Numbness in his right thumb, caused by unspecified nerve issues in his neck and shoulder, could keep running back Steve Slaton out of the Texans’ crucial game with Jacksonville Sunday. … Although Slaton has been bothered by the numbness for several weeks, head coach Gary Kubiak said Friday the condition had worsened in the last day or so and the decision was made to hold him out of practice Friday.
Rough news for Slaton owners, because this was an excellent matchup – not so much in terms of rushing yards, but definitely in the passing game, where Slaton remains a serious weapon (44 REC, 4 TD). Jacksonville's defense has not stopped the pass all year (242.9 YPG, 19 TD) and the team is dead-last in the NFL in sacks (10.0).
Crazily, Slaton refused to attribute his early season fumbling issues to the numb thumb. ("No, I can’t say that had anything to do with it.") In that situation, honesty may not be the best policy. Slaton just reinforced his rep as a fumbler. That's a missed opportunity for both player and team. [Houston Chronicle]
• The hits just keep on comin' for Justin Forsett(notes) owners. He couldn't finish Friday's practice after straining a quad. "It's just a little tweak," he said. "I don't see it keeping me out." And just to pile on the bad news, One-Lung Julius put in a full practice and was reportedly "pronounced ready to play Sunday." [Seattle Times]
• Kurt Warner(notes) and Matt Leinart(notes) continued to split snaps with the first-teamers on Friday, so nothing significant has changed there. "Warner, recovering from a concussion, has reported improvement this week. He and Ken Whisenhunt are hopeful that Warner will play, but they aren't assuring it." Arizona plays the Sunday night game this week, so you can't put yourself in a position where you absolutely need Warner to start. Leinart is awfully tough to trust; he targeted Larry Fitzgerald(notes) just five times last week. If we don't have a yes or no on Warner by noon on Sunday, look elsewhere. [Arizona Republic]
• Mark Sanchez(notes) suffered a sprained PCL on Thursday night. Head coach Rex Ryan reportedly called him a "knucklehead" for failing to slide. Odd, because Ryan seems like a man who's familiar with stronger language. This from Rich Cimini: "[Ryan] didn't reveal the severity of the sprain but said he's optimistic Sanchez will be ready to face the Bucs in nine days. He stopped short of saying it's a done deal, though. 'We'll see how he progresses,' Ryan said." [New York Daily News]
• Rams running back Steven Jackson missed another practice on Friday, which is a serious concern because…well, because he's Steven Jackson. There's an injury history.
Jackson’s sore back "just hasn’t calmed down to where we want it, and we certainly don’t want to reaggravate it," coach Steve Spagnuolo explained after Jackson completed a second full week in succession without practicing.
S-Jax has an outstanding matchup with a Chicago defense that will very likely be without linebacker Lance Briggs(notes) (knee, doubtful) and might also be missing corner Charles Tillman(notes) (concussion) and defensive tackle Tommie Harris(notes) (knee, vapors, general malaise). [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Chicago Sun-Times]
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