NFC West: Injury situations that matter

Arizona: Quite a few Cardinals players showed up on the injury report as limited, but none of their injuries was considered serious enough to prevent them from playing. The Cardinals could always decide to rest a few players in preparation for the playoffs, but coach Ken Whisenhunt says he wants to play the game as usual because seeding could be at stake.

San Francisco: Left tackle Joe Staley continues to battle the knee injury that sidelined him for most of the season's second half. He missed practice Wednesday and there's no good reason to play him against the Rams in Week 17. Barry Sims has played effectively in Staley's place, a very pleasant surprise for the 49ers this season. The 49ers continue to list veteran receiver Isaac Bruce on their injury report with an ankle problem, but that isn't what has kept him on the sideline this season. The youth movement at wide receiver will pause long enough Sunday for Bruce to suit up one final time -- against his former team, appropriately enough.

St. Louis: The Rams' injury report isn't quite so long only because the team has placed so many players on injured reserve. The injury situation on the offensive line could prove disastrous against the 49ers if San Francisco plays to its potential. Rookie first-round choice Jason Smith got limited work Wednesday in his return following an extended absence from the lineup. He has struggled to shake concussion-related symptoms. Even if he were to return Sunday, it's tough to imagine him playing at a high level after so much time off.

Seattle: An ankle injury will force receiver Nate Burleson to miss the final game of the regular season. Rookie linebacker Aaron Curry (hip) also likely will not play. Cornerback Josh Wilson and running back Julius Jones are banged up and could be questionable. Injuries aren't a primary factor in the Seahawks' troubles at this point, although quarterback Matt Hasselbeck seems to have absorbed enough cumulative punishment to affect his play.