Gameday Injury Expectations: Week 15

What to expect from this week's injured 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).

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 player on the practice participation and game status report this week:


QUARTERBACK

Aaron Rodgers | Shoulder | Not Listed | Expected to Play

Practice Participation: Not Listed / Not on Active Roster >> Full Practice

Rodgers did not appear on the injury report this week. The Packers were not required to make a roster move to activate him until Saturday afternoon. There were no indications this week Rodgers would have been listed as anything other than a full participant. Already throwing with a full and free range of motion for four weeks, Rodgers needed only to gain clearance for contact. Though that briefly seemed in doubt earlier this week, Rodgers was cleared and will play. Arm strength and stamina will not be issues. It's possible Rodgers takes some time to reacclimate to the speed of live game action. But he returns to a healthier offensive line, an established running game, and a healthy receiving group. Expect Rodgers to do well against the Carolina secondary.

Marcus Mariota | Knee | Not Listed | Expected to Play

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

Mariota sprained his knee last week but it did not affect him in practice this week. There was a discussion among the local media about how much Mariota's nagging injuries may be affecting his play but the Titans deny any issues. The full week of practice looks reassuring but it's likely Mariota's rushing ceiling is lower than usual.

Tyrod Taylor | Knee | Not Listed | Expected to Play

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

Taylor was likely close but not quite ready to return last week. This week, he recovered well enough to fully practice. Nathan Peterman also returned to a full practice after last week's concussion but will be inactive. Taylor may be at risk of an in-game aggravation of the bruise to his patellar tendon but the full practices suggest the Bills won't be limiting his ability to scramble by game plan.

Others of note: Tom Brady (Achilles), Cam Newton (shoulder), and Blake Bortles (wrist) have practiced, are not listed on the game status report, and are expected to play without limitation. Nathan Peterman (concussion) and Tom Savage (concussion) have been declared out. I'll update return to play expectations on all inactive players in Monday's column.


RUNNING BACK

Alvin Kamara | Concussion | Not Listed | Expected to Play

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

Players cleared to return after a concussion are cleared for full contact. Unless there's a clear reason to fear a change in workload due to movement on the depth chart, players should immediately be expected to return to their pre-injury workload. That should prove true for Kamara this week.

Leonard Fournette | Quad | Questionable | Inactive

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

Fournette did not practice with a quad injury. Ian Rapoport reported the injury as a contusion to the side of his leg on Friday and tweeted Fournette would play if he "can be fully functional." Had the injury been a strained quad muscle and Fournette been unable to practice, I'd consider him doubtful. This injury is something that may continue to improve with treatment. Doug Marrone described the team's approach to Fournette's availability as "cautious." The last time Marrone used those words, the Jaguars held Fournette out while he recovered from an ankle sprain.

ESPN's Mike Clay discussed Fournette's status with ESPN's Jacksonville beat writer Michael DiRocco, who leaned toward Fournette playing but in a limited role. That doesn't fit with the Jaguars' approach with Fournette this year. He's been both active and inactive after a week of missed practice. If active, they've run the offense through him whether he practiced or not. On the weeks the team hasn't been comfortable with his health, Fournette has been inactive.

Expect an update in the early morning hours on Sunday. The Jaguars play during the early window. We'll know Fournette's status officially then. I'd lean toward the doubtful side of questionable for now but this injury is truly day-to-day.

Saturday Update: Chris Mortensen reported Fournette is out. Ian Rapoport tweeted the Jaguars expect to have Fournette back next week.

*Tevin Coleman | Concussion | Declared Out | Inactive

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

Now a full week after suffering a concussion, Coleman has yet to be cleared for individual drills. It's highly unlikely a team advances a player through multiple protocol stages -- which is what it would take to clear Coleman right now -- in a single day when the player has taken multiple days to reach the exercise stages. Coleman will likely be ruled out on Saturday's game status report and miss the Monday night game. I'll update with expectations if Coleman practices on Saturday.

Saturday Update: Coleman has been ruled out.

Joe Mixon | Concussion | Questionable | inactive

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

The Bengals returned Mixon to a full Friday practice. Though he's listed questionable, he's expected to play. Other players recovering from recent concussions in Cincinnati - Vontaze Burfict and Dre Kirkpatrick -- were not returned to practice and were declared out. The trend was obviously more positive with Mixon. Assuming no unexpected setbacks through pregame warmups, Mixon should return to his pre-injury workload.

Saturday Update: Despite the clearance for a full Friday practice, the Bengals announced Mixon did not receive clearance to play. He is out.

Matt Forte | Knee | Questionable | Game-time Decision

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

Forte is officially considered a game-time decision. He has played this season and seen his usual workload in weeks he's not practiced. Watch the early inactives for Forte's official status.

Others of note: LeSean McCoy (knee), Christian McCaffrey (shoulder), Lamar Miller (knee), Mike Davis (ribs), Jerick McKinnon (shoulder), Giovani Bernard (knee), Kerwynn Williams (ribs) and Elijah McGuire (ankle) have practiced, are not listed on the game status report, and are expected to play without limitation. Adrian Peterson (neck) and Damien Williams (shoulder) have been declared out. I'll update return to play expectations on all inactive players in Monday's column.


WIDE RECEIVER

DeAndre Hopkins | Toe | Questionable | Expected to Play

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

Hopkins didn't practice on Thursday or Friday and is listed questionable with a toe injury. Both Bill O'Brien and Hopkins himself said he'd play. While it feels risky to trust receivers with midweek toe and foot issues, Hopkins has played effectively through injuries without practicing in the past. Unless we get an unexpectedly worrisome report this weekend, Hopkins is likely to see his usual targets.

Sunday Update: Both Adam Schefter and Ian Rapoport tweeted Hopkins is expected to play.

Robert Woods | Shoulder | Not Listed | Expected to Play

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

Woods was expected to return this week after successfully returning to individual drills last week. Now cleared for contact, Woods has fully practiced this week and is not listed on the Rams' game status report. Shoulder injuries rarely prevent a player from remaining in reasonable condition and the full practices have likely helped Woods to accelerate the process of returning to football speed. Although there's no guarantee a now-healthy player can execute successfully, you can expect Woods to see his pre-injury snap count. It's unlikely he'll be limited to high-leverage situations only.

Chris Hogan | Shoulder | Questionable | Unlikely to Play

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

Hogan was not productive in his first game back last week but he was on the field for 55 of 61 offensive snaps and targeted on five plays. He showed no signs of limitation and can be expected to see a similar percentage of offensive snaps this week.

Sunday Update: Adam Schefter tweeted Hogan will not play today, reporting continued concerns with prior shoulder injury  

JuJu Smith-Schuster | Hamstring | Questionable | Game-time Decision

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

The Steelers are generally a straightforward injury read. If players aren't practicing by the end of the week, they don't play -- unless their name is Antonio Brown. Less than 50% of their questionable players are active on game day. Smith-Schuster's situation is unique. It's usually unlikely for a young player with a recently aggravated hamstring strain to play. But the Steelers have the Patriots this week in a huge game with bye week and home field implications. If Smith-Schuster is close enough, the Steelers may keep him active in case of an emergency. Expect a limited role at best if the Steelers put Smith-Schuster on the active roster.

Sunday Update: Adam Schefter tweeted Smith-Schuster remains a game-time decision is expected to play.

Kelvin Benjamin | Knee | Questionable | Active

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

Benjamin told reporters he's "battling through the soreness and stuff" on Friday and wanted "to get out there with [his] teammates" this week. Sean McDermott told reporters he felt good about Benjamin's status this week. But those observing Buffalo's practice noted Benjamin to be limping significantly most of the week and taking very few individual reps after last week's aggravation. If Benjamin is active, it won't take much to precipitate another setback. A misstep, awkward tackle, or contact with the ground could cause pain and limited range of motion. If Benjamin plays, it's best to consider him snap-to-snap.

Sunday Update: According to Ian Rapoport, the coaches have been confident Benjamin will play all week and remain hopeful he can go today.

Devin Funchess | Shoulder | Questionable | Expected to Play

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

Ron Rivera told reporters the Panthers planned to rest Funchess on Friday in anticipation of him playing. We've seen this before in Carolina and Rivera has never intentionally misled reporters. The full Thursday practice would support the team's contention. Expect a Sunday morning note of reassurance.

Sunday Update: Adam Schefter tweeted Funchess is expected to play.

Mike Wallace | Ankle | Questionable | Expected to Play

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

Wallace said he'd return to practice on Friday and play Sunday. He made good on the first part of his guarantee on Friday and should make good on the second. It's difficult to project how limited Wallace is and what his risk of aggravation may be.

Others of note: Michael Thomas (eye), Adam Thielen (knee), Robby Anderson (hamstring), Alshon Jeffery (illness), Brandin Cooks (hand), Sterling Shepard (hamstring), Marqise Lee (knee), Mohamed Sanu (knee), Jermaine Kearse (shoulder), and Cordarrelle Patterson (hip) have practiced, are not listed on the game status report, and are expected to play without limitation. Amari Cooper (ankle), Allen Hurns (ankle), and John Brown (toe) have been declared out. I'll update return to play expectations on all inactive players in Monday's column.


TIGHT END

Kyle Rudolph | Ankle | Upgraded to Questionable | Active

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

Rudolph was not able to practice this week. The Vikings listed Rudolph doubtful on their game status report. However, when Mike Zimmer was asked if Rudolph had a chance to play he told reporters no. It's possible this could become a multiple-week issue.

Saturday Update: The full week of missed practice and Mike Zimmer's declaration Rudolph would not be ready this week was enough for me to project Rudolph inactive. On Saturday, the Vikings upgraded Rudolph's status to questionable. Zimmer's comments remain concerning, however. If the Vikings choose to activate Rudolph if he looks good during warmups, he'll be at high risk of an in-game aggravation and a limited role. Projecting his statistical upside is difficult in this scenario. Like many tight ends, Rudolph's limited role would likely include red zone targets. If active, consider him a high-risk, low-floor player but one with some statistical upside.

Sunday Update: Ian Rapoport tweeted Rudolph "is actually expected to play today. Incredible recovery from expected out on Friday to hopeful to play now."  

Greg Olsen | Foot | Not Listed | Expected to Play

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

After clear evidence the Panthers planned to limit Olsen's workload in his first game back three weeks ago, there were no hints of concern last week. Olsen was targeted just once but his snap count was not limited. He played 59 of 64 offensive snaps -- including a brief absence to have a mild ankle sprain examined and taped on the sideline. After another week of full practice, Olsen is not listed on the game status report and can be expected to see nearly every offensive snap against a suspect Green Bay linebacker group.

*Cameron Brate | Hip | Not Listed | Expected to Play

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

I expect Brate to fully practice on Saturday. However, the Buccaneers commonly list players they expect to play as questionable. I'll update the table with Brate's status after Saturday's reports.

Saturday Update: Brate fully practiced Saturday, is not listed on the game status report, and is likely to see his usual workload.

Others of note: Zach Ertz (concussion), Jimmy Graham (ankle), Charles Clay (knee), David Njoku (wrist), Tyler Kroft (hamstring), Jared Cook (wrist) and George Kittle (ankle) have practiced, are not listed on the game status report, and are expected to play without limitation. Clive Walford (concussion) and Vance McDonald (shoulder) have been declared out. I'll update return to play expectations on all inactive players in Monday's column.


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

>>>> Note: Due to travel and time constraints over the next two weeks, the table will include offensive skill position players only.

Quarterbacks
Player Team Injury Practice Participation Game Status FBGs Expects
Wednesday Thursday Friday
Tom Brady NE Achilles Full Full Not Listed Not Listed Expected to Play
Cam Newton Car Shoulder Limited Limited Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Marcus Mariota Ten Knee Full Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Blake Bortles Jac Wrist Full Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Tyrod Taylor Buf Knee Full Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Nathan Peterman Buf Concussion Limited Full Full Declared Out Inactive
Tom Savage Hou Concussion DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
Running Backs
Player Team Injury Practice Participation Game Status FBGs Expects
Wednesday Thursday Friday
Alvin Kamara NO Concussion Full Full Full Not Listed  Expected to Play
Leonard Fournette Jac Quadricep DNP DNP DNP Questionable >> Out Inactive
LeSean McCoy Buf Knee Limited Full DNP Not Listed Expected to Play
*Tevin Coleman Atl Concussion DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
Lamar Miller Hou Knee Limited Limited Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Joe Mixon Cin Concussion DNP Limited Full Questionable >> Out Inactive
Giovani Bernard Cin Knee Limited Limited Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Christian McCaffrey Car Shoulder Full Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Mike Davis Sea Ribs Limited Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Jerick McKinnon Min Shoulder Limited Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Matt Forte NYJ Knee DNP DNP DNP Questionable Game-time Decision
Elijah McGuire NYJ Ankle DNP Limited Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Adrian Peterson Ari Neck DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive / IR
Kerwynn Williams Ari Ribs Full Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Alfred Blue Hou Concussion Full Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Damien Williams Mia Shoulder DNP DNP DNP Doubtful Inactive
Wide Receivers
Player Team Injury Practice Participation Game Status FBGs Expects
Wednesday Thursday Friday
DeAndre Hopkins Hou Toe Not Listed DNP DNP Questionable Expected to Play
Adam Thielen Min Knee Limited Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Robert Woods LAR Shoulder Limited Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Michael Thomas NO Eye Full Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Chris Hogan NE Shoulder Limited Limited Limited Questionable Likely Inactive
Brandin Cooks NE Hand Full Full Not Listed Not Listed Expected to Play
Robby Anderson NYJ Hamstring Full Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Alshon Jeffery Phi Illness Not Listed DNP Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Sterling Shepard NYG Hamstring Not Listed Limited Limited Not Listed Expected to Play
JuJu Smith-Schuster Pit Hamstring Not Listed Limited Limited Questionable Game-time Decision
Kelvin Benjamin Buf Knee Limited Limited Limited Questionable Active
Amari Cooper Oak Ankle DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
Cordarrelle Patterson Oak Hip Full Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Marqise Lee Jac Foot Limited Limited Limited Not Listed Expected to Play
Devin Funchess Car Shoulder Limited Full DNP Questionable Expected to Play
*Mohamed Sanu Atl Knee Limited Limited Limited Not Listed Expected to Play
Kaelin Clay Car Shoulder Limited Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Russell Shepard Car Shoulder Limited Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Mike Wallace Bal Ankle DNP DNP Limited Questionable Likely to Play
Chris Moore Bal Hip Limited Full Full Questionable Expected to Play
Ryan Grant Was Ankle Limited Limited Limited Questionable Awaiting Information
Maurice Harris Was Concussion Limited Limited Limited Questionable Awaiting Information
John Brown Ari Toe Limited Limited Limited Declared Out Inactive
Allen Hurns Jac Ankle DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
Jermaine Kearse NYJ Shoulder Full Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Ted Ginn Jr NO Rib DNP Limited Limited Questionable Expected to Play
Brice Butler Dal Foot DNP DNP DNP Questionable Likely Inactive
Tight Ends
Player Team Injury Practice Participation Game Status FBGs Expects
Wednesday Thursday Friday
Kyle Rudolph Min Ankle DNP DNP DNP Doubtful > Questionable Active
Zach Ertz Phi Concussion Full Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Jimmy Graham Sea Ankle Limited DNP Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Greg Olsen Car Foot Full Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
David Njoku Cle Foot / Wrist Limited Limited Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Tyler Kroft Cin Hamstring DNP Limited Full Not Listed Expected to Play
*Cameron Brate TB Hip Limited Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Charles Clay Buf Knee Limited Limited Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Jared Cook Oak Wrist Limited Limited Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Clive Walford Oak Concussion / Neck DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
Vance McDonald Pit Shoulder DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
George Kittle SF Ankle Full Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play

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

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