Gameday Injury Expectations: Week 16

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

Paxton Lynch | Ankle | Questionable | Unlikely to Start

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

The Broncos haven't named a starting quarterback yet. Lynch was able to fully practice on Friday but there are still concerns about his mobility and Vance Joseph will not commit to a starter until the team is certain Lynch is recovered enough to protect himself. I'll update with Denver's final decision this weekend.

Saturday Update: Adam Schefter is reporting the Broncos will start Brock Osweiler.

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


RUNNING BACK

LeSean McCoy | Knee | Not Listed | Expected to Play

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

Ignore McCoy's practice line. While he has been faced with weather and offensive line difficulties while fighting multiple nagging lower body injuries this year, McCoy's volume has rarely suffered. That should continue this week against New England. The Bills have regularly rested McCoy after he banged his left knee on the turf a month ago. Expect him to get as many touches as the offensive game script allows.

Leonard Fournette | Quadricep | Not Listed | Expected to Play

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

Fournette missed last week's game with a painful bruise on the side of his thigh. He's returned to a full week of practice, has had no setbacks, and is not listed on the Jaguars' game status report. Jacksonville has yet to limit Fournette's workload when he's on the active roster. Chris Ivory was limited last week and in practice with an elbow injury. While Ivory isn't listed on the injury report either, he's not likely to take a significant chunk of the Jacksonville rushing game plan. All signs suggest Fournette is ready to handle his usual 20+ touches.

Tevin Coleman | Concussion | Not Listed | Expected to Play

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

Coleman was cleared to return to contact on Thursday and the Falcons have confirmed he'll return to play. Dan Quinn is excited to have Coleman's "fresh legs" back in the offensive game plan. Devonta Freeman is also healthy. Expect the Falcons to return to their usual distrubition of touches.

James White | Ankle | Questionable | Game-time Decision

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

White limped through the final few series of last week's game. The Patriots did not provide any updates on White's condition after the game or during the week. None of the local beat writers have provided any opinions on White's status. The Patriots -- as they routinely do -- listed White as limited for all three practices this week and questionable on their game status report. I currently lean toward White playing in some capacity this week but will list him as a game-time decision until we get more information.

Sunday Update: Adam Schefter tweeted White is not expected to play.

Samaje Perine | Groin | Questionable | Limited if Active

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

Perine strained a groin muscle during individual drills on Thursday. After practice, Jay Gruden told reporters he had heard Perine's injury was a "minor thing" and examination didn't show much restriction in flexibility or movement. Washington held Perine out of practice on Friday and Gruden said they rested Perine to be safe. However, Gruden also said Washington would work Perine out on Saturday and evaluate his cutting ability. It's tough to handicap Perine's status but Gruden's Friday comments suggest Perine didn't recover as much as hoped in the 24 hours after the injury. If Perine is active, it could be a reassuring sign Washington feels he's healthy enough to take his usual workload.

Sunday Update: ESPN's John Keim tweeted this morning that Perine felt better on Saturday but was still considered a game-time decision. We're now 72 hours after the injury and the team remains uncertain. That's not a great sign for his availability. And, if he's active, he will be at high risk of aggravation. Expect to see Kapri Bibbs take a higher percentage of snaps if Perine is active.

Matt Forte | Knee | Questionable | Likely to pLay

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

Elijah McGuire | Illness | Questionable | Likely to Play

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

Forte has been able to practice through a chronic knee injury until this week. Earlier this season, Forte played and saw his usual 10-12 touches. There are no indications in the local media of a setback. Unless there are weekend reports otherwise, it's reasonable to assume Forte will be active. 

McGuire did not practice all week with an illness. The Jets have listed him questionable but a full week of missed practice sounds ominous here.

Sunday Update: Forte and McGuire are both expected to play according to Adam Schefter.

Austin Ekeler | Hand | Questionable | Game-time Decision

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

Ekeler broke his ring finger last weekend. Early reports from Ian Rapoport suggested Ekeler's season was over but the Chargers are trying to get him back on the field this week. Images of the oversized wrap Ekeler was practicing with on Thursday were comical. Ball security, pass catching, and blocking would all be significantly affected if Ekeler were to play with that wrap. Ekeler was listed as a full participant on Friday, however, and it's possible the Chargers fashioned a more functional splint for him. Officially listed questionable, Ekeler is a game-time decision.

Saturday Update: Eric Williams tweeted Ekeler may be able to contribute to special teams only. Still a difficult ask, it's the most reasonable expectation.

Kerwynn Williams | Quadricep / Ribs | Questionable | Likely to Play

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

Williams added a quad strain to his ongoing rib injury and did not practice until Friday. There are no concerning reports from local media members and it's possible the Cardinals rested Williams as much as possible. He's taken the majority of their running back snaps over the past three weeks and is averaging over 17 carries per game. I'll update with any weekend news.

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

Others of note: Joe Mixon (concussion), Isaiah Crowell (shoulder), Duke Johnson Jr (shoulder), Theo Riddick (wrist), Chris Ivory (back/elbow), and Matt Brieda (knee) have practiced, are not listed on the game status report, and are expected to play without limitation. Rex Burkhead (knee) and Damien Williams (shoulder) are doubtful or have been declared out. I'll update return to play expectations on all inactive players in Monday's column.


WIDE RECEIVER

Julio Jones | Ankle / Thumb | Not Listed | Expected to Play

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

The Falcons limited Jones' practice reps this week as he recovers from an ankle injury. Dan Quinn told reporters he saw no hesitation in Jones' movement on Friday and expects him to be full strength. When the Falcons do not list Jones on their game status report, there are no expected issues with his workload. Jones is also listed with a thumb injury but it's not been a topic of conversation all week and appears to be a non-issue. 

*DeAndre Hopkins | Toe | Not Listed | Expected to Play

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

Hopkins was limited in practice with a toe injury last week and there were some concerns about his fitness. He saw his usual double digit targets, however, and was able to return to a limited practice again this week. I anticipate at least a limited practice on Saturday. Hopefully, the Texans will not list Hopkins on the game status report. Barring a weekend surprise, I expect Hopkins to be capable of his usual snap count and targets.

Saturday Update: Hopkins is not listed on Houston's game status report. He should play without limitation.

Michael Thomas | Hamstring | Questionable | Game-time Decision

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

Saturday Update: It's not unusual for offensive skill position players to be added to a team's injury report midweek with soft tissue injuries. It's highly unusual, however, for a player to be added 24 hours after his last practice and after the team releases its final injury and game status reports of the week. That's what's happened with Thomas. As of now, it's impossible to determine whether this is concern or precaution. But lean toward the more worrisome conclusion. At best, the Saints are telling us they cannot guarantee Thomas' availability until after pregame warmup on Sunday. I'll have more as soon as possible.

Sunday Update: Adam Schefter tweeted Thomas is expected to play but offered no specifics on Thomas' injury or possibility of any limitation. I'll continue to update with more information on Sunday morning.

Sunday Update: Ian Rapoport calls Thomas "50-50" to play and reports the Saints want to see Thomas in pregame warmups before deciding. This isn't as reassuring as Schefter's tweet but certainly not unexpected. There's just not enough information here to provide a reliable expectation. I still think the Saints added Thomas out of concern for how he may look this morning. Rapoport is confirming that this morning. And that means there are many scenarios in which Thomas may be limited or leave the game at any point. The low floor makes him a tough fantasy play and I lean toward using other WR3+ options if you have them -- but I can't argue with anyone who starts him if active. 

Chris Hogan | Shoulder | Questionable | Unlikely to Play

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

Hogan had a full week of limited practice last week after 55 snaps in his first game back from a shoulder injury. He was then surprisingly listed inactive. Hogan was again cleared for a full week of limited practice this week. Notably, he declined to talk to reporters after Friday's practice. That's a good indication he won't play this week. Hogan was very talkative in his first week back, but hasn't been since. I'll update with an expectation of his likely workload if he trends toward playing.

Sunday Update: Adam Schefter tweeted Hogan is not expected to play.

Devin Funchess | Shoulder | Questionable | Expected to Play

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

Funchess has been limited by a shoulder injury for weeks. He was able to return to a late week practice and Ron Rivera told reporters he had no concern about the status of any of his questionable players. That includes Funchess, who played over 60 snaps through the shoulder injury last week.

*Amari Cooper | Ankle | Questionable | Likely to Play

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

Cooper talked the Raiders' medical staff and coaches into allowing him to play on the strength of a reassuring set of individual drills late last week. He didn't last long under game conditions, aggravating his high ankle sprain in the first half. Though he wasn't cleared to return last week, Cooper was back to a limited Friday practice and has an extra day to recover for a Monday night game. It's tough to expect Cooper to be full strength, even if he is practicing more this week than last. It would take a full Saturday practice to be comfortable projecting Cooper to anything close to a full workload.

Saturday Update: Jack Del Rio told reporters there was a good chance Cooper would be available after Saturday's limited practice.

Kelvin Benjamin | Knee | Questionable | Expected to Play

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

Unsurprisingly, Benjamin confirmed he needs surgery to address a torn meniscus. He told reporters he has no intention of "quitting" however, and plans to continue to play while the Bills chase a playoff berth. Benjamin will be limited by soreness and may miss snaps or series again this week but until he shuts down for the season officially he should be expected to be active on gameday.

Emmanuel Sanders | Ankle | Questionable | Inactive

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

Sanders managed only a limited Friday practice this week and is listed questionable. Vance Joseph described Sanders as "very sore" after Friday's practice. The Broncos' quarterback situation remains unsettled and the offensive line continues to lose players to injured reserve. Despite a significant uptick in production last week, Sanders' snaps continue to decline. If Sanders does travel with the team, he may be active but limited.

Saturday Update: Sanders did not travel with the team and will not play.

Jamison Crowder | Hamstring | Questionable | Likely to Play

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

Crowder continues to be limited by a hamstring strain but Washington has not limited his practice time much. Crowder continues to participate in individual drills. While his snap count has dropped to the 35-45 per game range, he continues to see 6-10 targets each week. Crowder has a tougher test against the Broncos secondary this week but it's reasonable to expect 40 snaps and 6-8 targets again this week.

DeVante Parker | Ankle | Questionable | Likely to Play

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

Parker spent most of the week rehabbing an ankle injury but returned to a full Friday practice. Adam Gase told reporters he expects Parker to play.

Allen Hurns | Ankle | Questionable | Awaiting Information

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

The Jaguars cleared Hurns to practice but have yet to make a final decision on his availability. Doug Marrone said the Jaguars would continue to evaluate Hurns through Saturday. If Jacksonville clears Hurns to travel, it's a good sign he'll play. If Hurns plays, it's likely to be in a limited role after managing only limited practices after over a month absence.

Others of note: Robby Anderson (hamstring), Mohamed Sanu (knee), Ted Ginn Jr (rib), Marquise Goodwin (back), Deonte Thompson (back), Josh Bellamy (foot), and Cordarrelle Patterson (hip) have practiced, are not listed on the game status report, and are expected to play without limitation. Antonio Brown (calf), Marqise Lee (ankle), DeSean Jackson (ankle), and Cody Latimer (thigh) have been declared out. I'll update return to play expectations on all inactive players in Monday's column.


TIGHT END

Travis Kelce | Illness | Not Listed | Expected to Play

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

Kelce missed two practices with an illness this week but is in no danger of missing the game. Watch for any surprising weekend notes but Kelce should see his usual workload.

Cameron Brate | Hip / Knee | Questionable | Likely to play

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

Brate wasn't himself last week and his snap count has dropped over the past three weeks. He is also now rehabbing two injuries rather than one, adding a knee injury to last week's hip injury. There are no indications Brate will be unable to go this week, but it's tough to project more than 30-35 snaps.

Adam Shaheen | Chest | Questionable | Awaiting Information

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

Shaheen was limited in practice last week but inactive on gameday. There have been no updates from local media members this week. Shaheen is again listed questionable after a limited week of practice. Check the inactive list for the final decision.

Others of noteJimmy Graham (ankle), Greg Olsen (foot), Charles Clay (knee), Vance McDonald (shoulder), Jared Cook (wrist), Marcedes Lewis (shoulder), Jermaine Gresham (illness) 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 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
Cam Newton Car Shoulder Limited Limited Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Blake Bortles Jac Wrist Full Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
DeShone Kizer Cle Ribs Not Listed Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
*T.J. Yates Hou Knee Full Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
*Tom Savage Hou Concussion DNP DNP DNP IR Injured Reserve
Paxton Lynch Den Ankle Limited Limited Full Questionable Unlikely to Play
Running Backs
Player Team Injury Practice Participation Game Status FBGs Expects
Wednesday Thursday Friday
LeSean McCoy Buf Knee Limited Limited DNP Not Listed Expected to Play
Leonard Fournette Jac Quadricep Full Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Tevin Coleman Atl Concussion Limited Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Joe Mixon Cin Concussion Full Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Rex Burkhead NE Knee DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
James White NE Ankle Limited Limited Limited Questionable Likely Inactive
Samaje Perine Was Groin Not Listed Limited DNP Questionable Limited if Active
Isaiah Crowell Cle Shoulder Limited Limited Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Duke Johnson Jr Cle Shoulder Limited Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Theo Riddick Det Wrist Full Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Chris Ivory Jac Back / Elbow Limited Limited Limited Not Listed Expected to Play
Matt Forte NYJ Knee DNP DNP DNP Questionable Likely to Play
Elijah McGuire NYJ Illness DNP DNP DNP Questionable Likely to Play
Austin Ekeler LAC Hand Limited Limited Full Questionable Limited if Active
Damien Williams Mia Shoulder Limited Limited Limited Doubtful Likely Inactive
Kerwynn Williams Ari Quadricep / Ribs DNP DNP Limited Questionable Likely to Play
Matt Brieda SF Knee Limited Limited Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Wide Receivers
Player Team Injury Practice Participation Game Status FBGs Expects
Wednesday Thursday Friday
*Antonio Brown Pit Calf DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
Julio Jones Atl Ankle / Thumb DNP Limited Limited Not Listed Expected to Play
*DeAndre Hopkins Hou Toe Limited Limited Limited Not Listed Expected to Play
Michael Thomas NO Hamstring Not Listed Not Listed Not Listed Questionable Game-time Decision
Robby Anderson NYJ Hamstring / Hip Limited Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Chris Hogan NE Shoulder Limited Limited Limited Questionable Likely Inactive
Marqise Lee Jac Ankle DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
Devin Funchess Car Shoulder DNP DNP Limited Questionable Expected to Play
*Amari Cooper Oak Ankle DNP Limited Limited Questionable Likely to Play
Mohamed Sanu Atl Knee Limited Limited Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Ted Ginn Jr NO Rib Limited Limited Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Kelvin Benjamin Buf Knee DNP Limited Limited Questionable Likely to Play
Emmanuel Sanders Den Ankle DNP DNP Limited Questionable Inactive
Jamison Crowder Was Hamstring Limited Limited Limited Questionable Expected to Play
DeSean Jackson TB Ankle DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
Marquise Goodwin SF Back DNP Limited Full Not Listed Expected to Play
DeVante Parker Mia Ankle DNP DNP Full Questionable Expected to Play
*Cordarrelle Patterson Oak Hip Limited Limited Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Deonte Thompson Buf Back Limited Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Josh Bellamy Chi Foot Limited Full Not Listed Not Listed Expected to Play
Maurice Harris Was Back Limited DNP DNP Questionable Awaiting Information
Ryan Grant Was Ankle Full Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Allen Hurns Jac Ankle Limited Limited Limited Questionable Game-time Decision
Albert Wilson KC Hamstring / Shoulder Full Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
John Brown Ari Toe Limited Limited Limited Questionable Likely to Play
Cody Latimer Den Thigh Limited Limited DNP Questionable Inactive
Brice Butler Dal Foot Limited Limited Limited Questionable Awaiting Information
Tight Ends
Player Team Injury Practice Participation Game Status FBGs Expects
Wednesday Thursday Friday
Travis Kelce KC Illness DNP DNP Limited Not Listed Expected to Play
Jimmy Graham Sea Knee Full DNP Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Greg Olsen Car Foot Full Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Cameron Brate TB Hip / Knee Limited Limited Limited Questionable Expected to Play
Charles Clay Buf Knee Limited Limited Limited Not Listed Expected to Play
*Vance McDonald Pit Shoulder Full Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
*Jared Cook Oak Wrist Limited Limited Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Adam Shaheen Chi Chest Limited Limited Limited Questionable Awaiting Information
Marcedes Lewis Jac Shoulder DNP Limited Limited Not Listed Expected to Play
Jermaine Gresham Ari Illness Limited Limited Full Not Listed Expected to Play
George Kittle SF Ankle Full Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Garrett Celek SF Knee / Rib Limited Limited Limited Not Listed Expected to Play
*Clive Walford Oak Concussion / Neck DNP DNP DNP IR Injured Reserve

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

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