2017 NFL – Biggest injury questions for all 32 teams in Week 15

NFL Nation reporters assess the biggest injuries across the league for Week 15.

AFC East | AFC North| AFC South | AFC West
NFC East | NFC North | NFC South | NFC West


With quarterback Tyrod Taylor (knee) a full participant in Wednesday’s practice and on track to play against Miami, the focus shifts to the status of running back LeSean McCoy (knee) and wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin (knee), who were both limited in practice. On Thursday, coach Sean McDermott is expected to address whether either injury puts the two at risk of not playing Sunday. — Mike Rodak

Starting guard Jermon Bushrod missed three consecutive games because of a foot injury, and things don’t appear optimistic for Sunday’s game in Buffalo. It might be time to wonder whether Bushrod will be shut down for the final three weeks. — James Walker

It doesn’t look promising for defensive tackle Alan Branch, who left Monday’s loss to the Dolphins because of a knee injury and wasn’t present at Wednesday’s walkthrough. Branch’s absence, coupled with the signing of Ricky Jean Francois, seems to be an indication the Patriots will be without him in Pittsburgh. Branch is a big, physical presence at the heart of the line of scrimmage and has played 31.5 percent of the defensive snaps this season. Meanwhile, linebacker Kyle Van Noy (calf) and defensive end Trey Flowers (ribs) project to be questionable after missing Monday’s game. They are two of the most important players on defense. — Mike Reiss

The Jets are hurting at running back, as neither Matt Forte (knee) nor Elijah McGuire (ankle) practiced Wednesday. They have only two healthy backs — Bilal Powell and Akeem Judd — who was signed off the practice squad this week. There’s a chance Forte and McGuire will be cleared by Sunday, but their effectiveness could be compromised. — Rich Cimini


Wide receiver Mike Wallace was the only player who missed Wednesday’s practice. This is probably precautionary. Wallace injured his right ankle in the first quarter against the Steelers but returned and played the rest of the game. He has had at least 70 yards receiving or a touchdown in four of his past five games. –Jamison Hensley

Vontaze Burfict, Dre Kirkpatrick and Joe Mixon remain in concussion protocol for the second straight week after missing last week’s game. That could mean another week of playing time for Giovani Bernard and William Jackson III if they can’t get out of protocol by Sunday. — Katherine Terrell

Two of the three starting cornerbacks missed practice. Jamar Taylor came out of the Green Bay loss with a foot issue, and Briean Boddy-Calhoun has a lingering knee issue. Joe Flacco guided the Ravens to 38 points against the Steelers, so any missing defensive starters matter. — Pat McManamon

Martavis Bryant popped up on the injury report (not injury related), but I’m told he will be back with the team Thursday after attending to a personal matter. All eyes are on cornerback Joe Haden (fibula), who said he did some running/cutting early in the week and participated on a limited basis Wednesday. Haden hinted that he could be a game-time decision. Tight end Vance McDonald (shoulder) and cornerback Coty Sensabaugh (shoulder) did not practice. — Jeremy Fowler


T.J. Yates will start on Sunday against the Jaguars, and coach Bill O’Brien does not expect Tom Savage (concussion) to be available. The Texans plan to sign quarterback Taylor Heinicke to back up Yates. — Sarah Barshop

The Colts will be without starting center Ryan Kelly (concussion), wide receiver Donte Moncrief (ankle), slot corner Nate Hairston (concussion) and cornerback Rashaan Melvin (hand) against the Broncos on Thursday. Not having those players will allow the front office to evaluate other players on the roster. Mike Person is a candidate to start at center, Chester Rogers at receiver, and Quincy Wilson in place of Melvin. Chris Milton could slide to the slot for Hairston. — Mike Wells

Running back Leonard Fournette has been battling an ankle injury for more than a month and now he’s dealing with a quad injury that kept him out of practice Wednesday. It doesn’t appear at this point to be an injury that will keep him off the field Sunday, but it must be monitored. — Mike DiRocco

Marcus Mariota was a full participant in practice Wednesday despite a left knee sprain suffered against the Cardinals. There was a lot of attention on him being banged up, but he and coach Mike Mularkey said he’s fine. The expectation is Mariota will play and be close to full health Sunday at San Francisco. — Cameron Wolfe


Safety Justin Simmons had been in a walking boot in recent days after he suffered a high (left) ankle sprain in last week’s win over the Jets. The Broncos formally moved him to injured reserve Wednesday, ending his season. It was a freakish injury, given he was hurt when he landed awkwardly on linebacker Brandon Marshall’s foot as the players were celebrating Marshall’s sack and forced fumble. It’s no small loss for the Broncos. Simmons has played 91.9 percent of the defensive snaps this season — only Marshall and safety Darian Stewart have played more. Will Parks will take Simmons’ spot in the defense and rookie safety Jamal Carter is expected to work in the dime package if the Broncos use it against the Colts. However, Simmons’ injury could incline the Broncos to stick with the nickel in more situations rather than have Parks and Carter targeted in coverage. — Jeff Legwold

Safety Eric Murray returned to practice on a limited basis this week after sitting out the past two games because of a high ankle sprain, providing hope he could play Saturday night against the Chargers. Murray plays mostly in passing situations, and his coverage would be of help against a veteran quarterback like Philip Rivers and a top wide receiver like Keenan Allen. Murray’s replacement, Steven Terrell, had an interception in last week’s win over the Raiders but went on the injured reserve list since then because of a dislocated finger. — Adam Teicher

Left tackle Russell Okung was limited for a second straight day because of a knee injury he suffered in last week’s win over Washington. The addition of Okung has been one of the reasons the Chargers have given up a league-low 15 sacks. Coach Anthony Lynn told reporters this week he does not expect any of his players — including Okung — to miss Saturday’s game because of injury. “We have some guys that are day-to-day, but we feel good about them being ready,” Lynn said. — Eric D. Williams

Receiver Amari Cooper, who re-injured his sprained left ankle Sunday, sat out practice Wednesday. The ankle was obviously gimpy before he was a game-time decision to suit up at Kansas City. “It was a toss, a crack toss,” coach Jack Del Rio said. “He was involved in it. … He had an assignment to block. It’s football. He was involved in a play.” You have to wonder now, though, if he will be able to play Sunday night against the Cowboys. If not, expect receiver Isaac Whitney, who was recently promoted from the practice squad, to be active. — Paul Gutierrez


At this point of the season, the Cowboys are trying to manage players through the practice week to get them to play. Right tackle La’el Collins has not practiced in two weeks and did not work Wednesday because of a back injury, but he is expected to play Sunday at Oakland. The same goes for left tackle Tyron Smith, who has been held out of Wednesday practices for most of the season. Sean Lee (hamstring) and Maliek Collins (foot) were limited, but they will be available against the Raiders. Cornerback Orlando Scandrick (back) did not practice and might need more time to return from his transverse process fractures. — Todd Archer

Safety Landon Collins didn’t practice Wednesday and is dealing with an ankle injury. He was in a boot after the last week’s loss to Dallas, and interim coach/defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said earlier this week that sometimes you have to save Collins from himself. Collins will want to play — and he did with a high ankle sprain earlier this year — but the Giants might think better of it. — Jordan Raanan

Tight end Zach Ertz has cleared concussion protocol, per coach Doug Pederson. He’s on track to play against the Giants after sitting out last week’s game against the Rams. Pederson is also optimistic about the status of starting left guard Stefen Wisniewski (ankle). — Tim McManus

Corner Josh Norman didn’t practice Wednesday because of a sore knee, but coach Jay Gruden said he didn’t think it was serious. It’s hard to imagine Norman missing a chance to go against Arizona receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Also, linebacker Zach Brown continues to be bothered by his Achilles and a toe injury. The Redskins will await the weekly wondering about left tackle Trent Williams and his bad right knee. If he can practice Friday, as he has the last several weeks, he’ll probably play Sunday. — John Keim


The Bears are hopeful to have safety Adrian Amos (hamstring), defensive lineman Eddie Goldman (hip) and linebacker Pernell McPhee (shoulder) back for Saturday’s game against the Lions. But all three were limited again Wednesday. They have only one more full practice before they depart for Detroit on Friday. Chicago is playing it safe with tight end Adam Shaheen (chest/limited) and wide receiver Kendall Wright (shoulder/limited), though both are expected to be active in Week 15. — Jeff Dickerson

The right side of the offensive line has yet to practice this week between right tackle Rick Wagner (ankle), right guard T.J. Lang (foot) and center Travis Swanson (concussion). For a team that needs to find ways to protect Matthew Stafford, that’s a really bad sign — especially since left tackle Taylor Decker (shoulder) and offensive tackle Corey Robinson (foot) have also been limited in practice. Trying to figure out what Detroit’s line will look like Saturday will be hard, but the Lions need to have some concern against a Bears defense that had some success getting to Stafford last month. — Michael Rothstein

We know Aaron Rodgers has been medically cleared, so his availability for Sunday’s game at Carolina isn’t in question. But for any player, especially a quarterback who is playing for the first time since he broke his collarbone on his throwing side, it’s worth wondering how it might impact his play. Four years ago, Rodgers relied on a lot of short passes to get his timing back after he missed seven games because of a similar injury to his left clavicle. He also barely scrambled and when he saw a sack coming, he got down quickly. That could be the same story this week against the Panthers. — Rob Demovsky

The Vikings had their longest injury report of the season Wednesday with six non-participants and eight players limited in practice. Eleven of the 14 sustained injuries at Carolina, including three that caused stoppages during the game: left tackle Riley Reiff (ankle), linebacker Emmanuel Lamur (foot) and cornerback Xavier Rhodes (hip). The trio was held out of the first practice of the week along with tight end Kyle Rudolph (ankle), cornerback Mackensie Alexander (ribs) and Blake Bell (shoulder). Given the injuries along the offensive line, Reiff is one of the biggest concerns. Mike Zimmer discussed the possibility of Reiff returning in Week 15 along with the likelihood of right tackle Mike Remmers (lower back) and center Pat Elflein (shoulder) coming back after missing last week’s game. Both Remmers and Elflein were limited in practice along with others, including Jerick McKinnon (shoulder) and Adam Thielen (knee). — Courtney Cronin


The status of running back Tevin Coleman is still in doubt as he remains in the concussion protocol. He did not practice when the Falcons returned to the field Tuesday following a long weekend. He sustained the concussion in last Thursday night’s win over New Orleans. And the Monday night matchup with Tampa Bay gives Coleman a little more time than normal to recover. But every Falcons player who has sustained a concussion this season has missed a least one game. If Coleman is out, that means a heavier workload for Devonta Freeman in his third game back from a concussion. — Vaughn McClure

Outside linebacker Shaq Thompson, who sat out last week’s game because of a foot injury, worked on the side Wednesday. Nickel back Captain Munnerlyn took some of Thompson’s snaps against the Vikings, but he left practice early for what the injury report said were personal reasons. — David Newton

It looks as if running back Alvin Kamara is on track to return from his concussion this week after he practiced fully Wednesday and told reporters he’s “good to go.” That’s obviously a big boost for the offense since the breakout rookie ranks second in the NFL in total yards from scrimmage since Week 5, behind only Le’Veon Bell. However, wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. (ribs), linebacker A.J. Klein (groin) and defensive end Trey Hendrickson (ankle) did not practice Wednesday, leaving their status in doubt after all three were knocked out of last Thursday’s loss at Atlanta. — Mike Triplett

Five-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy left last week’s game because of a right biceps injury and did not return. He also underwent an MRI on Monday, but the team has been mum on his status. How bad would it be for them to be without him against the Falcons? Put it this way: The defensive line has accounted for 15 sacks this year, the fewest in the NFL, and five of them have come from McCoy. To make matters worse, their backup Clinton McDonald, has been out because of a back injury. — Jenna Laine


For the second straight week, the most concerning injury is running back Adrian Peterson’s neck. He hasn’t practiced since injuring it against the Jaguars on Nov. 26, now a span of seven straight practices. On Wednesday, coach Bruce Arians was asked if Peterson would play again this season. He said: “I have no idea.” — Josh Weinfuss

The Rams recently lost cornerback Kayvon Webster for the season because of a ruptured Achilles tendon, but they are otherwise in good shape from an injury standpoint heading into Seattle. Left tackle Andrew Whitworth, right tackle Rob Havenstein and cornerback Trumaine Johnson all suffered injuries last week against the Eagles, but they are all expected to play Sunday. So are wide receiver Robert Woods and outside linebacker Connor Barwin, who sat out recent weeks. Woods, who missed the past three games, said he’s “feeling good” and is “very confident” in his previously sprained left shoulder. — Alden Gonzalez

Cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon suffered a sprained knee in last week’s win against Houston, and coach Kyle Shanahan said the rookie will be day-to-day this week. Considering some of the Niners’ struggles in the secondary, losing Witherspoon for this week’s game against Tennessee would be a big blow, leaving only unproven rookie Greg Mabin and struggling veteran Dontae Johnson on the outside. Still, Witherspoon is an important component of the Niners’ secondary moving forward and the Niners won’t rush him back to play in a game that doesn’t have much meaning. — Nick Wagoner

As if the Seahawks weren’t already shorthanded enough on defense, the statuses of Pro Bowl linebackers Bobby Wagner (hamstring) and K.J. Wright (concussion) are uncertain after they left last week’s loss to Jacksonville and weren’t able to return. Pete Carroll seemed encouraged at the start of the week by the early progress that Wright was making. Wagner’s availability will be tough to read. He has been regularly missing practice for a while because of the hamstring that he re-injured Sunday, so the practice reports over the next few days won’t tell us much about his chances of playing against the Rams. What’s clear, though: Wagner, in the midst of arguably his best season, is a player that the defense can’t afford to be without in a game that will a long way toward determining the NFC West champion. — Brady Henderson

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