There is some progress to report on Thursday for a couple of players whose status is in question heading into the Week 12 games.
Wes Welker, WR, Denver Broncos (concussion): Welker returned to practice on a limited basis Thursday, a positive sign in his recovery process from a concussion. The Broncos had indicated he would not return to a full practice before Friday; now we will see if he progresses to that next step.
Welker landed in the No. 9 spot among WRs in our experts' rankings for Week 12, so his availability is obviously a huge story to monitor between now and Sunday.
Miles Austin, WR, Dallas Cowboys (hamstring):: Austin has been sidelined for so long that many have long forgotten about him. He hopes to change that this week when he returns to a likely starting role opposite Dez Bryant. Austin originally injured his hamstring in Week 3, missed the next two games and then returned but was largely invisible. The Cowboys scaled back his practice and kept him out of game action as he went through a very controlled period of activity. None other than team owner Jerry Jones has already announced Austin will play.
In fact, according to ESPNDallas.com's Calvin Watkins, Jones said Austin was ready two weeks ago, but the team chose to play it safe. The fact is, there is still no guarantee Austin will be setback-free going forward, but at some point the only thing left is to actually play in a game. If there was ever a time for Austin to peak, it is now, as the Cowboys head into the final third of the season.