/shoulder), tight end Coby Fleener (concussion) and safety Marcus Williams (groin) missed Wednesday's practice. It's too early in the week to predict whether any of them will be sidelined Sunday against the Panthers. -- Mike Triplett

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Right tackle Demar Dotson and center Ali Marpet were both placed on injured reserve with knee injuries, while quarterback Jameis Winston, who is returning from a three-week absence due to a shoulder injury, will start this week against the Packers. To complicate matters even more on offense, running back Doug Martin is currently in the concussion protocol, which doesn't offer Winston much help. -- Jenna Laine

NFC WEST

Arizona Cardinals

Adrian Peterson missed Wednesday's practice with a neck injury suffered Sunday against Jacksonville. Coach Bruce Arians didn't offer a timeline for his return, but if Peterson can't play Sunday against the Rams, the Cardinals could be without their top two backs, as Kerwynn Williams is trying to play through cracked ribs. Even if he plays, he might not be as productive as he was pre-injury. When Arians was asked about what his backfield might look like against Los Angeles, he said this: "Have no clue." -- Josh Weinfuss

Los Angeles Rams

The Rams are expected to be without wide receiver Robert Woods and outside linebacker Connor Barwin this week against the Cardinals, but they could replenish a little bit of depth at running back. Lance Dunbar and Malcolm Brown, who back up Todd Gurley, were limited participants Wednesday after missing last week's game against the Saints. The Rams' lack of running back depth in that game forced Gurley to have to stay in on third-down passing situations to either block or be available on checkdowns. Conserving him for those situations was part of the reason Gurley ended up with only 17 carries in that game. A return from Dunbar or Brown, both dealing with knee injuries, could change that. -- Alden Gonzalez

San Francisco 49ers

With Jimmy Garoppolo set to make his first start as a Niner on Sunday, one of the team's top priorities is protecting him. To that end, San Francisco sure could use a return to health for right tackle Trent Brown, who was a late scratch last week because of a shoulder injury suffered in practice. Coach Kyle Shanahan said Brown was close to playing last week and is optimistic that he can return this week against the Bears, though Brown didn't do much in practice Wednesday and is still considered day-to-day. Brown's health is even more important considering that the top options behind him are veteran Zane Beadles or undrafted rookie Darrell Williams Jr., who has played one career NFL snap. -- Nick Wagoner

Seattle Seahawks

The plans this week for the Seahawks' ever-unsettled backfield will depend to some degree on the status of Mike Davis' groin. The third-year running back was promoted from the practice squad in Week 11 and was two quarters into an impressive Seahawks debut when his night ended early due to a groin strain. He's expected to be back this week after missing the previous game, but it's conceivable that Seattle will opt to ease Davis back in as opposed to reinserting him into the starting lineup. The Seahawks also expect to have starting cornerback Shaquill Griffin (concussion) back this week after he missed the previous game. Two question marks will be backup tight end Luke Willson (concussion) and backup defensive end Dion Jordan (neck/shoulder), whose emergence was among several factors in Seattle's decision to waive Dwight Freeney. -- Brady Henderson

 

Thursday, November 30 Schedule (Time Central)

Washington at Dallas, 7:25 p.m.


Sunday, December 3 Schedule (All Times Central)

Minnesota at Atlanta, noon

New England at Buffalo, noon

San Francisco at Chicago, noon

Tampa Bay at Green Bay, noon

Houston at Tennessee, noon

Denver at Miami, noon

Kansas City at New York Jets, noon

Indianapolis at Jacksonville, noon

Detroit at Baltimore, noon

Cleveland at Los Angeles Chargers, 3:05 p.m.

New York Giants at Oakland, 3:25 p.m.

Carolina at New Orleans, 3:25 p.m.

Los Angeles Rams at Arizona, 3:25 p.m.

Philadelphia at Seattle, 7:30 p.m.