Doc Talk: Week 11 injury analysis
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ARIZONA CARDINALS at KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Chiefs WR Dexter McCluster (ankle)
Jock to Doc Take: The all-purpose wide receiver was LIMITED IN PRACTICE on both Wednesday and Thursday after being inactive the last three weeks. In that time, the Chiefs are 1-2 and continue to lack his versatility and potential explosiveness at a time when it's incredibly important for them to win to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Health Rating: Dexter McCluster @ 70%
ATLANTA FALCONS at ST. LOUIS RAMS
Falcons LB Sean Weatherspoon (knee)
Jock to Doc Take: The rookie linebacker DID NOT PARTICIPATE in practice on Wednesday and returned to practice in a limited role Thursday. Weatherspoon hasn't played since Week 5. It was reported that Falcons head coach Mike Smith said he expected Weatherspoon to be on the practice field Wednesday and possibly expected his awaited return Sunday.
Health Rating: Sean Weatherspoon @ 75%
BALTIMORE RAVENS at CAROLINA PANTHERS
Panthers QB Jimmy Clausen (concussion)
Jock to Doc Take: The former Notre Dame star is suffering from symptoms of a concussion he incurred in Week 10 against the Buccaneers. Clausen DID NOT PARTICIPATE in practice on both Wednesday and Thursday. The team officially gave the nod to newly signed Brian St. Pierre against the Ravens. With the Panthers clearly out of playoff contention it seems they're going to be playing it safe with Clausen.
Health Rating: Jimmy Clausen @ 50%
BUFFALO BILLS at CINCINNATI BENGALS
Bills LB Shawne Merriman (calf, Achilles')
Jock to Doc Take: The former All-Pro linebacker DID NOT PARTICIPATE in practice on both Wednesday and Thursday, and it's already been announced he'll be sidelined on Sunday against the Bengals. Merriman was picked up off waivers by the Bills a couple weeks ago and tweaked his leg in his first practice with his new team. Shawne’s history of steroid use, coupled with his endless list of injuries, casts doubt on whether he'll ever play again.
Health Rating: Shawne Merriman @ 40%
CLEVELAND BROWNS at JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
Browns WR Joshua Cribbs (foot)
Jock to Doc Take: The do-it-all returner/receiver left the Week 10 matchup against the New York Jets after dislocating four of his five toes on his right foot. According the Cleveland Plain Dealer, only his big toe escaped injury. Cribbs DID NOT PARTICIPATE in practice on both Wednesday and Thursday. His return remains questionable. He's primarily known for his game-breaking return abilities. Browns rookie Joe Haden looks to be the top candidate for the job if Cribbs can’t play Sunday, which appears to be the most likely scenario.
Health Rating: Joshua Cribbs @ 60%
DETROIT LIONS at DALLAS COWBOYS
Cowboys CB Terence Newman (ankle)
Jock to Doc Take: The shutdown cornerback's been bothered by a rib injury the past month and now has an ankle injury as well. His appearance in Sunday’s game is crucial to the Cowboys as they go up against one of the best young receivers in the Lions’ Calvin Johnson. Newman DID NOT PARTICIPATE in practice on both Wednesday or Thursday. He was in uniform, but spent most of the practice working with athletic trainers. Missing practice shouldn't be too alarming, as Newman's missed many the last couple weeks, but is always ready to play on game day.
Health Rating: Terence Newman @ 70%
GREEN BAY PACKERS at MINNESOTA VIKINGS
Vikings QB Brett Favre (ankle, foot)
Jock to Doc Take: Favre's been suffering from ankle and foot injuries all season long, but has been active in all nine games. He was LIMITED IN PRACTICE on both Wednesday and Thursday. Earlier in the week, it was reported that he suffered a shoulder injury to his throwing arm, but hasn’t needed an MRI and said “it was not big deal.” There's no chance he'll miss the game on Sunday.
Health Rating: Brett Favre @ 80%
HOUSTON TEXANS at NEW YORK JETS
Texans QB Matt Schaub (knee)
Jock to Doc Take: The Texans' quarterback DID NOT PRACTICE on Wednesday and was hospitalized with an inflamed bursa sac in his knee. He returned to practice Thursday and took about half the snaps and looked fine. He's expected to play Sunday.
Health Rating: Matt Schaub @ 85%
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS at NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Colts WR Austin Collie (concussion)
Jock to Doc Take: The former Brigham Young wide receiver was LIMITED IN PRACTICE on Wednesday and was at full participation at Thursday’s practice. Collie could make his return in Foxborough this weekend. He was knocked out of the Week 9 game against the Eagles and hasn’t made a return to the field yet. Another wide receiver showed up on the Colts' injury report, as four-time Pro Bowler Reggie Wayne missed practice with a knee injury, but returned to practice at full participation at Thursday’s practice.
Health Rating: Austin Collie @ 85%
OAKLAND RAIDERS at PITTSBURGH STEELERS
Steelers WR Hines Ward (concussion)
Jock to Doc Take: Last Sunday night, Steelers WR Hines Ward was knocked out of the game with a severe concussion. Reports said he wanted to return to the game, but trainers didn't allow it. Ward was FULL PARTICIPATION in practice on both Wednesday and Thursday, and all signs point to his return this weekend in a bounce back game against the Raiders.
Health Rating: Hines Ward @ 85%
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS at NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Saints RB Reggie Bush (fibula)
Jock to Doc Take: In Week 4, the explosive running back broke his fibula against the 49ers. Bush was LIMITED in practice on both Wednesday and Thursday, and there are reports floating around that he expects to make his return this Sunday. The Saints coming off their bye week surely miss hi’s presence, as defenses always need to account for him while he's on the field. The lack of a consistent running game has deeply hurt the Saints, who've been without both Bush and Pierre Thomas most of the season.
Health Rating: Reggie Bush @ 80%
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS at SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
Buccaneers TE Kellen Winslow (knee)
Jock to Doc Take: Winslow DID NOT PARTICIPATE in practice on Wednesday after tweaking his knee last week against the Panthers. The tight end's been a big piece of Josh Freeman’s passing arsenal and would be severely missed if he couldn't play on Sunday. He did practice fully on Thursday, though. One shouldn't be concerned by Winslow missing practice, as he's missed many Wednesday practices this year.
Health Rating: Kellen Winslow @ 85%
WASHINGTON REDSKINS at TENNESSEE TITANS
Redskins RB Ryan Torain (hamstring)
Jock to Doc Take: Torain missed last Monday night’s game against the Eagles and DID NOT PARTICIPATE in practice on both Wednesday and Thursday. The running back still seemed hampered from the injury and didn’t get any reps. Clinton Portis also missed the Eagles game, but was surprisingly active in Wednesday’s practice. In place of Torain and Portis, Keiland Williams had a great game for Washington on Monday night.
Health Rating: Ryan Torain @ 55%
NEW YORK GIANTS at PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
Eagles RB LeSean McCoy (shoulder)
Jock to Doc Take: Earlier in the season, McCoy was slowed down, but not stopped, by a rib injury. On Wednesday, McCoy DID NOT PARTICIPATE in practice due to a shoulder strain he suffered in the Week 10 Monday night game, but returned to practice on Thursday. Coach Andy Reid did say “he should be OK in the next day or so here.” It's likely the Eagles are giving the full-time running back some extra time off in a short week.
Health Rating: LeSean McCoy @ 80%
DENVER BRONCOS at SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
Chargers TE Antonio Gates (foot)
Jock to Doc Take: Coming off a bye week, the All-Pro tight end is still frustrated by the torn plantar fascia that could keep him off the field for the second straight game. He didn't practice both Wednesday or Thursday. According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Gates says he's 50-50 for Monday’s game.
Health Rating: Antonio Gates @ 50%
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-Pro’s 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.