Quarterbacks lead the day with injuries ranging from “done for the year” (Jake Locker of the Titans who suffered a Lisfranc injury in Week 10) to “week to week” (which is how the Bears are describing Jay Cutler’s status after he sustained a high ankle sprain Sunday) to “playing on Sunday” (what Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is expected to do despite aggravating a high ankle sprain last week).
Manning returned to practice Thursday after getting Wednesday off and, according to ESPN.com’s Jeff Legwold, “looked like he usually does” while going through drop-backs and working out of the shotgun. By now we’ve come to see just how much Manning can endure physically and still perform. The Broncos have a huge game against the Chiefs on Sunday night, and Manning is likely already planning the necessary adjustments to accommodate for the (further) lack of mobility he will have.
Eagles quarterback Michael Vick had a setback with his hamstring in Week 8 and has not played since. He has resumed limited practices, but with the way Nick Foles has performed of late, the health of Vick’s hamstring may not determine his playing status.
Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder dislocated his left (non-throwing) shoulder when diving near the end zone in the team’s Week 10 game. The fact that the game was on Thursday night afforded Ponder a few extra days of recovery and he is optimistic he will be able to play Sunday. Ponder said he will wear a harness on his left shoulder for protection, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Harnesses are often worn by players who have experienced a recent traumatic dislocation or who have recurrent instability. The harness restricts motion to some degree, which helps decrease the vulnerability of the shoulder to another episode of slipping out of place. If this were Ponder’s throwing arm, it would be another conversation entirely; since the injury is to his opposite side, he could reasonably be expected to play. However, he will experience problems if he takes repeated hits to that shoulder, particularly sacks which force him in the direction of landing on his left side.
Terrelle Pryor of the Raiders let it be known that his sprained MCL was hampering him Sunday. While it certainly affected his passing game, the most obvious limitations came in an area where Pryor is particularly valuable: running. When running backs and receivers sprain their MCLs, one of the most difficult moves is cutting toward the inside of the injured knee, which places stress on the ligament. It also can be difficult to hit full stride due to stiffness or discomfort. Pryor rushed for a mere 19 yards and didn’t look good doing it. Even coach Dennis Allen acknowledged to reporters that Pryor looked off his game after appearing to be fine during practice earlier in the week. “It was pretty evident early in the game that he just didn't have that same explosiveness that he normally has," Allen said.
Pryor bears some responsibility for Sunday’s letdown in that he did not divulge to coaches and medical personnel just how much the knee was bothering him, although he maintains he has learned his lesson. After not practicing Wednesday, Pryor returned to practice Thursday, although it is not clear how much work he did. The Raiders will likely need more convincing this week before they agree to let Pryor take the reins. It would not come as a huge surprise if Pryor is rested this week; however, what he is able to do over the next 48 hours from a recovery progress standpoint will be critical in deciding his game-day status.