The Divisional round games are still a few days away, but teams are deep into preparations. Several of the teams preparing for games this weekend are dealing with key injuries, including all four teams in the NFC.
The injury situation will become more clear as the week goes along. Teams won't release injury reports until Wednesday, but there were still a few updates on key players Tuesday. Here's the latest injury news from the eight teams still playing.
Seattle vs. New Orleans
Attention in New Orleans is focused on the status of Keenan Lewis. He suffered a head injury against Philadelphia and missed the majority of the second half. Lewis returned to practice Tuesday, and if it's up to him there is no question he'll play Saturday.
"I'll definitely be out there," Lewis said, via Ramon Vargas of The Advocate. "I'll be ready to go."
With Jabari Greer already out for the season, Lewis' status could be vital for New Orleans. Undrafted rookie free agent Rod Sweeting replaced Lewis against the Philadelphia Eagles, but he played just 15 defensive snaps during the regular season, according to Pro Football Focus. Seattle has talent at wide receiver and may have an extra weapon Saturday.
Percy Harvin practiced Tuesday, and tentatively remains on track to play against New Orleans. He returned to practice last week, making it through the session without any setbacks to his injured hip. Pete Carroll declined to say whether Harvin will play, instead saying the wideout would need to make it through practice this week to be cleared.
Harvin played in just one game this season, but has the ability to be a game-changer for Seattle in the playoffs. Carroll has said that if Harvin plays, it will be because he's ready and there are no limitations. That means Harvin could play a role as a receiver and returner. The Saints don't have much depth at corner and could have trouble defending three wide receiver sets featuring Harvin, Doug Baldwin and Golden Tate.
Tight end Luke Willson also practiced Tuesday and could play. K.J. Wright will run this week, but will not play. Carroll said everyone else on the active roster was available to practice, according to Bob Condotta.
Carolina vs. San Francisco
Carlos Rogers missed San Francisco's game against Green Bay, but said he thinks he will play against Carolina. Although San Francisco was able to survive without Rogers against the pass-happy Green Bay Packers, the Carolina Panthers will be looking to exploit the 49ers' secondary any way they can.
Wide receiver Steve Smith said he will play this week against Niners defense. Smith suffered a PCL injury late in the season and his status has been unclear since. On Monday, Smith said there is a 60 percent chance he will play on Sunday afternoon. He sounded more confident Tuesday, saying he plans to practice Wednesday, and that he has already resumed running and cutting.
Some injuries have a bigger impact than others, but it is hard to imagine a more impactful injury than Smith's. He is essential to the Panthers' offense, and almost as irreplaceable as Cam Newton. Carolina has other receivers, but Brandon LaFell, Ted Ginn Jr. and co. cannot duplicate what Smith brings as a playmaker and a leader.
New England vs. Indianapolis
Indianapolis will be without Greg Toler after placing the cornerback on injured reserve. The status of a few other players are less clear. LaRon Landry suffered a concussion against Kansas City and will have pass NFL protocols before being cleared to play. Darrius Heyward-Bey suffered a hamstring injury and is reportedly unlikely to play this week.
The Colts are dealing with injuries throughout the secondary, which is not exactly the best recipe for success when facing Tom Brady.
New England placed Brandon Spikes on injured reserve, and now Jamie Collins and Dane Fletcher will play bigger roles on defense. The Patriots defense has been hit hard by injuries this season, although cornerback Alfonzo Dennard did practice Tuesday. Guard Logan Mankins also practiced, a good sign that his recovery from an ankle injury is going well.
Aaron Dobson sat out practice, still dealing with a foot injury. Dobson missed four games during the season due to a sprain, and aggravated the injury in Week 17.
Denver vs. San Diego
D.J. Fluker and Ryan Mathews played through injuries late in the regular season, and it seems that they will continue to do so this week. Fluker was wearing a protective boot following San Diego's win against Cincinnati. Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune said the right tackle is expected to continue to play through the ankle injury.
Mathews was forced out of the Cincinnati game due to an ankle injury, but the running back plans to play against Denver.
"My mindset is I'm playing," Mathews said, via the Union-Tribune. "We keep fighting. [Mike McCoy] says it all the time. It's the next man up. We're all ready."
Mathews ran for at least 99 yards in each of San Diego's final four regular season games, including 127 yards in a win at Denver.
John Fox said Derek Wolfe hasn't suffered a setback from his illness, but the defensive end won't play against San Diego. Wolfe missed practice Monday, and would need two consecutive weeks of practice to be cleared to play, according to Mike Klis of the Denver Post. Rahim Moore and Shaun Phillips also missed practice Monday. Phillips was sent home due to an illness.
Denver has managed without Wolfe and Moore, but losing Phillips would be difficult to overcome. Phillips has been Denver's best pass rusher this season, and the Broncos are already without Von Miller.