Checking injuries that matter most

We’re at the midway point of the season and guys are getting banged up. I guess that’s why we have what looks to be the most significant Friday injury report so far this season.

Some things already have been decided and some are still hanging out there. For the game-time decisions, be sure to check the blog about 90 minutes before kickoff Sunday. That’s when we start to get the game-day inactives.

Let’s start with the New Orleans Saints because they’ve got some very definitive news. Linebacker Jonathan Vilma (knee) will miss his second straight game. Vilma is the heart and soul of the New Orleans defense and this one is going to hurt. Jo-Lonn Dunbar likely will start in Vilma’s place at middle linebacker. Defensive end Turk McBride (ankle) also has been declared out.

The rest of the New Orleans injury report isn’t quite as clear. Cornerback Patrick Robinson (stomach) is listed as questionable, but the good news is Tracy Porter (chest/neck) is listed as probable. Receiver Lance Moore (hamstring) and running back Chris Ivory (hamstring) are questionable.

There’s mixed news out of Atlanta. Safety William Moore (quadriceps) is listed as doubtful. That likely means veteran James Sanders will start in Moore’s place. On the bright side, rookie receiver Julio Jones (hamstring) is probable after practicing on a limited basis Friday.

Carolina linebacker James Anderson (ankle) did not practice Friday and is listed as questionable. The Panthers already lost their other two initial starting linebackers (Jon Beason) and Thomas Davis) to season-ending injuries.

Tampa Bay left guard Jeremy Zuttah, who missed last week’s game with a knee injury, is expected to be back in the starting lineup Sunday. Defensive tackle Frank Okam (calf) is questionable. That means it’s likely that newly-acquired Albert Haynesworth probably will get some playing time Sunday.