Gameday Injury Expectations: Week 17

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:


Approach to Week 17

Many teams have already declared an intent to make inactive, sit, or rest starters for part or all of this week's games. It's likely other teams have similar plans. Some may be unannounced until shortly before game time, others may be game script and situation dependent.

Players already declared out or backups are noted in the positional blurbs below. And I'll add additional names as they're reported through the weekend. .But you should fully expect some Sunday morning surprises and some veterans -- both on playoff teams and those eliminated -- to see fewer than their usual snaps this week.


QUARTERBACK

Alex Smith | Not Injury Related | Not expected to Play
Jared Goff | Not Injury Related | Active as backup only
Ben Roethlisberger | Not Injury RElated | Inactive

Sean McVay told reporters early this week Goff would not play. Expect Goff to be active -- the Rams do not have another quarterback on the active roster to serve as a backup -- but play only if absolutely necessary. Smith has taken scout team reps all week as the Chiefs prepare Pat Mahomes to start. While the Steelers haven't officially confirmed a lineup change, Roethlisberger hasn't practiced this week and offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert said Roethlisberger would not play during a midweek radio interview. With the Steelers still in the mix for homefield advantage throughout the AFC playoffs -- a win and Patriots' loss gets them the #1 AFC seed -- I'm not convinced Roethlisberger sits. But the practice participation looks telling here.

Sunday Update: Ian Rapoport reported overnight Roethlisberger will not play.

Sunday Update: Roethlisberger is inactive.

Others of note: Tom Brady (Achilles, shoulder), Blake Bortles (wrist), and Cam Newton (shoulder) have practiced, are not listed on the game status report, and are expected to play without limitation. Paxton Lynch (ankle) practiced all week and is expected to start.


RUNNING BACK

Todd Gurley | Not Injury Related | Not expected to Play
Le'Veon Bell | Not Injury Related | Inactive

Kareem Hunt | Not Injury Related | Likely to Rest

Jay Ajayi | Not Injury Related | Inactive

As noted in the Quarterback section, the Rams plan to rest their critical starters. That will include Gurley. Pittsburgh hasn't made any lineup changes official but the team has rested Bell in practice this week and offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert may have tipped the Steelers' hand in a radio interview and revealed plans to rest Bell. With the Steelers still in the mix for homefield advantage throughout the AFC playoffs -- a win and Patriots' loss gets them the #1 AFC seed -- I'm not convinced Bell sits. Bell did not practice Thursday or Friday, though, and the Steelers look to be planning to go with Fitzgerald Touissant and Stevan Ridley against Cleveland.

Hunt is the most interesting case of the three listed. Andy Reid started game planning with Pat Mahomes in mind early this week. The Chiefs ruled out Tyreek Hill on Friday for rest purposes. There has been nothing specific reported on Hunt but he's as critical to the Chiefs' playoff success as Alex Smith and Hill. But Charcandrick West has been ruled out with an illness and the Chiefs did not add a running back to the roster on Saturday. It's also notable that Hunt is just a few yards behind Gurley (and even with Bell) for the league lead in rushing yards. Hunt may play just long enough to clinch that title -- or he may be inactive. Either way, Akeem Hunt and DeAnthony Thomas are likely to see the bulk of the work.

Sunday Update: Ian Rapoport reported Bell will not play.

Sunday Update: Bell is inactive. I've added Jay Ajayi to the list as a healthy inactive.

Melvin Gordon III | Ankle | Questionable | Limited if Active

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

Gordon plans to try to play through a low-grade high ankle sprain in a must-win game. Although Anthony Lynn acknowledged Gordon didn't participate in any full-speed practice reps this week, the limited individual work was good to see for a player recovering from a high ankle sprain. Gordon has told reporters all week he was "fine" and would start. But Lynn said the Chargers would ask Gordon to sprint at speed on Saturday before making a decision. That's not reassuring. Getting up to straight-line speed is the easiest hurdle to clear for a player with a high ankle sprain. Deceleration and, most important, change of direction are much tougher asks. Gordon may prove himself capable on Saturday. The Chargers didn't wait until Saturday to add another running back to the active roster, however. Even if Gordon is active, all indications are he'll see a much lighter workload than usual. He'll also be at risk of an in-game aggravation or being shut down as the game script / playoff situation warrants.

Sunday Update: Both Ian Rapoport and Adam Schefter consider Gordon likely to play today, though neither gave a strong endorsement about his health. Rapoport reports the team "isn't sure how long he'll be able to go."

Joe Mixon | Ankle | Questionable | Likely to Play

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

Practice participation usually provides accurate clues on Cincinnati's injured players. When a player is able to practice on consecutive days at the end of the week, they're usually cleared for the active roster. Watch for pregame news and don't expect Mixon to see a clear majority of the running back snaps, but it looks like Mixon will play.

Sunday Update: Ian Rapoport is reporting Mixon "wants to test his ankle" but is expected to be active. If he plays, Mixon is unlikely to see more than 10-12 touches.

James White | Ankle | Questionable | Inactive

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

Last week, White was limited in practice all week and declared inactive after a week of no information out of the local or national media until Sunday morning. This week, White has been limited in practice all week and there's been no information from the local or national media through Saturday morning. Mike Gillislee has been declared out with a knee injury and the Patriots have yet to add a back to the active roster. That suggests White will play but watch the Saturday transactions and overnight reports for confirmation.

Sunday Update: White is likely to be inactive today, according to reports from Adam Schefter and Ian Rapoport.

Kerwynn Williams | Quad / Ribs / Back | Questionable | Likely to Play
Elijhaa Penny | Hand / Groin | Questionable | Likely to Play

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

Both Williams and Penny have been limited in practice all week. Williams has continued to see high workloads through multiple nagging injuries despite limited practices. That's likely to be the case again this week. Williams has added a back condition to his list of concerns, however. If the back issue is significant, it could limit Williams' ability to warm up in Seattle's weather tomorrow afternoon.

Matt Forte | Knee | Questionable | Injured reserve

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

Forte hasn't practiced during the week for over half the season but continued to take his usual 30-40 snaps and see 10-15 touches. That won't be the case this week. The Jets moved him to injured reserve on Saturday afternoon.

Charcandrick West | Illness | Questionable | Declared Out

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

The Chiefs ruled West out on Saturday. It remains to be seen if that affects the workload of Kareem Hunt, who was likely in line for a significantly decreased workload as Kansas City rests starters. The Chiefs' third running back, Akeem Hunt, is dealing with a shoulder injury and is listed questionable.

Others of note: Giovani Bernard (ankle), Samaje Perine (groin, shoulder), Jerick McKinnon (shoulder), Isaiah Crowell (shoulder), and Duke Johnson Jr (shoulder) have practiced, are not listed on the game status report, and are expected to play without limitation. DeMarco Murray (knee), Rex Burkhead (knee), Mike Gillislee (knee), Aaron Jones (knee), and Damien Williams (shoulder) are doubtful or have been declared out.


WIDE RECEIVER

Tyreek Hill | Not Injury Related | Declared Out

There will undoubtedly be other starters on the inactive list but Hill is the only offensive starter already declared out on the injury report without a designated injury.

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

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

The Falcons again limited Jones' reps in practice but left him off the game status report. He's had 30 targets over the past three weeks and 51 over the past five weeks and has not appeared limited by either injury. With Antonio Brown and DeAndre Hopkins out, Jones is a 150+ yard game from passing both for the season receiving yardage title. And the Falcons are in a must-win situation for a playoff birth. Expect Jones to see heavy usage again this week.

Michael Thomas | Hamstring | Not Listed | Expected to Play

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

Thomas was a very late addition to last week's injury report but able to play through a hamstring strain. The Saints' managed his reps and targets, however. Usually a 75-85% snap, 8-12 target option, Thomas had just five targets on 67% of his team's offensive snaps last week. This week, Thomas was able to participate in all three practices and the Saints do no list him on the game status report. A New Orleans victory earns them a home playoff game as the NFC South champion. Thomas is still within the risk window for an aggravation but expect him to return to his usual workload.

Chris Hogan | Shoulder | Questionable | Inactive

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

The Patriots have not risked an aggravation to Hogan on gameday for two weeks and there's been no indication that changes this week.

Allen Hurns | Ankle | Not Listed | Expected to Play

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

Hurns has had two weeks of limited practice as the Jaguars slowly reconditioned him to football-related activity. Now off the injury report, Hurns will return to action to get some work in game conditions before the Jaguars' playoff game. Expect Jacksonville to limit his snap count, though there's a small chance Hurns sees more playing time than expected if his conditioning allows.

Mike Wallace | Knee | Questionable | Expected to Play

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

The Ravens commonly list players who fully practice and expect to play as questionable. That's the case with Wallace this week. He'll again play through a minor knee injury.

Eric Decker | Hamstring | Not Listed | Expected to Play

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

Decker was limited in practice on Friday with hamstring soreness but the Titans did not list him on the game status report. He is expected to play.

DeSean Jackson | Ankle | Questionable | Awaiting Information

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

Jackson was unable to play with an ankle injury last week but practiced all three days this week. Dirk Koetter wouldn't commit to Jackson's availability on Thursday and the team did not update his condition on Friday. It's possible off-field issues will play into Jackson's availability, too. If active, Jackson could be limited.

Others of note: Robby Anderson (hamstring), Dez Bryant (knee), Amari Cooper (ankle), Kelvin Benjamin (knee), Devin Funchess (shoulder), Marquise Goodwin (back), Keelan Cole (quad), have practiced, are not listed on the game status report, and are expected to play without limitation. Antonio Brown (calf), DeAndre Hopkins (calf), Cooper Kupp (knee), Davante Adams (concussion), Jordy Nelson (shoulder), Sterling Shepard (neck), Marqise Lee (ankle), Emmanuel Sanders (ankle), Jeremy Maclin (knee), Cole Beasley (illness), and Cody Latimer (thigh) have been declared out.


TIGHT END

Kyle Rudolph | Ankle | Not LIsted | Expected to Play

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

Rudolph has had a slow and deliberate recovery from an ankle injury. Two weeks ago, Rudolph played just 21 snaps (34%). Last week, his usage increased to 35 snaps (57%). Both are well under his usual 90-100% snap usage. Rudolph's targets have dropped dramatically, with just three over the past two weeks. For the first time in nearly a month, Rudolph participated in all workouts during the week. Still more reassuring is Minnesota not listing Rudolph on their game status report. However, with the Vikings all but locked into the #2 seed in the NFC, it's likely Rudolph plays enough to remain in condition but not much more. The Vikings have no reason to risk an aggravation, even with a bye in the wild card round.

Eric Ebron | Knee | Not Listed | Expected to Play

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

Ebron was inconsistent early in the season but his second half has been much better and he's proven more durable than usual. He's in line to play through a minor knee injury and participate in all 16 games for the first time in his career. Another strong game to end the season will help his case as he enters free agency. 

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

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

On Thursday, Dirk Koetter told reporters he was unsure whether Brate would be able to go. After a full Friday practice, Brate looks likely to play.

Adam Shaheen | Chest | Questionable | Inactive

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

Shaheen hasn't played since Week 14 against the Bengals despite participating in limited drills in practice. Whether the Bears choose to continue to rest Shaheen with injury or look to get him reps with Mitch Trubisky for the future remains to be seen.

Others of note: Rob Gronkowski (illness), Jimmy Graham (ankle), Greg Olsen (foot), Charles Clay (knee), Antonio Gates (illness), Jared Cook (wrist), Marcedes Lewis (ankle), and George Kittle (ankle) have practiced, are not listed on the game status report, and are expected to play without limitation. Evan Engram (rib), Austin Seferian-Jenkins (ribs / foot), and Richard Rodgers (shoulder) are doubtful or have been declared out.


>>>> 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 / Shoulder DNP Limited Not Listed Not Listed Expected to Play
Ben Roethlisberger Pit Not Injury Related DNP DNP DNP Not Listed Inactive
Alex Smith KC Not Injury Related Not Listed Not Listed Not Listed Not Listed Will Not Start | Rest
Jared Goff LAR Not Injury Related Not Listed Not Listed Not Listed Not Listed Active as Backup | Rest
Cam Newton Car Shoulder Limited Limited Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Blake Bortles Jac Wrist Full Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Paxton Lynch Den Ankle Full Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Running Backs
Player Team Injury Practice Participation Game Status FBGs Expects
Wednesday Thursday Friday
Le'Veon Bell Pit Not Injury Related Not Listed DNP DNP Not Listed Inactive
Todd Gurley LAR Not Injury Related Not Listed Not Listed Not Listed Not Listed Will Not Play | Rest
DeMarco Murray Ten Knee DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
Melvin Gordon III LAC Ankle DNP Limited Limited Questionable Active but Limited
Joe Mixon Cin Ankle DNP Limited Limited Questionable Active but Limited
Giovani Bernard Cin Ankle Limited Limited Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Rex Burkhead NE Knee DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
Mike Gillislee NE Knee DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
James White NE Ankle Limited Limited Limited Questionable Inactive
Jerick McKinnon Min Shoulder Full Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Samaje Perine Was Groin / Shoulder Full Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Isaiah Crowell Cle Shoulder / Ribs Limited Limited Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Duke Johnson Jr Cle Shoulder Limited Limited Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Kerwynn Williams Ari Quad / Ribs Limited Limited Limited Questionable Likely to Play
Elijhaa Penny Ari Hand / Groin Limited Limited Limited Questionable Likely to Play
Aaron Jones GB Knee DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
Matt Forte NYJ Knee DNP DNP DNP Questionable Injured Reserve | Out
Charcandrick West KC Illness Not Listed DNP DNP Questionable Declared Out
Rod Smith Dal Illness Not Listed DNP DNP Questionable Inactive
Austin Ekeler LAC Hand Full Full Full Not Listed Active | Special Teams Only
Damien Williams Mia Shoulder Limited Limited Limited Doubtful Likely Inactive
Wide Receivers
Player Team Injury Practice Participation Game Status FBGs Expects
Wednesday Thursday Friday
Antonio Brown Pit Calf DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
DeAndre Hopkins Hou Calf DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
Julio Jones Atl Thumb / Ankle DNP Limited Limited Not Listed Expected to Play
Michael Thomas NO Hamstring Limited Limited Limited Not Listed Expected to Play
Tyreek Hill KC Not Injury Related Not Listed Not Listed DNP Declared Out Inactive
Davante Adams GB Concussion DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
Jordy Nelson GB Shoulder DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
Dez Bryant Dal Knee Not Listed DNP Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Cooper Kupp LAR Knee DNP DNP Limited Questionable Inactive
Robby Anderson NYJ Illness DNP Limited Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Kelvin Benjamin Buf Knee DNP Limited Limited Not Listed Expected to Play
Devin Funchess Car Shoulder Limited Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Marqise Lee Jac Ankle DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
Keelan Cole Jac Quadricep Limited Limited Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Allen Hurns Jac Ankle Limited Limited Limited Not Listed Limited if Active
Sterling Shepard NYG Neck DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
Amari Cooper Oak Ankle Limited Limited Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Chris Hogan NE Shoulder Limited Limited Limited Questionable Inactive
Emmanuel Sanders Den Ankle DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
Jeremy Maclin Bal Knee DNP DNP DNP Doubtful Inactive
Mike Wallace Bal Knee Limited Full Full Questionable Expected to Play
Marquise Goodwin SF Back Limited Limited Limited Not Listed Expected to Play
Eric Decker Ten Hamstring Not Listed Not Listed Limited Not Listed Expected to Play
DeSean Jackson TB Ankle Limited Limited Limited Questionable Awaiting Information
DeVante Parker Mia Ankle Limited Full Full Questionable Likely to Play
Deonte Thompson Buf Back / Shoulder Full Limited Limited Questionable Awaiting Information
Cole Beasley Dal Illness DNP DNP DNP Questionable Inactive
Cordarrelle Patterson Oak Hip Limited Limited Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Brice Butler Dal Foot Full Full Full Questionable Likely to Play
Donte Moncrief Ind Ankle Limited Limited Limited Questionable Awaiting Information
Geronimo Allison GB Illness DNP DNP Limited Questionable Likely to Play
Cody Latimer Den Thigh DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
Brandon Coleman NO Neck DNP Limited Limited Not Listed Expected to Play
Chris Godwin TB Ankle DNP DNP Limited Questionable Awaiting Information
Jermaine Kearse NYJ Ankle DNP DNP Full Not Listed Expected to Play
John Brown Ari Toe DNP Limited Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Ryan Grant Was Ankle Full Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Roger Lewis NYG Ankle Limited Limited Limited Not Listed Expected to Play
Tavarres King NYG Concussion DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
Tight Ends
Player Team Injury Practice Participation Game Status FBGs Expects
Wednesday Thursday Friday
Rob Gronkowski NE Illness Not Listed DNP Not Listed Not Listed Expected to Play
Kyle Rudolph Min Ankle Limited Limited Limited Not Listed Expected to Play
Jimmy Graham Sea Knee DNP DNP Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Greg Olsen Car Foot Full Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Eric Ebron Det Knee Limited Limited Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Evan Engram NYG Rib DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
Charles Clay Buf Knee Limited Limited Limited Not Listed Expected to Play
Cameron Brate TB Hip / Knee DNP Limited Full Questionable Likely to Play
Austin Seferian-Jenkins NYJ Ribs / Foot DNP DNP DNP Doubtful Inactive
Antonio Gates LAC Illness Not Listed DNP Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Jared Cook Oak Wrist Limited Limited Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Richard Rodgers GB Shoulder DNP DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
Adam Shaheen Chi Chest Limited Limited Limited Questionable Inactive
Marcedes Lewis Jac Ankle Limited DNP Limited Not Listed Expected to Play
Garrett Griffin NO Foot Limited Limited Limited Not Listed Expected to Play
Josh Hill NO Shoulder Limited Limited Limited Not Listed Expected to Play
Michael Hoomanawanui NO Concussion Limited DNP DNP Declared Out Inactive
George Kittle SF Ankle Full Full Full Not Listed Expected to Play
Garrett Celek SF Rib / Knee Limited Limited Limited Not Listed Expected to Play

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