Rob Gronkowski, Ray Lewis headline Week 17′s initial practice participation reports

Brian McIntyre

Here's a look at the key injury situations we'll be monitoring in Week 17:

The New England Patriots listed 21 players as "limited" for Wednesday's practice. That list includes tight end Rob Gronkowski (forearm/hip), who has yet to receive medical clearance to play.

"When the doctors clear me, when the training staff clears me, when I'm medically ready to play and they let me play, I'm sure that's when I'll be out there," Gronkowski said via Mike Rodak of ESPN Boston. "Basically, the doctors know what they're talking about. They'll know when it's safe and sound and ready to go. I'm going to trust in them, and when they say so, I'm anxious to get out there, so obviously I want to go."

Also limited for New England: Wide receivers Brandon Lloyd (knee) and Wes Welker (ankle), tight end Aaron Hernandez (ankle), offensive linemen Dan Connolly (back), Logan Mankins (ankle/calf), Sebastian Vollmer (back/knee) and Nate Solder (abdomen), defensive linemen Kyle Love (knee) and Chandler Jones (ankle), linebackers Brandon Spikes (knee/ankle), Dont'a Hightower (hamstring/shoulder) and Jerod Mayo (elbow), cornerbacks Aqib Talib (hip) and Alfonzo Dennard (hamstring/knee) and safety Patrick Chung (shoulder).

The Baltimore Ravens activated inside linebacker Ray Lewis (triceps) from the injury reserve list, but the 17-year veteran will not play in Sunday's regular season finale against the Cincinnati Bengals. Lewis is expected to make his return in the Wild Card round of the 2012 AFC Playoffs. The Ravens practiced without defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (knee) and right guard Marshal Yanda (shoulder/knee), while wide receiver Anquan Boldin (shoulder) was limited. Four defensive backs for the Bengals were limited in Wednesday's practice. Safety Reggie Nelson (shoulder) was joined on the practice participation report by cornerbacks Terence Newman, Adam Jones and Jason Allen, who have hamstring injuries. Bengals kicker Mike Nugent (calf) was a full participant, which could lead to a late week roster move with Josh Brown, who has gone eight-for-nine on field goal attempts with 17 touchbacks in the three games Nugent has missed.

Denver Broncos right guard Chris Kuper (ankle/head) did not participate in Wednesday's practice and his availability for the regular season finale will be determined later in the week. Kuper has missed the last three games and the Broncos may decide to rest him for the post-season. Also absent for the Broncos on Wednesday was cornerback Tracy Porter, who suffered a concussion early in last Sunday's 34-12 win over the Cleveland Browns, and return specialist Trindon Holliday, who is batting an ankle injury. The Broncos' quest for an 11th straight win could be fairly easy against a Kansas City Chiefs squad that practiced without left tackle Branden Albert (back), running back Jamaal Charles (illness), linebacker Tamba Hali (illness), defensive end Tyson Jackson (foot), center Ryan Lilja (back) and tight end Tony Moeaki (head) on Wednesday.

Over on the NFC side, the Seattle Seahawks practiced without wide receiver Sidney Rice (knee), running back Marshawn Lynch (back), right tackle Breno Giacomini (elbow), defensive end Red Bryant (foot), linebacker Leroy Hill (hamstring) and cornerback Walter Thurmond (hamstring) on Wednesday. The Seahawks can clinch the NFC West with a win over the St. Louis Rams and if the San Francisco 49ers lose to the Arizona Cardinals.

49ers tight end Vernon Davis (concussion) was in a black, "no contact" jersey for Wednesday's practice. Also limited were outside linebackers Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks, who have shoulder injuries, and cornerback Tarell Brown, who injured his knee against the Seahawks. The team also practiced without defensive tackle Justin Smith, who has a left elbow injury that kept him out of last Sunday night's loss to the Seahawks and is expected to sideline him for this week's game against the Cardinals.

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (abdomen), defensive end Jared Allen (shoulder/illness) and cornerback Antoine Winfield (knee/hand) did not participate in Wednesday's practice, but should play against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. Defensive end Brian Robison, who missed last Sunday's 23-6 win over the Houston Texans, was limited with a shoulder injury and has a chance to play against the Packers.

The Packers ruled out safety Charles Woodson, who will miss a ninth game due to a broken collarbone, which will cost the veteran $562,500 in "per game active" roster bonuses this season. The Packers also practiced without kicker Mason Crosby (illness), guard Josh Sitton (concussion) and running back James Starks (knee). Wide receiver Randall Cobb (ankle/knee) was limited, but Jordy Nelson (hamstring) practiced without limitations and may play on Sunday.

The Chicago Bears are in "must-win" mode and began preparations for Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions without running back Matt Forte (ankle) and cornerback Charles Tillman (ribs/elbow. Linebacker Brian Urlacher remains out with a hamstring injury and safety Chris Conte (hamstring) was also out. The Lions practiced without wide receiver Calvin Johnson (knee/ankle), but is expected to continue his run at a 2,000 receiving yard season on Sunday.

Six Dallas Cowboys did not participate in Wednesday's practice, including defensive end Jason Hatcher (thigh) and outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware (elbow/shoulder). Both expect to play on Sunday against the Washington Redskins. Also absent were defensive lineman Rob Callaway and linebacker Brady Poppinga, who could face $10,000 fines for unexcused absences. Both players had difficulty getting back to the Dallas area due to a winter storm that restricted travel. Three Redskins did not practice in Wednesday's practice, most notably inside linebacker London Fletcher (ankle) and right tackle Tyler Polumbus (head). Rookie quarterback Robert Griffin (knee) was a full participant and expects to be able to do more on offense this week.

New York Giants tight end Travis Beckum (knee) has been ruled out and running back Ahmad Bradshaw (knee/foot), wide receiver Hakeem Nicks (knee), guard Chris Snee (hip), defensive tackle Chris Canty (knee) and cornerback Prince Amukamara (hamstring) did not participate. Nicks and Snee are unsure of whether or not they'll play on Sunday. The Giants listed defensive end Justin Tuck (shoulder) as limited, but the veteran plans on playing against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White (knee) and safety William Moore (hamstring) did not participate in Wednesday's practice. The Falcons have already sewn up the No. 1 seed in the NFC Playoffs and could rest players if they so choose. Falcons head coach Mike Smith does not expect Moore to play in the regular season finale against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who practiced without starting offensive linemen Donald Penn (not injury related) and Jeremy Zuttah (ankle) and tight end Dallas Clark (illness) on Wednesday.

The Indianapolis Colts have already clinched a playoff spot, but do not plan to rest any starters in the regular season finale against the Houston Texans. The Colts have no shortage of players who could use some rest, listing nine players as "limited" or "did not participate" in Wednesday's practice. That list includes centers Samson Satele (ankle) and A.Q. Shipley (knee), defensive end Cory Redding (quadriceps), and nose tackle Antonio Johnson (ankle), who did not practice. Right tackle Winston Justice (shoulder), linebacker Kavell Conner (hamstring) and safety Tom Zbikowski (knee) were limited. Nineteen members of the Texans landed on the injury report, though only cornerback Alan Ball (foot) did not participate. Running back Arian Foster was a full participant with an "arrhythmia", or an irregular heartbeat. Texans outside linebacker Brooks Reed was limited with his groin injury, but both he and Foster should play against the Colts.