We’ve got a bunch of significant injuries around the NFC South, so let’s take a look at the latest news.
Carolina Panthers receiver/kick returner Armanti Edwards (groin) sat out Thursday's practice. That could clear the way for rookie Joe Adams to get back on the field. Adams began the season as Carolina’s main return man, but lost the job after having problems with fumbles. Captian Munnerlyn has been handling punt returns, but hasn’t been very productive. If Adams is healthy, the Panthers could put him back in place as their punt returner and either he or David Gettis could return kicks.
New Orleans right tackle Zach Strief (groin) missed another day of practice and it appears as if Charles Brown will get another start in his place. On the positive side, running back/return man Darren Sproles participated fully in practice.
Tampa Bay’s battered offensive line could be taking another hit. Right guard Jamon Meredith did not practice Thursday due to an ankle injury. The Bucs already have had to shuffle their offensive line several times after losing guards Davin Joseph and Carl Nicks to season-ending injuries. Roger Allen is the only backup guard listed on the team’s depth chart and he recently was elevated from the practice squad. But reserve tackle Jeremy Trueblood and backup center Cody Wallace also could get consideration at guard if Meredith isn’t able to play Sunday at Carolina. Also, cornerback Eric Wright missed practice, but coach Greg Schiano said it was for personal reasons. There was a FOX Sports report several weeks ago that Wright will face a suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. When asked if that situation had something to do with Wright’s absence, Schiano simply said the cornerback will play if he’s healthy Sunday.
Atlanta receiver Julio Jones (ankle) missed a second straight day of practice. Backup receiver Kevin Cone also was out. If Jones can’t play Sunday, the Falcons likely would start Harry Douglas opposite Roddy White and they’d have to use Drew Davis and recently-signed Nick Toone as their backup receivers. Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (ankle) also was held out of practice. Coach Mike Smith indicated Wednesday there was a chance Weatherspoon might be cleared to practice Thursday, but it’s starting to look like the Falcons might have to get through another game with Akeem Dent and Mike Peterson sharing Weatherspoon’s role.