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Injury Report - Championship Week
Philip Gentles
January 16, 2009
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RUNNING BACKS

Correll Buckhalter, PHI – Knee Soreness

Eagles’ backup RB Correll Buckhalter has been dealing with a sore knee this week, but after being limited in practice on Wednesday he took part in full practice on Thursday and it looks like he will be active this weekend against the Cardinals. The exact nature of Buckhalter’s injury is unknown and head coach Andy Reid hasn’t said much about it. It doesn’t appear to be a major issue and with Brian Westbrook dealing with a more serious knee problem Buckhalter could be more involved in the offense on Sunday.

LeRon McClain, BAL – Sprained Ankle

Ravens’ RB LeRon McClain was not listed on the team’s post-game injury report this past weekend, but he was in and out of the divisional playoff game against the Titans because of a sprained ankle and the injury has kept him limited in practice this week. Head coach Jon Harbaugh has not spoken with the media regarding his status for the AFC Championship game against the Steelers, however McClain said that he is feeling better and that he plans to play. He could officially be a game-time decision, but if he takes the field with teammates today he will be in the starting lineup on Sunday.

Brian Westbrook, PHI – Lingering Knee Inflammation and Soreness

As expected Eagles’ RB Brian Westbrook has been held out of practice this week as the medical staff does everything they can to get him ready for the NFC Championship game. Westbrook, who has been dealing with torn cartilage in his knee for over 3 months, initially told reporters earlier this week that he “re-injured” his knee in last week’s game against the Giants, but he later said that reports about his knee were “blown out of proportion.” He’s spent a lot of time in the training room trying to get the swelling in his knee down, so he’s far from 100%. Regardless of what happens in practice today head coach Andy Reid is confident that Westbrook will be in the starting lineup. But how effective can he be? He struggled against the Giants last week and the Cardinals have shut down two of the league’s best rushing offenses the last two weeks. If Westbrook is ineffective early don’t be surprised if Buckhalter is given additional carries.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Jason Avant, PHI – Hyper-extended Knee

According to reports Eagles’ WR Jason Avant has recovered quickly from a hyper-extended knee and head coach Andy Reid expects him to play on Sunday. Reid told reporters on Tuesday that Avant injured his knee during the team’s divisional playoff game against the Giants but he indicated that the injury was minor. Avant was limited in practice on Wednesday but he was a full participant in practice on Thursday and he reportedly looked comfortable running, jumping and cutting. If everything goes as planned in practice today he should be active on Sunday against the Cardinals.

Anquan Boldin, ARI – Strained Hamstring

Cardinals’ WR Anquan Boldin, who was inactive for last week’s playoff game because of a strained hamstring, has been more involved in practice this week and team officials believe that he will play on Sunday against the Eagles. Boldin pulled his hamstring during the team’s opening playoff game 2 weeks ago and after doing virtually nothing in practice last week the medical staff determined that he wasn’t ready to play and held him out of the game against the Panthers. Boldin is still not healthy, but he has improved and he took part in some drills in practice on Wednesday and Thursday. Boldin admitted that he wouldn’t be at full speed for Sunday’s game but he said that he has “no doubt” about his chances of being healthy enough to play. The Cardinals will wait until they see how he does during pre-game warm-ups before an official decision on his availability is made.

Mark Clayton, BAL – Quadriceps Soreness

Ravens’ WR Mark Clayton, who has missed practice time during the post-season because of a lingering knee problem, has reportedly been held out of practice this week because of quadriceps soreness. However team officials expect him to participate in practice today and start on Sunday against the Steelers. The exact nature of Clayton’s injury has not been disclosed to the public and the team hasn’t indicated if it is related to his knee injury or not. Head coach John Harbaugh will update his status following practice today.

Derrick Mason, BAL – Dislocated Shoulder

Ravens’ WR Derrick Mason has not practiced this week as he continues to give his banged up shoulder as much rest time as possible. But Mason told reporters that the injury will not keep him out of the AFC Championship game on Sunday. Mason hasn’t taken part in consecutive practices since hurting his shoulder in Week 10 but he has still been active for every game and he has been the team’s most productive receiver during the playoffs. Mason might take part in a portion of practice today, but if he does take the field he will be limited to non-contact drills. Don’t let Mason’s lack of involvement in practice this week concern you. He will be QB Joe Flacco’s main target on Sunday.

TIGHT ENDS

Todd Heap, BAL – Lower Back Soreness

Ravens’ TE Todd Heap, who aggravated his lower back problem during last weekend’s playoff game, has been limited in practice this week but head coach John Harbaugh expects him to start on Sunday against the Steelers. Heap admitted that his back was feeling stiff and sore following last week’s win over the Titans. He’s spent a lot of time in the training room before and after practices getting treatment and according to reports he is showing signs of recovery. He’ll likely take it easy in practice today, but he will be active for the AFC Championship game.

IDPs

Troy Polamalu, DB, PIT – Strained Calf

Steelers’ SS Troy Polamalu had a very quiet game last week against the Chargers registering only three tackles. But head coach Mike Tomlin told reporters that there was a reason for his disappointing performance. Tomlin said that Polamalu pulled his calf muscle during pre game warm-ups. Polamalu was understandably sore following the game and he was limited in practice on Wednesday as a precaution. The good news is that he made it through a full practice on Thursday without a problem and team officials expect him to start this weekend against the Ravens.

Samari Rolle, DB, BAL – Strained Groin

Ravens’ head coach John Harbaugh told reporters that injured DB Samari Rolle still “has a chance” to play this weekend against the Steelers, however he indicated that the team wouldn’t know his status until they saw how he did during pre game warm-ups. Rolle, who pulled his groin in the last week’s game against the Titans, has not practiced this week and according to reports his groin remains sore. Check back on Sunday for an update on his status.

Terrell Suggs, DL, BAL – Major Shoulder Sprain

Ravens’ DL Terrell Suggs would like to play this weekend against the Steelers. Unfortunately his shoulder injury appears to be serious and there is a good chance that he will be inactive. Suggs, whose arm remains in a sling, admitted to reporters that he may have “major ligament damage” in his shoulder and according to teammates he is in a tremendous amount of pain and discomfort. Suggs said that his status for the AFC Championship game is uncertain, but he is a lot closer to doubtful and team officials aren’t expecting him to play.

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