Biggest injury questions for NFL playoff teams

AP Photo/Steven Senne

NFL Nation reporters assess the biggest injuries for this weekend's conference championship games.

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New England Patriots

Tom Brady was limited in practice Wednesday because of a right hand injury, according to the team's participation report. He has been on and off the injury report this season -- for an Achilles and his left shoulder -- but this is the first time he has been on it for his throwing hand. According to a report from the Boston Herald, the injury occurred when one of Brady's teammates accidentally ran into him and jammed his hand. X-rays were taken but revealed no structural damage. Veteran backup Brian Hoyer is the Patriots' only other quarterback. Meanwhile, right tackle LaAdrian Waddle, who started against the Titans in the divisional round, left because of a knee injury (sprain) in the second half and didn't return. That opened the door for Cameron Fleming to return to a starting role in a spot where the Patriots have been without No. 1 option Marcus Cannon since the middle of the season. In a week where protecting Brady will be critical against one of the NFL's best defenses, any changes along the offensive line bear watching. -- Mike Reiss

Jacksonville Jaguars

Safety Tashaun Gipson missed Wednesday's practice because of a right foot injury. He's a critical part of the Jaguars' defensive plan to stop Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. Gipson kept Jimmy Graham and Delanie Walker from making any impact when Jacksonville played Seattle and Tennessee. If he's unable to play, the Jaguars will have to rely on the inexperienced Jarrod Wilson, who has been mainly a special teams player. -- Mike DiRocco

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles' 53-man roster is pretty healthy heading into Sunday's NFC title game against the Vikings. Linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (hamstring) was the only one to sit out Wednesday's practice. He missed time last week because of the same injury but was able to play in the divisional round against the Falcons. Rookie corner Sidney Jones (hamstring) is on the mend. He was a full participant Wednesday. -- Tim McManus

Minnesota Vikings

Wide receiver Adam Thielen missed practice Wednesday because of a low back injury he sustained in the divisional-round win over the Saints. His injury isn't ringing any alarms about missing Sunday's NFC Championship Game, but it's unclear how much practice he'll get in this week. Safety Andrew Sendejo, who took a helmet-to-helmet hit from New Orleans wide receiver Michael Thomas that knocked him out of the game, is still in the concussion protocol but went through practice on a limited basis. Coach Mike Zimmer appeared confident that Sendejo should be on pace to return in Philadelphia, saying Wednesday that "he'll be fine." The only player not practicing was defensive tackle Shamar Stephen, who sustained a knee injury against the Saints just weeks after hurting his ankle in Green Bay. -- Courtney Cronin