Injury Expectations | Wednesday Update | Week 17

A review of the week's first full practice participation report


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

Week 17 is an unusual week for injury analysis. Some teams and players choose not to risk playing through nagging and serious injuries they may otherwise have gutted through. Other players continue to play through to reach team and individual goals. Some teams choose to rest players in anticipation of more important playoff games to come. Other teams continue to play starters to keep continuity in the weekly routine. Unfortunately, we don't always know which players and which teams fall into which bucket.

Here's what we do know on Wednesday night:

***Philadelphia, Jacksonville, and Kansas City are locked into their current playoff seeding. Doug Marrone has told reporters he will not rest starters. Kansas City will start Pat Mahomes over Alex Smith at quarterback. I think it's likely the key starters on all three teams will see fewer snaps than usual.

***The Rams will not start Jared Goff or Todd Gurley. Goff will be active -- he's the only other quarterback currently on the roster -- but will play only in an emergency. Cooper Kupp didn't practice with a knee injury but Sean McVay didn't seem concerned in Wednesday's press conference and didn't single Kupp out as a likely candidate to skip this week's game.

I'll continue to update this list as it changes.

***It's hard to know which reports on DeMarco Murray's knee injury are accurate. Adam Schefter initially tweeted about the team's concern for an LCL sprain -- an injury diagnosis that was not supported by video replay. More recently, Schefter reported the injury to be a high-grade MCL sprain -- which was the most likely diagnosis supported by video replay. There have been multiple reports suggesting Murray wants to play through his injury. Mike Mularkey told reporters Wednesday he hadn't been told Murray's injury was a high-grade sprain and considered Murray a game-time decision.

Murray has played through everything over the past two seasons -- aggravated hamstring strains, foot injuries, ankle sprains, and more -- but an MCL sprain is a different scenario. Based on video analysis of the mechanism of injury and the tone of the reports thus far, it's very likely Murray has at least a mid-grade sprain. That means the inside of his knee is not stable. Even with a brace, Murray's ability to cut and recover between plays will be significantly affected. And he'll be at risk of additional injury to the MCL, other knee ligaments, meniscus, cartilage, and more. Murray is a warrior and the Titans are in a must-win situation. But playing through this injury is an impossible ask.

***Not surprisingly, Davante Adams was not cleared for individual drills on Wednesday. Neither was Jordy Nelson. Adams will not play this week as he recovers from his second concussion this season. I remain nervous Nelson may have an injury that will require offseason surgery. He's also doubtful at best.

***Tom Brady continues to deal with left shoulder soreness and a bruised Achilles tendon. He did not practice on Wednesday but is expected to play. The Patriots need a win to ensure home field advantage throughout the conference playoffs.

***Melvin Gordon III did not practice Wednesday but told reporters he would play against Oakland. Video angles were suspicious for a high ankle sprain, however. I would not feel comfortable projecting Gordon to play until we see him return to practice. 

***There are a ton of wide receivers who will be limited in practice this week. While subject to change after Thursday's participation report, I think DeAndre Hopkins, Michael Thomas, Kelvin Benjamin, and DeVante Parker are probable to play while Emmanuel Sanders, Jeremy Maclin, Kevin Hogan, Marquise Lee, and Sterling Shepard are closer to doubtful.


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.

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

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