Tom Brady, NE - Foot Soreness and Inflammation
Patriots' QB Tom Brady, who missed all four of the team's preseason games while he recovered from an undisclosed right foot injury, told reporters that he was feeling much better and he expects to start this weekend against the Chiefs. Brady reportedly complained of soreness in his injured foot during training camp and he has been limited in practice and held out of exhibition games as a precaution. As expected the Patriots have kept a lid on the exact nature and severity of his injury, but it appears that he has progressed well and he is now healthy enough to play. According to reports Brady will likely take the field with teammates today (Wednesday) and the team believes that he will be fine for Week 1 of the regular season.
Troy Smith, BAL - Severe Tonsillitis
Ravens' QB Troy Smith remains out indefinitely as he continues to recover from what is being described as a severe tonsil infection. According to reports Smith has been in and out of the hospital and has lost over 20 pounds while battling a tonsil infection. Smith was making progress but he apparently had a setback and was readmitted to the hospital last week. He has since been released again however he remains on antibiotics and the team's medical staff isn't sure when he will be healthy enough to practice. Needless he won't be available for the start of the regular season. Rookie Joe Flacco, who has looked strong during the preseason, will get the start for the Ravens this Sunday against the Bengals.
Deion Branch, SEA - Recovering from ACL Surgery
Several local Seattle newspapers are reporting that WR Deion Branch has an outside chance of playing in the team's regular season opener. However Branch did not play in a single preseason game and he has still not participated in team drills. Branch has progressed well and head coach Mike Holmgren indicated that he could be cleared to play early in the season. But until he thoroughly tests his knee in practice there is little chance that he would be allowed to take the field for a regular season game. Branch could still be cleared to practice with the team as early as today (Wednesday) but I highly doubt that he will be active for Week 1 action.
D.J. Hackett, CAR - Sprained Toe
According to reports Panthers' WR DJ Hackett will practice with the team today (Wednesday) and it looks like he will play in the team's Week 1 game. Hackett, who has been dealing with a sprained toe for several weeks, did not play in a single preseason game and the team was concerned about his status for their first regular season game. Head coach John Fox has not indicated whether or not Hackett will be cleared to play, but he will update his status during his post practice report today. If all goes well over the next couple of days expect Hackett to be active on Sunday against the Chargers.
Antwaan Randle El, WAS - Fractured Hand
The Redskins have finally come forward and admitted that Antwaan Randle El's hand was actually fractured. However the injury will not keep him out of Thursday's regular season game against the Giants. According to reports Antwaan Randle El originally injured his hand when it was stepped on during a recent exhibition game. The team said that X-rays in the locker room were negative and that he had suffered a bruise. But it turns out that he actually fractured a bone in his left hand. It does not look like surgery will be needed to help fix the injury and he will be fitted for a protective brace that will allow him to play. Randle El has also been dealing with a sore hamstring and he has been limited in practice over the last couple of weeks while his leg healed. Neither injury is considered to be a big problem but it's difficult to predict how he will play with a restrictive brace on his hand.
Jeremy Shockey, NO - Strained Hamstring / Recovering from Fractured Ankle
Saints' TE Jeremy Shockey was scheduled to play in the team's final preseason game last week after being held out of the previous three. However the medical staff decided that his sore hamstring needed additional time to heal. According to reports the Saints, after acquiring Shockey from the Giants, decided that they wouldn't rush him back but they still believed that he would be able to play in at least one preseason game. Shockey was limited throughout training camp and preseason however he has begun to see an increase in his workload over the last couple if weeks and it appears that he will be active for this weekend's game.
Lawrence Tynes, NYG - Torn Knee Cartilage
Giants' kicker Lawrence Tynes, who has been diagnosed with torn cartilage in his plant leg, will probably miss the team's regular season opener and according to reports he could be out at least another two weeks. Tynes apparently injured his leg several weeks ago and recent exploratory surgery revealed that his ligaments were fine but that the cartilage in his knee was damaged. He has not officially been ruled out of Thursday's game against the Redskins but it looks like veteran John Carney will kick in Tynes' place.
INDIVIDUAL DEFENSIVE PLAYERS
Jason Taylor, DL, WAS - Sprained knee
Redkins' head coach Jim Zorn told reports that DL Jason Taylor has a "50-50" chance of playing in Thursday's regular season game. Taylor has been out nursing a sprained knee, but he has recovered quickly and there is a chance that he will be active against the Giants. Zorn cautioned the media that even if Taylor is cleared to play he won't be as a involved as he would usually be and that he would probably see a significant drop in his playing time until he is completely healthy.