Gameday Injury Expectations: Week 15

What to expect from this week's injured offensive players

UNDERSTANDING THE NFL'S INJURY REPORT

The injury report released by the NFL is actually two reports. The first is the Practice Participation report, which lists which injured players were able to practice and how much. It also includes players who rested or missed practice for non-injury related reasons. The second is the Game Status Report, which gives the probability a player will play, i.e. Questionable, Doubtful, Out. The Practice Participation Report is released every day of the week (Monday through Saturday). The Game Status Report is released with the Friday participation report (Wednesday for Thursday games, Saturday for Monday games).

The NFL has made the practice participation report more complicated this season. Teams are no longer allowed to declare players "probable" to play. The current designations are Questionable (Uncertain to Play), Doubtful (Unlikely to Play), and Out. In our Monday Injury Rounds column, we'll often review how these changes are impacting the injury reports.

In this feature, I'll include the Game Status Listing, my expectation of their likelihood to play, and the player's practice participation throughout the week.

Key:

PLAYER | INJURY | GAME STATUS LISTING | FOOTBALLGUYS EXPECTATION

Practice Participation Listing by Day

* = playing on Monday night

I'll also include a table at the bottom of the article for easy reference.

Here's the latest on every relevant injured offensive player on the practice participation and game status report this week:


QUARTERBACK

AARON RODGERS | Calf | Questionable | Active

Practice Participation: Wed - DNP | Thurs - DNP | Fri - DNP

Rodgers didn't practice this week but there's been no indication he'll be a surprise inactive. While he may be limited to the pocket with his calf strain, Rodgers has been effective enough with muscle strains in the past to trust that the Packers will not limit the passing game plan. There's a risk of aggravation with muscle strains in cold weather and it will nearly impossible to keep his injured muscle warm and loose, but Rodgers will likely play through any mid-series tweaks. If he misses snaps, it's most likely because the Packers scored enough to give them a large second half lead.

Andrew Luck | Shoulder / Elbow | Not Listed | Active

Practice Participation: Wed - DNP | Thurs - Limited | Fri - Full

Luck returned to a full Friday practice and will play. However, there are both shoulder and elbow concerns now and Luck didn't look as accurate or comfortable -- at home -- last week. Playing without Donte Moncrief, without three starting offensive linemen, and possibly with a limited Dwayne Allen and Phillip Dorsett add to the concern.

*Cam Newton | Shoulder | Questionable | Expected to Play

Practice Participation: Thurs - Limited | Fri - Limited | Sat - Full

Newton is expected to play Monday night. There may be no limitations to his game but it's worth watching his comfort in the pocket and downfield accuracy. Quarterbacks don't have inseason MRIs on their throwing shoulder unless they are feeling something in the throwing motion.

Matthew Stafford | Finger | Not Listed | Active

Practice Participation: Wed - Full | Thurs - Full | Fri - Full

Stafford wasn't himself after dislocating the middle knuckle of his finger last week. But the Lions quickly found a glove that preserved Stafford's usual grip and provided support for the injured finger. He's fully practiced this week with little concern and should be effective. There are no cold weather concerns for Stafford -- it's expected to be in the high 40s / low 50s at game time -- but there could be light rain at times. Neither should affect his play.

Others of note: Drew Brees, Derek Carr (finger), Ben RoethlisbergerCarson Palmer, Trevor Siemian (foot), Tyrod Taylor (groin), Blake Bortles (shoulder), Brock Osweiler (thigh), Sam Bradford (shoulder), and Colin Kaepernick (neck) all returned to a full Friday practice and none is listed on their teams' game status report. Ryan Tannehill (knee) has been declared out. I'll update return to play expectations on Monday.


RUNNING BACK

Adrian Peterson | Knee | Not Listed | Active / limited

Practice Participation: Wed - Not Listed | Thurs - Not Listed | Fri - Not Listed

Once again, Peterson plans to return at the most optimistic end of his recovery timetable. He's flown through the weight-bearing stages of his rehab protocol (presumably) without swelling or soreness. Though not listed on the Vikings' practice participation or game status report because he's not yet been moved to the active roster, it's likely Peterson would have been listed as limited this week. Don't expect Peterson to immediately get the majority of Minnesota's carries. However, if Matt Asiata is not able to play after an unexpected DNP, Peterson could see 8-12 carries and nearly all of the goal line work. More on his expectation later this weekend after the national media members weigh in on his possible usage.

Sunday AM Update: Ian Rapoport expects Peterson to start. However, Matt Asiata will be active and you should expect all three Minnesota running backs to get carries. While it's possible Peterson is healthy enough to overcome rotational and offensive line issues, it's unlikely he'll see more than 10-12 touches today.

Mark Ingram | Toe | Not Listed | Expected to Play

Practice Participation: Wed - DNP | Thurs - Limited | Fri - Limited

Ingram is not on the Saints' injury report this week. In previous weeks, Ingram's practice time was limited and the team wasn't sure how much he'd be able to contribute. The practice line hasn't changed much but the change in game status designation suggests Ingram has done more in practice and preparation than the past two weeks and will likely be trusted with the bulk of the rushing attempts unless he's ineffective early.

Matt Forte | Knee | Questionable | Active

Practice Participation: Wed - DNP | Thurs - Limited | Fri - Limited 

Forte told reporters he'd play earlier this week, but I'm skeptical. It's one thing to have knee soreness -- Forte has been limited in practice many times over the past 2-3 seasons w/ knee issues -- but it's another to choose to play through a torn meniscus that was causing a catching sensation just seven days earlier. Forte has not chosen to have surgery but that doesn't mean he isn't dealing with swelling and soreness. Todd Bowles called Forte a game-time decision on Friday. That's likely accurate since Forte participated in parts of practice this week. But it's unlikely he will be ready to see the majority of this week's Jets' rushing workload if active.

Theo Riddick | Wrist | Doubtful | Inactive

Practice Participation: Wed - DNP | Thurs - DNP | Fri - DNP

Riddick wasn't expected to miss last week's game and specifics on his wrist injury are yet to be reported. He didn't practice at all this week, making this week's projection simple: He won't play. Hopefully, we'll hear positive details on his condition soon and he'll return next week.

Zach Zenner | Concussion | Questionable | Active

Practice Participation: Wed - Limited | Thurs - Limited | Fri - Limited

Zenner was limited in practice all week but his participation increased on Friday when he was cleared to practice without a non-contact jersey. The Lions likely plan to re-evaluate him on Friday evening or Saturday morning and make a decision on whether to send him to the independent neurologist for clearance. We may not know Zenner's status until inactives are released on Sunday morning.

Shane Vereen | Concussion | Questionable | Active

Practice Participation: Wed - DNP | Thurs - Limited | Fri - Limited

Vereen is in the later stages of the return to play protocol. It's not known whether the Giants sent him for clearance. I'll update his status if any news is reported prior to inactives on Sunday.

Others of note: Lamar Miller (ankle/ribs), Frank GoreJonathan Stewart, Ty Montgomery (shoulder) Chris Ivory (hamstring) and Duke Johnson (ankle) have practiced, are not listed on the game status report, and expected to see their usual workloads. Melvin Gordon (hip/knee), Darren Sproles (concussion), and James Starks (concussion) have been declared out. I'll update return to play expectations in Monday's column.


WIDE RECEIVER

JULIO JONES | TOE | Declared Out | INACTIVE

Practice Participation: Wed - DNP | Thurs - DNP | Fri - DNP

Despite another week of optimism from Dan Quinn, Jones was again unable to practice all week and will again be inactive. Quinn has already started the run of early week optimism, saying he expected to get Jones and other injured Falcons back healthy next week. That may prove accurate but we're now in "believe it when you see it" mode with Jones. Don't expect to see Jones return until he shows he's healthy enough to do individual drills at a minimum.

A.J. Green | Hamstring | Doubtful | Inactive

Practice Participation: Wed - Limited | Thurs - Limited | Fri - Limited

ESPN's Bob Holtzman has been Green's presumptive mouth piece this week, laying the groundwork for Green to be inactive regardless of whether he managed multiple limited practices through Friday. It shouldn't be surprising. Green is at the optimistic edge of the possible recovery from a mid grade hamstring strain and only returned to individual drills on Wednesday after spending three weeks rehabbing. This is the stage that carries the highest risk of aggravation and Green has said he won't return until he feels his risk of re-injury is small. There remains a slim chance Green will warmup and choose to play but it's very unlikely. If he is somehow active, his playing time and workload will be severely limited.

Sunday AM Update: Adam Schefter tweeted that Green will be not play today.

Amari Cooper | Shoulder | Questionable | Expected to Play

Practice Participation: Wed - Limited | Thurs - Limited | Fri - Limited

The Raiders have limited Cooper's practice time for weeks now with a back injury. There has not been clear evidence of game day limitation but Cooper's target counts and production have remained inconsistent. Cooper is expected to play this week and see his usual snap count.

Dez Bryant | Back | Questionable | Expected to Play

Practice Participation: Wed - Not Listed | Thurs - Limited | Fri - Limited

Bryant has been on and off the injury report in recent weeks w/ back spasms. He is expected to play this week after being added to the participation report on Thursday.

Randall Cobb | Ankle | Questionable | Active / Limited

Practice Participation: Wed - Limited | Thurs - Limited | Fri - Limited

I'm torn on Cobb. He was barely able to run at times during the second half last week. Beat writers tweeted Cobb wasn't doing much in practice despite being listed limited. I think his status would have been more to the doubtful side earlier in the season. And he still might be inactive. But Cobb was giving interviews throughout the week and discussing whether he'd be wearing sleeves in cold weather and how the Packers might attack the Bears defense. That strongly suggests he'd set his mind to prepare and play in this must-win game. I'm not confident Cobb will be effective and he should be considered series-to-series, but I think the Packers will let him play if he's "close enough." We'll know more by Sunday morning.

Brandon Marshall | Knee/Foot/Back | Questionable | Active

Practice Participation: Wed - Limited | Thurs - Limited | Fri - Limited

Marshall has been playing through pain all season long and will continue to do so this week. There are two notable differences, however. First, Marshall has rarely been listed on the game status report. This week, he's questionable. While he's expected to be active, Marshall has told reporters he'll be on a "pitch count" -- can we start a movement to call this a snap count, please? -- and won't play his usual number of snaps. Marshall is motivated to play well against rival Byron Maxwell but will have to be productive on fewer opportunities.

Michael Thomas | Foot | Not Listed | Expected to Play

Practice Participation: Wed - Limited | Thurs - Limited | Fri - Full

We're still mostly in the dark on Thomas' foot injury -- Mike Triplett referred to it only as a "bruised foot" on Friday -- which makes it difficult to assign a level of aggravation risk. But Thomas was back to practice on Wednesday, fully practiced on Friday, and is not listed on the game status report. That's a strong endorsement of health and readiness for a player who's missed just one week of practice. It's reasonable to expect Thomas to see his pre-injury workload.

Michael Crabtree | Finger | Questionable | Expected to Play

Practice Participation: Wed - Limited | Thurs - Limited | Fri - Limited

Crabtree has been plagued by drops at times this season and seemed to be fighting the ball at times last week. Finger injuries can be played through but are tough for recievers to protect. Expect Crabtree to play this week and see his usual number of targets. It's unclear whether he's had enough interval healing to be more consistent this week, but he should be closer to full health than last week.

*Kelvin Benjamin | Back | Questionable | Expected to Play

Practice Participation: Thurs - Limited | Fri - Limited | Sat - Full

Benjamin's status for Monday night football is still pending Saturday morning but he's expected to play.

Sammy Watkins | Foot | Questionable | Active

Practice Participation: Wed - DNP | Thurs - Limited | Fri - Limited

Watkins has successfully managed to play three games without setback and gradually increased his playing time and number of routes run since his return. He's still playing on the same injury, however, and there could be some footing concerns in Buffalo after this weekend's snowstorm. The matchup against the Browns' corners is as good as it gets. While Watkins isn't out of the aggravation danger zone, it's likely he'll get a number of good chances this week.

Jordan Matthews | Ankle | Questionable | Active

Practice Participation: Wed - DNP | Thurs - Full | Fri - Full

The Eagles routinely list players questionable after full Friday practices. Matthews has yet to fully recover from an ankle sprain he's aggravated at least once but the consecutive full practices late in the week suggest he's close to a full recovery. He is expected to play.

Quincy Enunwa | Ribs | Questionable | Active

Practice Participation: Wed - Limited | Thurs - Limited | Fri - Limited

No news should be considered good news with Enunwa. There's been nothing of note on his condition or status this week. I'd be more reassured if the Jets had kept him off the game status report, but questionable should equal probable in this case.

Phillip Dorsett | Groin | Questionable | Active

Practice Participation: Wed - Not Listed | Thurs - Limited | Fri - Full

Dorsett showed up on the participation report on Thursday with a groin injury then returned to a full Friday practice. Barring an unknown setback, he should play.

Others of note: T.Y. Hilton (back), Larry FitzgeraldTyrell Williams (shoulder), Stefon Diggs (knee), Jarvis Landry, DeAndre Hopkins (hamstring), Mohamed Sanu (groin), J.J. Nelson (knee), and Brandon LaFell (knee) are not listed and expected to play. Donte Moncrief (hamstring), Danny Amendola (ankle), Mohamed Sanu (groin), Dorial Green-Beckham (abdomen), Eddie Royal (toe) have been or are likely to be declared out. I'll update return to play expectations in Monday's column.


TIGHT END

*JORDAN REED | SHOULDER | Questionable | expected to Play

Practice Participation: Thurs - Limited | Fri - Limited | Sat - Limited

I was too optimistic on Reed last week. My spidey senses continue to tell me that it's silly to expect anything close to full strength and range of motion in the first 2-3 weeks after a high grade shoulder separation. Beat writers continue to suggest Reed looks limited and uncomfortable at times during practice. But last week's increase in practice participation seemed telling. And Reed continues to practice this week, and was allowed back into contact drills on Friday.

Still, Reed managed only 10 snaps last week. It's fair to ask why Reed was so limited as it's odd for him to be cleared to play if he was to be used so little. He wasn't on the field often enough to be considered a decoy. Was there a pregame or early game setback that went unnoticed? Was the pain-killing injection he undoubtedly received before the game ineffective? We aren't going to get the answers to those questions.

This week, Jay Gruden again said Reed's usage would be based on pain tolerance and it would not be clear how much he would play until Monday night. Beat writers again disagreed on how comfortable Reed looked catching balls away from his body. Reed himself had less to say -- which is to say I saw no reported comments from him to the media on Friday -- this week than last. That could be a function of the Monday night game and final practice and media session on Saturday this week.

For now, I'm cautiously optimistic Reed will play and be more involved this week. But there's been nothing this week to suggest he's ready to return to a full workload. I'll update after Washington's Saturday practice and media session.

Saturday Night Update: Reed was back to another limited practice on Saturday. He told reporters he has more strength in the shoulder and is starting to "feel more normal." He acknowledged that he was "jammed up" on multiple occasions last week and didn't feel confident in playing. That's partly reassuring -- we now know why he limited himself last week -- but the possibility for similar limitations remains this week.

Martellus Bennett | Ankle | Questionable | Active

Practice Participation: Wed - Limited | Thurs - Limited | Fri - Limited

Bennett didn't look more healthy last week but the Patriots were comfortable enough in his readiness to increase his role in the offensive game plan. He's expected to play but a repeat of last week's workload cannot be assured.

Dwayne Allen | Hip | Questionable | Active

Practice Participation: Wed - DNP | Thurs - Limited | Fri - Full

Allen returned to a full practice on Friday and is expected to play.

Others of note: Eric Ebron (knee), Jared Cook (chest), and Charles Clay (knee) are expected to play. C.J. Fiedorowicz (concussion) has been declared out. I'll update return to play expectations in Monday's column.

 

*Note: Monday night players with asterisk practice Thursday/Friday/Saturday



Quarterbacks
Player Injury Practice Participation Game Status FBGs Expects
Wednesday Thursday Friday
Aaron Rodgers Calf DNP DNP DNP Questionable Active
Andrew Luck Shoulder / Elbow DNP Limited Full Not Listed Active
Drew Brees Not Injury Related Limited Not Listed Not Listed Not Listed Expected to Play
Derek Carr Finger Full Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
*Cam Newton Shoulder *Limited *Limited Full Questionable Expected to Play
Ben Roethlisberger Not Injury Related DNP Not Listed Not Listed Not Listed Active
Matthew Stafford Finger / Hand Full Full Full Not Listed Active
Ryan Tannehill Knee DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
Carson Palmer Not Injury Related DNP Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Trevor Siemian Foot Full Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Tyrod Taylor Groin Full Full Full Not Listed Active
Brock Osweiler Thigh Full Full Full Not Listed Active
Blake Bortles Shoulder Full Full Full Not Listed Active
Sam Bradford Shoulder Limited Limited Full Not Listed Active
Colin Kaepernick Neck Not Listed Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play

Running Backs
Player Injury Practice Participation Game Status FBGs Expects
Wednesday Thursday Friday
Adrian Peterson Knee Practicing Practicing Practicing Not Listed Active / Limited
Melvin Gordon Hip / Knee DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
Mark Ingram Toe / Knee DNP Limited Limited Not Listed Active
Lamar Miller Ankle / Ribs Limited Limited Limited Not Listed Active
Matt Forte Knee DNP Limited Limited Questionable Active / Limited
*Jonathan Stewart Not Injury Related *DNP *Full *Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Ty Montgomery Shoulder Full Limited Limited Not Listed Active
Frank Gore Not Injury Related DNP Full Full Not Listed Active
Darren Sproles Concussion DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
Chris Ivory Hamstring Limited Limited Full Not Listed Active
Theo Riddick Wrist DNP DNP DNP Doubtful Inactive
Zach Zenner Concussion Limited Limited Limited Questionable Active
Duke Johnson Ankle Not Listed Full Full Not Listed Active
Matt Asiata Ankle Full Full DNP Questionable Active
Shane Vereen Concussion Limited Limited Limited Questionable Active
James Starks Concussion DNP DNP DNP Doubtful Inactive
Christine Michael Illness Not Listed DNP Limited Questionable Active
DeAngelo Williams Knee Full DNP Full Not Listed Inactive

Wide Receivers
Player Injury Practice Participation Game Status FBGs Expects
Wednesday Thursday Friday
Julio Jones Toe DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
A.J. Green Hamstring Limited Limited Limited Doubtful Inactive
T.Y. Hilton Back Not Listed DNP Full Not Listed Active
Amari Cooper Shoulder Limited Limited Limited Questionable Expected to Play
Dez Bryant Back Not Listed Limited Limited Questionable Expected to Play
Randall Cobb Ankle Limited Limited Limited Questionable Active / Limited
Brandon Marshall Knee / Foot / Back Limited Limited Limited Questionable Active / Limited
Larry Fitzgerald Not Injury Related DNP Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Michael Thomas Foot Limited Limited Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Michael Crabtree Finger Limited Limited  Limited Questionable Expected to Play
Tyrell Williams Shoulder Full Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
*Kelvin Benjamin Back *Limited *Limited *Full Questionable Expected to Play
Sammy Watkins Foot DNP Limited Limited Questionable Active
Donte Moncrief Hamstring DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
Stefon Diggs Knee Limited Full Full Not Listed Active
Jarvis Landry Not Injury Related Not Listed Not Listed DNP Not Listed Active
Jordan Matthews Ankle DNP Full Full Questionable Active
Quincy Enunwa Ribs Limited Limited Limited Questionable Active
DeAndre Hopkins Hamstring Limited Limited Limited Not Listed Active
Mohamed Sanu Groin Limited Limited Full Not Listed Expected to Play
J.J. Nelson Knee Limited Limited Full Not Listed Expected to Play
John Brown Illness DNP Limited Limited Questionable Likely Active / Limited
Dorial Green-Beckham Abdomen Full Full Full Questionable Active
Phillip Dorsett Groin Not Listed Limited Full Questionable Active
Eddie Royal Toe DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
Marquess Wilson Groin / Foot Limited DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
Torrey Smith Concussion DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
Brandon LaFell Knee Limited Full Full Not Listed Active
Danny Amendola Ankle DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive

Tight Ends
Player Injury Practice Participation Game Status FBGs Expects
Wednesday Thursday Friday
*Jordan Reed Shoulder *Limited *Limited *Limited Questionable Likely to Play
Martellus Bennett Ankle / Shoulder Limited Limited Limited Questionable Active
Eric Ebron Knee Limited Limited Limited Questionable Active
Charles Clay Knee DNP Limited Limited Questionable Active
Dwayne Allen Hip DNP Limited Full Questionable Active
Jermaine Gresham Knee DNP Limited Limited Questionable Likely to Play
Jared Cook Chest Full Full Full Not Listed Active
C.J. Fiedorowicz Concussion DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive

*Note: Monday night players with asterisk practice Thursday/Friday/Saturday.

Follow me on Twitter @JeneBramel for breaking injury news and analysis throughout the week.