After a brutal Week 7 on the injury front, there are some big names with concerns heading into Week 8, but none is bigger than the one that tops this week's injury notebook.
Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos (ankle): Manning missed practice Wednesday due to a sore ankle. As if Manning would let a little ankle issue get in the way of playing this week. By the way, he still threw during the walk-through on Wednesday because, as we might expect, Manning doesn’t really rest. He was back in full practice on Thursday with business as usual. It’s not as if anyone is counting on Manning to run, so there should be little concern about his readiness for Sunday.
James Jones, WR, Green Bay Packers (knee): Jones sat out the Week 7 contest with a sprained PCL. Last week we discussed the challenges of this specific injury, but Tuesday coach Mike McCarthy sounded as if it could be this week or next when Jones might return. Jones did not practice Wednesday or Thursday, casting doubt on his availability for this week.
Cecil Shorts (shoulder) and Justin Blackmon (hamstring), WRs, Jacksonville Jaguars: After a long trip to London for the Week 8 game, both players were given Wednesday off. If Shorts played last week, he will play this week. In fact, given the SC sprain he sustained in Week 6, an incredibly painful injury, his performance last Sunday was impressive. The best thing about this week’s game is that it comes seven days later, giving Shorts some additional healing time. He returned to practice Thursday on a limited basis and has already indicated he plans to play.
Blackmon returned to practice Thursday on a limited basis. He continues to press on despite a hamstring ailment and is expected to do so again.
DeMarco Murray, RB (knee) and Dez Bryant, WR (hamstring/wrist), Dallas Cowboys: Murray returned to limited practice Wednesday after sitting out the Week 7 contest with an MCL sprain. In fact, Murray was doing some running as early as Monday. The fact he has been able to increase the workload a bit each day is a very positive sign heading toward Sunday’s game. His effort so far this week suggests he’ll play. Murray was reluctant to sit out last week as he tries to shed the injury-prone label that has been attached to him. The week off may have helped his outlook going forward though, at least as far as his knee is concerned.
Bryant was limited in Wednesday’s practice due to a sore hamstring and a wrist ailment, but he was out there in full on Thursday. There is no real concern about Bryant’s availability.
Brandon Jacobs, RB, New York Giants, (hamstring): Jacobs’ dramatic comeback to the football field in Week 6 was followed by an absence due to a sore hamstring in Week 7. Surely he would like to get back out to the field. That did not happen Wednesday as Jacobs was held out of practice again because of the hamstring. He remained out on Thursday and it looks increasingly as if he could miss another week.