Tuesday Sweep: Broken backfields

There's more news than usual on a November Tuesday, so let's have a look around.

The Redskins are coming off a bye week but that doesn't mean their backfield is healthy. Clinton Portis has a second-degree MCL sprain and is very iffy to play in Sunday night's critical game against Dallas. Ladell Betts (knee) is in better shape than Portis and might practice Wednesday but he's not 100 percent either, so the Redskins could be forced to give meaningful carries to Shaun Alexander and Rock Cartwright in this game. We'll see what we learn as the practice week goes along.

There are encouraging signs for Willie Parker this week, but given all the misdirection that's come from his knee and shoulder issues the last few weeks, we need to take a "believe it when we see it" approach. Don't lose Mewelde Moore's number just yet. Mike Tomlin says that Parker will practice with the team when things resume Wednedsay.

Not that the Broncos are desperate in the backfield or anything, but they signed Tatum Bell Tuesday. In truth it's a logical move; there's not much out there on the street at the running back position, and at least Bell already knows the system. Peyton Hillis might have to be the main ballcarrier this week, no matter that he's a natural fullback, and Selvin Young is still dealing with a nagging groin injury. The unproven P.J. Pope is also around.

Earnest Graham (knee) is no sure thing to play against Minnesota this week, even off a week of rest, so Warrick Dunn (back) or even Cadillac Williams (set to come off the PUP) could wind up being the main guy on Sunday. I can't imagine anyone in this group doing much against the Purple front seven, but any backfield news is worth digesting. If Caddy is activated, the team will probably cut Michael Bennett.

The fantasy value on Jamaal Charles basically expired; he's got a tender ankle, and Larry Johnson is going to play this week according to Herm Edwards.

Jason Witten's broken rib isn't healed yet, but you know the drill, he'll gut it out. The Cowboys almost have to treat Sunday's night's trip to Washington as an elimination game.

The Jets limited Laveranues Coles (thigh) and Jerricho Cotchery (shoulder) in Tuesday's final tune up, but you know the drill - they'll play Thursday against the Pats.

Sammy Morris (knee) was limited Tuesday and LaMont Jordan (calf) didn't do anything. Given how solid BenJarvus Green-Ellis looked against Buffalo last week, and the presence of veteran Kevin Faulk, there doesn't seen to be any incentive for the Patriots to rush their hurt runners back for this game, important as it may be.

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