Biggest NFL injury questions for Week 11

NFL Nation reporters assess the biggest injuries across the league for Week 11.

NFC East | NFC North | NFC South | NFC West
AFC East | AFC North| AFC South | AFC West


NFC East

The Cowboys hope that left tackle Tyron Smith can play Sunday against the Eagles despite not practicing Wednesday. He didn’t play against the Falcons last week because of a groin strain, and the Cowboys were lost without him, giving up eight sacks. If Smith can’t play, then Byron Bell would likely take over for Chaz Green in the starting lineup. Green gave up four of the eight sacks, but Bell still gave up two sacks. Linebacker Sean Lee didn’t practice and could miss the next three games with a hamstring strain. Anthony Hitchens would take over at weakside linebacker, but look for Justin Durant to take more snaps at middle linebacker over Jaylon Smith. — Todd Archer

Defensive tackle Damon Harrison could miss his first game since joining the Giants last season. He’s dealing with an ankle injury and didn’t practice Wednesday. Not having Harrison would change the Giants’ defense. He has been the one constant this season. You don’t run at him when he’s on the field. His replacements — Jay Bromley and Robert Thomas — aren’t known as run-stuffers. Not having Harrison will make life difficult for the Giants against Kareem Hunt and the Chiefs. — Jordan Raanan

The Eagles are expected to get cornerback Ronald Darby back for Sunday’s matchup against the Cowboys. Sidelined since the season opener with a dislocated ankle, the team’s projected No. 1 corner has been a full participant at practice early in the week and has worked with the first team. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz indicated Darby will likely play on the left side when he returns, bumping Jalen Mills to the right. — Tim McManus

Left tackle Trent Williams (knee) and tight end Jordan Reed (hamstring) remain the biggest injury concerns. Neither practiced Wednesday, but that’s not unusual for Williams. It has been his routine since he hurt his knee against the Chiefs in Week 4. Taking three weeks off didn’t help him that much, so for Williams, it’ll always come down to how much pain can he tolerate — the bone bruise and ligament damage impacts his lateral movement, too. The challenge is being ready for the next three games considering the Redskins play on Thanksgiving. Reed was able to practice early last week, then stopped because of the hamstring and sat out a second straight game. He went through agility work on a side field. It’s too early to know his status, and, as of now, the best guess is it’ll be another game-time decision. — John Keim

NFC North

The biggest question mark is right guard Kyle Long, who was officially listed as limited Wednesday. But while Long dressed for last week’s game against Green Bay, the three-time Pro Bowler only played one snap on special teams. He admitted Wednesday that he’s dealing with multiple injuries — dislocated fingers, a torn labrum and ankle problems. Long’s status for Sunday against the Lions is unknown. It also appears the Bears will be without inside linebacker Danny Trevathan for another week. Trevathan did not practice Wednesday as he continues to recover from a serious calf injury. — Jeff Dickerson

Defensive end Ezekiel Ansah (back) missed his fourth practice in a row Wednesday. He missed last week against Cleveland, and if he doesn’t practice Thursday, that doesn’t bode well for his availability against Chicago. Right guard T.J. Lang is still working his way through concussion protocol. If he’s cleared by Sunday, he’ll play. It would be the first time all year the starting offensive line built by general manager Bob Quinn would be in a game. Dwayne Washington is also battling injury — a somewhat common theme for him — and if he’s out, it could mean Zach Zenner‘s return to the active roster. — Michael Rothstein

Coach Mike McCarthy said he was hopeful that Ty Montgomery would be able to play Sunday against the Ravens, but that looks like a long shot. The running back didn’t practice Wednesday after he reinjured the ribs he broke earlier in the season. And considering fellow running back Aaron Jones is out multiple weeks with a knee injury, it looks like it could be rookies Jamaal Williams and Devante Mays in the backfield. Williams was effective in relief of Jones and Montgomery against the Bears last Sunday, but Mays has yet to carry in a regular-season game. — Rob Demovsky

Right tackle Mike Remmers was back in practice in a limited capacity since exiting the Week 8 win over the Browns with a concussion. The Rams’ defensive line is among the best the Vikings will see this year, so getting Remmers back for Sunday is a top priority. Everson Griffen‘s (foot) absence was felt last week against Washington. The Vikings didn’t generate much pressure off the edge and had a combined six pressures on 86 pass-rushing snaps between Danielle Hunter and Brian Robison. Coach Mike Zimmer said that he expects Griffen, who was a late scratch in Week 10, to be ready to go Sunday. Safety Andrew Sendejo was the only player to miss practice Wednesday. He sustained a groin/hamstring injury late against the Redskins and exited the game. — Courtney Cronin

NFC South

Two-time Pro Bowl running back Devonta Freeman is the biggest concern right now as he sustained his second concussion since August, the third of his Falcons career. Although coach Dan Quinn stopped short of declaring Freeman out for Monday night’s showdown at Seattle, the Falcons surely will be cautious not to rush Freeman back before he’s ready. Tevin Coleman will have to shoulder more of the load at running back until Freeman returns. — Vaughn McClure

Tight end Greg Olsen is on pace to come off injured reserve after the bye and play in the Week 12 matchup with the Jets. Olsen has been out since breaking his foot in a Week 2 win over Buffalo. His return should be a spark for the team, particularly after losing wide receiver Curtis Samuel (ankle) for the season last week. But Monday is the big day for Olsen to test to see if the foot can handle the pressure of facing live competition. — David Newton

Linebacker A.J. Klein didn’t practice Wednesday because of the ankle injury that knocked him out of last week’s game at Buffalo. Klein will absolutely be missed if he can’t play this week, since he has been a great addition as the “quarterback” and signal-caller in the middle of the defense. But the Saints do have solid depth behind him with veterans Manti Te’o and Craig Robertson — as they showed by not missing a beat in the 47-10 rout at Buffalo. The rest of the injury report was promising. Everyone was either full or limited, including safety Kenny Vaccaro, who returned after missing last week with a groin injury. — Mike Triplett

Quarterback Jameis Winston will be out for at least another week and possibly longer, depending on how his shoulder responds to the two weeks prescribed rest by multiple doctors, including Dr. James Andrews. Coach Dirk Koetter said he expects to see Winston back sometime this season, while general manager Jason Licht said that while they are sticking with two weeks, there is “no real timeline” and he could be out for “an extended period.” Koetter also said that there had been no discussion between him and Licht on shutting Winston down for the season, and surgery is currently not being considered. — Jenna Laine

NFC West

All eyes are on quarterback Drew Stanton. He has a knee injury that has been reported as a sprain, but he talked about having a bone bruise Wednesday. He’s progressing every day, faster than coach Bruce Arians anticipated, but his status for Sunday in Houston is still up in the air. Arians will make a decision after Friday’s practice, but one issue that will factor into his decision will be how mobile Stanton can be in order to protect himself on the field. If Stanton can’t play, Blaine Gabbert will get the start. — Josh Weinfuss

There was a longer injury report than usual Wednesday, but it included a morsel of good news: Outside linebacker Robert Quinn, who missed last week’s game with an undisclosed illness, was a limited participant. It’s early, but Quinn, the only starter to not play in Week 10, appears on track to play Sunday in Minnesota. Outside linebacker Connor Barwin (knee), safety Lamarcus Joyner (hip) and left guard Rodger Saffold (ankle) did not practice, but coach Sean McVay said the Rams were mainly being cautious with their players. — Alden Gonzalez

For the third week in a row, San Francisco’s starting free safety is dealing with an injury. But unlike the season-ending fractured forearms suffered by Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt, rookie Adrian Colbert has a fractured thumb. Colbert had surgery on the thumb on Tuesday, and with the Niners on bye, he’ll have additional time to recover. Coach Kyle Shanahan said Colbert is likely to be questionable for the first game after the bye, set for Nov. 26 against Seattle. It’s possible Colbert could play with a cast, and the Niners could use him given how injury-prone they’ve been at such an important position in their defense. — Nick Wagoner

In addition to cornerback Richard Sherman and running back C.J. Prosise — who both went on IR this week — the Seahawks had five other players unable to finish last week’s game against Arizona because of injuries. Coach Pete Carroll said safety Kam Chancellor‘s status wouldn’t be known until doctors evaluate the neck stinger he suffered Thursday night. Carroll was mum on how Duane Brown is progressing from a sprained ankle, so his availability for Monday night’s game against Atlanta is also uncertain. One thing is for sure: Seattle could really use Brown after Adrian Clayborn‘s six-sack field day against Dallas’ backup left tackles Sunday. — Brady Henderson

AFC East

Defensive end Jerry Hughes left last week’s loss to the Saints with a shin/calf injury that kept him out of practice Wednesday. If Hughes cannot return to practice and make the trip this weekend to L.A. to play the Chargers, the Bills will be left with Shaq Lawson, Ryan Davis and Eddie Yarbrough at defensive end. The Bills rank 30th in sacks per opposing pass attempt (4.3 percent) and Hughes leads the team with 3.0 sacks. — Mike Rodak

The Dolphins are relatively heathy this week after suffering no new injuries in Monday’s loss to the Panthers. However, starting guard Ted Larsen is one game in after returning from injured reserve from a bicep tear. His performance is something to watch down the stretch as Miami needs him healthy for the rest of the season. — James Walker

The Patriots will likely be without wide receiver Chris Hogan (shoulder), defensive tackle Malcom Brown (ankle) and right tackle Marcus Cannon (ankle) once again, as those players didn’t make the trip to Colorado Springs, where the team is spending the week before playing Sunday against the Raiders in Mexico City. Phillip Dorsett, Alan Branch and LaAdrian Waddle filled in for them against the Broncos, with Waddle especially getting high marks. Said offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels: “He’s done a good job of staying patient, working hard, waiting his turn, and now he’s trying to make the most of his opportunities, and he’s done well so far.” — Mike Reiss

When the Jets return from their bye, the injury spotlight will focus on two players: running back Matt Forte (knee) and cornerback Morris Claiborne (foot). Forte sat out the last game with his chronic issue, so he will have had a 24-day rest before the next game. The offense missed his pass-catching ability against the Bucs last week. Claiborne aggravated a sprain in the last game and pulled himself out in the first quarter. They need him for the stretch run because they face some tough receivers, and Claiborne often covers the opponents’ No. 1. — Rich Cimini

AFC North

The expectation had been for running back Danny Woodhead to come off injured reserve this week, but Woodhead and team officials have been surprisingly noncommittal about his availability for Sunday’s game in Green Bay. “I don’t know the odds [of playing],” Woodhead said after Wednesday’s practice. “I’m staying in my lane. We’ll see where it takes us.” Woodhead, who has been out since the season opener with a hamstring injury, would provide a much-needed boost to a struggling offense that ranks last in the NFL in passing. He represents the Ravens’ biggest mismatch for defenses. –Jamison Hensley

Cornerback Adam Jones didn’t practice Wednesday and is presumably under the league’s concussion protocol after exiting last week’s loss to the Titans. He’ll likely need to log a full practice Thursday or Friday in order to play Sunday against the Broncos, but with his history of concussions, the Bengals could be without their most veteran defensive back. He suffered from back issues earlier this season, and Darqueze Dennard and Josh Shaw picked up his duties. Will Jackson III also missed practice Wednesday while still nursing the toe injury that took him out of Sunday’s game at Tennessee. — Laurel Pfahler

Two starting offensive linemen didn’t practice Wednesday. Right tackle Shon Coleman has a concussion, and center JC Tretter has shoulder, knee and quad issues. The Jaguars lead the league in fewest points allowed per game (14.9) and sacks (35), so it would not be a good game Sunday if the Browns are without two offensive linemen. — Pat McManamon

Safety Mike Mitchell (ankle), tight end Vance McDonald (ankle) and outside linebacker James Harrison (back) are all questionable for Thursday’s game against the Titans. All three practiced in limited capacity this week, but the short turnaround affects their probability. The Steelers aren’t rushing Harrison back, knowing they’ll need him for the playoffs. “[Mitchell] has a chance, and we’ll leave the light on for him,” coach Mike Tomlin said. “Same with Vance McDonald.” — Jeremy Fowler

AFC South

The Texans expect to be without wide receiver Will Fuller on Sunday against the Cardinals after he injured his ribs in Week 10 against the Rams. Fuller got injured while attempting to catch a short pass in the middle of the field. After the game, Fuller said he felt OK despite being sore, but didn’t practice Wednesday. — Sarah Barshop

Quarterback Jacoby Brissett will spend the bye in the concussion protocol after suffering the injury late in the third quarter of Sunday’s loss to the Steelers. Brissett didn’t miss any snaps during the game because he was evaluated and cleared to return. It wasn’t until after the game that he started having concussion symptoms. The Colts, who defended their medical staff on its decision to clear Brissett to return to the game, are hopeful that having two weeks in between games will be enough time for the quarterback to get healthy. Scott Tolzien, who was benched after throwing two interceptions in Week 1 against the Rams, will start against the Titans in Week 12 if Brissett isn’t cleared to return by then. — Mike Wells

The Jaguars went from relatively healthy to having six players miss practice Wednesday, including two offensive linemen — right tackle Jermey Parnell and left guard Patrick Omameh. They’re critical to the Jags’ run game, which ranks first in the league. They were out last week and the offensive line played its worst game of the season. The Jaguars do not want to have quarterback Blake Bortles throw it 50 times against the Browns in bad weather, so getting those two back ASAP is the No. 1 priority. — Mike DiRocco

The Titans don’t have any players with injury designations ahead of Thursday night’s showdown with the Steelers. Quarterback Marcus Mariota suffered a sore left shoulder and sprained ankle Sunday, so that could be something to watch if he gets hit or twisted in a way that affects those areas, but I expect him to be mobile and effective. Tight end Delanie Walker (wrist) is also good to go. — Cameron Wolfe

AFC West

Two of the three tight ends on the Broncos’ roster miss practice Wednesday with injuries, which could limit what they can do as far as personnel groupings in Sunday’s game against the Bengals. A.J. Derby (shoulder) and Jeff Heuerman (knee) were held out of Wednesday’s practice as Virgil Green was the only healthy tight end on the active roster to participate. Derby has been the main receiving option at the position to this point with 19 catches and two touchdowns. Green and Heuerman have combined for just 15 catches this season. Derby and Heuerman will be question marks as the week progresses. It could force the Broncos to play out of a three-wide receiver set even more than they have, and they’ve struggled to protect the passer out of that grouping so far this season. — Jeff Legwold

Starter Dee Ford and veteran Tamba Hali didn’t practice Wednesday, raising the issue of whether the Chiefs will have enough depth at outside linebacker Sunday against the Giants. Ford has a back injury that has plagued him most of the season, so it wouldn’t be much of a surprise if he couldn’t play this week. Hali has sore knees that prevented him from practicing most of last season, but he was able to play in all 16 games. If neither plays Sunday, the Chiefs are left with Justin Houston, Frank Zombo and rookie Tanoh Kpassagnon, who is still learning his new position after playing defensive line in college. — Adam Teicher

Quarterback Philip Rivers was a limited participant in a nonpadded practice Wednesday as he works his way through the concussion protocol with hopes of playing Sunday against the Bills. The 35-year-old self-reported concussion-like symptoms Monday. He has made 194 consecutive starts, including postseason games, dating back to when he took over as the team’s starter in the 2006 season. Coach Anthony Lynn said Rivers is doing well, and as his health improves, his workload will increase. Reserve quarterback Kellen Clemens was asked about the possibility of starting Sunday in place of Rivers and had this to say: “In the backup position you prepare the same way every week. You enjoy playing, but I understand my role. I’m here to help Philip and help this team in any capacity possible.” — Eric D. Williams

Sure, David Amerson was only the No. 115-ranked cornerback out of 115 cornerbacks to have played at least 100 pass snaps in passer rating allowed entering last weekend, but Amerson is still considered an upgrade for the Raiders from what they’ve been trotting out. And last week’s bye seemingly did little to help him heal up from the foot injury that has cost him the previous two games. Amerson didn’t participate in practice Wednesday — he ran with trainers off to the side during the open-media window — and the Raiders’ secondary is already shorthanded with rookie Gareon Conley being placed on injured reserve Monday. Oh, and Oakland faces the Patriots and their top-ranked overall and passing offense in the thin-air of Mexico City come Sunday. Paging Sean Smith, Dexter McDonald and TJ Carrie again, then. — Paul Gutierrez

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