Not getting enough football? Of course you aren't! To help remedy that situation, you get another night of NFL competition starting ... now. Tonight marks this season's first night of Thursday night football, as the Baltimore Ravens face the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome.
Naturally, there is a fantasy football injury concern heading into the game. Falcons wide receiver Roddy White is listed as questionable coming off a knee bruise from Sunday's contest. It's worth noting that White ultimately finished the game Sunday, and his status for Thursday night never really appeared to be in doubt, even as he was held out of practice early in the week. White returned to a light limited practice Wednesday, and all indications are that he will play against the Ravens. Whether the knee will affect his performance at all is hard to gauge, given that he has not truly tested it since Sunday. Still, there's not enough evidence to suggest White will be significantly impaired unless he suffers an in-game setback. It's pretty hard to bench Matt Ryan's top target on the basis of a what-if scenario. Fantasy owners should check pregame inactives, but it would be very surprising if White did not take the field.
In the rest of the NFL world, four teams are enjoying a respite from competition in Week 10. The San Diego Chargers, New Orleans Saints, Oakland Raiders and Green Bay Packers get a week off during this final bye week of the NFL season.
With so many teams dealing with multiple player injuries, it made sense to lump the biggest collections of injuries together as team units in this blog entry. With that said, here's who else we're talking about in the world of injuries heading into Week 10:
Houston Texans (Andre Johnson, WR; Owen Daniels, TE; Matt Schaub, QB): Neither Johnson nor Daniels practiced with the team Wednesday or Thursday. Nick Scurfield of HoustonTexans.com reported that Johnson underwent another MRI on Monday as a follow-up measure for his right ankle. Johnson's high ankle sprain has continued to nag at him intermittently, and his explanation for that was perfectly reasonable. "I still have a little swelling in my joint, so that's what's causing the little pain I have at times," Johnson said. "The biggest thing now is just trying to just get that swelling out of there." This explains why the team is limiting his activity during the week. Less running and less pounding means a better chance of getting the swelling down. Less swelling translates to better joint mobility and less pain. Johnson said his ankle was "feeling pretty good" Wednesday. This cycle is likely to continue throughout the remainder of the season.
Although Johnson's nonpractice routine to protect his ankle is somewhat expected by now, Daniels has yet to get past a recent aggravation of a hamstring injury. Head coach Gary Kubiak says that Daniels is improving but will be a game-time decision, according to the Texans' official Twitter page. Daniels has had only one solid performance this season.
Schaub was limited Wednesday because of a rib injury but will play Sunday when the Texans take on the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Minnesota Vikings (Brett Favre, QB; Percy Harvin, WR; Sidney Rice, WR): Favre did not practice Wednesday, and in what has become an ever-changing injury report for him, the notes following his name Wednesday said, "ankle, foot, calf." For those keeping score at home, "chin," which appeared last week after Favre's laceration requiring stitches in the Week 8 game, and "elbow," which made the list weeks ago, are now both absent. Which led me to wonder: What are the most body parts to appear for a player on a single injury report? Will Favre hold that record along with the consecutive-starts streak? But I digress ...
Favre was back in practice Thursday, and we all know he will start this week. Harvin might be a different story. Harvin, who limped into Week 9 with a left ankle sprain, has not practiced Wednesday or Thursday because of a migraine flare. He has developed a pattern where he typically shows up and plays well on Sunday even if he is unable to do much during the week. Although migraines are clearly far less predictable than a typical musculoskeletal injury, one has to believe that if he is functional Sunday, he will play. Still, fantasy owners should prepare for another possible game-time decision.
And everyone is wondering when we will see the return of Rice, who is back doing some work with the team following August hip surgery. Coach Brad Childress has not yet committed to a return date, stressing that he wants to be sure that Rice can handle the rigors of competition, both in terms of endurance and being able to absorb physical contact, before he participates in games. Rice has not yet been moved to the active roster, which has to happen for him to play. Although that is a possibility for Week 10, there has not been any definitive indication that it will take place. Even if it does, Childress already has indicated that Rice is likely to return to limited action initially.
Indianapolis Colts (Joseph Addai, RB; Mike Hart, RB; Jacob Tamme, TE; Austin Collie, WR): Addai is still not practicing with the team and is not expected to play in Week 10. Hart has shown no signs of returning yet, either. Expect Donald Brown to get the start at running back again for the Colts this week.
And what's this we're hearing about Tamme? The Colts already lost their starting tight end, Dallas Clark, for the season to a wrist injury. Tamme, who has been outstanding filling in, was not in practice Wednesday because of a back injury. Even more ominous was coach Jim Caldwell's acknowledgment of a "level of concern" about Tamme's status, as reported by Phillip Wilson of The Indianapolis Star. It appears that fantasy owners can breathe a little easier, as Tamme was back in practice Thursday. Friday will be telling to see whether Tamme can go on two consecutive days. Fantasy owners need to keep an eye on this one.
Collie already has been ruled out as he recovers from a concussion.
New England Patriots (Tom Brady, QB; Fred Taylor, RB): Could the face of the Patriots franchise be sidelined this week with an injury (and not the one to his throwing shoulder that appears on practice reports week in and week out)? No is the simple answer. Brady missed Wednesday's practice, an occurrence that raised eyebrows frankly because it is such a rare event. He is reportedly dealing with a foot sprain, but he was back in practice Thursday and by all accounts will be under center Sunday night.
Meanwhile, welcome back to practice (albeit limited), Fred Taylor! He has been hampered by toe injuries, but the Patriots had to believe he could contribute eventually, as they kept him on the active roster. Maybe that time is nearing. This will no doubt progress slowly and depend on how Taylor responds to any increased activity. But it's something fantasy players in very deep leagues should at least monitor.
And elsewhere ...
• Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young did not practice Wednesday because of his ankle, a bit of a concern coming out of a bye week. He returned to limited practice Thursday and is expected to play this weekend. Nonetheless, if Young's mobility is at issue, it certainly impacts his style of play.
• Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer has not practiced this week because of soreness in his throwing shoulder. However, Palmer said he plans to return to throwing Friday and, more importantly, plans to play Sunday. According to the Bengals' official website, Palmer says he's "not worried at all," indicating that the short week warranted an extra day of rest. Meanwhile, teammate Chad Ochocinco was back in Thursday's practice after sitting out Wednesday to rest his ankle. He got his leg rolled Monday night and looked uncomfortable afterward, but apparently the injury was not serious. His relative lack of targets may be the more serious issue both for him and his fantasy owners.
• The Detroit Lions expect to have Shaun Hill at quarterback this week as long as there are no setbacks. Hill is recovering from a fracture in his nonthrowing forearm, and the main concern will be protecting that forearm from reinjury. Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith had a custom-designed shell created to protect his forearm; perhaps Hill will wear something similar. In the meantime, there is no official word as to the long-term plan for Matthew Stafford. But clearly no one expects him back any time soon. Running back Jahvid Best continues to be listed on the injury report because of his toe but is expected to play.
• Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck has been back in practice this week after sitting Week 9 out with a concussion. ESPN's NFC West blogger Mike Sando reports that Hasselbeck is expected to play against the Arizona Cardinals this week. As is the case following all concussions, there must be no recurrence of symptoms between now and Sunday, but given Hasselbeck's strong early week, fantasy owners can feel positive.
• As for the Carolina Panthers, Darin Gantt of the Rock Hill Herald reported Wednesday that Mike Goodson will start at running back this week. So much for DeAngelo Williams aiming for a Week 10 return. He has not yet returned to practice, and neither has teammate Jonathan Stewart, who suffered a concussion in Week 9. It's worth noting that offensive tackle Jeff Otah, who had not played this season following August knee surgery (his absence is certainly believed to be a contributing factor to the struggles of Carolina's running game) has now been placed on injured reserve. Translation: No help on that front anytime soon. Quarterback Matt Moore joins Otah on the injured reserve list, and Jimmy Clausen will start in his place for the Panthers.
• Arizona Cardinals running back Beanie Wells was held out of practice Wednesday and Thursday, again because of swelling in his surgically repaired knee, according to Kent Somers of The Arizona Republic. According to Somers, Wells will try to practice Friday. Not exactly a resounding vote of confidence. Wells has been a question mark most weeks and has been limited even when he has played, primarily because of issues with his knee. It's not looking much more promising for him in Week 10.
• New York Giants wide receiver Steve Smith suffered a pectoral (chest) strain in practice Thursday and, according to the New York Daily News, could miss this week's game. Apparently Smith was injured when extending his arm to reach for a ball and was not able to complete practice as a result.
• San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis is back in practice this week following the bye. Davis was forced to leave the game early in Week 8 after aggravating an ankle injury, but it doesn't appear to be an issue at the moment.
See you at Friday's 3 p.m. injury chat, and we'll have the latest injury updates affecting Week 10 in the Saturday morning blog.