Gameday Injury Expectations: Week 17

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:

This week is a rough read. Some players not listed on the injury report will not play or will see their workload limited. Some injured players who would ordinarily see full workloads will either not play or see their workload limited. Some players may be limited earlier in the game than expected. Here's a look at the current playoff picture. We know some teams are planning to rest starters (Pittsburgh and Dallas). Others are less sure reads. Others (Miami, New England) seem likely to play their starters for a significant number of snaps. This week, it'll be critical to watch the pregame inactives and Twitter for up-to-date information (and guesses) on who's more likely to play than others.

I have more game-time decisions this week than any previous week this season. I'll make a call on what I think happens in each blurb but I'm not confident in many of these predictions.


QUARTERBACK

TOM BRADY | THIGH | QUESTIONABLE | Active

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

The Patriots are planning to play their starters this week to ensure they stay ahead of Oakland for the top overall seed in the AFC. Brady returned to his usual practice load on both Thursday and Friday and spoke to the media on Friday with a clear expectation he'll play. If the Patriots get a lead on the road in Miami, however, Brady may not play all four quarters.

Others of note: Aaron Rodgers (calf), Andrew Luck (shoulder), Cam Newton (shoulder), Matthew Stafford (finger/hand), Carson Palmer, Blake Bortles (wrist/shoulder), Tom Savage (knee), and Robert Griffin III (concussion) all fully practiced this week and will play. Ben Roethlisberger and Tyrod Taylor (groin) are not listed on the injury report but will not play. Trevor Siemian (foot) may play only a series or two despite a full week of practice. Ryan Tannehill (knee) has been declared out. I'll update return to play expectations on Monday.


RUNNING BACK

LESEAN MCCOY | Illness | NOT LISTED | Active

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

After McCoy missed practice with an illness on Wednesday, there seemed to be a consensus of opinion in the local media that he'd sit this week. McCoy has since returned to practice and was not listed on the participation report on Thursday or Friday and is not listed on the game status report. There's still some question about his availability and workload but I expect him to dress and see his usual workload early in the game. After that, all bets are off.

Jay Ajayi | Shoulder | Questionable | Active

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

Ajayi said all week he'd play and the Dolphins reportedly do not intend to rest starters. Still, this is another fluid situations. Miami plays next week and Ajayi will be the focal point of their offense with Ryan Tannehill almost certainly out. Shoulder injuries can be tough to overcome and are easily aggravated. While Miami could move from the 6 seed to 5 seed this week, there's relatively little to play for here. If the game remains close and Ajayi feels good, he'll likely continue. If the game script or Ajayi's shoulder suggests otherwise, his workload may be reduced as the game progresses.

Spencer Ware | Rib | Questionable | Game-time Decision

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

The Chiefs can earn a first round bye with a win and an Oakland loss in Denver. Andy Reid has called Ware a game-time decision after a week of limited practice. I think Ware will try to play -- he may be motivated by a bonus if he reaches 1000 yards rushing -- but Reid's game-time decision comment suggests Ware isn't fully healthy. We should hear more during the Sunday AM national media tweet dump. For now, consider Ware questionable and at risk of aggravation and limitation if active.

Jonathan Stewart | Foot | Questionable | Active

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

I think Stewart plays this week. Even though he's listed with a foot injury instead his usual "not injury related" tag, he returned to a full practice and the Panthers moved other injured players to injured reserve to free up roster space. Stewart may not see a full workload, but he looks likely to start.

Bilal Powell | Knee | Questionable | Active

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

Powell barely practiced this week and Todd Bowles called Powell's status "up in the air" and there are local media reports that he will "try to play." Matt Forte has been declared out and as of Saturday morning the Jets had not added depth at running back yet. That leaves the door open for Powell to play. However, I'd lean more toward doubtful for now and would expect Powell to be limited if he does dress.

Rob Kelley | Knee | Questionable | Game-time Decision

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

Kelley's status remains undecided but Washington is hopeful he'll play. Kelley was able to return to last week's game after his injury. While that isn't enough to expect him to be effective this week, his availability after the injury and full week of limited practice means the team's medical staff has approached this week as if he'll play. We'll know more on Sunday.

Chris Ivory | Hamstring | Questionable | Inactive

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

I think Ivory will play this week. However, there have been weeks where Ivory practiced and looked likely to play only to be declared inactive. We'll see what Ivory and the Jaguars decide on game day.

Jeremy Hill | Knee | Questionable | Inactive

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

Hill's Friday practice participation and questionable listing was a surprise. The Bengals do not activate players who aren't practicing during the week and there has been clear caution with many other players over the past two weeks. I still think Hill sits this week. The Bengals added Tre Carson off the practice squad on Friday.

Others of note: Thomas Rawls (shoulder), Frank Gore have practiced, are not listed on the game status report, and should see their usual workloads. Melvin Gordon (hip/knee), Lamar Miller (ankle), Adrian Peterson (knee/groin), Matt Forte (knee), Theo Riddick (wrist), and James Starks (concussion) have been declared out. I'll update return to play expectations in Monday's column.


WIDE RECEIVER

JULIO JONES | TOE | NOT LISTED | Expected to Play

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

Jones said he was intentionally cautious last week despite a full Friday practice. His practice participation looks the same this week. I expect Jones to play a little more this week. Taylor Gabriel is down and the Falcons can clinch a first round bye and get Jones, Gabriel, Austin Hooper and others needed rest with a win. However, all involved recognize that it's critical to avoid an aggravation. Consider Jones series-to-series but I think there's a chance he sees more than the 39 snaps and seven targets he did last week.

Sammy Watkins | Foot | Questionable | Active

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

Like LeSean McCoy, there's an undercurrent of concern that Watkins will rest or be limited this weekend after a ceiling performance last week in which he played an unexpected 84 snaps and converted a higher percentage of his targets than he had since returning in Week 12. Watkins did so with Tyrod Taylor, who will not be active this week, and likely has less to gain by playing this week. There was nothing of note in the local media about Watkins availability or workload. I'm leaning toward Watkins playing this week but I think it's doubtful that he sees anything close to 80 snaps again.

Michael Crabtree | Finger | Questionable | Expected to Play

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

Amari Cooper | Shoulder | Questionable | Expected to Play

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

If the Patriots lose, the Raiders will do everything they can to find a win in the afternoon and clinich home field throughout the playoffs. If not, they'll still be looking for a win to ensure a first round bye to give their talent an extra week of rest. Neither reciever has been fully healthy but both look likely to see their usual workload with new quarterback Matt McGloin.

Randall Cobb | Ankle | Questionable | Likely Inactive

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

The Packers have remained hopeful they'll have Cobb available all week. The plan, reportedly, was to limit his practice reps significantly in the hopes he'd be able to give them something this weekend. While there's a slim chance Cobb will be on the active roster, it's hard to see the Packers' plan resulting in a pre-injury workload and targets. I'm expecting Cobb to be inactive and closer to returning next week should Green Bay win a playoff spot.

Jordan Matthews | Ankle | Questionable | Inactive

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

Earlier in the week, local reporters expected the Eagles to manage Matthews reps but didn't see reason to believe he'd miss this week's game. By the end of the week, the tone had changed slightly. Matthews is probably closer to a game-time decision and may be limited if active.

Saturday Afternoon Update: Adam Caplan reported this afternoon that Matthews is more to the doubtful side of questionable.

Others of note: Alshon Jeffery (illness), DeSean Jackson (jaw), Terrelle Pryor (finger), Sammie Coates (hamstring), and Marqise Lee (hamstring) are expected to play. A.J. Green (hamstring), Donte Moncrief (shoulder), Stefon Diggs (hip), Taylor Gabriel (foot), Kenny Britt (shoulder), Malcolm Mitchell (knee), and Robby Anderson (hamstring), have been or are expected to be declared out. I'll update return to play expectations in Monday's column.

Robby Anderson is active.


TIGHT END

JORDAN REED | SHOULDER | QUESTIONABLE | Likely to Play

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

Reed says he's feeling better after taking another week off than he has since his AC sprain occurred. He told reporters that he is "able to take some contact on it and do some things in the run game." It's hard to know whether he's truly able to take contact from unexpected angles or if Washington is trying to give the impression that Reed will play on as many running downs as passing downs. Jay Gruden has been more optimistic this week, too, noting "more confidence" in Reed's practice reps.

We're in one of two places here -- either Reed is ready to play for the first time since the injury or we're hearing the same things we heard three weeks ago before he managed only ten snaps. I'm still concerned we're closer to the latter situation. There's no question Reed remains at high risk of another aggravation and limited effort.

Martellus Bennett | Ankle | Questionable | Limited if Active

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

I expect Bennett to play this week but the Patriots would likely love to limit his snap count and workload and give him multiple weeks to recover before their opening playoff game. Bennett will likely be one of the first players limited if the Patriots get out to a large lead.

Others of note: Greg Olsen (elbow), Jimmy Graham (knee), C.J. Fiedorowicz (thigh), Will Tye (illness) and Charles Clay (knee) are expected to play. Ladarius Green (concussion), Austin Hooper (knee), Tyler Kroft (knee/ankle), and A.J. Derby (concussion) has been declared out. I'll update return to play expectations in Monday's column.
 


Quarterbacks
Player Injury Practice Participation Game Status FBGs Expects
Wednesday Thursday Friday
Aaron Rodgers Calf Full Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Tom Brady Thigh DNP Limited Limited Questionable Active
Andrew Luck Shoulder Not Listed Limited Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Cam Newton Shoulder Limited Limited Full Questionable Active
Ben Roethlisberger Not Injury Related DNP Not Listed Not Listed Not Listed Inactive
Matthew Stafford Finger / Hand Full Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Carson Palmer Not Injury Related DNP Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Ryan Tannehill Knee DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
Tyrod Taylor Groin Full DNP Full Not Listed Inactive
Trevor Siemian Foot Full Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play / Backup
Blake Bortles Wrist / Shoulder Full Full Full Not Listed Active
Tom Savage Knee Full Full Full Not Listed Active
Robert Griffin III Concussion DNP Full Full Not Listed Active
Derek Carr Ankle DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive


Running Backs
Player Injury Practice Participation Game Status FBGs Expects
Wednesday Thursday Friday
LeSean McCoy Illness DNP Not Listed Not Listed Not Listed Active
Jay Ajayi Shoulder Limited Limited Full Questionable Active
Melvin Gordon Hip / Knee Limited Limited DNP Declared Out Inactive
Lamar Miller Ankle DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
Adrian Peterson Knee / Groin DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
Spencer Ware Rib Limited Limited Limited Questionable Game-time Decision
Matt Forte Knee DNP DNP  DNP Declared Out Inactive
Bilal Powell Knee DNP DNP Limited Questionable Active
Thomas Rawls Shoulder Full Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Frank Gore Not Injury Related DNP Full Full Not Listed Active
Jonathan Stewart Foot DNP DNP Full Questionable Active
Theo Riddick Wrist DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
Rob Kelley Knee Limited Limited Limited Questionable Game-time Decision
Chris Ivory Hamstring Limited Limited Limited Questionable Inactive
Jeremy Hill Knee DNP DNP Limited Questionable Inactive
Darren McFadden Illness Not Listed Not Listed Limited Questionable Likely to Play
Christine Michael Not Injury Related DNP Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Jalen Richard Shoulder Limited Limited Limited Questionable Game-time Decision
Dion Lewis Illness DNP Not Listed Not Listed Not Listed Likely to Play
Duke Johnson Ankle DNP Limited Limited Questionable Active
James Starks Concussion DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
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 Limited if Active
A.J. Green Hamstring DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
Sammy Watkins Foot DNP Limited Limited Questionable Limited if Active
Michael Crabtree Finger Limited Limited Limited Questionable Expected to Play
Larry Fitzgerald Not Injury Related DNP Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Brandon Marshall Hip / Shoulder DNP DNP Limited Questionable Inactive
Amari Cooper Shoulder Limited Limited Limited Questionable Expected to Play
Donte Moncrief Shoulder DNP DNP DNP Doubtful Inactive
Randall Cobb Ankle DNP DNP DNP Questionable Limited if Active
Alshon Jeffery Illness Not Listed DNP Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Stefon Diggs Hip DNP DNP DNP Doubtful Likely Inactive
DeSean Jackson Jaw Full Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Jordan Matthews Ankle DNP DNP Limited Questionable Inactive
Taylor Gabriel Foot DNP Limited Limited Declared Out Inactive
Kenny Britt Shoulder DNP DNP DNP Doubtful Inactive
Terrelle Pryor Finger Full Full Full Not Listed Active
Robby Anderson Hamsting Limited DNP DNP Questionable Active
Marqise Lee Hip Limited Limited Limited Questionable Active
Malcolm Mitchell Knee DNP DNP DNP Doubtful Inactive
John Brown  Illness DNP Limited Limited Questionable Limited if Active
Devin Funchess Knee DNP DNP IR IR Inactive
Sammie Coates Hamstring Limited Limited Limited Not Listed Likely to Play
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 Limited if Active
Greg Olsen Elbow DNP DNP Full Questionable Active
Jimmy Graham Not Injury Related DNP Full Full Not Listed Likely to Play
Charles Clay Knee DNP Limited Limited Questionable Active
Martellus Bennett Ankle Limited Limited Limited Questionable Limited if Active
Ladarius Green Concussion Limited Limited DNP Declared Out Inactive
Will Tye Illness Limited Full Full Not Listed Likely to Play
C.J. Fiedorowicz Thigh Full Full Full Not Listed Active
Austin Hooper Knee DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
A.J. Derby Concussion DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
Tyler Kroft Knee / Ankle DNP DNP DNP Doubtful Likely Inactive

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