Gameday Injury Expectations: Week 4

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.

Here's the Key:

PLAYER | INJURY | GAME STATUS LISTING | FOOTBALLGUYS EXPECTATION

Practice Participation Listing by Day

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

RUSSELL WILSON | ANKLE | NOT LISTED | EXPECTED TO PLAY

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

For the second consecutive week, Wilson fully practiced through an injury that may have limited others. Regardless of what you think about Wilson's around-the-clock rehab schedule and nanobubbles, he's proven he's a quick healer and able to effectively play through injury. Both injuries -- high ankle sprain and MCL sprain -- are low grade. There's some risk of aggravation for both injuries, but Wilson will be active and starting this week.

Andrew Luck | Shoulder | Not Listed | Active

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

The Colts continue to limit Luck's practice reps, with every week's practice line looking a little differently. Luck has yet to be listed on the end of the week game status report this season and has yet to appear limited on Sunday. Until he shows differently, there's little reason to worry about Luck showing fatigue, inaccuracy, or indecisiveness.

Jimmy Garoppolo | Shoulder | Questionable | Inactive

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

Jacoby Brissett | Thumb | Questionable | Active

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

Though I believe both will be limited, I've leaned toward Garoppolo being more likely than Brissett to play this week in Periscope sessions and our live Thursday podcast. It wasn't a particularly confident argument. Garoppolo has the more concerning injury, but reportedly improved over the past two weeks. Brissett's injury is also tough for a quarterback to play through and more recent. On Friday, go-to Patriots' beat writer Mike Reiss reported the team was confident Brissett could play if needed but were hoping Garoppolo would show enough improvement by game time to play. There are reports on Saturday morning that Garoppolo will start. Regardless of which quarterback is deemed healthy enough to start, the backup may be needed to finish.

Sunday AM Update: Earlier reports on Garoppolo as the likely starter were followed by reports that the Patriots will not decide until pregame warmups. Whichever quarterback has the most strength in his throwing arm/hand will go.

Sunday AM Update: Adam Schefter reporting Brissett will start, Garoppolo will be inactive, and Julian Edelman will likely serve as backup today.

Others of note: Matt Ryan (thumb) was on the injury report this week, but fully practiced and not listed on the Falcons' game status report. Cody Kessler (thigh) practiced all week, is not listed on the game status report, and will start over Josh McCown (shoulder), who has been declared out. Jay Cutler (thumb) was listed doubtful but didn't practice with the team on Thursday or Friday and is unlikely to be active.


RUNNING BACK

jamaal Charles | Knee | Questionable | Expected to Play

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

Charles is listed questionable but will return to play on Sunday. Whether that's because the mental and physical hurdles related to his ACL recovery are behind him or because Charcandrick West is out with an ankle injury isn't clear. It's likely some combination of each. Charles is clearly behind Spencer Ware on the depth chart. While Charles will probably get into the offensive huddle, don't expect him to be ready for many snaps and touches. His play this week will determine how involved he'll be in future weeks. 

Rashad Jennings | Thumb | Questionable | GAME-TIME dECISION

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

The Giants chose to hold Jennings out last week, with concerns for a multiple week setback and in-game ball security ruling the day. Jennings still has swelling and soreness in his thumb but has been able to catch passes in limited workouts this week. Most observers consider him a game-time decision, but his Saturday practice participation has yet to be reported and the Giants' media session hasn't happened yet.

Sunday AM Update: The Giants remain unsure of Jennings' availability. He participated in a limited practice on Saturday but remains a game-time decision. He's closer to playing than last week, but will likely be limited if active.

Devonta Freeman | Illness | Not Listed | Expected to Play

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

Tevin Coleman | Ankle | Not Listed | Expected to Play

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

Neither Coleman nor Freeman is listed on the game status report after fully practicing on Friday. Coleman was able to play through a slight tweak of his ankle on Monday night and the full practice Friday is as reassuring as his absence on the game status report. There are no lingering illness concerns with Freeman. Their shared workload is likely to continue this week.

Kenneth Dixon | Knee | Doubtful | Inactive

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

Dixon is not expected to be active this week despite the full Friday practice. His week of practice was part of a planned final week of reconditioning to ensure he's ready for Week 5. 

Others of note: Matt Forte (knee), Isaiah Crowell (knee), Frank Gore (not injury related) missed practice reps early in the week but returned to full practices and are expected to play. Chris Ivory (ankle/knee) fully practiced on Thursday and Friday and will be active. Jerick McKinnon (toe) has fully practiced this week and will play. Doug Martin (hamstring), Jeremy Langford (ankle), Jonathan Stewart (hamstring), Thomas Rawls (fibula), and Ka'Deem Carey (hamstring) are all expected to be inactive this week.


WIDE RECEIVER

DEz Bryant | Knee | Questionable | Expected Inactive

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

The Cowboys refuse to rule Bryant out for this week, much less future weeks. (More on that in Monday's column.) I don't believe Bryant plays this week. And, although the team allowed him to talk to the media in the locker room on Friday, I don't think Bryant believes he can play either. He was worried enough about his knee on Tuesday that he stayed home rather than show up for imaging. He didn't practice all week. He's told the media he wants to be "safe" and "smart" and recognizes it's "a long season." For a player who rarely shows doubt in his ability and health, there's no confidence in any of those factors. Tagging him questionable isn't fooling anyone.

Sunday AM Update: Bryant traveled with the team and will reportedly warmup before the game. Bryant is still much more doubtful than probable.

JULIO JONES | CALF | Not Listed | EXPECTED TO PLAY

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

Friday's full practice was Jones' first in two weeks. I still don't believe Jones is fully healthy, but this week's practice line is much more reassuring than last week's. That doesn't mean he will get through this week's game without an aggravation or limitation, but it's an indication he's as healthy as he's been all season.

Marvin Jones | Hamstring | Questionable | Expected to Play

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

That de-escalated quickly. Jones was added to the injury report on Thursday with a hamstring injury. Midweek muscle strains -- particularly hamstring injuries -- often prove difficult to recover from in time for to play in the same week. The Lions never shared details of Jones' hamstring concern but beat writers saw no limitation in Jones' reps in the open portion of a full Friday practice. Though Jones is listed questionable, there doesn't appear to be any concern for his Sunday availability.

Stefon Diggs | Groin | Not Listed | Expected to Play

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

We went through this last week. Diggs was added to the injury report with a groin injury, only to later put in a full practice and not be included on the game status report. We're still waiting on Minnesota's weekend participation report and game status listing. But there's yet to be any concern for his availability.

Sunday AM Update: Similar to last week, Diggs fully practiced at the end of the week and is not listed on the injury report. He will play tomorrow night.

Alshon Jeffery | Knee / Hamstring | Questionable | Game-time Decision

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

Jeffery looked very limited at times last week but remained effective in spurts. He was listed as limited on Wednesday and Thursday -- as expected -- with a knee injury. On Friday, the Bears deleted the knee concern from the participation and game status report and listed Jeffery limited with a hamstring injury. John Fox confirmed the switch was accurate in his press conference but added no more information. It's not clear whether this is tightness or a more concerning strain, whether this is a new injury or related to previous injury, or whether the knee injury remains a concern. We've seen Jeffery play through injuries effectively many times over the past 2-3 seasons but there are new unknowns here. I would lean toward Jeffery playing, but I'm listing him as a game-time decision and hoping for more information later this weekend.

Eric Decker | Shoulder | Declared Out

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

The Jets have ruled Decker out with a partial strain of his rotator cuff. More in Monday's column.

Brandon Marshall | Knee/Foot | Not Listed | Expected to Play

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

Marshall, like Julio Jones, is as healthy as he's been in recent weeks. He fully practiced this week and is not listed on the game status report. Marshall is known to play through injuries that prevent him from practicing. A full week of practice means he's ready to play.

Willie Snead | Toe | Questionable | Expected to Play

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

Snead told reporters on Friday that his week of practice was much better than last when he continued to have pain very late in the week. Though listed questionable after a limited week of practice, every sign indicates he'll be active this weekend. Toe injuries are always at risk of aggravation, however, and it's possible Snead will be limited during the game. Watch for any actionable information during pregame warmups.

Michael Floyd | Concussion | Not Listed | Expected to Play

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

Floyd was cleared for contact by the team by Thursday and continued to fully practice on Friday. He's not listed on the game status report, which means he's been cleared by the independent neurologist. Barring an unexpected recurrence of symptoms, he'll be active this week.

Phillip Dorsett | Ankle | Questionable | Active

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

Dorsett was added to the practice participation report on Friday. The game status report wasn't released to the media until after Friday's press conference, so no one asked Chuck Pagano about the injury or knew to approach Dorsett. It may be nothing of note, but I'm listing Dorsett as a game-time decision until we hear more.

Tavon Austin | Shoulder | Questionable | Expected to Play

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

Austin returned to a full practice on Friday. The shoulder injury has been a nagging practice concern but has yet to limit Austin in games.

Kenny Britt | Thigh | Questionable | Expected to Play

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

Britt was added to the injury report with a thigh injury on Friday. The Rams' ESPN beat writer tweeted he'd be surprised if Britt missed this week's game but there's been no other discussion of severity or availability.

Others of note: Sammy Watkins (foot) was placed on injured reserve on Friday and is out for a minimum eight weeks. Larry Fitzgerald (knee), T.Y. Hilton (knee), DeSean Jackson (knee, ankle), Steve Smith (not injury related), Mohamed Sanu (ankle), Tyler Lockett (knee), Tajae Sharpe (hamstring), Torrey Smith (foot), and Kendall Wright (hamstring) are not listed on the game status report after full Friday practices and will play with minimal concern for in-game aggravations. Donte Moncrief (shoulder), Corey Coleman (hand), Eli Rogers (toe), Josh Docston (Achilles), and Braxton Miller (hamstring) have been declared out this week.


TIGHT END

Rob Gronkowski | Hamstring | Questionable | Expected to Play

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

I don't think Gronkowski looked close to full health last week. The Patriots put him in the huddle for about 15 plays but he ran few routes. When he did, he wasn't able to get off the line effectively and could barely elevate on a stop fade route in the end zone -- though, to be fair, the pass from Brissett was too high for even superhumans like a healthy Gronkowski. You could read Gronkowski's midweek media session -- "You've got to progress." and "I can't wait until I'm going crazy again." -- in two ways. Either Gronkowski is continuing to acknowledge he's close but not yet fully recovered or he's saying he's finally turned the corner and ready to take on a larger offensive role. For now, the local and national media haven't provided any clues as to which is more likely. Until I'm certain otherwise, the last Gronkowski we saw was very limited in 15 snaps and it's hard to feel confident Gronkowski is ready for 50+ full strength snaps.

Jimmy Graham | Knee / Back | Questionable | Expected to Play

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

Graham suffered back spasms on Thursday but was able to fully practice on Friday. The Seahawks listed him questionable and back spasms can recur without warning, but Graham is fully expected to play this week.

Delanie Walker | Hamstring | Questionable | Active

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

Last week, Walker missed practice on Friday and was clearly in doubt. This week, Walker felt well enough to test his hamstring extensively on Friday, telling reporters he did a lot of running. However, he stopped short of guaranteeing himself ready to play. He'll go through warmups before a decision is made.

Sunday AM Update: Walker is active today.

Julius Thomas | Elbow | Questionable | Inactive

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

It's not clear what type of elbow injury is ailing Thomas but every report this week has called him a game-time decision. He managed a limited practice on Friday. This game is being played in London, so we'll know Thomas' status early Sunday morning.

Sunday AM Update: Thomas is inactive today.

Antonio Gates | Hamstring | Doubtful | Likely Inactive

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

The Chargers left a sliver of hope for Gates by listing him doubtful rather than declaring him out. But Gates hasn't been seen at practice in two weeks and is certain to be inactive this week.

Eric Ebron | Ankle | Questionable | Expected to Play

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

The Lions regularly list players questionable after full Friday practices. Ebron's practice participation has increased on a daily basis and there's no local concern he'll miss this week's game.

Others of Note: Charles Clay (knee) is listed questionable after consecutive limited practices but remains a game-time decision. Both San Francisco tight ends, Vance McDonald (hip) and Garrett Celek (back), are questionable and will be limited if able to play.


EARLY WEEK PRACTICE PARTICIPATION REPORT AND EARLY EXPECTATIONS

The Wednesday and Thursday practice participation reports are our first chance to see which players each NFL team are limiting in practice after the previous week's games. Players limited in mid-week practice aren't necessarily in danger of missing that week's game. But they all need to be watched closely.

RED = DOWNGRADE
GREEN = UPGRADE 


Quarterbacks
 
Player Injury Practice Participation Game Status FBGs Expects
Wednesday Thursday Friday
Russell Wilson Ankle/Knee Full Full Full Not Listed Active
Jay Cutler Thumb Limited DNP DNP Doubtful Inactive
Andrew Luck  Shoulder Limited Full Limited Not Listed Active
Matt Ryan Thumb Full Full Full Not Listed Active
Jimmy Garoppolo Shoulder Limited Limited Limited Questionable Inactive
Jacoby Brissett Thumb Limited Limited Limited Questionable Active
Cody Kessler Thigh Full Full Full Not Listed Active
Josh McCown  Shoulder DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
Tony Romo  Back DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive

Running Backs
 
Player Injury Practice Participation Game Status FBGs Expects
Wednesday Thursday Friday
Matt Forte Knee Limited Full Full Not Listed Active
Jeremy Langford Ankle DNP DNP DNP Doubtful Inactive
Jamaal Charles Knee Limited Limited Limited Questionable Expected Active
Devonta Freeman Illness Not Listed DNP Full Not Listed Active
Tevin Coleman Knee Limited Limited Full Not Listed Active
Rashad Jennings* Thumb Limited* Limited* Limited* Questionable Game-time Decision
Frank Gore Not Injury Related DNP Full Full Not Listed Active
Doug Martin Hamstring DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
Jonathan Stewart Hamstring DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
Thomas Rawls Fibula DNP DNP DNP  Declared Out Inactive
Chris Ivory Ankle/Knee Limited Full Full Not Listed Active
Isaiah Crowell Knee Limited Full Full Not Listed Active
Jerick McKinnon* Toe Full* Full* Full* Not Listed Expected to Play
C.J. Prosise Wrist Full Full Full Questionable Inactive
Kenneth Dixon Knee Limited Limited Full Doubtful Inactive
Charcandrick West Ankle DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
Ka'Deem Carey Hamstring DNP DNP DNP Doubtful Inactive

Wide Receivers
 
Player Injury Practice Participation Game Status FBGs Expects
Wednesday Thursday Friday
Dez Bryant Knee DNP DNP DNP Questionable Expected Inactive
Julio Jones Calf Limited Limited Full Not Listed Active
Brandon Marshall Knee / Foot Full Full Full Not Listed Active
Marvin Jones Hamstring Not Listed Limited Full Questionable Active
Larry Fitzgerald Knee Full Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Alshon Jeffery Knee Limited Limited Limited Questionable Active
T.Y. Hilton Knee DNP Full Full Not Listed Active
Stefon Diggs Groin Not Listed* Limited* Full* Not Listed Expected to Play
Sammy Watkins Foot DNP DNP DNP Declared Out / IR Inactive
Eric Decker Shoulder DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
Willie Snead Toe Limited  Limited Limited Questionable Expected to Play / ? Limited
Donte Moncrief Shoulder DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
DeSean Jackson Foot / Ankle DNP Limited Full Not Listed Active
Michael Floyd Concussion Limited Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Steve Smith Not Injury Related DNP Not Listed Not Listed Not Listed Active
Mohamed Sanu  Shoulder DNP Limited Full Not Listed Active
Phillip Dorsett Ankle Not Listed Not Listed Limited Questionable Active
Tyler Lockett Knee Limited Limited Full Not Listed Active
Tavon Austin Shoulder Limited Limited Full Questionable Expected to Play
Tajae Sharpe Hamstring Limited Limited Full Not Listed Active
Kenny Britt Thigh Not Listed Not Listed Limited Questionable Expected to Play
Torrey Smith Foot Full Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Kamar Aiken Thigh DNP Full Full Questionable Active
Eli Rogers Toe DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
Corey Coleman Hand DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
Braxton Miller Hamstring DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
Kendall Wright Hamstring Full Full Full Not Listed Active
Josh Doctson Achilles DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive

Tight Ends
 
Player Injury Practice Participation Game Status FBGs Expects
Wednesday Thursday Friday
Rob Gronkowski Hamstring  Limited Limited Limited Questionable Active / ? Limited
Jimmy Graham Knee / Back Limited DNP Full Questionable  Active
Delanie Walker Hamstring DNP Limited Limited Questionable Active
Antonio Gates Hamstring DNP DNP DNP Doubtful Likely Inactive
Eric Ebron Ankle DNP Limited Full Questionable Active
Julius Thomas Elbow DNP DNP Limited Questionable Inactive
Charles Clay Knee DNP Limited Limited Questionable Active
Vance McDonald Hip DNP Limited Limited Questionable Game-time Decision
Garrett Celek Back Limited Limited Limited Questionable Game-time Decision
Virgil Green Calf DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive

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