Obviously, the big injury story of the week, and potentially the season, is the Pittsburgh Steelers losing quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for the foreseeable future due to a sprained sternoclavicular joint. Roethlisberger also has a dislocation of his first rib, a situation so serious, there's concern that attempting to play through the injury could result in a punctured aorta.
"That's the more scary part because I guess if it goes in the wrong direction it could puncture the aorta," Roethlisberger said of his injury, according to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Given the seriousness of the injury, Roethlisberger shouldn't be expected to return anytime soon.
In addition to Roethlisberger, the Steelers did not have wide receiver Antonio Brown (ankle), offensive tackles Max Starks (ankle) and Marcus Gilbert (ankle), defensive end Brett Keisel (shoulder) and safety Troy Polamalu (calf), while cornerback Ike Taylor (illness) and safety Ryan Clark (concussion) were limited.
Byron Leftwich will start at quarterback for the Steelers in Sunday night's game against the Baltimore Ravens, who got defensive linemen Pernell McPhee (thigh) and Haloti Ngata (shoulder) back on a limited basis on Wednesday. The Ravens practiced with right guard Marshal Yanda (ankle) and cornerback Jimmy Smith (abdomen).
The Philadelphia Eagles have not yet ruled out quarterback Michael Vick (concussion) for this week's game against the Washington Redskins, but rookie Nick Foles took all the first-team reps as Vick was listed as "Did Not Participate" on the practice participation report. The Eagles have already ruled wide receiver Jason Avant (hamstring) and running back Chris Polk (toe) out for Sunday's game. Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garcon (foot) took a positive step towards returning to game action, practicing on a limited basis on Wednesday. Signed to a five-year, $42.5 million contract in March, Garcon has just eight receptions for 153 yards and a touchdown in three games, losing $93,750 in "per game active" roster bonuses.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith left last Sunday's 24-24 tie with the St. Louis Rams with a concussion, but has been cleared to return to practice on a limited (non-contact) basis. Smith still has to be cleared for contact, but that he was able to practice on Wednesday is a good sign he'll be available to face the Chicago Bears on Monday night. Bears quarterback Jay Cutler is still being evaluated after his concussion, but head coach Lovie Smith said that Cutler is feeling better. Because they do not play until Monday, the Bears and 49ers were not required to submit an injury report on Wednesday.
The bye week wasn't enough for Greg Jennings (groin/abdomen) to get back in the lineup as the Green Bay Packers have ruled him out for Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions. Jennings will miss a seventh game, meaning he'll lose at least $175,000 in "per game active" roster bonuses. By missing more than four games, Jennings also loses out on a $25,000 incentive. In addition to Jennings, the Packers will also be without linebacker Clay Matthews (hamstring) and safety Charles Woodson (collarbone), who were ruled out for the Lions game. Defensive end Mike Neal (ankle) missed practice on Wednesday. The Lions practiced without wide receiver Calvin Johnson (knee), defensive end Cliff Avril (back/concussion) and safeties Louis Delmas (knee) and Amari Spievey (concussion). Though Avril, who is playing this season under the one-year franchise tag, did not practice, he has been medically cleared to return to the field.
New Orleans Saints running back Darren Sproles returned to practice on a limited basis after missing two games following surgery on his left hand. Sproles has a good chance of playing against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday, though that won't be determined officially until later in the week. The Raiders practiced without running back Darren McFadden (ankle) and defensive tackle Richard Seymour (knee/hamstring), both of whom are questionable to play on Sunday. Running back Mike Goodson (ankle) and safety Tyvon Brannch (neck) also missed Wednesday's practice, while wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey (hamstring) and kicker Sebastian Janikowski (left groin) were limited.
San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews missed Wednesday's practice with a neck injury. Head coach Norv Turner hopes Mathews can return later this week and play against the Denver Broncos on Sunday. The Chargers also practiced with left tackle Jared Gaither (groin), who missed last week's loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Broncos defensive end Elvis Dumervil (shoulder) missed practice on Wednesday, but is expected to test his left shoulder out later this week and could play against the Chargers. Right guard Chris Kuper (ankle) practiced on a limited basis, but is not expected to play against the Chargers.
A short injury list for the Indianapolis Colts, who practiced without second-round tight end Coby Fleener (shoulder) and cornerback Vontae Davis (knee), both of whom will miss Sunday's game against the New England Patriots. Running back Donald Brown (knee), starting right tackle Winston Justice (knee) and center Samson Satele (back) practiced fully on Wednesday, as did outside linebacker Robert Mathis (back), whose return should boost the Colts' pass rush. The Patriots never have a short injury report and Wednesday's was no exception. Starting guards Dan Connolly (back) and Logan Mankins (ankle/calf) and wide receiver Wes Welker (ankle) did not practice and 16 players were listed as limited. Among that group were tight ends Rob Gronkowski (hip) and Aaron Hernandez (ankle), wide receiver Brandon Lloyd (knee), right tackle Sebastian Vollmer (back/knee), linebackers Don't'a Hightower (hamstring) and Jerod Mayo (elbow) and safeties Steve Gregory (hip) and Patrick Chung (shoulder/hamstring).
The Jacksonville Jaguars will be without running back Maurice Jones-Drew (foot) for a fourth consecutive game, but fullback Greg Jones (thigh), cornerback Rashean Mathis (groin) and safety Dwight Lowery (ankle) have a chance to play despite not practicing on Wednesday. Center Brad Meester (foot) missed practice, but should play Sunday against the Houston Texans, who got nose tackle Shaun Cody (ribs/back), tight end Owen Daniels (back) and running back Ben Tate (hamstring) back at practice on a limited basis. Texans defensive end Antonio Smith (ankle), linebacker Tim Dobbins (shoulder) and wide receiver Kevin Walter (groin) were also limited.
Quarterback Kevin Kolb (ribs) did not practice for the Arizona Cardinals on Wednesday, which means it's likely that John Skelton will start against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. The Cardinals also practiced without defensive end Calais Campbell, who has a calf injury. Campbell's status for Sunday will be determined later this week. For the Falcons, wide receiver Julio Jones (ankle) and linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (ankle) were held out of Wednesday's practice. D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Weatherspoon, who has missed the last two weeks, appears to be close to returning. Jones' status will be determined on Thursday.
"We wanted to keep Julio off his feet," Falcons head coach Mike Smith said. "Julio will be evaluated tomorrow and we will determine how much work he'll do."
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin (head/neck) and right guard Jon Asamoah (thumb) did not practice on Wednesday, while Dwayne Bowe (thigh) was limited along with nose tackle Dontari Poe (knee). Quarterback Brady Quinn (head) returned to practice on a full-time basis, but Matt Cassel will start against the Cincinnati Bengals, who were again with starting safety Reggie Nelson due to a hamstring injury that ended his consecutive games streak at 67.
Coming off their bye week, the Cleveland Browns are still without cornerback Dimitri Patterson (ankle), while cornerbacks Joe Haden (oblique) and Buster Skrine (ankle) and defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin (calf) were limited. Rubin has been out since Week 7 and, with Phil Taylor off the physically unable to perform list, his return means the Browns would have both of their starting defensive tackles when they take on the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. Dallas practiced without a long list of players, including centers Ryan Cook (knee) and Phil Costa (ankle), which meant Mackenzy Bernadeau took the first-team reps at center. Running back DeMarco Murray (foot) also did not practice and his status for the Browns' game is up in the air. With Dallas having a short week due to their annual Thanksgiving Day game, the Cowboys could hold Murray out until next Thursday as he'd have a longer time to recover before the Eagles game on Dec. 2.
New York Jets running back Bilal Powell remains out after sustaining a concussion in Sunday's 28-7 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Powell will need to pass the concussion protocol tests before he's allowed to return to the field. Jets nose tackle Sione Po'uha (back/ankle), linebacker Bart Scott (ankle) and running back Joe McKnight (ankle) were limited. The St. Louis Rams listed just three players on their injury report and the big news is that none of them were wide receiver Danny Amendola, who returned to action on Sunday after missing a few weeks with a sprained sternoclavicular joint. Wide receiver Austin Pettis (toe) was among the trio of Rams who were limited on Wednesday.
Shoulder injuries kept defensive end Michael Bennett and guard Jeremy Zuttah out of Tampa Bay Buccaneers' practice on Wednesday, though cornerback Eric Wright (Achilles) was able to practice on a limited basis after missing most of the 34-24 win over the Chargers when he aggravated his injury. The Carolina Panthers were without starting center Geoff Hangartner (knee), while left tackle Jordan Gross, wide receiver Steve Smith and linebacker Thomas Davis received the day off for non-injury purposes.