The NFL’s Week 6 injury report features a number of key players, with the status of Patriots’ TE Rob Gronkowskiproviding plenty of intrigue as New England prepares to take on the New York Jets. Here are some notable injuries, and their impact, for Week 6:
Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots, forearm
NE (5-1) @ NYJ (3-3), 1:00 p.m.
Gronkowski has missed the entire season thus far after recovering from surgeries to his forearm and back. However, according to his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, he has been medically cleared to return today against the Jets and is listed as questionable on the Patriots’ injury report. Medical clearance, however, does not necessarily translate to Gronkowski taking the field today. That decision will ultimately be made by Head Coach Bill Belichick prior to kickoff. Gronkowski has been practicing in full with the team, and by all accounts is healthy enough to take the field. If he does, it would provide a huge boost to the Patriots, who have been struggling to find consistency in the passing game thus far in the 2013 campaign.
CHI (4-2) @ WAS (1-4), 1:00 p.m.
The Bears TE has been a pleasant fantasy surprise this season, but is listed as questionable with a knee injury for the second straight week. Bennett played through the injury last week in Chicago’s win over the Giants and is expected to take the field today against a Washington defense that has been giving up big plays to TEs this season.
TEN (3-3) vs. SF (4-2), 4:05 p.m.
Locker suffered an injury to his right hip and knee in Tennessee's Week 4 win over the New York Jets and has missed the past two games as a result. It was thought that Locker might miss a month or more while recovering, but the Titans’ QB has participated in practice this week and appears to be a game-time decision for this afternoon’s contest with San Francisco. If Locker -- who had been having a breakout season prior to the injury -- is unable to play today, Ryan Fitzpatrick would get the starting nod for the third consecutive week.
BUF (2-4) @ MIA (3-2), 1pm
Spiller has played through an ankle injury in the Bills’ past two games but remains questionable on the team’s official injury list. All indications are that Spiller will suit up today, but with or without an injury to the playmaker, Buffalo will continue to platoon at RB with Fred Jackson.
NYG (0-6) vs. MIN (1-4), Monday night
Giants fans were treated to the Brandon Jacobs of old last week against the Bears, as the New York RB rushed 22 times for 106 yards and two touchdowns in defeat. Unfortunately, with the Giants’ RB corps severely depleted already, Jacobs showed up on the team’s injury list this week with a hamstring strain and is listed as questionable for tomorrow’s contest with the Vikings. Jacobs did not practice yesterday after participating earlier in the week, and hamstring injuries are particularly prone to reinjury if not completely healed prior to participating in athletic activities, this is one to watch going into Monday night.
HOU (2-4) @ KC (6-0), 4:25 p.m.
Johnson suffered a deep shin bruise in the second quarter of the Texans’ Week 3 loss at Baltimore, with an MRI confirming that there was no bone damage as a result of the injury. Johnson, who is listed as questionable for today’s game against Kansas City, has played despite the injury the past three weeks but continues to deal with pain upon contact and movement of the affected area. Rookie DeAndre Hopkins would stand to see increased playing time today if Johnson is limited.
GB (3-2) vs. CLE (3-3), 4:25 p.m.
The Green Bay receiver left in the first quarter against the Ravens last week with a left knee sprain sustained while blocking for RB Eddie Lacy and did not return. Jones has not practiced this week and although officially listed as questionable on the team’s injury report may not see full reps even if he does play against Cleveland today. With the Packers already missing WR Randall Cobb due to a knee injury, Jones’ absence would be a blow to Aaron Rodgersand the Green Bay air attack.
Cecil Shorts, Jacksonville Jaguars, shoulder
JAC (0-6) vs. SD (3-3), 1:00 p.m.
Shorts sprained his shoulder in the first quarter of Jacksonville’s 35-19 loss at Denver last week and has been limited in practice this week. A sprain technically involves tearing of the fibers holding the shoulder joint in place, with the degree of the tear resulting in a grade from 1 (least severe) to 3 (most severe). Regardless of the grade, shoulder sprains can usually be treated without surgery, with pain management being the biggest concern. Shorts’ status is a true game-time decision for today’s contest against the Chargers.