NFL roster cuts: AFC | NFC

NFL Nation: NFL Injury Wire

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Defensive tackle Linval Joseph, who was hit in the left calf by a stray bullet in an Aug. 9 nightclub shooting in Minneapolis, returned to practice for the first time since the shooting on Monday, working out with the Minnesota Vikings as they prepare for their season opener on Sunday.

Joseph had said last week that he would be ready for the start of the regular season, and his participation in practice on Monday would suggest he's still on track to play, as would the Vikings' decision to cut nose tackle Fred Evans and start the season with only rookie Shamar Stephen backing up Joseph.

Offensive tackle Phil Loadholt was also back at practice on Monday, nine days after bruising his ankle in a preseason game against Kansas City. Wide receivers Adam Thielen and Rodney Smith, as well as linebackers Anthony Barr and Gerald Hodges, also returned from injuries.

The Vikings were without fullback Zach Line at practice, and linebacker Michael Mauti left early. Tackle Mike Harris, whom the Vikings claimed off waivers on Sunday, was watching practice on Monday.

Sammy Watkins (ribs) practicing Monday

September, 1, 2014
Sep 1
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Buffalo Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins (ribs) participated in at least the start of Monday's practice.

Watkins took part in routes-versus-air while reporters were present. He dropped his first pass and immediately did push-ups.

It's unclear his participation in the remainder of practice, as reporters are allowed only a brief window to watch regular-season practices.

Watkins re-injured his ribs in the Bills' preseason finale last week.

The Bills will practice four times this week before traveling for their season opener against the Chicago Bears.
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Chalk it up as a rookie mistake.

When Buffalo Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins returned to practice -- on a limited basis -- Tuesday following a rib injury, he was optimistic about his chances in playing in Saturday's preseason loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"I'm fine, I could go out there and practice if I need to," Watkins said after Tuesday's practice. "But the thing is doing it without pain, but I could play a full game right now. It's just being safe."

Coach Doug Marrone had a message for the fourth-overall pick after those comments: Hush.

"I told Sammy that you can't talk about injuries," Marrone said after Saturday's game. "That's what gets you in a bid and it doesn't make us look good when you start saying those things. The doctor, at the end of the day, said he couldn't play."

Watkins wasn't in uniform Saturday against Tampa Bay and might also sit out Thursday's preseason finale against the Detroit Lions.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- B.J. Raji seems to think the arm injury he sustained in Friday's preseason game against the Oakland Raiders is not serious.

At least that's what he conveyed to Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy.

"He's pretty confident about it," McCarthy said after the Packers’ 31-21 victory.

But even McCarthy did not sound sure.

Raji is scheduled to undergo more tests on Saturday.

"That's why you do the tests," McCarthy said. "We'll see what the tests say tomorrow."

Raji played parts of the first two defensive series and then did not return. The nose tackle's last play was a 1-yard run by Raiders running back Darren McFadden, and Raji did not appear to injury himself on that play. He was replaced by second-year pro Josh Boyd.

Raji remained on the sideline for the remainder of the first half and had a long, protective sleeve on his right arm, which he did not use during the game. He had ice on his upper arm after the game.

If Raji's injury is serious, the Packers could turn to Ryan Pickett, who played for the Packers from 2006 to 2013. He was not re-signed this offseason and remains unemployed. So does Johnny Jolly, who returned to the Packers last season after serving a three-year NFL suspension, but Jolly plays defensive end and not nose tackle.

The only other injury the Packers announced was to rookie cornerback Demetri Goodson, who sustained a concussion.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants' struggling offensive line lost a key piece in the first half of Friday night's preseason game when left guard Geoff Schwartz was carted off the field with a toe injury.

The Giants later announced that Schwartz had a dislocated toe, which is relatively good news considering the other possibilities that seemed to exist when he was carted off in obvious pain. It's unclear how much time he'll have to miss, but a fracture would have been more significant and potentially devastating to an offensive line that's already having a terrible time in pass protection.

Rookie Weston Richburg replaced Schwartz at left guard with the first-team offense and would be the most likely candidate to fill in if Schwartz misses any time.

Also injured in Friday's game for the Giants were defensive tackle Markus Kuhn (lower leg), wide receiver Marcus Harris (shoulder) and cornerback Zack Bowman (triceps). Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul also came out of the game briefly with an apparent knee injury but did return to the field.

We hope to have further updates on all of these injuries for you after the game ends.
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- Buffalo Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins (ribs) has not yet been cleared to play in Saturday's preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Team doctors told coach Doug Marrone that if the game was Thursday, Watkins would not play. The Bills have an off day Friday before Saturday's game, giving doctors another chance to evaluate Watkins' ribs.

Watkins ramped up his participation slightly in Thursday's practice, taking part in routes versus air after sitting out that portion of practice Tuesday and Wednesday. When the Bills broke into full-team drills, Watkins moved to a side field for a workout.

If Watkins doesn't play Saturday, the Bills are expected to use Mike Williams, Chris Hogan and Robert Woods as their top three receivers with EJ Manuel and the first-team offense. T.J. Graham also could see time with that group.
EARTH CITY, Mo. -- Watching a St. Louis Rams game, preseason or otherwise, without the presence of linebacker James Laurinaitis is a little bit strange.

Since the Rams drafted Laurinaitis in the second round of the 2009 NFL draft, he has been one of the few stalwarts in the lineup at his usual position every day of every week for five years. Before missing the first two preseason games against Green Bay and New Orleans with a left ankle injury, Laurinaitis had only missed a single preseason game early in his career.

[+] EnlargeJames Laurinaitis
Michael Thomas/Getty ImagesJames Laurinaitis (ankle) has been sidelined in the preseason but has not missed a regular season game in his career.
Aside from that minor blip, Laurinaitis has played all 80 regular-season games and rarely even missed practice. A self-described football junkie, Laurinaitis hasn't taken well to sitting out the past couple of weeks. So it was with great pleasure that he returned to practice on a limited basis on Wednesday.

"I don’t rest very well," Laurinaitis said. "It’s not one of my attributes. I don’t like it. It felt good to be out there. I would assume that we do a little more tomorrow and just keep phasing back in."

Laurinaitis suffered the ankle injury early in training camp when he says he tripped over defensive tackle Kendall Langford and awkwardly twisted the ankle. The ankle is the same one Laurinaitis had bone spurs in and was cleaned out in minor surgery in the offseason. According to Laurinaitis, the injury actually deals with the same ligament though it's a different injury.

More than two weeks removed, Laurinaitis said he's feeling much better.

"It just happened to be that exact ligament, got stressed a little bit," Laurinaitis said. "It really felt great today."

Whether Laurinaitis plays against the Cleveland Browns on Saturday remains to be seen, but he has made it clear that he'd like to get some work in the preseason one way or another.

"I want to get out there just to be able to, if I don’t play Saturday I’ll definitely play against Miami because I need to get out there and hit blocks and throw and tackle and all those things," Laurinaitis said. "That’s why I don’t like just kind of standing around."

Of course, if this weekend was the start of the regular season, there's little doubt in Laurinaitis' mind that he'd be playing. The Rams have taken a cautious approach with all of their key injured players, bringing them along slowly to ensure there are no setbacks.

Despite Laurinaitis' desire to get back on the field sooner than later, he has come to grips with that approach knowing that it's a means to an end.

"I pride myself always on being available," Laurinaitis said. "We always talk about ability and availability. Two big things that Coach [Gregg] Williams is big on and I’ve always been big on. I pride myself on the fact that I haven’t missed a regular season game. You’ve got to be smart. Because if you go out there like, ‘Hey, let’s test it’ and you do all these things then you have a setback and you’re out another four weeks or three weeks, that would be a terrible deal."
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- While the Denver Broncos hoped for the best, the revelation that linebacker Danny Trevathan has a fracture just below his left knee rather than ligament damage still has to be considered good news and leaves open the possibility Trevathan could return before the Broncos are a quarter of the way through their regular-season schedule.

Or, as head coach John Fox put it following Tuesday night’s practice: “We were hoping it was a bruise, that would have been the best news. Obviously that’s better than ligament damage, those are the out-for-the-season types of things."

Trevathan suffered medial tibial impaction fracture during Tuesday’s morning practice and Fox said Trevathan had “a crack ... high on the tibia."

The Broncos have put Trevathan’s timetable for recovery at “four to eight weeks," while Trevathan has said he’s hoping for a slightly quicker return at four to six weeks. Either way the key, according to Stephania Bell, ESPN’s injury analyst and a board-certified orthopedic clinical specialist, will be the care Trevathan and the Broncos take early on with the injury.

Trevathan must keep weight off of his left leg initially in his recovery to prevent the fracture from becoming any larger or creating any other issues in the knee. Depending on how the fracture heals the Broncos can, according to Bell, have Trevathan put weight on the leg on a graduated basis.

Once Trevathan has progressed to the point where he can move the knee, the Broncos can use several methods for him to maintain his conditioning until he returns to the field. He can do work in a pool to keep weight off of his leg or the Broncos can use an AlterG, a type of treadmill that would allow the Broncos to control the amount of weight Trevathan can put on the leg while also simulating the action of running.

But all of those things would not begin until the fracture has healed enough to allow it. The Broncos say Trevathan will not need surgery to repair any cartilage or ligament damage around the fracture and believe the linebacker could return to the lineup following a Week 4 bye.

That timetable would mean Trevathan would miss three regular-season games. The Broncos, who have an early-season bye in Week 4, face the Arizona Cardinals in Week 5 and the New York Jets in Week 6.

The third-year linebacker, who was the team’s leading tackler last season with 124, and is one of the most versatile players in defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio’s scheme. Trevathan, who plays on the weak side in the base defense, is a three-down player at the position with enough strength to fill gaps in the run defense and enough speed and athleticism to work downfield in pass coverage.
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. -- Drew Brees remained sidelined by a strained oblique during Monday’s practice, increasing the odds that he will sit out the New Orleans Saints' second preseason game on Friday night against the Tennessee Titans.

However, Brees continued to show signs that he won’t be out for too long. He threw passes to receiver Kenny Stills and ran with cornerback Champ Bailey, among other exercises on an adjacent practice field.

Saints coach Sean Payton didn’t bother with another daily status update calling Brees "day to day" and adding that Brees is "getting there."

Payton did, however, elaborate slightly when asked about the injuries to cornerbacks Bailey and Patrick Robinson and how they’ll affect the Saints' evaluation of that No. 2 cornerback battle. Although Payton didn’t specify either player's injury, he predicted both will return to practice soon.

Bailey, who has been sidelined since July 31, did more running on the side Monday than we have seen to date. Robinson, who left Sunday’s practice early, spent some time on the stationary bike Monday.

"I think (Bailey) is making progress, and I think sooner than later he’s gonna be back out here," Payton said. "Champ’s someone that’s smart enough to know his body and obviously wants to make sure he’s 100 percent. ...

"I think with regards to Patrick, I don’t anticipate him being out a whole lot of time. He’s in good shape and he was smart enough yesterday, he just felt it get tight and he pulled off."

In another bit of good news, running back Pierre Thomas returned to practice in full pads and participated in some full-team drills after being held out of last Friday’s preseason opener and Sunday’s practice with an undisclosed injury.

Meanwhile, guard Jahri Evans, linebacker Victor Butler, fullback Erik Lorig, cornerback Rod Sweeting and safety Ty Zimmerman remained absent from practice.

Kicker Shayne Graham was present but did not participate in practice after suffering an undisclosed injury during Friday’s game. Stills, offensive tackle Ty Nsekhe and tight end Je'Ron Hamm were also present but didn’t participate.

Safety Jairus Byrd and guard Ben Grubbs were dressed in full pads and did some individual work, but they did not participate in full-team drills.

UPDATE: Center Jonathan Goodwin and linebackers David Hawthorne and Kyle Knox were not present at the Saints’ afternoon walk-through. It’s unknown if their absences were injury-related.
FLOWERY BRANCH, GA. -- Atlanta Falcons free safety Dwight Lowery, who suffered the fourth concussion of his football career during an Aug. 1 training camp practice, has no reservation about returning to full contact.

Lowery practiced in shorts over the weekend and will take the next step in full clearance today as he is to participate in a padded practice. He vowed not to be hesitant based on his concussion history.

"You can't think like that on the football field," Lowery said. "Everybody's out there trying to play to the best of their ability. You think about that type of stuff and it's going to hinder you from playing your best. You just have to trust the process and just go with the flow and go with how you feel and play."

Lowery played in just three games for the Jacksonville Jaguars last season following a Week 3 concussion against the Seattle Seahawks. The one with the Falcons, which occurred after he was blocked by teammate Jacquizz Rodgers, marked his third concussion in the NFL. He also had one in college at San Jose State.

Lowery, the projected starter at free safety, immediately impressed his new teammates with the ball skills he displayed during the offseason. He continued his fine play at the start of training camp before the concussion derailed him.

Now he has to re-establish his rhythm alongside starting strong safety William Moore.

"It's just about practice, just like before," Lowery said. "We're not trying to reinvent the wheel, you know. Just come out and just do the things I've been doing since I got here, and don't treat it any differently than before the injury happened."

If concussion issues resurface for Lowery, Kemal Ishmael would be the next man up at the free safety spot.

Redskins' DeAngelo Hall hurts back

August, 10, 2014
Aug 10
RICHMOND, Va. -- Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall injured his back during this morning's practice and was carted from the sidelines to the facility. Hall fell hard to the ground after defending a pass play, and as he stood on the sidelines, his back bothered him more.

 A Redskins spokesman later said Hall had been examined and suffered a bruise and was receiving treatment. Coach Jay Gruden will update Hall’s situation in his regularly-scheduled press conference at 3:50 p.m.

Tracy Porter replaced Hall during the rest of the full-team work. Hall, who is having a solid camp, is the Redskins’ No. 1 corner and is coming off a strong season. The Redskins need him to stay healthy with Porter coming off offseason shoulder surgery and still not ready to hit full-time. The Redskins are high on rookie corner Bashaud Breeland, but the fourth-round pick is still learning the position in the NFL.
Cornerback Dee Milliner, one of the keys to the New York Jets' season, was helped off the field on Sunday after suffering an apparent injury to his left ankle.

 Milliner went down hard after getting beat deep by rookie Quincy Enunwa. Milliner was in obvious pain, clutching his ankle. Two trainers helped him off the field, and Milliner put no weight on the ankle.

Milliner, who recently boasted that he's the best cornerback in the NFL, is having an excellent camp. Rookie corner Dexter McDougle also left practice with an undisclosed injury. Dimitri Patterson sat out again with calf and ankle injuries, meaning three of the team's top four corners are hurt.
SAN DIEGO -- Ahmad Dixon's start to Dallas Cowboys' training camp was relatively quiet. The rookie safety’s play in the first preseason game wasn’t.

Dixon, a seventh-round pick out of Baylor, led the Cowboys with 11 tackles in Thursday’s 27-7 preseason loss to the San Diego Chargers. He also didn’t finish the game because of a concussion.

[+] EnlargeAhmad Dixon
AP Photo/Jae C. HongSafety Ahmad Dixon, jumping, was full of energy in the preseason opener against San Diego. He led Dallas with 11 tackles.
Dixon was involved in the first-team nickel defense with safety Jeff Heath moving to the slot out of necessity considering the Cowboys’ dearth of cornerbacks. Dixon remained in the game until suffering a concussion while making one of his tackles. He was a little woozy and the athletic training staff was able to take him off the field.

He was replaced by Johnny Thomas, who signed with the Cowboys on Wednesday and has yet to practice with the team.

"I thought for a guy who is young and hasn’t played that much, he seemed to show up," coach Jason Garrett said of Dixon. "Now, we’ll have to go back and evaluate how he covered and how he did some other things defending the run. But for the most part when you make some of those tackles that he did, TFLs and also his open-field plays, that shows up pretty well in his first game."

Dixon was known as a big hitter in college. That showed up. As did a late job picking up a tight end on an 18-yard reception on third-and-7 in the third quarter.

But there were some encouraging signs.

"He was coming downhill like a rocket," safety Barry Church said. "Reminded me of myself a little bit. But he played good. He made a lot of tackles, wrapping up well. He’s just got to get those assignments clear and he’s going to be a good player for us."

He also might need to adjust the way he tackles.

"He’s got to stop leading with the crown of your helmet," Church said. "That’s something he’ll learn over time."
LANDOVER, Md. -- New England Patriots defensive tackle Chris Jones is likely to miss the rest of the preseason with a left ankle injury suffered in Thursday night's preseason opener, according to a source. Jones is to have more tests today on the ankle, but the initial diagnosis is that the injury isn't a season-ending type of situation and that Jones dodged what could have been a more serious injury had it affected his knee.

The injury came on a running play late in the second quarter when fellow defensive tackle Marcus Forston rolled into his left leg as he was blocked by offensive linemen Spencer Long and Tom Compton. Jones' left leg bent awkwardly and members of the team's medical and athletic training staff took a look at Jones' lower leg area, including his knee, as he remained down after the play.

Jones initially needed help walking to the sideline, and after a brief stop on the team's bench, he walked slowly on his own to the locker room alongside members of the athletic training staff.

The Patriots' depth at defensive tackle has been thinned over the past few days, as Sealver Siliga is expected to miss time after injuring his left hand in Tuesday's practice. Now Jones is expected to be sidelined for the near future, but the initial indication is that he has avoided a more serious long-term injury.
The Indianapolis Colts should find out the severity of starting center Khaled Holmes' ankle injury on Friday.

Holmes will likely miss some time because of the injury, leaving the Colts in the position of having to find a new starter on the offensive line for the second time in less than three weeks since training camp started. Starting guard Donald Thomas was lost for the season with a torn quad July 31.

"It’s awful early, too," coach Chuck Pagano said after Thursday’s preseason game against the New York Jets. "By the second quarter, we’re down two on the O-line. And you talk about Donald Thomas, yeah we’ve got our work cut out for us. We’ll get home and we’ll assess the damage, see the extent of those injuries and make the necessary moves that we have to make."

As far as internal options at center, the Colts put rookie Jonotthan Harrison in after Holmes went down. The rookie out of Florida had two bad snaps early, including one that stalled their impressive opening drive, before settling down.

"I mean he’s never played an NFL snap, and before you know it -- we hadn’t planned to put him in until the second half and he’s in there in the first drive -- so I think just listening, watching, I think he rose up to the challenge," Pagano said. “Again, the snaps, we’ll get that fixed. That’s just something -- young guys are going to make mistakes -- so we’ll get that fixed.”

Another option if needed is to slide rookie Jack Mewhort over from guard to center and insert veteran Lance Louis, a former starter in Chicago, at guard.

The Colts, right now, are hoping they won’t be without Holmes for an extended period of time.