NFL Week 4 injury roundup: Key actives/inactives
In the NFL’s constant war of attrition, injuries can decide games, seasons and a whole lot of futures. Here’s who will give it a shot, and who will not, as we head into Week 4 of the 2013 season:
• Ray Rice, RB, Ravens (hip): Rice said all week that he would be a game-time decision — he was limited in practice and sat out Week 3. The Ravens likely will continue to lean on a 1-2 punch of Rice and Bernard Pierce, as they did through the opening two games of the season.
• Reggie Bush, RB, Lions (knee): Detroit won in Washington without Bush last week, but the electric running back will be in the lineup Sunday against Chicago. The Lions do have the luxury of an effective backup in Joique Bell, should Bush need to have his carries limited at all.
• Charles Tillman, CB, Bears (groin): Tillman saw only limited time in practice this week and was listed as questionable heading into Sunday. Fortunately for the Bears, he’ll take the field in Detroit — meaning some intriguing one-on-one battles with Calvin Johnson.
• Le’Veon Bell, RB, Steelers (foot): Lots of good news for running backs on this Sunday. And even better news here for the Steelers, who have struggled to get their run game going without their rookie RB. Bell is expected to get the start against Minnesota over the likes of Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman.
• Andre Johnson, WR, Texans (shin): By his own admission, Johnson is less than 100 percent. But a banged-up shin will not keep him out of the lineup for Houston’s showdown with Seattle on Sunday.
• Josh Freeman, QB, Buccaneers: No injury for Freeman, just a complete unraveling of his status in Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers announced earlier that rookie Mike Glennon would start ahead of Freeman, and now Freeman has been scrapped from the active roster entirely. The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that Freeman missed multiple team meetings this week.
• Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots (arm/back); Danny Amendola, WR, Patriots (groin): After holding out hope that they would be ready to play, the Patriots announced Saturday that both Amendola and Gronkowski would miss Sunday night’s game in Atlanta.
The decision was not much of a surprise in Amendola’s case. It apparently was a contentious one when it came to Gronkowski, though. The Boston Herald reported that the Patriots and Gronkowski are “at odds” over the tight end’s playing status — New England believing he’s ready to go; Gronkowski angling for more time for recovery.
• Brandon Weeden, QB, Browns (thumb): Weeden will miss a second straight game with a sprained thumb, though he’s reportedly very close to a return. But will his starting job be there for him when he gets back? Brian Hoyer led Cleveland to a Week 3 win in Minnesota and gets the nod against Cincinnati in Week 4.
• Champ Bailey, CB, Broncos (foot): This is the second straight week now that the Broncos thought Bailey might be a go right up until Sunday. Either his foot injury is more nagging than originally thought, the 3-0 Broncos are playing it safe thanks to their quick start … or a combination of the two.
• Rashad Johson, S, Cardinals: Johnson suffered one of the more unsightly NFL injuries in recent history last week — the tip of his middle finger was severed mid-game. He was not cleared to rejoin the Arizona defense against Tampa Bay, despite head coach Bruce Arians earlier stating that he thought Johnson could fill at least a backup role.
• Duane Brown, LT, Texans (toe): For a quarterback, a matchup with Seattle is about the worst possible time to be down your blindside blocker. But that’s what Matt Schaub is facing Sunday, with Brown out.
• Jairus Byrd, S, Bills (foot): Make it four straight weeks out of the lineup for Buffalo’s franchise-tagged player, who continues to struggle with plantar fasciitis. The Bills do not have a bye until Week 12, so Byrd does not have any extra time to heal.
• Brandon Flowers, CB, Chiefs (knee): The 0-3 Giants could use a little break, and they may have gotten it with news that Flowers will sit on Sunday. His absence may help spark a struggling Giants’ offense, particularly in the cases of Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz.
• Terrelle Pryor, QB, Raiders (head): FOX’s Jay Glazer reported early Sunday that Pryor would be active, but play the backup role for Matt Flynn. Instead, Pryor will not suit up Sunday — according to Glazer, because he suffered a setback in his return from a Week 3 concussion. Pryor missed multiple practices this week.
• Kenny Britt, WR, Titans (ribs): Even though Britt has been fighting a slight rib fracture, the expectation was that he would be OK for Sunday’s game. That opinion obviously changed sometime Sunday.