NFL Nation: NFL Injury Wire

RENTON, Wash. -- Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said free safety Earl Thomas will play in the Super Bowl after Thomas returned to practice Friday on a limited basis.

Thomas missed the first two days of practice this week after suffering a separated shoulder in the NFC Championship against the Green Bay Packers.

Thomas
“It’s over, really,” Carroll said of Thomas’ injury concerns. “There were two days of him being very uncomfortable [sitting out practice]. It’s really good to get him back out because of all the continuity that these guys have shared for so long. It picks everybody up.

“That’s a big statement that Earl is going to be fine for next week. It’s going to take him all the way to game day and we’ll keep him from getting banged up [next week in practice], but he’ll be fine by game time.”

At this point, everyone on the 53-man roster is good to go for the Super Bowl, including cornerback Richard Sherman, who suffered a sprained elbow against Green Bay.

“Richard did everything," Carroll said. “He took every snap this week and looked totally fine.”

Carroll said he didn’t know whether Sherman would wear a brace on his arm for the Super Bowl.

Starting right guard J.R. Sweezy missed practice all week, but Carroll said Sweezy also is OK.

“We rested J.R. this week," Carroll said. “He’s has some ankle issues that have been kind of nagging all year, so we took the benefit of the [bye] week. He could play this week if we were playing.”

Right tackle Justin Britt, who missed the game Sunday with a knee injury, practiced all week, and Carroll said Britt was fine.
INDIANAPOLIS -- Robert Mathis sightings around the Indianapolis Colts' facility during the media portion were pretty rare during the season.

There was no reason for linebacker to be in the locker room since he was out for the season with a torn Achilles, but you also wondered how his rehabilitation was going and if he would be ready for the start of training camp in July.

Mathis
“No, he’s still in recovery,” general manager Ryan Grigson said when asked if he’s confident Mathis will be ready for training camp. “He’s a freak and you hope that he has an athletic genetic freak type of recovery so that he’s ready day one of training camp. But that information is not clear yet or a timeline is not there because it’s a tough injury. Hopefully in a couple months from now, we’ll be able to have some information on that.”

The Colts definitely missed Mathis' pass-rush skills. He had 19.5 sacks in 2013. Rookie Jonathan Newsome led the team with just 6.5 sacks this season.

“Obviously having [Mathis] out was a big hole,” Grigson said. “But we don’t make excuses. That stuff gets forgotten and it should because a lot of teams win without key players. The next man up is for real. We found a way to still get pressure and play without his presence, but it makes it a heck of a lot harder, I promise you that. Just having him out on the field, even if he didn’t get out of his stance, it’s still going to command two blockers or more. That completely changes the complexion of a game just having him physically out there.

Here’s what ESPN injury expert Stephania Bell said when I asked her about a timetable on returning from a torn Achilles back in September.

“We see the 6-9 month return thrown around a lot ... Once the repair is solid and you have the basic range of motion back, then you start increasing the load on the tendon in that 3-6 month window. That’s usually tough with athletes in that recovery. You restricted your motions for a while and now you’re really working to get it back and start loading up the tendon. You’re going from being very protective to be more aggressive and that transition part is hard. The final stage after that is getting back into game shape.”

Injury report: Bryan Stork out for Colts game

January, 16, 2015
Jan 16
5:20
PM ET
INDIANAPOLIS – Colts cornerbacks Vontae Davis and Greg Toler are listed as questionable for Sunday’s AFC Championship Game at New England on Sunday, coach Chuck Pagano said Friday.

Davis and Toler were both limited in practice for the second straight day.

“We’re just taking care of them,” Pagano said. “We’re just trying to make the best decisions to get them to Sunday healthy and ready to go. So it wouldn’t be wise to do certain things right now and risk that.”

When asked if he expects Davis and Toler to play Sunday, Pagano said, “Absolutely.”

The Colts are healthy otherwise heading into Sunday’s game.
Detroit Lions running back Joique Bell posted on Instagram on Thursday night that he had surgery to fix an undisclosed issue.

Bell had a few injuries throughout the course of the season, including suffering an Achilles injury prior to Week 17 against Green Bay. The injury didn't keep Bell from playing against the Packers or in Detroit's playoff game against Dallas.

He also had an ankle injury in November that he played through. Bell did not say what he had surgery on in his Instagram photo.

Surgery was a success, be right back like I left something #Concrete

A photo posted by Joique Bell (@j35ive) on



Bell, who was Detroit's leading rusher in 2014, wasn't the only Detroit player to have surgery scheduled.

Right tackle LaAdrian Waddle was placed on injured reserve after being carted off against Minnesota in Week 15 with an injury to his left knee.

On Wednesday, Waddle tweeted he is finishing his last two classes to graduate from Texas Tech this semester -- and that he's having surgery as well.

RENTON, Wash. -- Seattle Seahawks starting right tackle Justin Britt (knee) and starting defensive tackle Tony McDaniel (shoulder) were full participants in practice Thursday after missing practice Wednesday.

It’s an encouraging sign that both players will be ready to go for the NFC Championship Game Sunday against the Green Bay Packers, but Seattle coach Pete Carroll wasn't sure about it before practice Thursday.

“We've got to wait and see,” Carroll said. “{Britt] has got a little bit of a sore knee. [McDaniel] has a sore shoulder and had to come out of the [Carolina] game [last weekend].”

Everyone on the 53-man roster was a full participant in Thursday’s practice, including running back Marshawn Lynch and defensive end Michael Bennett, who took the day off Wednesday.
Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Eugene Monroe is listed as questionable for Saturday's AFC divisional playoff game at New England.

Monroe
Monroe, who injured his ankle during a Dec. 21 game at Houston, had missed the last two games before returning to practice this week. He had limited participation on Wednesday and Thursday.

If Monroe can start at left tackle, the Ravens will likely move undrafted rookie James Hurst from left tackle to right tackle and shift back Marshal Yanda from right tackle to guard.

It would mark Monroe's first postseason game of his six-year NFL career.

Backup defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan is probable after full participation in practice this week. Jernigan, a rookie second-round pick, has four sacks this season.

Pats injury report: All on board for Saturday

January, 9, 2015
Jan 9
4:34
PM ET
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots made full use of their first-round bye as the remaining four players on the team's injury report are all expected to play in Saturday's AFC Divisional playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens.

Wide receivers Julian Edelman (concussion) and Brandon LaFell (shoulder/toe) were two of the bigger question marks for the Patriots heading into the week. Since both are listed as probable, they are expected to play on Saturday,

Patriots running back Jonas Gray (ankle), who was held out of the season finale against the Bills, is also expected to play.

Quarterback Tom Brady (ankle) continues to be listed on the injury report, but his game status was never in question.



IRVING, Texas – Dallas Cowboys linebacker Anthony Hitchens (right) and defensive tackle Terrell McClain (left) are battling through high ankle sprains and aren’t sure if they will be able to practice on Wednesday.

Hitchens
Hitchens played in 33 snaps in last week’s wild-card win against the Detroit Lions, more than the Cowboys anticipated because Rolando McClain suffered a concussion in the first half.

“I feel better this week than I did at this time last week,” Hitchens said before walking to the athletic trainer’s room for treatment.

Terrell McClain said he expected to be limited during the week after he was hurt in the first quarter. Hitchens did not practice last week and was able to play. McClain hopes to follow the same plan.

“Oh, I’m playing,” Terrell McClain said.

Right tackle Doug Free continues to get treatment on his left ankle but the Cowboys are not expecting him to be available against the Packers. He has missed the last three games.

Rolando McClain was spotted in the facility Tuesday after the Cowboys’ walkthrough. He needs to be cleared through the concussion protocol in order to play against the Packers. He is also battling a sore neck.
RENTON, Wash. -- Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle Jordan Hill, who had 5.5 sacks and an interception in the last six games, will not play Saturday in the playoff game against the Carolina Panthers.

Surprisingly, it’s not because of the sprained knee Hill suffered late in the regular-season finale against the St. Louis Rams.

“Jordan is not going to make it back," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Tuesday. “He actually injured himself working out over the weekend. He has a severe calf pull on the other leg that will keep him out.”

Carroll said it’s unlikely Hill will return this season even if the Seahawks make it back to the Super Bowl. Hill is a big loss in the trenches for the Seahawks, a player who stepped up and played his best football after nose tackle Brandon Mebane was lost for the season with a torn hamstring.

Carroll hope Demarcus Dobbs, who missed the last three games with an ankle injury, will return and step in for Hill.

The Seahawks also signed veteran defensive tackle Landon Cohen on Monday. Cohen hasn’t played this season, but had worked out earlier with the Seahawks.

“He a very active guy and similar to the way Jordan plays,” Carroll said of Cohen. “We don’t know how he will do being out all year, but we’ll see.”

Carroll also said David King, who plays defensive end and defensive tackle, likely will play more this weekend.

Backup safety Jeron Johnson, who suffered a dislocated elbow in the final regular season game, also will not play Saturday.

The good news wide receiver Jermaine Kearse and starting center Max Unger are expected to return this weekend.

“I’ll try to get back out there," said Unger, who missed the last six games with a high-ankle sprain. “I’ve got a good shot to get out there this week. I went to all the meetings and tried to stay in the week-to-week mode. And the bye week was huge for me.”

Cornerback Tharold Simon, who missed the last game after suffered a dislocated shoulder in Arizona on Dec. 21, also is excepted to play Saturday.
INDIANAPOLIS -- Indianapolis Colts backup running back Trent Richardson is questionable for Sunday’s playoff game against Cincinnati after missing practice with an illness.

Richardson
Richardson, who has been a disappointment in his time with the Colts, lost his starting job for the second straight season in Week 16 to Daniel Herron. Richardson rushed for 519 yards and three touchdowns on 159 carries this season.

Colts coach Chuck Pagano ruled out starting right guard Hugh Thornton (shoulder) for the game and said offensive line A.Q. Shipley (ankle) is doubtful Sunday.

Lance Louis will likely start at right guard and Joe Reitz will start at right tackle in place of Gosder Cherilus, who was placed on injured reserve earlier this week.
ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- It looks like Detroit Lions coach Jim Caldwell might not get his Nick Fairley miracle after all.

The defensive tackle is officially listed as doubtful for Sunday against Dallas after returning to practice on a limited basis Thursday and Friday. This does not bode well for Fairley’s chances of making his return against the Cowboys.

Only one Detroit player has been officially ruled out for Sunday’s game. Right guard Larry Warford, who has not practiced all week, is officially out with a right knee injury. He’ll likely be replaced in the lineup by rookie Travis Swanson, who started Week 17 at center and started at right guard this season when Warford injured his left knee.
PITTSBURGH -- Today is critical for Le'Veon Bell as it will be the last chance the second-year running back has to get some work with the offense before the Pittsburgh Steelers’ AFC wild-card playoff game.

But the Steelers' final practice of the week won’t necessarily determine whether Bell plays Saturday night against the visiting Baltimore Ravens. Offensive coordinator Todd Haley said Bell could play against the Ravens even if he does not practice this week.

Bell
Bell has yet to practice since hyperextending his right knee last Sunday night, and he has only done some light running since getting hurt in the Steelers’ 27-17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Steelers usually don’t dress players who have not practiced leading up to a game. But it’s easy to see why they would make an exception for Bell, who led the AFC with 1,361 rushing yards and was voted MVP by his teammates last week.

“I don’t know if he could go in and execute everything,” Haley said if Bell is unable to practice today, “but he could handle a bunch.”

Still, the Steelers are expecting the worst and hoping for the best when it comes to their running back situation. That is why they are preparing a committee to make up for the loss of Bell if his streak of playing in 29 consecutive games is snapped.

“It’s not just one guy coming in and doing what he does,” Haley said. “I think it’s a group effort and that includes other positions. That would be too much to put on any one guy what he’s given us.”

A couple of notes:
  • The weather is supposed to be nasty Saturday night with forecasts calling for freezing rain. When asked how bad weather could affect the Steelers’ offense, Haley said, “We’ve got a quarterback that’s a mudder, so to speak, and can play in all conditions. It’s a matter of coaching the guys and making sure everyone understands the focus that’s required whether you’re carrying the bowl, throwing the ball, catching the ball.”
  • Jarvis Jones has played behind James Harrison at right outside linebacker since the former returned from a dislocated wrist in early December. But defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said Jones, the Steelers’ first-round pick in 2013, is still very much a part of the Steelers’ future. “Jarvis is going to be a very good NFL football player. Very good,” LeBeau said. “He’s just back picking it up. At the end of last year he was starting to impact games pretty regularly and he’s going to get back to that level, in my mind, without a doubt.”
TEMPE, Ariz. -- If quarterback Drew Stanton wants to play in Arizona's wild-card game Saturday at Carolina, he has to practice at least one day this week, coach Bruce Arians said.

That’s it. Just one. It doesn’t matter if it happened Tuesday or comes Wednesday or Thursday. That's all Arians wants to see from Stanton before he hands him the ball against the Panthers.

[+] EnlargeDrew Stanton
Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY SportsDrew Stanton needs to get through a practice before he is cleared to play against Carolina on Saturday.
But time is running out on Stanton. He wasn’t on the field during the part of Arizona’s practice Tuesday open to the media. Since an injury report wasn’t required to be distributed, it's unknown if he participated after practice was closed. Arians said there wasn’t a change in Stanton’s status, meaning Stanton continues to recover from a right knee injury suffered against the St. Louis Rams in Week 15.

The Cardinals will go through a walk-through in Charlotte on Friday, but Stanton would need to go through a full practice in order for Arians to consider playing him. Arizona changed their travel plans to fly to Charlotte on Thursday instead of Friday, as was initially scheduled.

“I talked to the players and the players were wanting to get in Thursday night so we moved everything up,” Arians said.

“The players just felt like they needed more rest from the flight itself and the one that you want to do as a coach is to make sure that no one has an excuse. If that’s an excuse, we’re going to fix that one real quick.”

If Stanton misses his third straight game, Ryan Lindley will get his seventh career start.

Sunday against San Francisco saw an improvement from Lindley, who completed 58.9 percent of his passes in the loss to the 49ers. His two touchdown passes were marred by three interceptions, but after almost three full seasons without a touchdown pass, Lindley was glad it happened on his NFL-record 229th attempt.

He gave the ball to his wife Monday.

“To be honest, now that it’s over, maybe it was slightly (bothering me),” Lindley said. “A little bit. You go out there and you don’t think, ‘Hey, I need to finally break this streak of touchdowns. In a sense, it’s like, ‘When am I finally going to get one?’ The biggest thing this week I that I really just said, ‘Calm down, it’s going to come and when it comes, it comes.’ Luckly, it did early.”

Arizona is the fifth team since 2006 to have four different quarterbacks throw a touchdown, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

But Arians said the Cardinals don’t see Lindley as a third-string quarterback, or their fourth quarterback of the season, anymore.

“I don’t think that anything different is expected of us in that locker room,” Arians said. “We don’t look at it as a team with a third-string quarterback. It’s our starting quarterback. He’s a Cardinal so we’d look for the same level of efficiency that we’d see if Carson [Palmer] or Drew were out there.

“I think last week gave everybody, defensively and offensively, the entire group, more confidence that they’re ready to go this week.”

Dont'a Hightower happy for time to heal

December, 30, 2014
12/30/14
5:09
PM ET
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- When the New England Patriots play their next game in the AFC Divisional Round of the playoffs, linebacker Dont'a Hightower will have gone three weeks without playing a game.

Hightower
“When you’ve been playing football this long, if you take three weeks off or a month off, it’s still football at the end of the day,” Hightower said.

Hightower has been battling a right shoulder injury throughout December that held him out of the season finale against the Bills.

“It’s football,” Hightower said. “Everybody gets injured. I’m injured. But, it’s football. I’m going to play through it. It is what it is.”

Hightower said the Patriots will take advantage of every aspect of the bye week -- getting healthy and working on execution.

“I’m one of the first ones to admit [it’s nice to heal up],” Hightower said. “It’s good that we have a slower pace and understand some things and let some guys get healed up. We are definitely taking advantage of it all the way around.”

A few sound bites from Hightower:

On Jamie Collins emergence. “I’m definitely not surprised. [Jamie] is definitely a gifted athlete and I definitely like the experience he had coming in as a rookie, playing as a rookie, he only set the bar high for himself. Jamie is not one to gloat about himself. He’s a quiet type of dude. But, when it comes to work and practice every day, he does the same thing in practice. That’s definitely an example of practice how you play."

On feeling more comfortable this season. “I think so. I have lot of guys around me that help to make me feel a lot more comfortable. So it’s a lot easier this year.”

Labeling LB coach Pat Graham as a “nerd”. Well, he’s definitely a nerd. When I say a nerd, he went to Yale, so a big nerd. It’s great. He learns from us and we’ve learned from him.”

Hightower called himself a nerd, too. “I was always one to talk, trying to be a nerd about things. Pat Graham has done a better job than what we did last year as far as talking about situational things.”

Being a nerd isn’t a bad thing. “It definitely is not [bad]. But, you don’t want to throw that nerd bomb around here too much.”

Alabama vs. Ohio State playoff game. “I’m definitely going to catch that one. Me and Nate [Ebner] have talked. We haven’t set it yet. But I’m sure we will come up with something good.”

SPONSORED HEADLINES

NFL SCOREBOARD