Biggest Week 14 injury questions for all 32 NFL teams: Josh Jacobs, Drew Brees and Tyreek Hill

ByNFL Nation ESPN logo
Thursday, December 10, 2020

The Las Vegas Raiders' run game without Josh Jacobs isn't nearly as dangerous, which is why Jacobs leads a list of NFL players whose status is up in the air heading into Week 14.

Jacobs isn't the only running back trying to fight through injuries this week, as the Carolina Panthers' Christian McCaffrey, Washington's Antonio Gibson, the Dallas Cowboys' Ezekiel Elliott and the Jacksonville Jaguars' James Robinson are on the mend. The New York Giants are optimistic about quarterback Daniel Jones, while the wait for the New Orleans Saints' Drew Brees might continue for at least one more week. And the Kansas City Chiefs hope that Tyreek Hill can overcome his illness in time to play the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

Here's a look at the biggest injuries for every team:

Jump to:




NE | NO | NYG | NYJ | PHI | PIT | SF



Buffalo Bills

Is Matt Milano ready for a full workload? The linebacker made his return from injured reserve Monday against the 49ers but was clearly on a pitch count, playing just 30% of the Bills' defensive snaps. The team liked what it saw from him and wants to see how he responds at practice this week before giving him the green light for Sunday night's showdown with the Steelers. -- Marcel Louis-Jacques

Miami Dolphins

Left guard Ereck Flowers suffered a high ankle sprain during Sunday's win against the Bengals that could keep him out for a week or two beginning Sunday vs. the Kansas City Chiefs. Luckily, the Dolphins have six players who have spent substantial time in the starting lineup this season, and veteran Jesse Davis would likely return to starting lineup at guard if Flowers can't play. -- Cameron Wolfe

New England Patriots

Cornerback J.C. Jackson, whose seven interceptions is second in the NFL behind Xavien Howard's eight, played through a hip injury Sunday, then injured his knee late in the game. He's been listed as limited in "practice" leading up to Thursday's game, with the Patriots not holding a traditional practice and instead focusing on walkthroughs and mental work. If Jackson can't go, veteran Jason McCourty would be his likely replacement. Also, starting right guard Shaq Mason (quadriceps) bears watching, especially with a matchup against defensive tackle Aaron Donald on tap. -- Mike Reiss

New York Jets

It's not injury-related, but the Jets might not have rookie wide receiver Denzel Mims on Sunday. He went home to Texas for a family emergency and the team wasn't sure if he'd make it back in time to take his daily COVID-19 test. If he misses it, he won't be able to satisfy the protocols before Sunday. He'd likely be replaced by Jeff Smith. RB Frank Gore (concussion) is expected to play, which means Ty Johnson (104 yards last weekend) could have a smaller role. -- Rich Cimini


Baltimore Ravens

Cornerback Jimmy Smith missed Tuesday's game because of a groin injury, and it's uncertain whether he can bounce back to play at the Cleveland Browns on Monday night. Smith, the Ravens' No. 3 cornerback, was replaced last game by Anthony Averett. Baltimore would prefer to go with Smith, a bigger and physical defender, over Averett, a smaller and faster one, when going against a Browns running game that attacks the outside and forces cornerbacks to tackle. The Ravens, who played Tuesday night, return to the practice field Thursday. -- Jamison Hensley

Cincinnati Bengals

Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins tweaked his hamstring while trying to leap over a defender at the end of last weekend's 19-7 loss to the Miami Dolphins. On Wednesday, Higgins was listed as a limited participant at practice but was spotted taking part in individual drills. That indicates a strong possibility of the rookie playing against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. -- Ben Baby

Cleveland Browns

Pro Bowl cornerback Denzel Ward sat out Wednesday's practice with a calf injury that also sidelined him Sunday. But with the Browns playing on Monday Night Football against the Ravens, Ward will have an extra day to potentially recover in time to play in a divisional showdown with major AFC wild-card implications. -- Jake Trotter

Pittsburgh Steelers

Injuries have really taken a toll on the Steelers the past two games -- especially on the defensive side with Bud Dupree's ACL tear, Robert Spillane's knee injury and Joe Haden's concussion. At least two of those three will be out against the Bills, but the Steelers badly needSteven Nelson(knee) to return to the lineup with Haden dealing with a concussion. The Bills have a solid passing attack, and the Steelers' secondary is going to be tested. Facing that test without both starting corners would make it even more challenging. -- Brooke Pryor


Houston Texans

Three Texans cornerbacks (Keion Crossen, Phillip Gaines and John Reid) did not practice Wednesday. Houston already lost top cornerback Bradley Roby last week when he was suspended for six games. Gaines played 90% of the Texans' defensive snaps in Week 13 against the Colts. -- Sarah Barshop

Indianapolis Colts

Left tackle Anthony Castonzo's knee will continue to be the Colts' biggest concern each week unless quarterback Philip Rivers or linebacker Darius Leonard is dealing with an injury that causes legit concern over their availability. Castonzo hasn't practiced since injuring his knee early in the second quarter of the Week 12 game against Tennessee. The Colts don't want to put Castonzo on injured reserve in case he's able to return in fewer than the three games he would be required to miss by going on the list. Chaz Green will start at left tackle against Las Vegas if Castonzo misses another game, because Le'Raven Clark is out for the season with a torn Achilles tendon. -- Mike Wells

Jacksonville Jaguars

RB James Robinson is dealing with a knee injury and was limited in practice Wednesday. Coach Doug Marrone said Robinson took a hard hit against Minnesota this past Sunday and left the game for a bit, but returned. Marrone expects Robinson to play this Sunday against Tennessee, but it's certainly something worth monitoring as the week progresses. The Jaguars have Dare Ogunbowale, Nathan Cottrell and Devine Ozigbo behind Robinson. They have a combined two carries this season, both by Ogunbowale last weekend. -- Mike DiRocco

Tennessee Titans

Adoree' Jackson finally made his return to the practice field but was a limited participant. Jackson was able to work through the individual period without a brace or even a sleeve on his knee even though the injury has kept him from playing this season. The Titans could use Jackson in the secondary, especially since fellow cornerback Breon Borders missed practice with a hip injury. -- Turron Davenport


Denver Broncos

The Broncos have already played a game this season with no quarterbacks available and go into Sunday's visit to the Carolina Panthers perilously thin at cornerback. Bryce Callahan (foot) is already on injured reserve and could be out for the season, and rookie Essang Bassey (knee) will miss the remainder of the season after he suffered his injury in this past Sunday night's loss to the Chiefs. Toss in A.J. Bouye's six-game suspension, formally handed down Wednesday, for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances and the Broncos will start rookie Michael Ojemudia and De'Vante Bausby, a player Denver has already released once this season, at cornerback. -- Jeff Legwold

Kansas City Chiefs

WR Tyreek Hill has plenty of time to be ready for Sunday's game against the Dolphins after missing practice on Wednesday because of illness. But a similar illness kept RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire from playing in last weekend's game, so the situation bears watching. The Chiefs had their worst offensive game of the Patrick Mahomes era last season against the Colts when Hill was out of the lineup. -- Adam Teicher

Las Vegas Raiders

Running back Josh Jacobs has not practiced since going out with a sprained right ankle late in the Raiders' loss at Atlanta on Nov. 29. His absence was felt with the lack of a running game in the Raiders' miraculous last-second victory at the New York Jets on Sunday, as Devontae Booker struggled to pick up the slack. If Jacobs misses this weekend's home game against the Colts, against whom the Raiders are competing for a playoff spot, it will have an eerily familiar feeling to last season. That's when, with the Raiders in the postseason hunt, Jacobs missed three of the final four games with a fractured shoulder. The Raiders lost five of their last six to fall out of the race. -- Paul Gutierrez

Los Angeles Chargers

RB Kalen Ballage has an ankle sprain and is questionable for this weekend vs. Atlanta. He has been a valuable addition to the running backs group, especially as a blocker for the No. 1 running back, Austin Ekeler, now that he's healthy. Ballage had difficulty in stops with Miami and the Jets, but has been a big (literally) help to this crew. -- Shelley Smith


Dallas Cowboys

Ezekiel Elliott has been dealing with a hamstring issue for about a month, but had the Cowboys actually practiced Wednesday the running back would have been a limited participant because of a calf injury suffered in Tuesday's game against Baltimore. Coming off a short week, Elliott is expected to play but the Cowboys might have to monitor his work Sunday at Cincinnati. He had 18 carries for 77 yards against the Ravens in what was one of his better games. Facing perhaps the best chance to win in the final month, the Cowboys need Elliott as close to 100 percent as possible. -- Todd Archer

New York Giants

The Giants are "optimistic" about Daniel Jones (hamstring). He came close to getting on the field against Seattle. One source close to the quarterback expects him to be back Sunday vs. Arizona, barring a setback. So things are looking up for Jones and the first-place Giants. He was officially listed as a limited participant in Wednesday's practice (it was a projection because they held only a walk-through). Thursday and Friday will be the key days. But Jones said he's at least "feeling better." -- Jordan Raanan

Philadelphia Eagles

Cornerback Darius Slay was limited to start the week with a knee injury suffered against the Green Bay Packers. He entered that game nursing a calf injury, so Slay is a bit banged up heading into Sunday's game versus Michael Thomas and the Saints. If he can't go or is not himself Sunday, that could be trouble for Philadelphia. -- Tim McManus

Washington Football Team

Running back Antonio Gibson suffered turf toe in the win over Pittsburgh on Monday and there should be legitimate concern about his availability for Sunday's game at San Francisco. For a running back, turf toe is difficult because of how much he needs to push off it and with change of direction. Even if he returns, that's a difficult injury to navigate and to run with the same explosion. It would be a huge blow if Gibson has to miss multiple games. J.D. McKissic is an excellent third-down back, but Peyton Barber can't replicate Gibson -- he generates only 0.86 yards after first contact. He's a short-yardage back, but even on first-and-10 carries, Barber averages only 2.63 yards per carry. The offense will notice Gibson's absence if he can't play. -- John Keim


Chicago Bears

The injuries keep piling up for pass-rusher Khalil Mack, who missed Wednesday's practice with a shoulder problem. Mack sat out two days of practice last week because of a bad back and finished last Sunday's loss to the Detroit Lions with zero statistics. Mack has been a non-factor in several games this season as the Bears' record plummeted from 5-1 to 5-7. The best guess is Mack still plays versus the Texans, but guaranteeing Mack's effectiveness is no longer as automatic as it once was. The Bears' 2020 season will forever be remembered for the team's substandard offense, but Mack hasn't played like the former NFL player of the year he's paid to be. -- Jeff Dickerson

Detroit Lions

D'Andre Swift hasn't played since mid-November and continues to practice on a limited basis coming back from an illness and a concussion. To add to Detroit's running back concerns, Kerryon Johnson was limited Wednesday with a knee injury -- his third knee injury in as many seasons. The Lions could have both players against the Packers -- or could be rolling with Adrian Peterson as the lead back. Coach Darrell Bevell said the plan with Swift is to "ramp him up from what he was going through more than the rustiness, but we're still taking that into consideration." So you're going to want to monitor both of them throughout the week because Detroit's offense has a different dynamic with Swift on the field. -- Michael Rothstein

Green Bay Packers

The Packers' injury list doesn't look too bad, but don't be fooled: They put three players -- RB/KR Tyler Ervin, S Raven Greene and DT Billy Winn -- on injured reserve this week. The biggest question at this point is whether they'll be down backup pass-catchers such as TE Jace Sternberger and WR Equanimeous St. Brown. Both are in the concussion protocol after getting knocked out of this past Sunday's game against the Eagles. The Packers should have enough depth at receiver but might have to elevate TE Dominique Dafney from the practice squad for the second straight week. -- Rob Demovsky

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings are dangerously thin at tight end. Kyle Rudolph (foot) and Irv Smith Jr. (back) did not practice on Wednesday a day after practice-squad TE Brandon Dillon, who had been called up to the active roster three times since Week 10, was moved to injured reserve. That leaves Tyler Conklin as the only available tight end for the Bucs game unless Minnesota gets an injured player back or signs another quickly enough to go through the COVID-19 protocols and be cleared for the game. Linebacker Eric Kendricks did not practice Wednesday after reinjuring his calf in pregame warmups against Jacksonville, which caused him to miss the game. -- Courtney Cronin


Atlanta Falcons

WR Julio Jones' practice week got off to a disappointing start Wednesday when he didn't participate because of a hamstring injury. But Jones could still be available on Sunday against the Chargers. He didn't practice the Thursday prior to last weekend's game and still wound up with almost 100 yards receiving against the Saints. -- Adam Teicher

Carolina Panthers

Just went it appeared Christian McCaffrey was home free to return from a shoulder injury, his quadriceps tightened. He still appears on target to return from missing three games against the Denver organization that his dad played for, but the quad that limited him Wednesday does throw a wrinkle into this. The Panthers already could be missing wide receivers DJ Moore and Curtis Samuel, who are on the reserve/COVID-19 list. If they aren't removed and McCaffrey isn't there to pick up their slack, Carolina's offensive weapons will be greatly depleted. -- David Newton

New Orleans Saints

Quarterback Drew Brees did not return to practice Wednesday, making it less likely that he will return from injured reserve in time for Sunday's game at Philadelphia. WR Michael Thomas was listed as limited with his ankle injury and was not spotted during the portion of practice open to the media -- but there is no reason for concern yet, since he has been playing through the injury for the past several weeks. On a positive note, LT Terron Armstead returned from the reserve/COVID-19 list and CB Janoris Jenkins, DE Marcus Davenport and WR/KR Deonte Harris returned from injuries. -- Mike Triplett

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Cornerback Jamel Dean officially cleared concussion protocol, Bucs coach Bruce Arians said Wednesday, after Dean returning to practice for the first time since suffering the injury against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 11. But now Dean is dealing with a groin injury. "He cleared the protocol but he had a very, very sore groin so he did not practice today," Arians said of Dean. "Hopefully we'll get him healed up." In Dean's absence, the Bucs surrendered three touchdowns to Tyreek Hill and the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 12. -- Jenna Laine


Arizona Cardinals

There are three injuries that are worth keeping an eye on for the Cardinals. Inside linebacker De'Vondre Campbell (ankle) didn't participate in Wednesday's practice and if he can't go Sunday against the Giants, then expect rookie Isaiah Simmons to get a significant increase in snaps. Also, neither safety Charles Washington (groin) nor safety Jalen Thompson (ankle) practiced Wednesday -- with Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury ruling Thompson out -- making depth in the secondary a major issue for Sunday. -- Josh Weinfuss

Los Angeles Rams

Kicker Matt Gay popped up on the injury report Wednesday with a shoulder injury and is listed as questionable for Thursday's game against the Patriots. The Rams have Austin MacGinnis on the practice squad, so it's possible they will move him to the active roster if it appears Gay will be unavailable. In three games, Gay has converted five of seven field-goal attempts and has made 10 extra points. A former XFL kicker, MacGinnis has never appeared in an NFL game. -- Lindsey Thiry

San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers are hoping to get two key cornerbacks -- K'Waun Williams and Emmanuel Moseley -- back in time for Sunday's game against Washington but their status is up in the air. Williams (high ankle sprain) was limited Wednesday and Moseley (hamstring) did not practice. Coach Kyle Shanahan said the Niners would "see how it goes" the rest of the week before a decision on either is made. The 49ers could use both of them after Bills quarterback Josh Allen shredded them for 375 yards and four touchdowns on Monday night. -- Nick Wagoner

Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks are hoping right tackle Brandon Shell can return this week from the high-ankle sprain that's kept him out the past two games. His absence, plus injuries to his two backups, had the Seahawks down to their fourth option by the end of Sunday's loss to the Giants. Coach Pete Carroll noted that Shell would be plenty motivated to return this week so he can play against his former team, the Jets. Carroll called it a good sign that Shell was getting some work in on Wednesday, adding: "He's real anxious to get back. It seems like he's ready to go." -- Brady Henderson

Related Video