Philip Rivers, SD
Sprained MCL in Both Knees - Chargers' QB Philip Rivers, who is dealing with medical collateral ligament sprains in both knees, has not practiced this week and the team isn't sure if he will be able to play tomorrow against the Patriots. Rivers told reporters that he has spent a lot of timing in the training room getting treatment and he remains "optimistic" about his chances of playing. But there are now rumors that Rivers' injury involves the ACL, which would of course end his season. These rumors have not been confirmed by a reliable source, but it's definitely cause of concern. The Chargers are preparing Billy Volek to start, and if his injuries keep him from playing this weekend look for Volek to lead the Chargers' offense.
LaDainian Tomlinson, SD
Hyperextended Knee - Chargers' RB LaDainian Tomlinson, who left last week's playoff game after hyperextending his knee, returned to limited practice on Thursday and according to reports the team expects him to start against the Patriots. Tomlinson did not practice on Wednesday but took the field and participated in several individual drills while wearing a knee brace. He apparently looked OK and the medical staff is confident that his knee will healthy enough for him to play. Obviously if he gets hit or falls the wrong way he could aggravate the injury, so there is no guarantee that he will make it through the entire game.
Plaxico Burress, NYG
Severely Sprained Ankle - Giants' WR Plaxico Burress was held out of practice on Wednesday and was limited in practice on Thursday, however team officials expect him to start in Sunday's NFC Championship game against the Packers. According to reports Burress' ankle slowed him in last week's game and he was held to just one catch. His ankle was sore and swollen on Monday and he was held out of practice on Tuesday and Wednesday so that his ankle had as much time to recover. He was cleared to participate in individual drills on Thursday but he was held out of team drills as a precaution. Burress will likely be active on Sunday, but his ankle is a major problem right now so don't be surprised if he has another disappointing game.
Donte Stallworth, NE
Knee Soreness - According to reports Patriots' WR Donte Stallworth was held out of practice on Wednesday because of soreness in his knee. However he was back on the field on Thursday and he has been removed from the team's official injury report indicating that he will be active tomorrow. Team officials did not say why Stallworth's knee was bothering him and there have been no reports of him getting hurt in last week's playoff game against the Jaguars. The good news is that his knee is no longer an issue and he should be fine for game time.
Antonio Gates, SD
Severely Sprained and Dislocated Toe - As expected Chargers' TE Antonio Gates, who is recovering from a severe sprain in his big toe, has not practiced this week and his status for tomorrow's AFC title game is in doubt. Gates was actually listed as doubtful prior to last week's game but was activated anyway. His toe is far from healthy and he admitted to reporters earlier this week that he could be risking permanent damage if he continues to play. A decision on his availability won't be made until the medical staff sees him in pre game warm-ups. Even if he plays, the injury will likely limit his effectiveness.
Sam Madison, DB, NYG
Strained Abdomen - Giants' veteran DB Sam Madison continues to be bothered by an abdominal strain and his status for this weekend's NFC Championship game is questionable. Madison was limited to individual drills in practice on Wednesday and Thursday and according to reports he is still complaining of soreness in his stomach area. It looks like he is going to give it a go on Sunday, but we won't know for sure until gameday. The Giants' secondary is really banged up right now so look for Brett Favre and the Packers to take advantage of it.
Aaron Ross, DB, NYG
Shoulder Dislocation - Giants' DB Aaron Ross, who dislocated his shoulder in last week's playoff win over the Cowboys, has been practicing on a limited basis this week however his status for Sunday's game remains uncertain. Ross practiced with a restrictive brace on his injured shoulder on Wednesday and Thursday, but he avoided using it and was seen defending passes with one arm. He didn't take part in the walkthroughs with the first or second-team defenses, which indicates that the team is preparing to play without him. But Ross remains optimistic and he hopes that the medical staff will clear him to play in the NFC title game. It looks like Ross will be a game-time decision.