Shaun Hill, SF – Strained Lower Back
49ers’ starting QB Shaun Hill suffered a lower back strain during Tuesday’s practice, but he was back on the field on Thursday and it appears that he is going to be OK. Hill left Tuesday’s practice after tweaking his back. He was cleared to practice on Wednesday however he didn’t last very long and he spent the remainder of the day in the training room. There were reports that suggested Hill’s back was serious. The good news is that the injury was diagnosed as a minor strain and the medical staff was so confident that Hill was going to be fine that he wasn’t even sent for an MRI. He took part in all team drills on Thursday and according to reporters in attendance he moved about comfortably and appeared to be pain-free. Don’t be surprised if he starts this weekend and plays the entire first half.
Carson Palmer, CIN – Sprained Ankle
Bengals’ QB Carson Palmer, who missed Thursday’s pre-season game against the Rams because of an ankle sprain, could return to practice with the team this weekend and head coach Marvin Lewis is confident that Palmer will be ready for the regular season. Palmer injured his ankle 2 weeks ago and he hasn’t practiced or played since. According to reports he is progressing well and he might be healthy enough to play in the team’s final exhibition. The Bengals might still keep him out for the remainder of the pre-season as a precaution, but he should be in the starting lineup for Cincinnati in Week 1.
Ben Roethlisberger, PIT – Achilles’ Tendon Contusion
Steelers’ QB Ben Roethlisberger limped off the practice field last week after suffering an Achilles’ tendon contusion and he missed the team’s second pre-season game as a result. But the good news is that he has already returned to practice and head coach Mike Tomlin expects him to play in this weekend’s game against the Bills. Roethlisberger practiced on Wednesday and according to reports he looked rather comfortable moving around. He did a little more running on Thursday and Tomlin announced that Roethlisberger “won’t be limited in any form or fashion” during Saturday’s game. In fact team officials expect Big Ben to play in at least 2 quarters which indicates that the Steelers are confident in his recovery. It looks like he will be ready for the start of the regular season.
Reggie Bush, NO – Strained Calf
Saints’ RB Reggie Bush continues to be slowed by injury and team officials aren’t sure if or when he will be back to full strength. Bush, who was in and out of practice early in training camp because of inflammation in his surgically repaired knee, has been dealing with a nagging calf strain since the middle of August and as a result he has missed a significant amount of practice. Bush did not practice on Thursday but he still told reporters that he expects to play this weekend against the Raiders. According to a local newspaper it appears that Bush will be a game-time decision. It would be nice to see him on the field, but I wouldn’t count on it. There is growing concern that Bush won’t be 100% when the regular season begins and with his health a big question mark the Saints aren’t sure what they are going to get from him this year.
Fred Jackson, BUF – Sprained Wrist
Bills’ head coach Dick Jauron has told reporters that RB Fred Jackson’s injured left wrist has been diagnosed as a sprain and the team expects him to be ready for Week 1 of the regular season. Jackson was hurt when he fell on his hand at the end of a carry during a team drill on Tuesday. Reporters in attendance initially thought that the injury was to his thumb as team trainers heavily wrapped his hand and thumb. Jackson did complain of pain between his left thumb and wrist and he was taken to the locker room for X-rays. According to reports the X-rays were negative and additional testing revealed that Jackson actually sprained a ligament in his wrist. Jackson did not practice on Thursday and he will likely miss Saturday’s pre-season game as well. But Jauron have said that Jackson will be ready for start of the regular season. Remember Jackson will be the starting RB when the regular season begins because Marshawn Lynch will be serving a league-imposed suspension.
Knowshon Moreno, DEN – Sprained MCL
Broncos’ rookie RB Knowshon Moreno is currently out because of sprained medial collateral ligament in his knee and according to reports he won’t be at full speed in time for the start of the regular season. The exact nature and severity of Moreno’s sprain has not been made public but the initial reports said that the injury was considered “mild.” But it looks like the injury is more serious than what was first reported. Moreno has not returned to practice and team officials don’t expect him to play in the final two pre-season games. The medical staff is working hard to have him ready for Week 1 but even if he is cleared to play he probably won’t be at full speed. LaMont Jordan is also banged up so look for Peyton Hillis and Correll Buckhalter to step in carry the load if Moreno can’t.
Kevin Smith, DET – Hip Contusion
The status of Kevin Smith for this weekend’s pre-season game is in question after the Lions’ running back suffered a hip contusion during practice this week. Smith, who was hurt in a collision with LB Jordan Dizon, said that his hip was feeling sore and stiff. But team officials don’t appear to be concerned about the injury. Smith was held out of practice on Thursday and he could end up missing Saturday’s game as he continues to recover. However this isn’t a serious injury and he should be completely healthy when the regular season begins.
Pierre Thomas, NO – Sprained MCL
According to reports Saints’ RB Pierre Thomas will miss the remainder of the preseason after suffering a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee during last weekend’s exhibition game against the Texans. It isn’t clear how Thomas was hurt but head coach Sean Payton told reporters on Monday that Thomas was dealing with a mild MCL injury. As expected Thomas has not practiced this week and Payton mentioned on Thursday that Thomas would likely miss the team’s final two pre-season games. There is some concern within the organization that Thomas might not be 100% healthy when the regular season begins but Payton has said that he thinks that Thomas will be completely recovered by Week 1. Hopefully he’s right. Reggie Bush is a question mark as well so look for Mike Bell to get a significant amount of work for the remainder of the pre-season and depending on how he is plays he could see a lot of playing time when the regular season begins.
Bernard Berrian, MIN – Strained Hamstring
Vikings’ WR Bernard Berrian, who has not taken part in team drills or played since pulling his hamstring in the team’s first pre-season game two weeks ago, will be a game-time decision for Monday’s exhibition game against the Texans. Berrian finally made his return to the practice field with teammates on Thursday and although he was limited it was the first time he had practiced since getting hurt so this is definitely a sign of progress. Berrian did report some soreness in his hamstring after practice but this is to be expected. Berrian wants to play on Monday but it looks like he is still about a week away from being able to do so. The most important thing right now is for Berrian to be ready for the start of the regular season and it appears he heading in that direction.
Anquan Boldin, ARI – Strained Hamstring
According to reports Cardinals’ WR Anquan Boldin strained his hamstring during practice on Tuesday. But the injury is not considered serious and he should be fine for the start of the regular season. Boldin left practice on Tuesday after pulling his hamstring and he was seen in the training room getting treatment soon thereafter. According to reports Boldin was having a hard time walking so he was sent for a precautionary MRI. The MRI revealed some inflammation within the muscle but no tears. He has not practiced since getting hurt and he will likely miss tonight’s game against the Packers. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt has described the injury as a “tweak” so it appears that Boldin is dealing with a minor problem. That being said don’t be surprised if Boldin is limited for the remainder of the pre-season.
Mark Clayton, BAL – Partially Torn Hamstring
There has been speculation that Ravens’ WR Mark Clayton would not be healthy when the regular season began and that without additional rest his hamstring problems would linger until the off-season. That may be true, but after making a surprising return to practice on Wednesday it looks like Clayton is getting closer to full strength. Clayton took part in limited practice on Wednesday for the first time since partially tearing his hamstring on August 2nd. According to reports Clayton looked sharp running routes and his leg appeared to be fine as he ran and made cuts. Coach John Harbaugh has already ruled him out for this weekend’s pre-season game and no one expects him to play in the team’s final exhibition game. But Harbaugh still thinks that Clayton will be ready for the start of the regular season. It’s still too early to tell if he will be healthy enough to contribute in Week 1, but his return to practice this week helps his chances.
Terrell Owens, BUF – Turf Toe
Bills’ Terrell Owens continues to deal with a bothersome case of turf toe and he’s already been ruled out of this weekend’s pre-season game. But it isn’t time to push the panic button. Owens, who has a history of playing and producing despite lingering turf toe problems, returned to practice on Thursday. T.O. was limited to individual drills and it didn’t look like he was running at full speed, but injury is starting to show signs of recovery. Owens could play at full speed right now if he had to, but obviously it would be better if he didn’t have to deal with the pain and discomfort that accompanies this type of injury, The medical staff is hoping that they can get him as close to full strength as possible by Week 1.
Nate Washington, TEN – Strained Hamstring
Titans’ WR Nate Washington will miss the remainder of the pre-season and he could be sidelined for several regular season games after suffering a strained hamstring during practice on Monday. Head coach Jeff Fisher initially called the injury a “little mild hamstring” but several news outlets in Tennessee are now reporting that the injury could keep Washington out for several weeks after the start of the regular season. The exact nature and severity of the injury has not been made public but the length of time he will be out indicates that the injury is likely a partial hamstring tear. Fisher has not officially ruled him out for Week 1 as the medical staff wants to see how his leg responds to rest and treatment, but it looks like Washington will not be healthy in time for start of the regular season.
Roy Williams, DAL – Clavicle Contusion
Despite a number of reports that said WR Roy William’s collarbone was broken it appears those early reports were false. According to ESPN X-rays on his injured shoulder were negative and he has been diagnosed with a bone contusion (bruise). Williams, who was hurt during a collision in practice on Thursday, is scheduled to undergo additional testing today. The Cowboys are listing Williams as day-to-day pending the results tests but team officials don’t expect him to play in the team’s final pre-season games. We’ll know more about his status over the next couple of days but it looks like the Cowboys dodged a major bullet. Williams could be ready in time for the start of the regular season.