NFC West injury situations that matter

Arizona: Quarterback Kevin Kolb appears close to returning from the toe and foot injuries that have sidelined him since Oct. 30. He estimated taking more than a third of the reps in practice Wednesday. All signs point to a likely return for Kolb against the St. Louis Rams on Sunday, but he'll need to continue practicing to work through some of the rust. Tight ends Todd Heap and Rob Housler were limited, as was running back Beanie Wells. Injuries at quarterback, running back and tight end will affect any offense. Wells' knee hasn't let him carry a full load, costly for the Cardinals after the team traded Tim Hightower and lost Ryan Williams to injured reserve.

St. Louis: The Rams are severely limited at offensive tackle and cornerback. Those are tough areas to be so shorthanded against Arizona. Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell is an imminent threat to the Rams' offensive line after St. Louis lost both starting tackles and its backup left tackle. Larry Fitzgerald obviously faces favorable matchups against the Rams' secondary now that St. Louis has placed 10 cornerbacks on injured reserve. The Rams practiced without their defensive leader Wednesday — middle linebacker James Laurinaitis has a foot injury. Losing him would prove devastating. The situation at tight end is also limiting the Rams. Mike Hoomanawanui is out for the season. Promising rookie tight end Lance Kendricks suffered a concussion against Seattle and was limited Wednesday.

San Francisco: Receiver Michael Crabtree (foot), cornerback Chris Culliver (shoulder), tackle Anthony Davis (ankle), receiver Braylon Edwards (knee) and running back Frank Gore (knee) were limited in practice Wednesday and listed as probable for Thursday. The team does not expect to have fullback Bruce Miller (concussion) for its game at Baltimore. The 49ers' relative strength and versatility at tight end affords them flexibility in dealing with injuries at fullback and wide receiver. The team doesn't need to lean heavily on three-receiver groupings because tight ends Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker are good receivers. Veteran fullback Moran Norris could return this week. The 49ers also use nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga as a fullback in certain situations.

Seattle: The biggest concern, in my view, centers around whether quarterback Tarvaris Jackson can remain in the lineup for the remainder of the season as he plays through a pectoral injury. Jackson was limited Wednesday. He's facing a Redskins defense featuring strong outside rushers in Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo. Defensive tackle Alan Branch (ankle), cornerback Byron Maxwell (ankle), receiver Ben Obomanu (knee/ankle) and receiver Sidney Rice (knee) did not practice. The Seahawks have sufficient depth at all those players' positions and most of those players are expected to be available Sunday.