Arizona: Quarterback Max Hall passed neurological tests following the concussion he suffered against Seattle. That means Hall will start against Tampa Bay unless something unforeseen happens in the interim. The Cardinals' decision to rest Steve Breaston against Seattle means the receiver hasn't played a game in more than a month. Breaston underwent surgery Sept. 28 to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee. The expectation then was that Breaston might return by the Seattle game. He'll presumably be back Sunday. The Cardinals have yet to activate linebacker Gerald Hayes to the 53-man roster following back surgery. Hayes is one week into a three-week window allowing him to practice without counting against the 53-man limit. Arizona must activate him during that window or play the rest of the season without him. Rookie Daryl Washington showed improvement against Seattle, taking off some of the pressure to bring back Hayes. Update: Clark Haggans missed practice Wednesday.
St. Louis: Running back Steven Jackson missed practice Wednesday after undergoing finger surgery Monday. Jackson played well against Seattle in Week 4 after missing practices to rest a groin injury. Jackson's desire to fight through that injury suggests he'll find a way to play despite the bad finger on his left hand. The injury could make it tougher for him to catch passes. The Rams could also decide to limit Jackson's snaps if they build a lead against the visiting 1-5 Carolina Panthers. On defense, the Rams will remain without tackle Clifton Ryan for the remainder of the season after the team placed him on injured reserve. Ryan suffered migraines following the opener. The Rams have generally been solid at defensive tackle thanks to Fred Robbins, but he missed practice Wednesday to rest a toe injury. Placing Ryan on injured reserve gave the Rams room to sign former San Francisco 49ers safety Michael Lewis in a move to bolster an injury-depleted secondary. The Rams also brought back cornerback Quincy Butler. Regular corners Ron Bartell, Bradley Fletcher and Justin King are battling injuries. Bartell practiced in a limited role Wednesday.
Seattle: Left tackle Russell Okung earned special mention from Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. during ESPN.com's most recent Rookie Watch. Okung stabilizes the line when he's available, but a second high-ankle sprain in two months figures to sideline Okung against Oakland even though coach Pete Carroll hasn't ruled out the rookie. The Seahawks struggled to protect quarterback Matt Hasselbeck in their most recent road game without Okung (a 20-3 defeat at St. Louis). Backup Tyler Polumbus should be in better position to succeed this time. Polumbus started the St. Louis game at right tackle, then flopped sides once Okung could not continue. On defense, Seattle could get starting tackle Brandon Mebane (calf) and starting corner Kelly Jennings (hamstring) back from injuries this week. It's less clear whether slot receiver Brandon Stokley (oblique) will be available. Ben Obomanu, not rookie Golden Tate, filled in for Stokley against Arizona. Using two tight ends more frequently could help in protection while lessening the team's dependence on a slot receiver. The extra blocker could also help the team get by without fullback Michael Robinson, who suffered a hamstring injury.
San Francisco: The 49ers will be without starting quarterback Alex Smith, who once appeared on track to start 16 games in a season for the second time in his career and the first time since 2007. The shoulder injury Smith suffered against Carolina and the 49ers' lack of confidence in David Carr leaves Troy Smith as the starter against Denver. What does that mean for the offense? The world finds out Sunday. Troy Smith is only now beginning to take meaningful practice reps. He could spark the offense, but will he be able to sustain anything over the course of a game? Tight end Vernon Davis (ankle), linebacker Ahmad Brooks (knee) and cornerback Tarell Brown (back) missed practice Wednesday. Davis has shown he can play through injuries. The bye in Week 9 will serve him well.