NFL injury report, Week 14: Ben Roethlisberger is the headliner

Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

With just hours remaining before Sunday’s Week 14 games kick off in the NFL, SB Nation medical expert Dr. Ali Mohamadi discusses some of the most significant remaining injuries impacting this weekend’s games.

Quarterbacks

Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (shoulder/rib – probable) PIT (7-5) vs. SD (4-8), 1 p.m.

After missing three weeks due to a dislocated first rib that raised concern for the possibility of severe internal injury, Roethlisberger has passed all medical tests this week and is set to start for Pittsburgh as it continues its playoff push today against the Chargers. The injury, which took place in the Steelers’ 16-13 OT win over Kansas City on November 12, was particularly worrisome because it was located at the junction of the rib and the sternum, and more specifically because the rib was bent inward toward the chest cavity, placing a number of critical internal organs at risk. However, there should be no concern regarding Roethlisberger’s effectiveness at this point, and he will be wearing a protective shield to prevent aggravation of the injury.

Wide Receivers

Danny Amendola, St. Louis Rams (foot – questionable) StL (5-6-1) @ BUF (5-7), 1 p.m.

Amendola has had an injury-riddled season, the most recent being a foot injury that took place in the team’s Week 14 victory over Arizona that kept him out of last week’s win against the San Francisco 49ers. After missing practice on Wednesday, Amendola returned on a limited basis the remainder of the week, and he is a game-time decision for this afternoon’s contest against the Bills. The Rams could certainly use Amendola – who has been QB Sam Bradford’s favorite target when able to suit up – as the team tries to make an improbable push toward a Wild Card playoff spot in the season’s final four weeks.

Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants (knee -- questionable) NYG (7-5) vs NO (5-7), 4:25 p.m

The Giants’ wide receiver has been plagued by a sore knee for much of the season, and although he was able to play last Monday night in the team’s loss to the Washington Redskins, the injury flared up this week, causing him to miss practice entirely on Friday. After missing three consecutive games early in the season, Nicks has been able to fight through knee and ankle injuries the past seven games, but head coach Tom Coughlin voiced some concern about his status for this week. Keep an eye on Nicks’ status leading up to game time; if he is unable to suit up against the Saints, the Giants will benefit from the return of WR Domenik Hixon after missing two games with an ankle injury, and rookie Rueben Randle would also figure to get more playing time.

Sidney Rice, Seattle Seahawks (head -- probable) SEA (7-5) vs ARI (4-8), 1 p.m.

Rice, who suffered a head injury when drilled on the game-winning overtime touchdown against the Chicago Bears last week, has passed all concussion tests and is listed as probable for this afternoon’s game with Arizona, despite being limited in practice for precautionary measures this week. Rice was temporarily knocked unconscious after taking a shot to the head last week, but after the game tweeted that he had not been diagnosed with a concussion, which was corroborated by team physicians this week. If Rice is normally in your fantasy lineup, the injury should not deter you from playing him again this week.

Tight ends

Jermaine Gresham, Cincinnati Bengals (hamstring – probable) CIN (7-5) vs. DAL (6-6), 1 p.m.

The Bengals’ tight end, who has been a solid fantasy starter in the second half of the season, has been limited in practice most of this week due to a hamstring injury that initially had team officials concerned about his status for today’s matchup with the Dallas Cowboys. Gresham’s injury status, however, was upgraded to probable entering the weekend, which elicited a sigh of relief from Bengals fans and fantasy owners alike. With today’s game having enormous playoff implications for both teams, QB Andy Dalton will likely target Gresham frequently against a defense that has had some issues covering TEs this season.

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