Checking the injuries that matter most

It’s late in the season and the injuries are piling up. We’ve got a bunch of injured players all around the division, so let’s get the update on the most significant ones.

There’s mixed news out of Tampa Bay. Although quarterback Josh Freeman (shoulder) is listed as questionable, he got some first-team work Friday and may be able to play Sunday at Jacksonville. But cornerback Aqib Talib (hamstring) has been ruled out. Safety Larry Asante (hamstring) is doubtful and that could mean some playing time for Ahmad Black, who was promoted from the practice squad Friday. Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth (knee) is questionable, but fully participated in Friday’s practice.

Some significant news out of New Orleans: running back Mark Ingram (toe) has been declared out. You’ve got to admire the Saints. They’re without Ingram, so they’ll just plug last year’s leading rusher, Chris Ivory, into the backfield rotation with Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas. Linebacker Jonathan Casillas (knee) and defensive end Turk McBride (ankle) also have been ruled out.

The Falcons are facing some pretty steep injury issues. Cornerback Brent Grimes (knee) is out and cornerback Kelvin Hayden (toe) is doubtful. That means another week of Christopher Owens and Dominique Franks getting significant playing time. Linebacker Stephen Nicholas (quadriceps) also is doubtful, which probably means another start for Mike Peterson. Left tackle Will Svitek (groin) is questionable and it looks like Sam Baker could return to the starting lineup after missing six games.

Carolina left tackle Jordan Gross (ankle) is listed as questionable. Gross did not practice this week. But Gross did run on the sidelines Friday and coach Ron Rivera said Gross moved well. Gross is a veteran and the fact that he didn’t practice during the week won’t be enough to keep him out of the lineup if the ankle feels fine on Sunday morning.