NFC West: Injury situations that matter

Arizona Cardinals: The waiting game continues with second-year running back Beanie Wells, but at least he was practicing in pads Wednesday. Wells told reporters he would definitely play Sunday. Tim Hightower's 80-yard touchdown run presumably did not stunt the healing process. Wells is clearly eager to get onto the field. The Cardinals could use Wells to help solidify their running game. Derek Anderson has taken too much punishment, including a few shots that might have knocked out other quarterbacks. His durability has been tested. The Cardinals expect Steve Breaston to play despite a bruised knee. Breaston's all-out style would seem to put his body at risk, but he has missed only one game in three-plus NFL seasons. Fellow receiver Larry Fitzgerald looked better in Week 2 and his sprained knee might no longer be a factor.

St. Louis Rams: Injuries are hurting the Rams at tight end and defensive back in particular, to the point that I thought they might have influenced the outcome of their game against the Raiders in Week 2. Depth issues caught up to the Rams last season. The good news for St. Louis, relatively speaking, is that the offensive line has avoided serious injuries to this point. But with rookie left tackle Rodger Saffold experiencing back trouble, the team's extremely thin depth on the line is a heightened concern. Saffold was limited Wednesday as a precaution. Migraine problems for defensive tackle Clifton Ryan are another concern. He did not play against the Raiders and did not practice Wednesday.

Seattle Seahawks: Seattle is generally healthy heading into Week 3. Left tackle Russell Okung and left guard Chester Pitts are stepping up their rehabilitation from injuries. Pitts practiced fully and could be headed for the starting lineup, though not necessarily right away. I'd be surprised if Okung came back this week. The team lost former starting linebacker Leroy Hill indefinitely to a heel injury, but the Seahawks were never really counting on him this season. It's a bigger setback for Hill, who is playing out his contract after taking a pay cut, than it is for the Seahawks. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck isn't getting hit much and that is helping him avoid the injury problems that affected him significantly over the last two seasons.

San Francisco 49ers: Rookie NaVorro Bowman played extensively at inside linebacker Monday night after the 49ers lost veteran Takeo Spikes to injury. Bowman could start against Kansas City in Week 3. He's fast and athletic. He'll be lining up next to Patrick Willis, which will help. Spikes has been quite valuable to the 49ers on early downs. He's what scouts call a "thumper" -- a positive term because Spikes can play the run, but also a term that defines his limitations in coverage. Bowman will be stepping into a difficult environment at Arrowhead Stadium. The 49ers should be excited to see what he can do over the course of a game. That is why they drafted him, and their defense should be strong enough to assimilate him. The return game remains in some flux while the 49ers wait to see whether Ted Ginn Jr. and/or Kyle Williams make it back from injuries this week. Rookie Phillip Adams muffed a punt Monday night. Williams is a rookie, too, so it's not like the 49ers can take for granted his performance in a regular-season game.