Matt Hasselbeck, SEA - Bulging Disc / Knee Weakness and Instability
Seahawks' QB Matt Hasselbeck, who has missed the team's last four games because of weakness and instability in his knee caused by a bulging disc in his back, is reportedly very close to full strength but head coach Mike Holmgren indicated that he would likely miss one more game. Hasselbeck was scheduled to make his return to practice on Thursday however he spent all of his time working in the training room with the medical staff. Holmgren said that Hasselbeck has actually reached the lower body strength goals set by a specialist and it appears that he could be involved in portions of practice today. But Seneca Wallace will make his fourth straight start at QB this weekend. There is a chance that Hasselbeck will be back by Week 11, but Holmgren has not given a guarantee.
Kyle Orton, CHI - Ankle Sprain
It looks like the local media got it wrong this time. What was first being reported as a high ankle sprain that could keep QB Kyle Orton out for up to 6 weeks is now being called a mild ankle sprain and it looks like he could be back as early as next week. According to recent reports an MRI on Orton's ankle did not reveal any significant damage and his ligaments appeared to be intact. He missed practiced on Wednesday and Thursday but there is a chance that he could return today on a limited basis. Team officials haven't ruled him out for this Sunday's game because they would like to see how he does over the next couple of days. However he will likely be inactive for Week 10. Rex Grossman will get the start if Orton is unable to play.
Ben Roethlisberger, PIT - Separated Shoulder / Torn Thumb Ligament
Steelers' head coach Mike Tomlin told reporters that an MRI on QB Ben Roethlisberger's shoulder came back negative, however his status for Week 10 remains in question. Roethlisberger told team trainers during last week's game that he felt his shoulder "pop out" and it appears he aggravated his previously separated right (throwing shoulder). Tomlin admitted during a press conference earlier in the week that Roethlisberger's shoulder has not fully healed since it was originally hurt in Week 1 and he said that it has affected his performance. Roethlisberger was spotted with his right arm in a sling on Wednesday and Thursday and it looks like Tomlin is leaning towards keeping him out this weekend. He was also seen with a cast on his left thumb. According to reports Roethlisberger tore a ligament in his thumb two weeks ago and he aggravated the injury this past Monday night. Since the injury is on his left (non-throwing) hand the team does not expect it to be a problem. Regardless of what happens over the next couple of days Roethlisberger will likely be a game-time decision so check with The Huddle on Sunday morning for an update.
JaMarcuss Russell, OAK - Knee Tendinitis
Raiders' QB JaMarcuss Russell did not finish practice on Thursday because of a discomfort in his knee and his status for today's practice and the game this weekend is unknown. Russell reportedly began to feel pain and stiffness in his knee while he ran. The medical staff took a look at the joint and determined that he was suffering from knee tendinitis and they held him out for the remainder of the day as a precaution. The Raiders' will wait to see how his knee responds to rest and treatment before they make a decision on his availability for Week 10. If his knee continues to swell and it prevents him from practicing look for Andrew Walter to get the start in his place.
Matt Schaub, HOU - Sprained MCL
Texans' QB Matt Schaub, who is out nursing a torn medial collateral ligament in his knee, has already been ruled out for Week 10 and it looks like he won't be back until Week 13 at the earliest. Schaub has reportedly begun his rehab and he has already made solid progress. There is optimism that he will only miss 2 games but the team is preparing for him to miss four. With Schaub out look for Sage Rosenfels to start in his place.
Reggie Bush, NO - Arthroscopic Knee Surgery
Saints' RB Reggie Bush, who has been out recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery, recently told reporters that his rehab was going well and head coach Sean Payton said that there is still an "outside chance" that he could be active for this weekend's game. Bush tore cartilage in his knee back on October 10 and he had surgery to repair the damage. According to reports things have gone as planned and he should be back to full strength very soon. Bush began running this week and Payton has been so "encouraged" by what he has seen that he wants to see how he does in practice today and tomorrow before making a decision on his availability for Week 10. I highly doubt that he will play since he won't be a full speed, but his quick recovery is great news. Bush has said that he is targeting a Week 11 return and at this point it looks like he has a decent chance of playing then.
Steven Jackson, STL - Strained Quadriceps
According to reports Rams' RB Steven Jackson aggravated his quadriceps injury during last week's game and after missing practice on Wednesday and Thursday his status for Week 10 appears to be in doubt. Jackson told a reporter during an interview that he had an MRI on his quad on Monday and that it revealed increased inflammation in the muscle. He was held out of practice on Wednesday but hoped to practice on Thursday but said, "when it's time for me to show on the field that I am ready, it's not responding." Head coach Jim Haslett has said that Jackson will need to take part in a full practice at full speed today for him to play this weekend but Jackson admitted that it will take "something miraculous" for him to do that. Keep an eye on the Rams' practice report today, but don't expect him to be active on Sunday. Antonio Pittman's status for this weekend is questionable as he continues to recover from soreness in his previously broken leg and a hamstring strain and Travis Minor will likely be inactive because of a concussion. So look for Samkon Gado and Ken Darby to split carries this weekend.
Willis McGahee, BAL - Lingering Ankle and Knee Soreness
Ravens' head coach John Harbaugh said earlier this week that banged up RB Willis McGahee was healthy enough to play however the team decided to go with rookie Ray Rice and LeRon McClain instead. McGahee is dealing with soreness in his knee and ankle and he has been limited in practice this week as a result of his injuries. But according to Harbaugh McGahee is still capable of playing. He just feels that Rice and McClain are more effective right now with McGahee at less than full speed. Harbaugh told a reporter that "Willis looked good" while he was on the field for practice this week and he indicated that he would be active and play in Week 10. But there are reports coming out of Baltimore that say the team would like to lean more on Ray Rice this weekend. Rice has been limited this week as well because of an undisclosed chest injury however team officials don't believe the injury will prevent him from playing on Sunday. Check back on Sunday for a final update on both running backs, but don't be surprised if Rice gets a majority of the carries.
Darren McFadden, OAK - Bilateral Turf Toe
Raiders' rookie RB Darren McFadden, who has been out because of turf toe on his right and left feet, returned to practice on limited basis on Wednesday and Thursday but his status for Week 10 remains a question mark. McFadden has been bothered by turf toe on both feet since the beginning of the season and he has missed the last two games as the medical staff tries to get him ready for the remainder of the season. Unfortunately it still looked like he was moving about gingerly and he didn't look comfortable running and cutting. He might take part in a portion of practice today but he still isn't close to to full speed and I would be surprised if is active against the Falcons. Check back on Sunday for an update just in case he does.
Sammy Morris, NE - Sprained Knee
Patriots' RB Sammy Morris continues to recover from a sprained knee and according to reports if he doesn't practice today he will miss his third straight game on Sunday. Morris hasn't practiced since hurting his knee in Week 7 and it doesn't appear that he is ready to make his return. As expected the Patriots have been tightlipped regarding the injury but local newspapers in New England have reported that he could be back as early as next week. As for Week 10, it looks like he won't be a part of the team's gameplan. LaMont Jordan, who has been out since Week 5 because of a calf injury, was supposed to play last week but he reportedly suffered a setback in his recovery. Jordan hasn't practiced this week and if he doesn't take the field with teammates today he will be inactive for the fifth straight time. BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Kevin Faulk will split the carries if Morris and Jordan are out.
Willie Parker, PIT - Shoulder Soreness
Steelers' RB Willie Parker finally made his return from a sprained knee last week and he put up decent numbers. Bur he reportedly injured his shoulder during the game and he has been held out of practice this week as a result. It is unclear when Parker was hurt, but according to reports he complained of soreness in his shoulder on Tuesday. The exact nature of the injury has not been revealed but it is not believed to be serious. Team officials expect him back on the field today and they believe he will be active on Sunday. But make sure he practices before you commit to using him this week.
Jonathan Stewart, CAR - Undisclosed Heel Injury
According to reports Panthers' rookie RB Jonathon Stewart hasn't practiced this week because of a painful heel injury and his status for Sunday's game is uncertain. Head coach John Fox told reporters that Stewart began complaining of pain in his heel a couple of weeks ago and that the injury has progressively gotten worse. Stewart tried playing through the discomfort but it was so bad after last week's game that has been fitted for a protective-walking boot that he continues to wear. Stewart told reporters that "It's a sharp pain in my heel," and that "it hurts every time I press off on it." Fox has not said what the injury is, but it appears that it could keep him from playing this weekend. The team remains hopeful and they will see how he does over the next couple of days before a decision is made. This will come down to a game-time decision so check with The Huddle on Sunday for an update.
Ryan Torain, DEN - Severe Knee Injury
It appears that rookie RB Ryan Torain's season is over. Torain, who got his first start on Thursday night against the Browns, reportedly tore the ACL in his left knee and he will undergo season-ending surgery as soon as the swelling has subsided. Torain was hurt when his knee bent back as he was tackled in the second quarter. He stayed down for a few minutes but was able to leave the field on his own. Unfortunately a preliminary examination has revealed that his ACL has been compromised and an MRI will be done today to confirm the initial diagnosis.
Arnaz Battle, SF - Sprained Foot
49ers' WR Arnaz Battle, who sprained his foot during the team's Week 8 game, has not been able to practice this week and he has been ruled out of Monday night's game against the Cardinals. Team officials were hoping that his foot would improve while they were on their bye, but unfortunately it hasn't improved enough for him to play. Head coach Mike Singletary has indicated that the injury could keep Battle sidelined for several weeks. Josh Morgan will likely get the start in Battle's place.
Deion Branch, SEA - Heel Contusion
Seahawks' WR Deion Branch continues to recover from a heel contusion but after missing practice on Wednesday and Thursday this week it looks like he will be out again this weekend. Branch was supposed to make his return last week however he suffered a setback in practice and he was unable to play. Branch told reporters that he was hoping to make his return this weekend but he would need to take part in a full practice today to have a chance of playing in Week 11. Team officials aren't sure if he will be ready and it looks like they want to see how he looks during pre-game warm-ups before a decision is made.
Chris Chambers, SD - Lingering Ankle Soreness
Chargers' WR Chris Chambers continues to be bothered by a lingering ankle injury and although the team expects him to play this week it is clear that he is far from full strength. Chambers, who missed Week 6 and 7 because of a sprained ankle, was able to play in Week 8 but he aggravated the injury and he did not take part in practice during the team's Week 9 bye. He was held out of practice on Wednesday and limited in practice on Thursday indicating that his ankle remains a problem. Chambers has told reporters that he expects to play and he probably will. But if he isn't playing at full speed look for QB Philip Rivers to look for Vincent Jackson on a more regular basis.
Larry Fitzgerald, ARI - Sprained Thumb
Cardinals' WR Larry Fitzgerald was limited in practice on Thursday because of a sprained thumb, but team officials are optimistic that he will be active for Monday night's game against the 49ers. It is unclear when he injured his thumb but he had treatment on the injured digit on Wednesday and he was held out of several team drills on Thursday as a result. The team will increase his workload in practice today and if all goes well today and tomorrow he should be in the starting lineup for the Cardinals against the 49ers. Since the game is on Monday night he has an extra day to recover so expect him to be active.
Mike Walker, JAX - Sprained Knee / Ligament Infection
Jaguars' WR Mike Walker made his return to full practice on Wednesday and it looks like he will make his return to the playing field this weekend against the Lions. Walker, who hasn't played since sprained his knee in Week 5, was hospitalized several weeks ago because of an infection in the damaged ligament. He has since made a complete recovery and he appeared to be at full speed in practice on Wednesday and Thursday. There is no doubting his ability. Walker was the talk of the team's off-season mini camps last year but he got hurt and missed his entire rookie season. He was banged up earlier this year but during his first game at full speed he caught 6 balls for 107 yards. Unfortunately he injured his knee during that game and hasn't played since. It looks like he is healthy again and he makes a great waiver wire addition. But can he stay healthy long enough to make an impact? Only time will tell.
Kevin Walter, HOU - Lower Back Stiffness
According to reports Texans' WR Kevin Walter is dealing with stiffness in his lower back and he has been limited in practice this week as a precaution. Walter apparently injury his back in last week's game and he has experienced stiffness and soreness as a result. Walter was held out of practice on Wednesday and was limited in practice on Thursday, but it looks like he will try and do more in practice today. The medical staff doesn't appear to be concerned about his injury and it looks like the team is expecting him to start on Sunday against the Ravens.
Heath Miller, PIT - Sprained Ankle
Steelers' TE Heath Miller, who sprained his ankle during Monday night's game, has not practiced this week and his status for Week 10 appears to be in doubt. Head coach Mike Tomlin told reporters that Miller's ankle remains sore and he indicated that the team was preparing to play on Sunday without him. Tomlin will wait to see what happens over the next couple of days before he makes an official decision but it doesn't look like Miller will be active. Matt Spaeth will likely start in his place against the Colts.
L.J. Smith, PHI - Concussion
Eagles' TE L.J. Smith, who was inactive last week because of a concussion, was cleared by the medical staff to resume contact drills on Wednesday and he will be back on the field this weekend against the Seahawks. Smith told reporters that he was feeling much better on Wednesday and according to reports he looked good in practice on Thursday. If all goes well in practice today he will be active on Sunday.