09 Jan 2017
by Andrew Potter
As is his custom, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll shared injury updates at his press conference after the team's win against Detroit. Fullback Marcel Reece suffered an injured foot, but initial fears of a fracture have since been dispelled. If Reece is able to practice during the week, he should be available on Saturday. Tight end Jimmy Graham left the game temporarily in the first quarter after being winded by a hit from Lions safety Tavon Wilson, but was able to return a short time later. Halfback Alex Collins is also fine after taking a big hit in the fourth quarter, while defensive end Frank Clark was "hammered in" a "little personal area" but is likewise alright. The one lingering doubt from wild-card weekend is defensive lineman Tony McDaniel, who missed the game against Detroit due to a concussion and still has yet to clear the league protocol. His availability will not be known until later in the week. The same is true of halfback C.J. Prosise, who will return to practice on Tuesday after fracturing his scapula in Week 11 and may yet be able to return against Atlanta.
As for the Falcons, their one outstanding major injury concern is the toe injury which hobbled star receiver Julio Jones in the final weeks of the regular season. Though Jones is not considered in danger of missing the game, he may still be impaired by the injury even with an extra week of rest. Otherwise, the Falcons appear to be about as close to full health as is possible at this stage in the season.
Texans head coach Bill O'Brien has already stated that Brock Osweiler will start the team's divisional round visit to New England, making the status of Tom Savage considerably less relevant than it was ahead of the wild-card round. Otherwise, the Texans have no new injuries to report following Saturday's victory over the Oakland Raiders.
The same is true of the Patriots, who expect to have Danny Amendola back from his late-season ankle injury to add depth in the receiving and return game. Yes, star tight end Rob Gronkowski is on injured reserve and one-time starting offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer was unable to return from the Physically Unable to Perform list this year, but otherwise the Patriots only have three long-term absentees (Jonathan Freeny, Greg Scruggs, and Tre' Jackson) and no major injury worries on their 53-man roster.
The Steelers exited the wild-card round with nothing more than bumps and bruises, despite a late scare suffered by perennial bump-and-bruise magnet Ben Roethlisberger. Though Roethlisberger was in a supportive boot after the game, all indications are that the boot was precautionary and that Roethlisberger is in no danger whatsoever of missing the game in Kansas City. Cornerback Russ Cockrell, injured in a friendly fire collision with Mike Mitchell, was evaluated for a concussion but returned to the game. Robert Golden and Ricardo Mathews, both of whom missed the wild-card win, have a good chance to be available this coming Sunday, while tight end Ladarius Green will have to clear the latter phases of the concussion protocol before he will be able to return. As usual, participation reports will give a clearer picture for this trio later in the week.
The Chiefs have no injured players on their 53-man roster, per head coach Andy Reid. Spencer Ware and Justin Houston are both therefore expected to return to action this weekend after being held out of Week 17 as a precaution. Linebacker Dadi Nicolas, whose season was ended by a patellar tendon tear in that division-clinching Week 17 victory, has been replaced on the 53-man roster by former Jets pass-rusher Victor Ochi.
The big news for the Packers concerns receiver Jordy Nelson, who left Sunday night's game with a rib injury after a nasty body shot from the helmet of Giants safety Leon Hall. Internet rumors of fractured ribs, spleen lacerations, and pneumothorax all seem to trace back to the same Twitter post by former NFL lineman turned orthopedic surgeon Mark Adickes, which was obviously intended as a list of possibilities rather than an actual attempt at video diagnosis. The actual news, courtesy of Mike McCarthy's press conference earlier today, is that Nelson spent the night in the hospital and will spend the rest of the week rehabilitating the (unspecified) injury. If Nelson is able to practice on Saturday, he may be able to play against Dallas. Otherwise, he will be ruled out later in the week. The team received better news on receiver-turned-halfback Ty Montgomery, who limped off the field in the fourth quarter after his legs were caught in a pile of players. Montgomery was able to return later in the game, and is expected to be available as normal this week.
The Cowboys are possibly the team to have benefited most from their bye week, as they expect both Demarcus Lawrence and Tyrone Crawford to be available for the team's first playoff game when they might not have been if the team had played on wild-card weekend. Likewise, left tackle Tyron Smith is expected to be available after injuring his knee against Detroit in Week 16, while fellow lineman La'el Collins has been designated to return from injured reserve and may be able to do so in time to play against Green Bay. Finally, cornerback Morris Claiborne is also expected to return from his sports hernia this weekend, meaning Dallas should have both their offense and their defense at pretty close to full health against the resurgent Aaron Rodgers and his Packers teammates.
6 comments, Last at 19 Jan 2017, 4:38am by Amily
Thanks a lot, Dak Prescott. Now more people will think the fourth round is still a gold mine for quarterbacks, but the data says otherwise. The update to our quarterback draft study for 1994-2016 shows little has changed: finding a good QB is really hard.