NFL Nation: NFL Injury Wire

ORLANDO, Fla. -- While the Dallas Cowboys project quarterback Tony Romo and defensive tackle Henry Melton will be ready for Week 1 of the 2014 season, their availability for the offseason program, starting April 21 is in question.

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Romo, according to owner/general manager Jerry Jones, is ahead of schedule from his recovery from back surgery. Jones said Romo has done some throwing motions but stopped short of saying he was throwing passes to receivers.

There are no guarantees Romo will be throwing passes during the spring OTAs and minicamps.

"We feel like he’s right on schedule and hopefully will be ready to go once we get out on the field in the spring," coach Jason Garrett said Wednesday morning at the NFL owners meetings. "He’s moving around. He hasn’t been out on the field or anything like that yet. By all accounts he’s doing well."

Melton is recovering from a torn ACL, suffered in the third game of the 2013 season. Medical officials told Melton he should be ready for training camp but in terms of working out with the team this spring, like Romo, that's uncertain.

"Like all of the injured players he’s just going through his rehab process, right now," Garrett said. "He had the surgery, I believe in October. We feel like it’s a reasonable timetable to see him at some point this spring or training camp. He’s responded well to the surgery."

There is some good news regrading injuries. Middle linebacker Sean Lee, who missed the final stages of the 2013 season with a torn ligament in his neck, has been cleared to work out and should be fine for the spring sessions.
Hearing that star inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman might miss half the season because of his torn ACL was certainly interesting news Thursday.

However, it shouldn't be shocking. San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said while he wouldn't count Bowman out for Week 1, midway through the season is more realistic. Harbaugh is simply being cautious and showing that Bowman will not be rushed back. It's the right approach.

Bowman hasn't suffered a setback. The normal ACL recovery time is 6-9 months from the time of surgery. Bowman had surgery Feb. 2 so the second half of the season would be the right target date.

The 49ers have experience with starting a season without a key player. Receiver Michael Crabtree missed the first 11 games of the season while recovering from a torn Achilles he suffered in May. The 49ers offense badly missed Crabtree.

I think the team will handle this situation better. They are deep on defense and Bowman will not miss as much time.

Michael Wilhoite did a nice job while playing for an injured Patrick Willis for a short time last season. He will likely get the first crack at replacing Bowman, although I could see the team adding a veteran to provide options and depth while the team waits for Bowman's return.

Cowboys' DeMarcus Ware has surgery

February, 18, 2014
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IRVING, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Ware had successful surgery on his right elbow and is not expected to miss any time during the offseason program, according to sources close to Ware.

Ware had been bothered by the elbow injury the past two years but was recently diagnosed with a nerve issue. In a recent interview with ESPNDallas.com, Ware explained that when he would bend his elbow the nerve would be exposed, and when it would get hit it would cause pain. Larry Allen had a similar surgery following the 2001 season and did not have an issue again.

Ware missed three games last season because of a quadriceps strain and was held to a career-low six sacks. With the Cowboys needing to make several salary-cap driven decisions this offseason, the team could approach him about re-working his contract. He is set to make $12.25 million this year and count $16 million against the salary cap.

Ware wants to practice more too

February, 13, 2014
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IRVING, Texas -- Earlier in the offseason, coach Jason Garrett said DeMarcus Ware needs to practice more if he wants to return to Pro Bowl form.

Ware agrees.

“I feel when I practice more or just practice in general I do play better,” Ware said. “When you’re out there, you do your reps, you’ve seen it, but there’s nothing like simulating going against full speed.”

[+] EnlargeDeMarcus Ware
AP Photo/James D. SmithDeMarcus Ware has missed a lot of practice time the past two seasons, which may help explain his declining stats.
With hamstring, quadriceps, shoulder, back and elbow injuries in 2012 and ’13, Ware felt he would be better served being stronger on game day than aggravating an injury in practice.

“My mentality is if there’s anything, I’m going to play through it,” Ware said. “If you want me to play in a game, I’m going to give all I got. What I would do in practice, the contact stuff I wouldn’t make it through it so I wouldn’t do it. Let me get a couple of run plays in here so I can see the runs, see the plays and what they do. With the pass rush, if we’ve got some stunts, I want to go through that so I got the timing right.”

Garrett believes the time off impacted Ware’s numbers. In 2012-13, Ware was on the daily injury report 57 times. He has been listed as a full participant 14 times. He has been listed as limited 22 times and as did not practice 21 times. Of the 96 practices the past two seasons in which a daily injury report was filed with the league, Ware was limited or out 43 times.

In the last two seasons Ware has recorded 17.5 sacks. In 2010-11, Ware was on the daily injury report 18 times. He was listed as a full participant twice, limited 11 times and did not practice five times. In those seasons he had 35 sacks.

"He's missed a lot of practice time over the last couple of years because of all these injuries and that's something that can impact a player, even a player of his caliber," Garrett said earlier in the offseason. "You need to practice. You need to make sure you have the skills necessary to play your best come Sunday and he's done an amazing job from a mental and physical toughness standpoint of playing in these games. We've got to get him to the point where he's healthy and he can practice and get himself ready to play the way he's capable of playing."

Kellen Davis a surprise inactive

February, 2, 2014
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Seattle Seahawks had a big surprise on the inactive list when tight end Kellen Davis was announced as one of the seven players who will not suit up for the Super Bowl.

That leaves Seattle with only two tight ends for the game -- starter Zach Miller and rookie Luke Willson. Davis (6-foot-7, 265 pounds) has been used quite a bit as an extra blocker, especially in goal-line situations.

There was no report this week of Davis being injured or missing practice.

The other six inactives were not a surprise: receiver Bryan Walters, rookie running back Christine Michael, offensive tackles Michael Bowie and Caylin Hauptmann, defensive tackle Jordan Hill and defensive end Benson Mayowa.

Jammer among Broncos' inactives

February, 2, 2014
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Denver Broncos inactives for Super Bowl XLVIII included at least one minor surprise when cornerback Quentin Jammer was one of the seven players who will not suit up for the game, according to the Broncos.

Jammer had played in some of the Broncos' specialty units down the stretch and the decision meant cornerback Marquice Cole, who was signed in the days leading up to the AFC Championship game, would be in uniform Sunday night.

The Broncos' other inactives are: quarterback Zac Dysert, running back Ronnie Hillman, tackle Vinston Painter, guard Chris Kuper, tight end Joel Dreessen and defensive tackle Sione Fua.

Fua has battled a calf injury for the last week.
NEWARK, N.J. -- After being held out of practice for a week because of an illness, Denver Broncos kicker Matt Prater made his first public appearance Tuesday since the team arrived to the New York/New Jersey area.

Prater participated in the team’s media day event at the Prudential Center and is on track to practice Wednesday when the Broncos conduct a workout at the New York Jets' practice facility. Prater said he felt "a lot better" and spent his time Tuesday answering the usual questions for kickers about potential Super Bowl game winners and bad weather for Sunday’s Super Bowl XLVIII.

Asked how weather might affect the game, Prater said, "You know me. I’m not a huge thinker about too much. It’s just one of those things where I think no matter what, if you hit the ball well, it’s going to go straight and it’s going to go far. I’m not worried about it too much. I don’t think it’s going to be too windy. If anything, the wind affects it more than the cold. As long as it’s not too windy, I think we’ll be fine to get the touchbacks, hopefully limit their return game."

The Broncos held Prater out of practice Thursday, Friday and Saturday, in part, for Prater to recover and to avoid passing the illness to other players a week out from the title game. Broncos coach John Fox has said repeatedly Prater would be fine for Sunday’s game.

Prater led the NFL in touchbacks on kickoffs during the regular season and was 25-of-26 on field goal attempts, including 6-of-7 from 50 or more yards, including an NFL record 64-yarder Dec. 8 against the Tennessee Titans.

Prater is 5-of-6 in the postseason, including a 4-of-4 performance in the AFC Championship Game last Sunday.
RENTON, Wash. -- Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said receiver Percy Harvin has returned to full speed and won’t have any restrictions on his participation in Super Bowl XLVIII.

Harvin
"He did great [in practice this week] and looked 100 percent and full speed the whole time," Carroll said after Friday’s practice. "He looks ready to go. I have no hesitations in saying that. He’s playing and doing everything we can ask him to do, every aspect of it."

That likely means Harvin will return kickoffs along with playing receiver.

Four players did not practice Friday -- receiver Doug Baldwin (hip pointer), linebacker K.J. Wright [foot], running back Marshawn Lynch [knee bruise] and cornerback Bryon Maxwell [neck]. All four are listed as probable for the Super Bowl.

"Actually, they’re more than probable," Carroll said. "They’re fine, and they’ll play."

Defensive tackle Brandon Mebane was limited in practice with a sore ankle, but Carroll said Mebane will be fine by next weekend.
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The Denver Broncos held kicker Matt Prater out of Friday’s practice, the second consecutive day Prater was not on the field with the team.

“He’s got a virus, sickness,’’ said Broncos head coach John Fox.

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Asked if Prater was too sick to practice or if he was held out of the team’s activities to keep other players from getting sick, Fox said; “A combination of both, like most sick players. We sent him to the doc. They deal with it, give him medication. He’ll be fine."

Prater is still slated to travel with the team Sunday to the New York/New Jersey area.

Prater led the NFL in touchbacks on kickoffs during the regular season and was 25-of-26 on field goal attempts in the regular season, including 6-of-7 from 50 or more yards. Prater is 5-of-6 in the postseason, including a 4-of-4 performance in the AFC Championship Game this past Sunday.

Also, Friday defensive tackle Sione Fua (calf) was held out of practice -- he was limited in Thursday’s practice -- while defensive tackle Mitch Unrein (knee) and running back Knowshon Moreno (ribs) were limited.

Unrein was held out of practice Thursday. Both Moreno and Unrein are expected to be available to play in Super Bowl XLVIII.
RENTON, Wash. -- With Percy Harvin declaring his ready to go, it appears the Seahawks will be close to full strength for the Super Bowl against the Denver Broncos.

Receiver Doug Baldwin and running back Marshawn Lynch didn't practice Thursday, but both should be fine for the game on Feb. 2.

Baldwin has a hip pointer, but said Thursday that he's fine. Lynch is listed as having a knee injury, but his non-participation in practice is more about getting rest.

Defensive tackle Brandon Mebane, who has a sore ankle, returned to practice on a limited basis Thursday. He also should be full speed for the Super Bowl.

A day after a painful 23-17 loss at Seattle, the San Francisco 49ers got some clarity on injuries to two key players.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that linebacker NaVorro Bowman has a torn MCL in addition to a torn ACL on his left knee. The early indications Sunday was Bowman suffered a torn ACL. Also, a source confirmed that guard Mike Iupati broke his fibula in the game. The initial thought by the team was he fractured his ankle.

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Iupati's recovery time is about two months. It will not affect his 2014 season.

Bowman's recover will be a storyline throughout the offseason. Schefter reported that tears such as Bowman's are routine enough that he is expected to be ready for the start of the season.

However, the torn MCL complicates matters because it will likely delay his surgery for the torn ACL. Thus, it could extend his recovery time. So, if there are any complications, there is a chance Bowman could miss some time in the regular season.

Bowman's and Iupati's injuries continued a trend of the 49ers suffering major injuries at Seattle. Defensive tackle Ian Williams was lost for the season in Week 2 at Seattle.
RENTON, Wash. -- Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said receiver Doug Baldwin suffered a hip pointer in the NFC Championship Game, but he believes Baldwin will be OK in time for the Super Bowl against the Denver Broncos on Feb. 2.

“He’s banged up a little bit,” Carroll said. “He’ll be a little bit slow on Wednesday [at practice] and this week, but he’ll be OK for the game.”

Baldwin had one of his best games of the season Sunday in the 23-17 victory over the San Francisco 49ers, catching six passes for 106 yards. He also returned a kickoff 69 yards, which came after he injured his hip in the second half.

Baldwin was asked after the game how the hip injury affected him.

“Significantly,’’ he said. “I’m going to be pretty hurt [Monday], but it’s the game that we play. You deal with those injuries and pains. It’s nothing new.”

Carroll also was asked how linebacker K.J. Wright was feeling after playing for the first time since undergoing surgery on Dec. 11 to repair a foot fracture.

“He has a sore foot, but it’s not bad,’’ Carroll said. “He feels OK. He was really excited that he didn’t reinjure himself and made it through it.”

Carroll also said that defensive tackle Brandon Mebane will be limited in practice this week with a sore ankle, but should be fine for the Super Bowl.

Carroll said running back Marshawn Lynch will get some get some rest this week after taking some big hits Sunday when he rushed for 109 yards on 22 carries, including a 40-yard touchdown run.
DENVER -- For the second straight season, New England Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib was forced to depart the AFC Championship Game due to injury, leaving early in the second quarter with a knee injury that sidelined him for the balance of the team's 26-16 defeat against the Denver Broncos.

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"[It was] very difficult," Talib said after the game of the injury.

Upon exiting, Talib went to the locker room multiple times, while also continuing to work out and jog on the sidelines in anticipation of a possible return. That never happened, however, as he stayed out of the game. After originally reporting it to be a rib injury, the Patriots later clarified it was his knee that was hurt.

"If I could be out there, I would've been out there, man," Talib said after the game.

Talib was injured on a play in which former Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker collided with him on an underneath route in which no penalty was called.

"That was a key play in the game," Patriots coach Bill Belichick deadpanned after the game.

"I can't even remember how the play went," Talib said following the loss.

Without its Pro Bowl cornerback, the banged-up Patriots secondary was picked apart by Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and his cast of star receivers. Manning had 289 of his 400 yards passing after Talib left and at one point completed 14 straight throws.

"It was very tough," cornerback Alfonzo Dennard said about the loss of Talib. "After he went out, they attacked. It was very hard."
SEATTLE -- As expected, the San Francisco 49ers are going to be in excellent health for the start of Sunday's NFC championship at Seattle.

The team's two injury question marks -- cornerback Carlos Rogers and fullback Will Tukuafu -- are active and will play. Rogers missed the past two games with a hamstring injury. Tukuafu missed most of the Carolina game with a knee injury.

Rogers will be the nickel cornerback. Perrish Cox, who played well when Rogers was out, will be the fourth cornerback.

Veteran Eric Wright is inactive because Rogers is active and because Cox beat him out two weeks ago. The 49ers expected more from Wright this season, but they see the younger Cox as a more reliable option.

No roster moves for Patriots

January, 18, 2014
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DENVER -- The 4 p.m. ET deadline for NFL teams to make roster moves for Sunday's conference championship games has passed, and the Patriots didn't have any transactions.

That leaves rookie Ryan Allen is the lone punter on the roster. As reported earlier in the week, the hope was that he would be available on Sunday and nothing changed over the team's week of practice to alter that expectation.

Allen sprained the AC joint in his right shoulder in the second quarter of the team's divisional-round playoff win over the Colts and has been limited in practice all week.

Also, with rookie receivers Aaron Dobson (foot) and Kenbrell Thompkins (concussion/hip) questionable for Sunday's AFC Championship, one line of thinking was that the Patriots might consider promoting a practice squad receiver. They did not do so for this game, which could be a positive sign for the availability of Dobson and/or Thompkins.

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