The most notable element of this week’s Thursday night injury report is how few key fantasy players there are heading into the game. Not only is it Week 10, when players all around the league are generally banged-up and bruised, but these are two teams who have already had quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers on the injury report at various points this season.
Could it be that these two teams are actually getting healthier? At least for now, it would appear that way.
Browns quarterbacks have traded time on the injury report, but both Josh McCown (clavicle) and Cody Kessler (concussion) are fully recovered. Neither is listed on the injury report, but with Kessler named the starter, per coach Hue Jackson, at least there isn’t a question mark heading into game time.
Wide receiver Corey Coleman missed six weeks with a broken hand but returned without limitation in Week 9, matching Terrelle Pryor Sr. with a team-high seven targets. Although only three were actual catches, his immediate involvement in the offense upon his return is an encouraging sign.
Also encouraging for the Browns has been the presence of Pryor for the past two weeks, despite still nursing a hamstring ailment. In Week 7, when the injury was fresh, Pryor was kept to a very limited role (just two catches for 18 yards), but his improvement showed in Week 8, when he netted more than 100 yards receiving. Although his yardage was lower in Week 9, Pryor did find the end zone, keeping his fantasy points in double digits for the second straight week. Perhaps the best news when it comes to Pryor is that he is completely removed from the injury report, even with the short week.
The Ravens, meanwhile, have to be encouraged by Sunday's return of veteran wide receiver Steve Smith Sr., when he played the bulk of offensive snaps and led the team in targets. Before Sunday’s game, Smith had missed two games with an ankle sprain. After the team’s Week 8 bye, Smith had recovered to the point of participating in Week 9. Despite coming into the game listed as questionable, Smith saw extensive playing time and had four receptions. More importantly, he did not take any steps back and comes into Thursday night’s game off the injury report entirely.
The only player listed as questionable for the Ravens is running back Kenneth Dixon with a chest injury. Despite being listed as questionable, Dixon was a full participant in practice throughout the week and is widely expected to play. That said, Dixon has not been particularly involved in the offense since making his season debut in Week 5 after a preseason MCL sprain. In Week 9, he did see a season-high nine carries, which could signal a bigger role eventually coming his way. For now, Terrance West is locked into the starting position, and with Dixon coming off another injury, albeit a relatively minor one, it would seem things will remain the same for Thursday night’s game.
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