Doc Talk: Week 8 injury analysis
BUFFALO BILLS at KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Chiefs WR/RB/KR Dexter McCluster (ankle)
Jock to Doc Take: Limited participation in practice Wednesday and Thursday — The Kansas City Star reported that McCluster sustained a lower leg injury in Sunday’s win over the Jaguars. Earlier in the week, he was on crutches and also wore a walking boot. It was reported that he was standing around a good deal of Thursday’s practice.
Health Rating: Dexter McCluster @ 70%
CAROLINA PANTHERS at ST. LOUIS RAMS
Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams (foot)
Jock to Doc Take: Did not participate in practice Wednesday or Thursday. Williams hobbled off the field in the final minute of Sunday’s win over San Francisco. If he is unable to play on Sunday, Jonathan Stewart will start in his place and hopefully he will be able to capitalize on the opportunity, as his performance this season has been disappointing.
Rams RB Steven Jackson (finger)
Jock to Doc Take: Did not participate in practice Wednesday or Thursday. He broke his left ring finger Sunday against the Bucs and had surgery Monday. “It has been a busy day," Jackson tweeted. "Yes, I had surgery on my ring finger but I shouldn’t miss a beat. I’m not married so I’m covered there too.” He has been working with trainers on the design of a soft cast to wear in games, so expect to see him on the field this week.
Health Rating: DeAngelo Williams @ 60%
Steven Jackson @ 85%
DENVER BRONCOS at SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
49ers QB Alex Smith (left shoulder)
Jock to Doc Take: The 49ers QB left the Panthers game because of the shoulder injury. Smith has a separated shoulder and has battled myriad issues with the right (throwing) shoulder. Smith most likely will miss two or three games. Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith is likely to start in his place.
Health Rating: Alex Smith @ 15%
GREEN BAY PACKERS at NEW YORK JETS
Packers WR Donald Driver (quadriceps)
Jock to Doc Take: Did not participate in practice Wednesday or Thursday. Driver missed a lot of practice last week and didn’t catch a pass in limited action Sunday night vs. the Vikings. Expect to see more James Jones this weekend.
Health Rating: Donald Driver @ 70%
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS at DALLAS COWBOYS
Jaguars QB David Garrard (concussion)
Jock to Doc Take: Full participation Wednesday and Thursday in practice. Garrard was injured in Week 6 vs. the Titans and sat out last week’s loss against the Chiefs. The Dallas Morning News reports that Garrard will start Sunday’s game against the Cowboys, as he received medical clearance to play on Tuesday, and Coach Jack Del Rio confirmed that Garrard will be the starter.
Health Rating: David Garrard @ 90%
MIAMI DOLPHINS at CINCINNATI BENGALS
Bengals S Roy Williams (knee)
Jock to Doc Take: Did not participate in practice Wednesday or Thursday. Williams missed Sunday’s loss to the Falcons with the knee injury and has not played since Oct. 3. It appears Williams will miss another game this week.
Health Rating: Roy Williams @ 40%
MINNESOTA VIKINGS at NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Patriots RB Fred Taylor (toe)
Jock to Doc Take: Did not participate in practice Wednesday or Thursday. Taylor hasn’t played since getting hurt in Week 3 and it is unlikely that he will play Sunday. Toe injuries are notoriously frustrating and it certainly doesn’t help that Taylor is 34, so he will heal more slowly than a 22-year-old.
Health Rating: Fred Taylor @ 55%
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS at OAKLAND RAIDERS
Seahawks LT Russell Okung (ankle)
Jock to Doc Take: Did not participate in practice Wednesday. Okung sprained his ankle in Sunday’s win over the Cardinals. It is his second high ankle sprain of the season, both caused by teammates. Coach Pete Carroll said Okung is “improving,” and he has not been wearing a walking boot or brace.
Health Rating: Russell Okung @ 65%
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS at ARIZONA CARDINALS
Cardinals QB Max Hall (head)
Jock to Doc Take: Full participation all week in practice. Hall suffered his first career concussion Sunday in the loss to the Seahawks. Hall said Wednesday that he’s “good to roll” and he has been cleared to play, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see Derek Anderson, given Hall’s mediocre performance.
Health Rating: Max Hall @ 85%
TENNESSEE TITANS at SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
Titans QB Vince Young (knee, ankle)
Jock to Doc Take: Full participation Wednesday and Thursday in practice. Young did not play in Sunday’s win against the Eagles after getting hurt in a Week 6 win over the Jaguars. Young was good enough to get through one period Wednesday, but soreness limited him on Thursday. Titans coach Jeff Fisher says the key to whether Young starts Sunday will be how the quarterback is able to move around and if he can be effective under center. With Kerry Collins out with a finger injury, I would be shocked if Young didn’t play. Remember, San Diego has the league’s best pass defense, so don’t expect big numbers from Young regardless.
Health Rating: Vince Young @ 80%
PITTSBURGH STEELERS at NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Steelers LB LaMarr Woodley (hamstring)
Jock to Doc Take: Did not participate in practice Wednesday but was full go on Thursday. The team says Woodley, who hurt his hamstring in the second quarter Sunday and didn’t return, should play against the Saints. I would expect him to be largely unaffected by the injury on Sunday.
Saints RB Reggie Bush (fibula)
Jock to Doc Take: Did not participate in practice Wednesday or Thursday. Though Bush ran during Wednesday’s practice, he didn’t go through any drills. "We just keep taking it day to day and monitoring the progress, monitoring the next day after the workout and kind of go from there," Coach Sean Payton said. Bush has been out since breaking his leg in Week 2 against the 49ers. I don’t see him playing this week.
Health Rating: LaMarr Woodley @ 90%
Reggie Bush @ 55%
WASHINGTON REDSKINS at DETROIT LIONS
Redskins OT Jammal Brown (hip) and OT Stephen Heyer (ankle)
Jock to Doc Take: Limited participation in practice Wednesday and Thursday. Coach Mike Shanahan said he expects both to play Sunday, meaning he may rotate them again.
Lions RB Jahvid Best (toe)
Jock to Doc Take: Limited participation in practice Wednesday and Thursday. A day after staying on the sideline to rest his turf toe, Best got back on the field and is expected to play Sunday. The team is being quite cautious with his injury. I think the Week 7 bye has helped him recover and he should be effective this weekend.
Health Rating: Jammal Brown @ 80%
Stephen Heyer @ 85%
Jahvid Best@ 85%
Health Ratings: So what do the numbers mean?
100-85% = NFL players are tough and still perform at a high level despite injuries. 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 he still can 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 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.