David Akers, PK, PHI
Partially Torn Hamstring
Huddle Up: Eagles kicker David Akers has already been ruled out for this Sunday's game because of a partially torn hamstring and his status remains week-to-week meaning that his availability for each game will be determined during the week leading up to each game. Head coach Andy Reid downplayed the report that Akers would be out at least 8 weeks but a source close to the Eagles has told The Huddle that Akers will not be back for at least another two weeks and that he could be out up to 3 months. We will keep you posted but don't expect him back anytime soon. Todd France will continue to handle the kicking duties in Akers' place.
Arnaz Battle, WR, SF
Huddle Up: 49ers WR Arnaz Battle, who missed last week’s game against the Cardinals with a sprained right knee, did not practice on Wednesday and Thursday and despite being listed as questionable the team expects him to be sidelined for at least another week. A decision likely won’t come until game-day but look for veteran Johnnie Morton to get the start if Battle is deactivated.
Drew Bennett, WR, TEN
Huddle Up: Titans WR Drew Bennett, who is questionable on the team’s injury report because of a bruised knee, did not practice on Wednesday and Thursday and according to team officials he will be a game-time decision on Sunday. Bennett was a question mark last week because of a bruised heel but found a way to play so he isn’t the type who will sit when he is hurt. However he is reportedly dealing with a bit of swelling in his knee and the team’s medical staff doesn’t want him to aggravate the problem in practice. There is a good chance that Bennett will play but we won’t know for sure until moments before kickoff.
Jerome Bettis, RB, PIT
Huddle Up: The Bus is back but Parker remains the starter. Steelers RB Jerome Bettis, who missed the team's first three games because of a strained calf muscle, returned to practice last week and it looks like he is finally ready to make his 2005 debut on Sunday. Bettis is no longer experiencing soreness in his leg and he's been running at full speed for nearly a week. Willie Parker remains in the starting lineup but team officials expect Bettis to be involved in short-yardage and goal-line situations. Duce Staley is also pain-free and back to full strength but as long as Parker is effective Staley will be lucky to get on the field.
Isaac Bruce, WR, STL
Huddle Up: Rams veteran WR Isaac Bruce did not practice on Thursday because of a sprained toe and he remained doubtful on the team's official injury report for Week 5. Bruce did not play last weekend because of the injury and according to reports he could be a couple of weeks away from making his return to the lineup. He hasn't been ruled out yet but don't expect him to play on Sunday. Kevin Curtis will once again get the start if Bruce is not active.
Michael Clayton, WR, TB
Huddle Up: Bucs WR Michael Clayton has been limited in practice this week because of a preexisting shoulder injury that he aggravated during last weekend's game against the Lions. Clayton reportedly suffered a second-degree dislocation of his left shoulder during training camp and according to Clayton he has been receiving cortisone injections on game days to help relieve the pain. Clayton actually re-injured his shoulder two weeks ago against the Packers but told reporters that he experienced a lot of pain after being hit last weekend. The team's medical staff has indicated that he could re-injure his shoulder at anytime but that he will play as long as he can tolerate the pain and discomfort. The Bucs expect Clayton to be ready for Sunday's game against the Jets but he is clearly not at 100% so don't expect him to have a big game.
Daunte Culpepper, QB, MIN
Sprained MCL / Bursitis
Huddle Up: Earlier this week Vikings QB Daunte Culpepper admitted that he was playing with a bad knee, but now we have the specifics behind his injury. Culpepper reportedly sprained the medical collateral ligament in his right knee during Week 1's game against the Bucs. He is also suffering from knee bursitis, which is the inflammation of a bursa sac (fluid-filled sac that reduces friction between body tissue). Neither injury has forced him to miss a game but they continue to limit his mobility. The Vikings have a bye this weekend so this gives Culpepper an extra week to rest, but the team's medical staff isn't sure if he will be completely healthy when they return in Week 6. We will keep you posted on his progress.
Bobby Engram, WR, SEA
Huddle Up: Seahawks WR Bobby Engram is listed as doubtful for this Sunday's game because of two cracked ribs that he suffered on the first play of last weekend's game against the Redskins. Engram actually made it to the fourth quarter of the game before the pain knocked him out. Engram has not practiced this week and the team doesn't expect him to play in Week 5. With Darrell Jackson already ruled out the Seahawks will be in a bit of trouble if Engram is deactivated. Look for Joe Jurevicius and Peter Warrick to start if Engram joins Jackson on the sideline.
Bubba Franks, TE, GB
Huddle Up: The Packers were hoping to have TE Bubba Franks back this weekend but Franks has not returned to practice and he remains questionable on the team's official injury report for week 5. Franks has missed the last two games because of a bone bruise in his knee and while he has improved he may not be healthy enough to play. The Packers released TE Ben Steele earlier in the week which looked like a good sign but according to team officials Franks will likely be a game-time decision.
Ahman Green, RB, GB
Sprained Knee / Bruised Thigh
Huddle Up: According to Packers officials it looks like RB Ahman Green will not be ready to play in time for this weekend's game against the Saints. Green, who suffered a sprained knee and bruised thigh during Monday night's game against the Panthers, has not practiced this week and while his injuries aren't considered serious the team's medical staff will probably keep him out of the lineup on Sunday as a precaution. Green is officially listed as questionable, which indicates that the team is still hoping that he will be ready for Week 5 but at this point there is almost no reason to think that he will be active. Najeh Davenport would get the starting nod of Green doesn't play.
John Hall, PK, WAS
Huddle Up: Redskins kicker John Hall, who has not played since straining his quadriceps muscle in Week 1, did not practice on Wednesday and Thursday and while he remains questionable on the official injury report the team doesn't expect him back for at least another week. Hall has kicked field goals this week under the supervision of the training staff but he has not kicked off and he doesn't appear ready to play. Nick Novak, who has kicked in Hall's place, will continue to kick as long as Hall is sidelined.
Joe Horn, WR, NO
Huddle Up: Saints WR Joe Horn, who was held out of last weekend's game because of a strained hamstring, practiced on Thursday for the second straight day and while he remains questionable on the team's official injury report he should be back in the starting lineup on Sunday. According to reports Horn experienced a minimal amount of soreness following practice on Wednesday so he was allowed back on the field on Thursday but before they can commit to activating him they want to see how his hamstring holds up over the next couple of days. He'll probably be a game-time decision but unless he suffers a setback you can expect him to play in Week 5.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh, WR, CIN
Huddle Up: Bengals WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who injured his hand during last Sunday’s game, did not practice on Wednesday and Thursday and he remains questionable for Week 5. Houshmandzadeh has a significant amount of swelling in his hand and he continues to wear a cast that should help it heal faster. Team officials are reportedly calling the injury a bruise but a source close to the Bengals has told The Huddle that there is concern that injury is worse than what is being reported. Houshmandzadeh remains optimistic about his chances of playing but at this point it isn’t looking very good. We will know more about his status on Sunday morning.
Darrell Jackson, WR, SEA
Huddle Up: According to head coach Mike Holmgren, Seahawks WR Darrell Jackson will miss this weekend's game against the Rams because of bruised bone in his knee. Jackson experienced swelling in his injured knee following last Sunday's game and it has been determined that he will need to miss at least a week time for his knee to heal. Holmgren told reporters that the team did not know how long Jackson will be out but he said they will keep him out as long as it takes. The exact nature of his injury has not been publicized but a severe bone bruise can take months to completely heal. Now Jackson may not be out for longer than a week or two but don't take his injury lightly because it is being classified as a bruise. If the team doesn't take care of this problem now it could limit his productivity all season. Bobby Engram is also hurt so look for Joe Jurevicius and Peter Warrick to get significant playing time this weekend.
Rudi Johnson, RB, CIN
Huddle Up: Bengals RB Rudi Johnson, who was held out of practice on Wednesday because of a mild knee sprain, returned to practice on Thursday and he is listed as probable for this weekend's game. The knee injury has slowed Johnson over the last couple of weeks but according to team officials the injury isn't bad enough to keep him out of the starting lineup. A source close to the Bengals has told The Huddle that Johnson will continue to start as long as the can deal with the pain in his knee. The source did not provide the specifics behind the injury but said that it is not considered serious. Johnson hasn't gotten off to a great start this year but as long as he is healthy enough to be active he will continue to be a decent number 2 fantasy RB.
Erron Kinney, TE, TEN
Huddle Up: Titans TE Erron Kinney missed his second straight day of practice on Thursday because of a bruised chest but despite being listed as questionable head coach Jeff Fisher feels that he will be ready to play come Sunday. Kinney was having problems breathing on Monday is reportedly feeling much better and according to reports he has been held out of practice as a precaution. Still an official word on his availability won’t come until the medical staff sees how he does during pre-game warm-ups. Ben Troupe, who will be ready after bothered by a sore elbow, would benefit the most if Kinney does not play.
Curtis Martin, RB, NYJ
Huddle Up: Jets RB Curtis Martin is listed as probable on the team’s official injury and he’s expected to play on Sunday but his sprained knee remains an issue and it will continue to affect his performance for a while to come. Martin, who was originally hurt in Week 2 against the Dolphins, downplayed a report earlier in the week that said he aggravated the injury last weekend. However he has not practiced this week and Jets are considering using rookie Cedric Houston in short-yardage situations on Sunday. Martin has proven that he can play with injuries so as long as he has the medical staff’s blessing he will continue to take the field. But the Jets have definitely not been honest about the severity of his injury so until he gets time to rest don’t expect him to be anywhere near his best anytime soon.
Donovan McNabb QB, PHI
Sports Hernia / Bruised Sternum
Huddle Up: Eagles QB Donovan McNabb continues to receive daily treatments for a sports hernia and a bruised sternum but according to reports he has had no problems practicing this week and he will be in the starting lineup this weekend. McNabb will need surgery at some point to repair the sports hernia but so far he's been able to deal with pain and discomfort.
Michael Vick, QB, ATL
Huddle Up: Falcons' QB Michael Vick did not practice on Wednesday and was limited in practice on Thursday but according to head coach Jim Mora he will definitely be in the starting lineup this weekend against the Patriots. Vick, who is officially listed as probable on the injury report because of a minor MCL knee sprain, continues to get treatment twice a day and he's been fitted for a hinged brace which should keep his knee stabilized. Now the team has not said if Vick will need to wear the brace during the game but even if he doesn't the injury will limit his mobility so don't expect him to be at his best.
Hines Ward, WR, PIT
Huddle Up: Steelers WR Hines Ward did not practice on Wednesday and Thursday and he's listed as questionable on the official injury report because of a strained hamstring that occurred in Week 3 against the Patriots. Ward told reporters that he intends to play this weekend however the team's medical staff still doesn't know if he will be ready in time. They were hoping that he would be back to full strength following the bye week but even with the extra rest it appears that Ward is still not 100%. This is looking like a game-time decision so make sure you have a backup plan in case he is deactivated.
Kurt Warner, QB, ARI
Partially Torn Groin Muscle
Huddle Up: Cardinals veteran QB Kurt Warner will not play this weekend because of a partially torn groin muscle and he could be at least two more weeks away from being able to take the field again. Josh McCown will continue to start in his place and if continues to play well he could end up permanently securing the starting job.
Cadillac Williams, RB, TB
Strained Arch / Strained Hamstring
Huddle Up: The status of Bucs RB Cadillac Williams for this weekend's game remains a question mark because of Williams' strained arch and hamstring. Williams suffered a minor hamstring strain last weekend and a more severe arch strain back in Week 2. While his hamstring does not appear to be a problem the Bucs are clearly worried about his sore arch and the team's medical staff is concerned that it could linger for the entire season if he doesn't take a week or two off. Another concern is that Cadillac will create additional problems for himself, such as his recent hamstring injury, while he compensates for his injured foot. His foot was once again placed in a protective boot on Monday and he was held out of practice on Wednesday. Cadillac was back on the field on Thursday but did not participate in the team portion of practice. The team's medical staff will continue to evaluate his foot but don't expect a decision on his playing status to come until moments before kickoff. If Williams is ready to play head coach Jon Gruden told reporters that he won't hesitate to activate him however he did say that he needed to show a major improvement over the next few days before that happens. Michael Pittman will get a bulk of the carries if Cadillac cannot play.
The Vikings may have lost DL Kenechi Udeze for the remainder of the season. During an arthroscopic procedure to repair a torn meniscus physicians discovered additional damage to his knee that needed to be repaired. Details about what was found have not been released but there is speculation that he may have torn a ligament and according to several reports the Vikings aren't expecting Udeze back until sometime in 2006. Patriots' DL Richard Seymour did not practice on Wednesday and Thursday because of an undisclosed knee injury and while he remains questionable on the official injury report his teammates don't expect him to play this week. As usual head coach Bill Belichick had little to say about Seymour's injury so we probably won't know if he will be active until moments before kickoff. Eagles' DL Darwin Walker, who has not played since Week 1 because of a bad quadriceps contusion, missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday and he remains doubtful on the team's official injury report. Walker has improved but he continues to experience pain when he runs so there is little chance that he will be back this weekend. The Eagles will also be without DL Jerome McDougle who continues to recover from a gun shot wound to his stomach. McDougle was shot the night before the start of training camp and was placed on the team's PUP list. His wound has healed and he is currently working with the Eagles' strength and conditioning staff in hopes that he will be ready to play in a couple of weeks. He is eligible to come off the PUP list after the team's Week 6 bye so we will know more about his status for the remainder of the season at that time.
Packers' LB Na'il Diggs will be out at least two weeks and could be out for as long as 6 weeks after spraining the MCL in his knee on Monday against the Panthers. Diggs was injured in the second quarter when he attempted to tackle RB Stephen Davis during his 11-yard touchdown run. He had to leave the game and he did not return. Diggs actually suffered a partial tear in the same ligament prior to the start of the regular season that forced him to miss nearly 6 weeks of training camp. Dolphins' LB Junior Seau suffered a strained calf during Week 3 and with the team off on a bye in Week 4 he had an extra Week to rest. Seau was a regular in the team's training room during that bye week and it looks like his calf has responded well to treatment because he finally made his return to practice on Thursday. He remains questionable on the team's official injury report but it looks like he will be ready to play on Sunday. Eagles' LB Jeremiah Trotter was held out of practice on Wednesday because of a quadriceps contusion but he's expected to start this weekend against the Cowboys. Trotter is still being listed as questionable but unless he suffers a setback he should be upgraded sometime soon.
Broncos' DB Champ Bailey, who missed last week's game because of a strained hamstring, has made it through every single practice this week without a problem and according to team officials he will be back in the starting lineup this weekend against his former team the Redskins. Bailey is still experiencing soreness in his shoulder and he still gets treatment for it after practice but he will have it wrapped for the game. Neither injury should be a problem for him this weekend. Panthers' DB Chris Gamble was carted off the field on Wednesday with what appeared to be a badly sprained ankle. Gamble was added to the injury report and is currently being listed as questionable but the Panthers don't know if he will be ready to play this weekend. He will be evaluated on a daily basis so we should know more about his condition on Saturday. Redskins' DB Walt Harris, who missed last week's game because of a strained quadriceps, did not practice on Wednesday and according to team officials his status for Week 5 is up in the air. Harris actually practiced last weekend but he continues to experience discomfort in his quad, which indicates that he might not be ready to play. Rookie Carlos Rogers filled in nicely for Harris last week and he would get the start again if Harris is deactivated. A sprained ankle is currently slowing Eagles' DB Brian Dawkins but the injury shouldn't keep him out of this weekend's game against the Cowboys. An MRI done on Dawkin's ankle did not show any severe damage and while he continues to get treatment twice a day the team's medical staff remains optimistic about his chances of being ready to play. Head coach Andy Reid did not know for sure if Dawkins would be active so we probably won't know his status for the game until gameday.