Jock to Doc take: The Bengals’ starter missed Wednesday’s practice due to the flu; however, he was back practicing Thursday on a limited basis. Coach Marvin Harris, according to the Washington Post, declined to say how much the rookie was able to practice, but he mentioned that, “He’s fine… It’s not a big deal.” Dalton should be fine Saturday in Houston, but one can’t help but wonder if this bug will affect his play.
Texans QB T.J. Yates (shoulder)
Jock to Doc take: Yates suffered a separated shoulder last week against Tennessee, but since it did not happen to his throwing arm, he should be on track to play this week. According to the Texans’ official team website, Yates fully participated in Wednesday’s and Thursday’s practices.
Texans WR Andre Johnson (hamstring)
Jock to Doc take: Andre Johnson will be playing against Cincinnati this weekend, for he fully practiced on Wednesday and Thursday, according to the team’s official site. Although Johnson has been struggling with a hamstring injury for a large portion of the season, it looks like he will be ready to go during this week’s wild-card game.
Health Rating: Andy Dalton @ 90%
Health Rating: T.J. Yates @ 80%
Health Rating: Andre Johnson @ 70%
DETROIT LIONS AT NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Lions WR Calvin Johnson (Achilles)
Jock to Doc take: The Lions’ star receiver has been nursing an injury to his Achilles tendon but he expects to play Saturday against New Orleans. According to the Washington Times, Johnson practiced Thursday and did not practice Wednesday to give his tendon a rest. The Lions will need him and QB Matthew Stafford at full strength this weekend if they want to outscore the Saints.
Saints WR Lance Moore (hamstring)
Jock to Doc take: Moore did not practice on Wednesday or Thursday, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports. The team has not mentioned that he will be out for the game, but because the game is Saturday, it’s hard to see Moore making a big impact after not practicing most of the week.
Health Rating: Calvin Johnson @ 85%
Health Rating: Lance Moore @ 65%
ATLANTA FALCONS AT NEW YORK GIANTS
Falcons RB Michael Turner (groin)
Jock to Doc take: Turner was limited at practice Thursday, the official team website of the Atlanta Falcons reports; however, there is nothing to suggest that Turner will miss Sunday’s game against the Giants. He will be on the field Sunday.
Giants RB Ahmad Bradshaw (foot)
Jock to Doc take: Ahmad Bradshaw missed his second straight day of practice due to a foot injury. He has, however, been following this routine since December, and he is fully expected to start against the Falcons on Sunday.
Health Rating: Michael Turner @ 85%
Health Rating: Ahmad Bradshaw @ 80%
PITTSBURGH STEELERS AT DENVER BRONCOS
Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger (ankle)
Jock to Doc take: Big Ben practiced in full on Thursday, according to Steelers.com, and he will without a doubt play on his ailing ankle sprain like he has the past couple of weeks. He did, however, mention that his ankle feels like a “five” on a scale of 1-to-10, the Denver Post reports, so there’s a good chance that this ankle will negatively affect his play.
Steelers RB Rashard Mendenhall (knee)
Jock to Doc take: The Steelers’ starting RB had to leave last week’s game against the Browns due to a torn ACL. He is scheduled to have surgery within the next few weeks, and at this point, his status for the 2012 season is in doubt because of the severity. In the meantime, Isaac Redman will take over as the lead back in the Steelers’ backfield for the remainder of their season.
Health Rating: Ben Roethlisberger @ 72%
Health Rating: Rashard Mendenhall @ 0%
HEALTH RATINGS: 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 player’s 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.