Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams (ankle - questionable)
StL (0-5) @ DAL (2-3), 4:15 p.m. (ET)
(Update: Bradford has been ruled out.) The Rams' second-year quarterback suffered a high ankle sprain in the Week 6 loss to Green Bay and has missed the entire week's practices as he hopes to recover in time for tomorrow's game. The term "high ankle sprain" is usually used to describe an injury to the syndesmotic ligaments of the ankle, which hold the lower ends of the tibia and fibula (lower leg bones) together. Injuries to these ligaments are usually more severe than to other areas of the ankle, causing significant pain and difficulty bearing weight. Bradford worked yesterday with the team's trainer, working on his footwork and trying on ankle braces. But A.J. Feeley has taken all the snaps in practice this week and is ready to go in case Bradford is unable.
Jahvid Best, Detroit Lions (concussion - OUT)
DET (5-1) vs. ATL (3-3), 1 p.m. (ET)
Best suffered a concussion in the Lions' loss to San Francisco last week, his second of the season if you count one suffered in the team's first preseason game against Cleveland (and his third in two years). After being evaluated by the team's medical staff this week, Best has been ruled out of tomorrow's game against the Falcons, with Maurice Morris getting the call at running back.
There is, of course, great controversy over what precautions need to be taken when an NFL player suffers a concussion or is suspected of having suffered one. In its guidelines on the management of concussion in sports, the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) has divided concussions into three categories, with a different set of rules for each:
• Grade 1: Transient confusion without loss of consciousness, with symptoms resolving within 15 minutes; player may return to action after 15 minutes if symptoms have cleared, with a second concussion necessitating removal from the game.
• Grade 2: Transient confusion without loss of consiousness, with symptoms lasting for greater than 15 minutes; player may return to action after one week without symptoms
• Grade 3: Any loss of consciousness for any duration of time; if loss of consciousness was brief (seconds), player may return to action after one week without symptoms, but if prolonged (minutes), must be held out at least two weeks.
It is clear that NFL teams have followed these guidelines to varying degrees; it is reassuring that the Lions have clearly taken a conservative approach when handing Best, especially given the growing evidence regarding long-term, permanent neurological deficits among athletes with a history of multiple concussions.
Peyton Hillis, Cleveland Browns (hamstring - questionable)
CLE (2-3) vs. SEA (2-3), 1 p.m. (ET)
Hillis' strange 2011 saga continued in last Sunday's loss to Oakland, when he suffered a hamstring injury in the first quarter, missed the second and third quarters, and then returned to action in the fourth. Maybe not such a great idea, as the Browns' feature back has missed the entire week of practice thus far, and it would appear Montario Hardesty is in line for the start against the Seahawks tomorrow.
Rashard Mendenhall, Pittsburgh Steelers (knee - probable)
PIT (4-2) @ ARI (1-4), 4:05 p.m. (ET)
The injury roller coaster continues for Mendenhall, who, after triumphantly returning from a hamstring injury in the Steelers' Week 6 win over Jacksonville, suffered a mild knee injury during Thursday's practice. Mendenhall, however, participated in yesterday's practice without any setbacks and is listed as probable for tomorrow's game at Arizona. Good news for Steelers fans and Mendenhall fantasy owners, given the favorable matchup this week.
Vincent Jackson, San Diego Chargers (hamstring - probable)
SD (4-1) @ NYJ (3-3), 1 p.m. (ET)
The Chargers' top receiver has been hampered for several weeks with a hamstring injury, but after participating fully in practice yesterday is listed as probable for the team's contest at the New York Jets tomorrow. As with any hamstring concern, the concern is not if Jackson will be able to start, but whether the injury flares up during the game.
Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers (foot - questionable)
SD (4-1) @ NYJ (3-3), 1 p.m.
Gates, who has been out of action since Week 2 with a right foot injury, is listed as questionable for tomorrow's game with the Jets, although he was a full participant in Chargers practice yesterday. Gates tore the plantar fascia of the foot early in the 2010 season but played through the injury into December. After seemingly having healed in the offseason, by report in Week 2 Gates tore some of the scar tissue that had developed at the site of the original injury, causing him significant pain. Keep a close eye on the Chargers' inactive list Sunday morning, as Gates will be a game-time decision for Head Coach Norv Turner.
Sebastian Janikowski, Oakland Raiders (hamstring - questionable)
OAK (4-2) vs. KC (2-3), 4:05 p.m. (ET)
It's not often you'll see a kicker listed in a column like this, but Janikowski is no ordinary kicker. The Raiders standout pulled his left hamstring and has missed the past two days of practice recuperating. Oakland brought in three free agent kickers - Dave Rayner, Ricky Schmitt, and Rhys Lloyd - to practice today in case Janikowski can't go tomorrow.