Gameday Injury Expectations: Week 16

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

TOM BRADY | THIGH | QUESTIONABLE | Active

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

Brady was more limited in practice this week than last but there has been no indication he will be more limited on the field. It's unlikely the Patriots have planned to modify their game plan due to Brady's injury.

Aaron rodgers | Calf | Not Listed | Active

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

Rodgers looked healthier than expected last week, especially in the cold weather. He had difficulty slowing down once moving from the pocket but did not look uncomfortable moving in the pocket and was willing to scramble. After a full week of practice, Rodgers was not listed on the game status report. While there continues to be a risk of in-game aggravation, Rodgers is unlikely to miss any snaps.

Andrew Luck | Shoulder / Thumb | Not Listed | Expected to Play

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

Luck has been on the practice report with a shoulder injury throughout the season. Last week, he also had an elbow ailment but showed no ill-effects at all. This week, it's a thumb injury listed as a secondary concern. With the full practices on Thursday and Friday, there's minimal concern for Luck's effectiveness this week.

Others of note: Derek Carr (finger), Cam Newton (shoulder), Matthew Stafford (finger/hand), Ben RoethlisbergerTrevor Siemian (foot), Tyrod Taylor (groin), Blake Bortles (shoulder), Jared Goff (concussion), and Bryce Petty (chest) all fully practiced this week and will play. Ryan Tannehill (knee) has been declared out. I'll update return to play expectations on Monday.


RUNNING BACK

LeSean McCoy | KNEE | NOT LISTED | ACTIVE

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

McCoy was an unexpected addition to the Wednesday injury report with a knee condition. However, he has fully practiced, is not listed on the game status report, and can be expected to see his usual workload.

Lamar Miller | Ankle | Questionable | Likely Inactive

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

I was concerned about the mechanism of Miller's ankle injury last Sunday night and worried over the possibility of a game-time decision despite Miller's assurances he'd play. I expected limited practice, however. Instead, Miller did not practice at all this week. He's continued to tell reporters he'll play, but I'm skeptical. Even if he's active -- and that's possible with the Texans needing wins to assure a playoff berth -- he will be limited and at high risk of an in-game aggravation.

Sunday AM: Ian Rapoport is calling Miller "iffy at best" for tonight's game. Expect him to be inactive.

Matt Forte | Knee / Shoulder | Doubtful | Inactive

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

I think Forte is done for the season. There's little reason to risk further damage to his torn meniscus and he now has a "nerve issue" in his shoulder persisting multiple days after his last contact. The nerve issue could be multiple things but it's always a concern when nerve symptoms don't resolve within 24 hours. Forte said last week he wanted to play, but only played 13 snaps last week and is now doubtful this week. Barring a quick recovery this weekend, expect to hear that Forte's season is over early next week.

Jeremy Hill | Knee | Questionable | Expected to Play

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

The Bengals listed Hill questionable but the full Friday practice means he's expected to start and contribute as usual. Watch for any surprising pre-game notes, but I think Hill will see his usual workload.

Others of note: Adrian Peterson (knee, groin), Melvin Gordon (hip, knee), Frank GoreJonathan Stewart have practiced, are not listed on the game status report, and expected to see their usual workloads. Melvin Gordon (hip/knee), and James Starks (concussion) have been declared out. I expect Theo Riddick (wrist) to be declared out on Saturday. I'll update return to play expectations in Monday's column.


WIDE RECEIVER

JULIO JONES | TOE | Not Listed | Active

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

Jones practiced fully on Friday. That's an early Christmas present for his owners after not practicing at all for two weeks. When Jones returns to a full Friday practice, he often sees his usual workload. Not only did Jones fully practice, but the Falcons did not list him on their game status report. That's even more promising. Toe injuries can be tricky and there's no guarantee Jones will finish the game without aggravation, but this week's practice line is as reassuring as it gets.

A.J. Green | Hamstring | Questionable | Likely inactive

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

Bob Holtzman continues to preach caution on Green this week, noting that he didn't fully practice this week but has talked the team into allowing him to play. I think that's a little dramatic. The Bengals routinely give players recovering from significant injuries a week of individual work before increasing their participation the following week. That's what's happened with Green. The Bengals listed Green as fully practicing on Friday -- which is mostly semantics as there's not much practice on Fridays anyway. He's still at risk of an aggravation but he's now had a week and a half of consecutive practices without a setback. 

I think Green plays and sees very close to his usual workload and I would expect Cincinnati to prioritize higher leverage situations if they do limit Green's snaps at all. With Tyler Eifert out, Green's primary red zone competition will be Jeremy Hill. There will be a wide range of outcomes than usual for Green, but a near-ceiling performance is within them.

Saturday AM Update: Nothing but pessimism from national writers on Green this morning. Ian Rapoport tweeted overnight that Green may not be allowed to go. Jay Glazer has just tweeted this morning that the Bengals medical staff will not allow him to play. There's a ton of context behind Glazer's tweet that we may never learn about, but it fits with Bob Holtzman's continued efforts to frame Green's potential comeback as far less than a sure thing. Also, if Green sits this week, I don't see a scenario in which he plays next week.

Michael Crabtree | Finger | Questionable | Expected to Play

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

Crabtree has seen his target count drop over the past two weeks but his efficiency and usage last week was much closer to his pre-injury play. The Raiders continue to limit his practice time but I expect Crabtree to see his usual workload.

Amari Cooper | Shoulder | Questionable | Expected to Play

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

Cooper is a tough read but I don't think the injury is a primary concern. I haven't noticed any obvious on-field limitation despite the multiple weeks of limited practice. Though listed questionable, expect Cooper to see his usual snap count.

Donte Moncrief | Hamstring | Not Listed | Expected to Play

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

Moncrief increased his practice participation through Friday. On Thursday, Chuck Pagano told reporters Moncrief would be a full go this week. The Colts did not list him on the game status report. With the usual caveat that players returning from hamstring strains are at risk of an aggravation during the first 7-10 days after returning to football-related activity, Moncrief can be expected to see his pre-injury workload.

Brandon Marshall | Shoulder / Back | Questionable | Active

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

The Jets said Marshall would be on a snap count last week after missing most of the week's practice with multiple injuries. He played 73 snaps and saw 11 targets. Marshall wasn't as crisp as usual but his poor performance had as much to do with lack of chemistry with Bryce Petty than injury -- Marshall managed just one catch on those 11 targets. Marshall has managed more practice this week and there's been no talk of limited snap counts. His upside is capped due to situation but Marshall will likely see his usual number of targets.

Randall Cobb | Ankle | Questionable | Inactive

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

Cobb looked as limited last week as he did shortly after suffering the injury in Week 14. He played 51 snaps -- more than I expected -- but was not healthy enough to separate and Aaron Rodgers looked his way only once. Cobb knows he's limited but has no plans to sit as the Packers look to continue their streak and earn a playoff berth after a rough start to the season. I think Cobb will see more targets this week but don't expect his pre-injury workload or production.

Saturday AM Update: Cobb is inactive.

Steve Smith | Thigh | Questionable | Expected to Play

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

Smith was added to the injury report with a thigh injury on Thursday but returned to a full Friday practice. Though listed questionable, he's expected to see his usual number of snaps.

Stefon Diggs | Hip | Questionable | Active

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

Diggs increased his practice participation throughout the week and is expected to play and should see his usual workload despite being listed questionable.

Sammy Watkins | Foot | Questionable | Active

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

Watkins continues to play through a foot injury that has yet to fully heal. He has three consecutive weeks of 40-50 snaps but the Bills have relied heavily on the run and Watkins has had only 19 targets and eight catches in those three games. Watkins is talented enough to convert a long target into a touchdown and three of those 19 targets have come in the red zone. The likelihood of a ceiling game is small but possible.

Terrelle Pryor | Finger | Not Listed | Active

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

Early week reports were not reassuring on Pryor's finger injury. By the end of the week, Pryor had practiced more than expected and the Browns were comfortable enough with his progress to not only clear him to play but decide not to list him on the game status report. Pryor may have a hard time making tough catches but looks ready to see his usual number of targets.

Others of note: Dez Bryant (back), Emmanuel Sanders, Demaryius ThomasTyrell Williams (shoulder), Kelvin Benjamin (back), Kenny Britt (shoulder), Taylor Gabriel (shoulder), and Josh Bellamy (shoulder) are not listed and expected to play. I'll update return to play expectations in Monday's column.


TIGHT END

JORDAN REED | SHOULDER | QUESTIONABLE | Inactive

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

Reed has played 29 snaps in two weeks. Every team he's been contacted on his injured shoulder, he's been unable to play for many snaps and sometimes needed help getting off the field. Reed won't be healthy for the rest of the season and he didn't practice at all this week. It would appear Reed and the medical staff have decided while Reed's attempts to play are admirable, his shoulder is not stable enough to continue. Though listed questionable, it's unlikely Reed will be active.

Saturday AM Update: Multiple sources report that Reed will be inactive.

Tyler Eifert | Back | Declared Out | Inactive

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

Earlier this season, I felt there were red flags on Eifert's back condition. It sounded like more than back spasms -- required an MRI and a visit to a specialist. I'm still concerned he's been dealing with a symptomatic disc herniation. I may be reading too much into this situation but the optics -- Eifert missing practice and this game immediately after the Bengals were eliminated from playoff contention -- seem telling. After two missed practices, it looked unlikely that Eifert would play this week. On Friday, the Bengals declared him out. I'd consider him questionable at best for Week 17.

Greg Olsen | Elbow | Not Listed | Expected to Play

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

The Thursday DNP raised eyebrows but Ron Rivera, who has been straightforward when discussing injuries this year (see also: Luke Kuechly), was adamant Wednesday and Thursday that Olsen's elbow was of no concern. That proved true on Friday. Olsen fully practiced, is not listed on the game status report, and will play.

Martellus Bennett | Ankle | Questionable | Active

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

Bennett will again play through a frequently aggravated high ankle sprain.

Ladarius Green | Concussion | Doubtful | Likely Inactive

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

The Steelers have listed Green doubtful. He won't play. Though Mike Tomlin minimized Green's past concussion history this week, the Steelers' medical staff is known to be cautious when returning players after head injuries. Hopefully, Green will be cleared to return in Week 17.

Others of note: Ryan Griffin (hamstring), C.J. Fiedorowicz (concussion), and Charles Clay (knee) are expected to play. A.J. Derby (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 Full Full Full Not Listed Active
Andrew Luck Shoulder / Thumb Limited Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Tom Brady Thigh Limited Limited Limited Questionable Active
Derek Carr Finger Full Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Cam Newton Shoulder Limited Full Full Not Listed Active
Ben Roethlisberger Not Injury Related DNP Not Listed Not Listed Not Listed Active
*Matthew Stafford Finger/Hand *Full *Full     Expected to Play
Trevor Siemian Foot / Hip Full Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Tyrod Taylor Groin Full Full Full Not Listed Active
Blake Bortles Shoulder Full Full Full Not Listed Active
Jared Goff Concussion Full Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Bryce Petty Chest Full Full Full Not Listed Active
Ryan Tannehill Knee DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive

Running Backs
Player Injury Practice Participation Game Status FBGs Expects
Wednesday Thursday Friday
LeSean McCoy Knee Full Full Full Not Listed Active
Melvin Gordon Hip / Knee DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
Lamar Miller Ankle DNP DNP DNP Questionable Likely Inactive
Matt Forte Knee / Shoulder DNP DNP DNP Doubtful Inactive
Adrian Peterson Knee / Groin DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
Jeremy Hill Knee DNP Limited Full Questionable Likely to Play
Jonathan Stewart Not Injury Related DNP DNP Full Not Listed Active
Frank Gore Not Injury Related DNP Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
*Theo Riddick Wrist *DNP *DNP     Likely Inactive
James Starks Concussion DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
DeAngelo Williams Knee Full Full Full Not Listed Likely to Return
C.J. Prosise Shoulder DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive

Wide Receivers
Player Injury Practice Participation Game Status FBGs Expects
Wednesday Thursday Friday
Julio Jones Toe Limited Limited Full Not Listed Active
A.J. Green Hamstring Limited Limited Full Questionable Likely Inactive
*Dez Bryant Back *Full *Full     Expected to Play
Emmanuel Sanders Not Injury Related DNP Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Demaryius Thomas Not Injury Related DNP Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Michael Crabtree Finger Limited Limited Limited Questionable Expected to Play
Amari Cooper Shoulder Limited Limited Limited Questionable Expected to Play
Donte Moncrief Hamstring Limited Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Brandon Marshall Shoulder / Back Limited Limited Limited Questionable Active
Randall Cobb Ankle Limited Limited Limited Questionable Inactive
Steve Smith Thigh Not Listed Limited Full Questionable Expected to Play
Stefon Diggs Hip DNP Limited Full Questionable Active
Tyrell Williams Shoulder Full Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Sammy Watkins Foot Limited Limited Limited Questionable Active
Terrelle Pryor Finger Limited Limited Full Not Listed Active
Kelvin Benjamin Back Limited Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Kenny Britt Shoulder Limited Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Taylor Gabriel Shoulder Limited Full Full Not Listed Active
John Brown Illness Limited Limited Limited Questionable Expected to Play
Josh Bellamy Shoulder Full Full Full Not Listed Active
Torrey Smith Concussion DNP DNP IR  IR IR
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 DNP DNP DNP Questionable Inactive
Tyler Eifert Back DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
Greg Olsen Elbow DNP DNP Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Martellus Bennett Ankle Limited Limited Limited Questionable Active
Ladarius Green Concussion DNP DNP DNP Doubtful Likely Inactive
Charles Clay Knee Limited Limited Limited Questionable Active
A.J. Derby Concussion DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
Ryan Griffin Hamstring Full Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
C.J. Fiedorowicz Concussion Full Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Austin Hooper Knee 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.