Around the NFC South: Injury updates and more

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas


Running back Earnest Graham (knee) returned to practice Thursday. That's a very good sign for the Bucs who will need all the yards they can get on the ground against Minnesota's front four.

Tight end Alex Smith (ankle) did not practice. This one could be significant. If Smith can't play, it would be a big blow to this offense. Smith isn't a big name, but he does a lot of little things very well. John Gilmore and Jerramy Stevens are the backups.


Running back Reggie Bush sat out Thursday's practice, but Bush and the Saints remain optimistic he'll be able to play Sunday. On the flip side, it doesn't look like there's much of a chance center Jonathan Goodwin will be ready to go Sunday.


Sunday's game with Denver has sold out and that means the game will be televised locally in Atlanta, where the Falcons have done a nice job of making themselves relevant again.


Rain interrupted Carolina's practice, but center Ryan Kalil sat out both the outdoor and indoor sessions. His chances of playing Sunday don't look too promising. Geoff Hangartner is the likely starter if Kalil can't go.