Earnest Graham, RB, Buccaneers: Graham already was questionable to play Sunday because of a knee injury he had sustained before the Bucs' bye week. Well, Graham did start in Sunday's game, but unfortunately he didn't last long. And the news is grim. As Pat Yasinskas reports in the NFC South blog, coach Jon Gruden has confirmed that Graham likely has played his last down this season. This is an unfortunate turn of events for Graham, but thankfully the Bucs have Cadillac Williams waiting in the wings. Warrick Dunn is likely to be the starter next week, and B.J. Askew is showing he can get goal-line work as well. Williams should be rolled into the offense sometime in the next couple of weeks, but expect his involvement to build gradually.
Brandon Jacobs, RB, Giants: He's been the primary cog in the running back wheel in New York, and even the critics have been forced to admit that despite his size and upright running style, Jacobs delivers the goods in games. He has stayed healthy through 11 weeks of tough running, but on Sunday, Jacobs exited the game a bit early with a sore knee, according to NFL.com. Jacobs brushed it off by saying he just landed on the knee and could have gone back into the game if needed. As The New York Times pointed out, Jacobs jogged "joyously" into the locker room after the home win over the Ravens and prepared to head out to a Knicks game. He is expected to undergo an MRI on Monday to investigate whether there really is anything structural to be concerned about, but at first glance, this does not appear serious.
Other noteworthy injuries:
Redskins star running back Clinton Portis surprised everyone (yes, me included) by showing up and running pretty well in Sunday night's game against the Cowboys. Perhaps his injury was a little less severe than initially reported, or perhaps he is a speedy healer. Either way, Portis took the field two weeks after initially suffering what was called a Grade II MCL sprain. That's an injury that normally takes four to six weeks to heal completely, depending on the degree of tissue damage. Coach Jim Zorn told The Washington Times that Portis truly was a game-time decision and that his performance in warm-ups persuaded Zorn to play him. "He actually warmed up and got some good acceleration, so I put him on the field." Although he did not rack up Portis-like numbers and clearly was at less than full strength, he was by far the most effective of the Redskins' running back corps and seems to have emerged no worse for the wear, at least not yet. Most of his contributions occurred during the first half of the game, perhaps signaling some effect of the injury. Meanwhile, teammate Ladell Betts, who was returning from a knee injury that had caused him to miss several weeks, appeared to aggravate the injury and left the game early. According to The Washington Post, Betts acknowledged that his knee was "not even close" to being 100 percent before he aggravated it. It would not be surprising if Portis is limited in practice this week to try to allow his knee to recover further, as he clearly will be depended upon to carry the running game going forward.
Matt Hasselbeck returned as the signal-caller for the Seahawks, and it showed that he had missed some time from the game. Rust aside, there was some question as to whether Hasselbeck had sustained a new injury during this game. Frank Hughes of the Tacoma News Tribune reported that Hasselbeck appeared confused during his postgame news conference and had difficulty answering some questions, something very out of the ordinary for him. Apparently Hasselbeck commented that some of the Cardinals were to be fined by the league this week. Was that perhaps in reference to a hit that he took? Guess we'll have to wait and see whether fines are forthcoming, but if Hasselbeck is in your fantasy lineup, you'll want to check the practice reports as the week progresses.
Sure, Kyle Orton returned as quarterback for the Bears, but he didn't look so good. His mobility clearly was limited by his ankle, and although Orton is not one to make excuses, he doesn't have to. The good news is that he does not appear to have emerged any worse off for having played, and another week could go a long way toward improving the health of his ankle. That will not be good news for the Rams.
Be sure to check back here throughout the week as we update these and other injuries, notably Steven Jackson and Reggie Bush. Don't forget to stop by the injury chat (11 a.m. ET Tuesdays and Fridays) to discuss the status of your injured players. Hope to see you there!