The Lions probably aren't feeling so thankful as they head into their Thanksgiving Day game against Miami without running back Kevin Jones and defensive tackle Shaun Rogers. The Dolphins have issues of their own as they try to overcome a banged-up secondary.
In other Thursday action, the Cowboys and Bucs have an assortment of minor injuries to deal with while the Broncos and Chiefs could be without a handful of starters for their showdown.
Let's go to the injury report and find out who's in, who's out and who might be getting signed!
Donovan McNabb of the Philadelphia Eagles has been placed on the season-ending injured reserve list with a torn ACL in his right knee. McNabb hopes to be healthy for the start of next season, but his rehab could extend into the early portion of the 2007 campaign. Jeff Garcia will be under center for Sunday's game against Indianapolis but a final decision hasn't been made on whether they'll stick with him or eventually play A.J. Feeley. Meanwhile, the team announced the signing of rookie Omar Jacobs to the practice squad as insurance.
Brett Favre of the Green Bay Packers expects to return to practice this week even with his assortment of injuries (right elbow, leg, groin) and intends to start on Monday night against Seattle. Favre was knocked out of their loss against New England as he felt pain in his right elbow, but an MRI did not show any major damage. The Packers also lost backup quarterback Aaron Rodgers to a broken bone in his foot, so the team has signed former Saints backup Todd Bouman, who is well-versed in the team's offensive system since he played for head coach Mike McCarthy (a one-time Saints coordinator).
Byron Leftwich of the Jacksonville Jaguars had ankle surgery on Tuesday to correct the problems that had hampered and then sidelined him the past few weeks. The team will give him a few weeks to rehab and recover before deciding on his long-term future for this season. Meanwhile, current backup Quinn Gray has seen a few more reps the past few weeks, but given the play of David Garrard against the Giants on Monday night, it seems likely that he will remain the team's starter for the rest of this season.
Matt Hasselbeck of the Seattle Seahawks has returned to practice on a full-time basis and will start against the Packers on Monday night. The extra day of work will help in his return from a sprained knee that has sidelined him the past month. It could be a surprisingly tough return as the Packers' defensive unit has shown signs of improvement over the past few weeks.
Seattle's Shaun Alexander rejoined the starting lineup last week against the 49ers and came away without any pain or incident. He expects to receive a full dose of 20-25 carries on Monday night against the Packers in a game that has a "must-win" feel to it if the Seahawks want to have a shot at earning a home playoff game down the line. The health and production of Alexander down the stretch is critical for this team to make a charge back towards the top of the NFC, especially with an ever-improving 49ers team right on their heels.
Kevin Jones of the Detroit Lions missed practice on Tuesday with an ankle injury that sidelined him during Sunday's loss to Arizona. He'll be re-evaluated, but at this point it does not seem likely that he will be ready to play in time for Thursday's game, although he could still be active and start. Keep an eye on reserve Arlen Harris if Jones is ruled out. He has proven to be a very steady player in past years with the Rams.
LaMont Jordan of the Oakland Raiders will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL in his left knee, which will require surgery once the swelling goes down. Jordan has been an underachiever since being signed as a free agent two years ago and this injury could allow Justin Fargas the chance to fight for the starting job next summer if he is able to prove durable and consistent down the stretch. Backup ReShard Lee could also see 8-10 carries per week based on the success of Fargas.
Ronnie Brown of the Miami Dolphins has rebounded quickly from a groin injury and practiced with the team already this week as they prepare for Thursday's game. If he does not have any setbacks, he is expected to start against the Lions, but may still see fewer carries than usual in order to keep him healthy for the rest of the season.
DeShaun Foster of the Carolina Panthers suffered a hyperextended left elbow in the first half of last week's win over the Rams. Rookie DeAngelo Williams stepped into his role as the team's primary runner and flashed the speed and big-play ability that allowed him to be selected in the first round of this year's draft. Foster is unlikely to be at full strength this week, so Williams could see upwards of 20-plus carries as he has set his sights on becoming the team's new feature back.
Reuben Droughns of the Cleveland Browns missed last week's game against the Steelers due to a foot injury he suffered the previous game against the Falcons. The team used Jason Wright and rookie Jerome Harrison in his place last week, and you should expect to see more of Harrison this week if Droughns is ruled out against the Bengals.
Najeh Davenport of the Pittsburgh Steelers was knocked out of last week's game with a groin injury. The Steelers are unsure if he will be healthy enough to play against Baltimore, which could allow veteran Duce Staley to return to the active roster.
WIDE RECEIVER/TIGHT END
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Marques Colston has a high left ankle sprain, which could force him out of action for a few weeks. He has been on a vigorous treatment plan, as they have been testing out his ankle and pain levels each day with the hopes he can return soon. Colston has not missed any time during his fantastic rookie campaign. He hopes to show he is a fast healer by returning quicker than expected, but the team is not willing to risk losing him for the rest of the season by rushing him back in the lineup. If he were to miss time, wide receiver Devery Henderson and recently signed tight end Billy Miller could see an increased volume of passes thrown in their direction.
Pittsburgh wide receiver Hines Ward did not practice on Tuesday due to a knee injury that threatens to keep him out of action on Sunday. He was diagnosed with a hyperextended knee in last week's win over Cleveland, but an MRI showed no further damage. Ward has only missed one game in his career, but should he be sidelined this weekend, Nate Washington would see more passes come his way.
The New York Giants expect rookie wide receiver Sinorice Moss to see action for just the second time this season on Sunday as his quad injury has progressed without any setbacks in recent weeks. He would provide them with the type of vertical passing threat that has been lacking in their offense. Also, expect to see more of special teams ace David Tyree at wide receiver as Tim Carter has dropped too many passes in recent weeks.
Kansas City Chiefs All-Pro tight end Tony Gonzalez returned to practice and expects to play this week, which should give a boost to the passing attack. However, both of their starting offensive linemen, Brian Waters and Kevin Sampson, should remain sidelined, which could hurt their chances of providing Trent Green a secure pocket.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Alex Smith was not able to practice on Tuesday and will be listed as questionable on the team's injury list. If he were to be ruled out of this week's game, then a combination of Doug Jolley and Dave Moore would replace him against the Cowboys on Thursday afternoon.
Raiders offensive tackle Robert Gallery has a dislocated left elbow, which is likely to sideline him for several weeks, and create a ripple effect along the line once again. The Raiders are likely to put reserve tackle Chad Slaughter back over on the left side, but he struggled against quicker pass rushers in his earlier stint at the position when Gallery was dealing with a calf injury. They hope to have veteran guard Barry Sims back in the lineup this week after missing the past few weeks due to a sports hernia.
The Minnesota Vikings could be without offensive guard Artis Hicks and tackle Marcus Johnson as both suffered leg injuries in their loss to the Dolphins. They man the right side of the team's offensive line, so minus either, the team would turn to either rookie Ryan Cook or veteran Mike Rosenthal.
Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis hopes to return to the lineup this week after missing the past two games with a back injury. He had blood drained out of a large bruise last week. If he is forced to miss more action, Dennis Haley will start again this week at middle linebacker as key reserve Mike Smith has also missed time recently with a dislocated shoulder.
Detroit Lions defensive tackle Shaun Rogers will be forced to miss Thursday's game against the Dolphins with a bothersome knee injury, which is a bigger problem since fellow defensive lineman Shaun Cody has not been able to practice with a lingering toe injury. Minus both Rogers and Cody, the Dolphins should be able to run the ball effectively with or without starting running back Ronnie Brown being at 100 percent.
Jacksonville Jaguars safety Donovin Darius will miss the rest of the season after suffering a broken right leg against the Giants on Monday night. It is the second straight season that he has been lost to a leg injury. He suffered a torn ACL in his left knee last year. Second-year defensive back Gerald Sensabaugh will become a full-time starter for the Jaguars, a role he filled quite nicely as a rookie. He is more athletic and a gifted special teams performer, but lacks the punch against the run that Darius brings to the table.
Giants defensive ends Osi Umenyiora (hip) and Michael Strahan (foot) will both be out of action this week and could also miss a few more weeks as they try to return to the lineup. To make things worse, current rookie starter Barry Coefield has missed practice with a groin injury, which would force the team to play William Joseph at defensive end and backup Jonas Seawright inside at tackle. In addition, cornerback Sam Madison will also be out for this week's game with a lingering hamstring injury, so versatile veteran R.W. McQuarters will get his second straight start at cornerback. Linebacker Brandon Short is about another week away from testing out his quad injury, but should return in roughly two weeks.
Miami Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder suffered a hip pointer in their win over the Vikings, but was able to practice without issue on Tuesday, so he expects to play on Thursday afternoon against Detroit. However, the Dolphins will likely be missing cornerback Will Allen, who has been unable to practice with a groin injury, so rookie defensive back Jason Allen could see extended playing time in nickel and dime situations against the Lions. Additionally, safety Yeremiah Bell will be in the starting lineup since Travares Tillman is expected to miss 2-3 weeks with a broken bone in his left hand that required surgery. Defensive tackle Keith Traylor returned to practice this week after missing game action because of a knee injury that was expected to potentially keep him out of action several more weeks. The Dolphins' recent turnaround, especially defensively, led to him pushing hard on his rehab and he looks to be ready to suit back up for this Thursday's contest against the Lions.
Denver Broncos safety Nick Ferguson will be sidelined for the rest of the season with a major injury to his left knee that required surgery on Tuesday. An initial diagnosis showed that he had a torn medial meniscus in his knee, which after surgery could take up to three months to recover, depending on how the knee responds to the rehab process. They already had lost key reserve Sam Brandon with a season-ending knee injury, so it was huge that Ferguson played through the injury for three quarters on Sunday night in a display of leadership and toughness. They have few options for this week, as a veteran safety is needed, but former college cornerback Curome Cox could be in the lineup against Kansas City.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Simeon Rice has been placed on the season-ending IR list after a shoulder injury that kept him out the past two weeks did not show signs of coming around. The Bucs are expected to add a defensive lineman before their contest with the Cowboys and free agent to be Dewayne White will continue to see extended playing time. The fans might have already seen Rice in a pewter uniform for the last time as there was heavy speculation that they would try dealing him around the trade deadline. Those rumors will start up again in the offseason or near draft time.
Arizona Cardinals defensive end Bertrand Berry tore a triceps muscle in their win over the Lions, which will keep him out for the rest of the season. He leads the team with six sacks and will be replaced by Antonio Smith, who is physically bigger and strong against the run, but lacks the explosiveness of Berry when rushing the passer.
Dallas Cowboys defensive end Jeremiah Ratliff, who has become a valuable member of the team's defensive line rotation, is dealing with a left shoulder injury, but expected to return to practice on Wednesday and play against Tampa Bay.
San Francisco 49ers cornerback Shawntae Spencer, who has been the team's best defender in recent weeks, could miss this week's game with a sprained ankle that he suffered in their win against Seattle. If Spencer were to sit out, Sammy Davis would start in his place and backup defensive back Marcus Hudson could see more action in nickel and dime situations.