Jock to Doc take: Right before halftime of Monday night’s game against Detroit, Cutler headed into the Bears’ locker room due to some battered ribs. Cutler did practice fully Thursday and according to the Chicago Sun-Times, the Bears’ QB claimed he “should be fine” and that he doesn’t expect to be hindered this Sunday against the Panthers.
Health Rating: Jay Cutler @ 85%
San Diego Chargers at Cleveland Browns
Browns RB Trent Richardson (ribs)
Jock to Doc take: The Akron Beacon Journal reports that Browns coach Pat Shurmur noted his first-round pick “looked way better Wednesday than he did a week ago in practice.” Barring any setbacks, Richardson is on track to start Sunday against San Diego, but fantasy owners should check his Friday practice workload for assurance.
Health Rating: Trent Richardson @ 75%
Seattle Seahawks at Detroit Lions
Lions WR Calvin "Megatron" Johnson (knee)
Jock to Doc take: The Detroit Free Press reports that the Lions’ all-star wideout would have missed the Lions’ Wednesday practice if they had one. Johnson is apparently dealing with some knee issues, and the sluggishness we saw during Monday night’s loss to Chicago could have been a result of his soreness. Then again, it also could be the simple result of Charles Tillman’s shutdown of Megatron. Johnson did practice fully Thursday during the portion of practice open to the media. I expect to see him on the field Sunday.
Health Rating: Calvin Johnson @ 78%
Jacksonville Jaguars at Green Bay Packers
Packers WR Greg Jennings (groin)
Jock to Doc take: Jennings will undergo a minor surgery (about a 20-25 minute process) on Tuesday to repair an abdominal tear, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Jennings noted that he will be able to walk out of the doctor’s office following the procedure and that he will return sometime during this season.
Packers WR Jordy Nelson (hamstring)
Jock to Doc take: Nelson, who according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel will not practice Friday, “may test” his hamstring come Saturday or Sunday. His apparent soreness suggests that he could miss Sunday’s game against a struggling Jacksonville team. With Jennings out, Aaron Rodgers will likely target James Jones and Randall Cobb more frequently this week.
Packers TE Jermichael Finley (shoulder)
Jock to Doc take: Finley has been limited the past two games, and his limitation will likely continue for another week. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Finley asserted, “After this game, if I don’t get pounded, it should be right again,” and also claimed that his shoulder is at 85%. Look for Finley’s snaps to continue to increase, especially after a Week 10 Bye.
Health Rating: Greg Jennings @ 0%, Jordy Nelson @ 55%, Jermichael Finley @ 72%
Washington Redskins at Pittsburgh Steelers
Redskins WR Pierce Garcon (foot)
Jock to Doc take: Garcon has a plantar plate tear, which could require surgery but not imminent surgery. It is unclear when RG3’s weapon will return, but we will likely see him again this season.
Steelers RB Rashard Mendenhall (Achilles)
Jock to Doc take: Mendenhall did not practice Thursday, according to the Steelers’ official website. Backup Isaac Redman was limited Thursday, and Jonathan Dwyer practiced in full. Out of the Steelers’ three backs, Mendenhall’s status is the cloudiest, so it is likely that he will receive a decreased workload this week if he suits up.
Health Rating: Pierce Garcon @ 0%, Rashard Mendenhall @ 70%
New England Patriots at St. Louis Rams
Patriots TE Aaron Hernandez (ankle)
Jock to Doc take: Hernandez, who was limited in practice Wednesday, was not spotted during the media-access portion of New England’s Thursday practice, according to the Boston Globe. Assuming he did not have any major setbacks, he was likely getting his ankle worked on when the media was at practice. Hernandez should be a go this week, but we will monitor his workload during his Friday practice.
Health Rating: Aaron Hernandez @ 70%
New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys
Giants RB Ahmad Bradshaw (foot)
Jock to Doc take: The New York Daily News reports that Bradshaw did not practice Thursday but claimed that his foot “feels good.” His holdback from practice was likely a precautionary move to prepare him for the Giants’ divisional matchup against the Dallas Cowboys, and he should the starter this Sunday.
Cowboys RB Felix Jones (knee)
Jock to Doc take: Felix Jones missed Wednesday’s practice but returned for a limited practice Thursday, according to the Fort Worth Star Telegram. With DeMarco Murray out, Jones, barring a significant setback, will be the starter against New York this Sunday.
Health Rating: Ahmad Bradshaw @ 80%, Felix Jones @ 75%
New Orleans Saints at Denver Broncos
Saints TE Jimmy Graham (ankle)
Jock to Doc take: Graham was limited during New Orleans’ Wednesday and Thursday practices, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Graham noted his ankle was “about the same” as it was Wednesday, and his questionable status seems to be a gametime decision. Owners should monitor his Friday workload; it will speak volumes regarding his availability for Sunday night’s game.
Health Rating: Jimmy Graham @ 70%
San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals
Cardinals TE Todd Heap (knee)
Jock to Doc take: Heap suffered a knee injury during Week 2’s win against New England and has yet to return. He was limited in practice this week, but he was limited last week and was inactive against Minnesota. It is unclear whether the veteran will return to the field on Monday night, but an extra day of rest doesn’t hurt. It will be a game time decision.
Health Rating: Todd Heap @ 65%
Health Ratings: So what do the numbers mean?
100-85% = NFL players are tough and despite injuries still perform at a high level. Let’s be honest, when is an NFL athlete really physically 100%…practically never. With a rating in this range expect players to perform at peak levels.
70-85% = In this range a players performance will be affected but they can still get the job done.
55-70% = Players with a rating this low will require assistance to do their jobs. The team might be better served by placing these warriors on the inactive list. Only some All-Pros can get the job done when rated this poorly.
40-55% = These players need some more time to heal. Unlikely to be active unless miraculous healing occurs or my rating was based on erroneous information.
25-40% = Players will not play but show signs of recovery opening the door for a return to the active roster the following week.
< 25% = Players will not play and there is concern that additional games may be missed.