The status of some big-name players is in doubt entering Week 9 in the NFL, including Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, who was put on the reserve/COVID-19 list, and Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, who was a limited participant in Wednesday’s practice because of a hamstring strain. They join Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa (concussion) and Atlanta Falcons receiver Calvin Ridley, who is day to day after suffering a foot injury in the team’s Week 8 win against Carolina.
Three important players on track to return to their respective lineups are New York Jets QB Sam Darnold, Kansas City Chiefs receiver Sammy Watkins and Houston Texans cornerback Bradley Roby.
And the New Orleans Saints are hopeful their offense will be the healthiest it has been since Week 1 when they face quarterback Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday night.
Here’s a roundup of the biggest injuries from ESPN’s NFL Nation reporters.
ARI | ATL | BAL | BUF | CAR | CHI | CIN
CLE | DAL | DEN | DET | GB | HOU | IND
JAX | KC | LAC | LAR | LV | MIA | MIN
NE | NO | NYG | NYJ | PHI | PIT | SF
SEA | TB | TEN | WSH
Will Mitch Morse clear concussion protocol? Offensive guard Jon Feliciano energized the Bills’ offensive line last week, but the team lost its starting center Morse on its opening drive. It’s the fifth documented concussion of his career and the impact on his long-term health is at play here. On the field, Morse and left tackle Dion Dawkins have been Buffalo’s best offensive linemen, so losing Morse — and potentially playing a third straight game without left guard Cody Ford — could be a major blow to the Bills’ offense. — Marcel Louis-Jacques
Field Yates and Mike Clay discuss the state of the Dolphins’ backfield with Myles Gaskin expected to miss time.
The Dolphins’ running back room has taken some blows over the past week. Myles Gaskin is expected to miss Sunday’s game and likely longer with a knee injury. Matt Breida didn’t practice Wednesday with a hamstring injury, putting his status in jeopardy for Sunday. If Breida can’t play, we could see Jordan Howard go from healthy scratch over the past three weeks to starter on Sunday. — Cameron Wolfe
Starting defensive tackle Lawrence Guy (shoulder) left the second half of Sunday’s loss to the Bills and his replacements — Byron Cowart and Nick Thurman — had some notable struggles. This is a big trouble spot for the Patriots, especially considering free-agent signing Beau Allen will remain on injured reserve for the remainder of the season, according to coach Bill Belichick. That’s why they claimed Isaiah Mack on waivers from the Titans on Tuesday, as they also wait to see if Carl Davis (concussion) will be cleared to practice. — Mike Reiss
Quarterback Sam Darnold, who aggravated his previously injured throwing shoulder, will be monitored throughout the week. The expectation is that he will play Monday night against the Patriots. The Jets are hoping wide receivers Jamison Crowder (groin) and Breshad Perriman (concussion) are back. With Denzel Mims, they’d have their top three wideouts together for the first time. — Rich Cimini
Running back Mark Ingram hasn’t practiced since injuring his left ankle against the Eagles on Oct. 18. “It’s turned into a little more of a slight high-ankle [sprain] toward last week, as far as the symptoms,” coach John Harbaugh said. Baltimore gained 265 yards rushing against the Steelers last Sunday. So, the biggest question isn’t whether Ingram will play. It’s whether rookie J.K. Dobbins has supplanted Ingram as the Ravens’ top back. — Jamison Hensley
Bengals running back Joe Mixon reportedly did not participate during the open portion of the team’s lone midweek practice. With the Bengals off this week, Mixon will get some extra time to rest a nagging foot injury that has kept him out the past two games. Since Mixon wasn’t placed on injured reserve, there’s a good chance the undisclosed foot injury isn’t serious. However, Cincinnati hasn’t effectively used the IR to its benefit under coach Zac Taylor, so there still might be some room for concern. Either way, it’s a moot point until the Bengals start prepping for their Week 10 game against the Steelers. — Ben Baby
The bye came at an opportune time for the ailing Browns. Wednesday, tight end Austin Hooper (appendix) returned to practice after missing two games and should be ready to play Nov. 15 vs. Houston. — Jake Trotter
Injured early in the win against the Baltimore Ravens, nose tackle Tyson Alualu spent most of the game on the bench with an ice pack on his knee. Though his injury isn’t considered serious, he didn’t practice Wednesday and could miss Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys. Though Alualu doesn’t play a ton of snaps, he’s an important part of the run-stopping subpackage — one that will be crucial in slowing Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott. Isaiah Buggs, who came in for Alualu on Sunday, will again be tasked with filling in for him. — Brooke Pryor
Cornerback Bradley Roby, who left Houston’s Week 7 loss to Green Bay with an ankle injury after the first series, was a full participant in practice on Wednesday. He had a week to recover as the Texans were on bye in Week 8. — Sarah Barshop
Receiver T.Y. Hilton was the only player with an injury who did not practice Wednesday. Hilton, who is off to the slowest start of his nine-year NFL career with 22 receptions for 251 yards and no touchdowns, sat out the second half of Sunday’s victory at Detroit with a groin injury. Hilton has played with limited practice in the past. But things could be different this time since it is a groin injury. The Colts are 1-9 when Hilton has missed time. — Mike Wells
The Jaguars appear to be in pretty good shape (other than not having QB Gardner Minshew, of course) on the injury front. Two players to monitor that could be especially important as rookie QB Jake Luton makes his first start: Center Brandon Linder (hoip) and right guard A.J. Cann (shoulder). Both practiced on a limited basis on Wednesday and if they can do so again on Thursday and Friday it would look good for their chances of playing against Houston. — Mike DiRocco
Cornerback Adoree’ Jackson (knee) has yet to be added to the roster since being designated for return from injured reserve on Oct. 21. Jackson missed practice on Friday but returned to practice on Wednesday. Tennessee released veteran cornerback Jonathan Joseph so its options at left cornerback are limited. This is the final week for the Titans to activate Jackson, so his status is one to monitor closely. — Turron Davenport
The Broncos canceled ractice Wednesday as a precaution after positive COVID-19 tests for CEO Joe Ellis and president of football operations/general manager John Elway as well as practice squad tackle Darrin Paulo over the past two days. So their injury report was simply an estimation. They said running back Phillip Lindsay likely wouldn’t have practiced Wednesday after jamming his toes in Sunday’s game, but he is expected to play Sunday in Atlanta. The injury to watch is wide receiver Tim Patrick (hamstring), who would have likely been limited if the Broncos had practiced Wednesday. Patrick, who did not play this past Sunday against the Chargers, has been their top wideout for much of the season. If Patrick is a full participant by the end of the week in practice, he should be in line to play against Atlanta. — Jeff Legwold
Sammy Watkins returned to practice on a limited basis on Wednesday after missing the previous three games because of a hamstring injury. Watkins is on track to play Sunday against the Panthers and his presence would give the Chiefs a lineup full of their top skill players for the first time this season. The Chiefs added running back Le’Veon Bell since Watkins left their lineup. — Adam Teicher
Right tackle Trent Brown was back with the Raiders on Wednesday after a scary pregame IV episode in the team’s locker room in Cleveland forced him to spend the night in an area hospital. Still, Brown, who has played 10 snaps or more in just 11 of 23 games for the Raiders since signing a four-year, $66 million free-agent contract, did not practice and is no sure thing to play at the Chargers this weekend. “He’s in good spirits, I’m told everything is fine,” said Raiders coach Jon Gruden. “But right now, I’ll just leave it at that.” Brown’s replacement, Sam Young, is dealing with a knee injury and Brandon Parker acquitted himself well at Cleveland as the third-string right tackle. — Paul Gutierrez
Defensive end Joey Bosa is in the concussion protocol and unlikely to be cleared for Sunday vs. the Raiders. If he can’t go, look for Uchenna Nwosu and or Isaac Rochell to see more playing time. — Shelley Smith
With the Cowboys looking at starting Garrett Gilbert or Cooper Rush at QB, Mike Clay breaks down what this means for Dallas’ offensive players in fantasy.
Running back Ezekiel Elliott was limited in Wednesday’s practice because of a hamstring strain, which is not the best of signs when he figures to be a big part of the game plan against Pittsburgh with the Cowboys starting either Garrett Gilbert or Cooper Rush at quarterback. Elliott has not missed a game because injury in his career. He has not had a 100-yard game this season and has just one run of 20 yards or more. Tony Pollard brings some more quickness to the running game, but against a defense like the Steelers, Elliott’s strength has to be there. — Todd Archer
Running back Devonta Freeman is still dealing with an ankle injury. Even though coach Joe Judge said he’s “made a lot of progress,” it seems like it will be an uphill climb for Freeman to be ready this week to face Washington. That means more of Wayne Gallman as the primary ball carrier. — Jordan Raanan
The banged-up Eagles are on a much-needed bye week. When they return Week 10 against the New York Giants, the hope is they have the services of lead running back Miles Sanders, who has missed the past two games with a knee ailment. — Tim McManus
Defensive end Montez Sweat (concussion) was limited in practice Wednesday. His status for Sunday’s game vs. the New York Giants remains uncertain; it was a good sign that he went through some drills. If he can’t play, then Ryan Kerrigan would start in his place. One other good bit of news for Washington: Slot receiver Steven Sims, on injured reserve with a toe injury, did practice Wednesday and “looked good” according to offensive coordinator Scott Turner. They won’t rush him back, but they need another consistent receiving target alongside Terry McLaurin. — John Keim
The Bears’ offensive line is in taters. Already without starting left guard James Daniels (injured reserve/pectoral), the Bears just placed starting right tackle Bobby Massie (knee) on injured reserve and backup right tackle Jason Spriggs and starting right guard Germain Ifedi on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Throw in starting center Cody Whitehair (calf) being inactive last week — the first game Whitehair missed in his NFL career — and the Bears could be minus four Week 1 starters on their offensive line when they face the Titans on Sunday. The Bears rank 31st in rushing yards per game and are tied for ninth most sacks allowed through eight games. Could be another long afternoon for the Bears offense. — Jeff Dickerson
You could list the entire offense here, but quarterback Matthew Stafford going on the reserve/COVID-19 list as a “high-risk, close contact” with a non-team member, according to Insider Adam Schefter, is the team’s biggest concern. While it’s possible he plays Sunday against Minnesota, he would have to test negative all week and would go into a game against the Vikings with no practice time. If the Lions don’t have Stafford available, Chase Daniel would be the likely starting quarterback — and he’d potentially be playing with a depleted group anyway as receiver Kenny Golladay (hip), tackle Taylor Decker (back) and tackle Hal Vaitai (foot) all missed Wednesday’s practice. — Michael Rothstein
Running back Aaron Jones (calf) is listed as questionable, and the Packers are calling it a game-day decision for Thursday night at San Francisco. Two weeks ago, they handled it the same way but Jones was a no-go. Last week, they didn’t wait that long and ruled him out two days before the game. “It’s a game-time deal. It’s a finicky deal,” Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett said Wednesday. Complicating matters is the loss of running backs Jamaal Williams and AJ Dillon, who are both on the reserve/COVID-19 list. It leaves Tyler Ervin as the only other running back currently on the roster, although they likely will elevate Dexter Williams from the practice squad. — Rob Demovsky
Minnesota remains thin at cornerback. One day after Cameron Dantzler left the Green Bay game on a stretcher and was taken to a hospital to be evaluated for head/neck injuries, coach Mike Zimmer said the rookie has a “chance” to play this week. Dantzler missed Wednesday’s practice with a concussion, as did fellow corners Mark Fields II, who has a punctured lung, and Holton Hill (foot). Rookie cornerback Harrison Hand has a hamstring injury and was limited. The Vikings have another week to decide whether they want to activate guard Pat Elflein off of injured reserve after his 21-day window opened ahead of Week 8. — Courtney Cronin
It doesn’t appear that receiver Calvin Ridley’s foot injury is as severe as originally feared but the third-year pro didn’t practice on Wednesday and he’s day-to-day as the Falcons prepare for the Broncos. If Ridley can’t go or is limited, that likely means more work for receiver Russell Gage, who is third on the team with 33 catches. — Mike DiRocco
Rookie outside linebacker/safety Jeremy Chinn didn’t practice on Wednesday with a knee injury that coach Matt Rhule suggested was an old college injury that was aggravated. Rhule isn’t sure he has a player as athletic to replace Chinn should it keep him out of Sunday’s game against Kansas City. Rhule didn’t get into the severity of the injury, but perhaps outside linebacker Brian Burns gave us a hint when he said this: “I told him to rest up. No need to rush anything. It’s probably more serious than what he thinks.” — David Newton
The Saints’ injury report looks like the NFC Pro Bowl roster this week, with QB Drew Brees (shoulder), running back Alvin Kamara (foot) and receiver Michael Thomas (ankle/hamstring) all limited in Wednesday’s practice. But Brees and Kamara both downplayed the significance of their injuries after practice. And there is actually a good chance that this could be the healthiest New Orleans’ offense has been since Week 1. Thomas might finally play Sunday night for the first time in eight weeks, and fellow receiver Emmanuel Sanders was activated Wednesday from the reserve/COVID-19 list. — Mike Triplett
Stephania Bell provides an injury update on Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin.
Pro Bowl wide receiver Chris Godwin’s status is still up in the air for Sunday. He still had a cast on his left finger today after having surgery last week, but was a full-participant in the team’s walk-through. “We won’t know until Friday to see if he can actually catch a ball,” coach Bruce Arians said. “We’re not going to take any risks with that thing until Friday to see if he can catch.” — Jenna Laine
Keep an eye on Dre Kirkpatrick’s hamstring for the rest of the week. Kirkpatrick didn’t practice Wednesday and with Byron Murphy already ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Dolphins because of a positive COVID-19 test, losing Kirkpatrick could put the Cardinals’ cornerback depth in a dire situation. It could lead to the Arizona debut of Prince Amukamara. — Josh Weinfuss
Running back Darrell Henderson was sidelined in a Week 8 loss to the Dolphins because of a thigh injury. A day later, coach Sean McVay said that Henderson’s quad “was bothering him,” but that he didn’t “Expect it to linger” into Week 10, when the Rams play the Seahawks. The Rams are on a bye this week. — Lindsey Thiry
The 49ers have already ruled out many key players for Thursday night’s game against the Packers, but one worth monitoring is strong safety Jaquiski Tartt. He has been working his way back from a groin injury, practiced on a limited basis this week and is listed as questionable heading into the game. Tartt’s services would be welcome against QB Aaron Rodgers and Co., though it remains to be seen if the short week will allow for it. — Nick Wagoner
With strong safety Jamal Adams on track to return this week from his groin injury, the Seahawks’ biggest question mark heading into Sunday’s game at Buffalo is with their backfield. Pete Carroll said there won’t be clarity on Chris Carson’s status until later in the week, once the team sees how his sprained foot feels after he gets some work in on Friday. Carroll isn’t expecting Carson’s backup, Carlos Hyde (hamstring), to make it back this week but he is confident that No. 3 tailback Travis Homer (knee bruise) will be available again alongside rookie DeeJay Dallas, who started last week against San Francisco. — Brady Henderson