Biggest Week 15 injury questions for all 32 NFL teams: Latest on James Conner, JuJu Smith-Schuster and more

ByNFL Nation via ESPN logo
Thursday, December 12, 2019

The Pittsburgh Steelers might be getting two playmakers back this weekend, while New York Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones' chances of a return seem a little less certain.

Get caught up on all of the key injury questions for every NFL team heading into Week 15 here, including insights from inside all 32 locker rooms from our NFL Nation reporters.



Buffalo Bills

How much longer will the Bills be without Ty Nsekhe? The right tackle has missed the team's past three games with an ankle injury, but the fact that he was not placed on injured reserve suggests the team expects him back at some point this season. He is yet to practice in even a limited fashion after sustaining the injury in Week 11, and that trend continued with Buffalo's first practice of the week Wednesday. Cody Ford will continue to operate as the Bills' primary right tackle in Nsekhe's absence. -- Marcel Louis-Jacques

Miami Dolphins

Wide receiver DeVante Parker suffered a concussion in the second quarter of Sunday's loss to the Jets, but he made enough progress to be practicing in a non-contact red jersey Wednesday. Now in the fourth step of the concussion protocol, it appears Parker has a chance to suit up Sunday. We will know more by Friday if it he participates in a full-contact practice. It's important to Parker, who hasn't missed a game this season, to play all 16 contests and eclipse 1,000 yards for the first time in his career. -- Cameron Wolfe

New England Patriots

Wide receiver Julian Edelman is as tough as they come, but his absence from Wednesday's practice is a reminder that he is fighting through multiple injuries, including a banged-up shoulder. Meanwhile, it would be significant if the Patriots could get center Ted Karras back in the lineup after he missed Sunday's loss to the Chiefs with a knee injury. Karras hadn't practiced all last week, but he was back on the field for parts of Wednesday's' practice. -- Mike Reiss

New York Jets

Running back Le'Veon Bell returns after missing one game with the flu, but sidekick Bilal Powell (ankle) is out. Bell has regained most of the nine pounds he lost, but stamina could be an issue. The Jets also will be without reliable tight end Ryan Griffin (ankle), which means it could be a receiver-heavy passing attack Thursday at Baltimore. Safety Jamal Adams (ankle) is expected to miss his consecutive straight game, which hurts the Jets' ability to contain Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson. -- Rich Cimini


Baltimore Ravens

Quarterback Lamar Jackson is listed as questionable, but he was a full participant in Wednesday's practice and expects to play Thursday night against the Jets. "If I have to be out there all four quarters, that's what it's going to be," Jackson said. "I'm not going in there thinking, 'I should sit out a little bit.' I'm trying to win the game, and that's what we're going into the Thursday night game looking at." Left tackle Ronnie Stanley (concussion) is doubtful, which means James Hurst will protect Jackson's blind side. Tight end Mark Andrews (knee), Jackson's top target, is the biggest uncertainty. He's been limited the past two practices and is questionable. -- Jamison Hensley

Cincinnati Bengals

Bengals wide receiver John Ross was limited in Wednesday's practice with a foot injury. The Week 14 loss to the Browns was Ross' first game since he spent eight weeks on IR with an injured sternoclavicular joint. Unless the condition worsens, Ross shouldn't be in jeopardy of missing Sunday's game against New England. -- Ben Baby

Cleveland Browns

Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. remains limited in practice -- as he has been all season -- with a hip and groin injury. Coach Freddie Kitchens says no consideration has been given to shutting OBJ down. So Beckham will be on the field Sunday. -- Jake Trotter

Pittsburgh Steelers

This could be the first week we see the return of both James Conner and JuJu Smith-Schuster. Both are expected to participate in practice this week, and Smith-Schuster tweeted Tuesday that his goal was to play Sunday. Will both be available for the Sunday night showdown against Buffalo? How will the rest of the offense respond to their inclusion after a three-game absence? Coach Mike Tomlin said the offense needed the pair "a lot," and it stands to reason they would be a huge boost against a strong Bills defense. -- Brooke Pryor


Houston Texans

Wide receiver Will Fuller didn't play against the Broncos after he was limited in practice all week with a hamstring injury. Coach Bill O'Brien said he doesn't know whether Fuller would play against Tennessee on Sunday, but that sitting Fuller in Week 14 was "the best decision for the team for that day." -- Sarah Barshop

Indianapolis Colts

Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, who has missed five of the past six games with a calf injury, isn't ruling out the possibility of playing Monday at New Orleans even though there's a chance he won't practice before the game. Hilton was asked by ESPN why he wants to play still this season and risk further injury with the Colts having only a 2% chance of making the playoffs. "I would never quit on my team," he said. "I signed up for 16 games. Some guys may shut it down and call it quits. I don't do that." -- Mike Wells

Jacksonville Jaguars

Wid receiver DJ Chark, the Jaguars' receiving yardage leader (956 yards, eight touchdowns), was still wearing a protective boot on his left foot Wednesday. He was no longer using the scooter and was able to walk with the boot, so that's at least some progress toward playing Sunday at Oakland. Coach Doug Marrone said the swelling is down and the plan is to take Chark to California with the team Friday in case he improves enough to play. -- Mike DiRocco

Tennessee Titans

Cornerback Adoree' Jackson missed his fourth consecutive practice due to a foot injury. The good news is it's not the same foot on which Jackson had a procedure done during the offseason. Jackson is continuing to work his way back and staying conditioned by riding a stationary bike along with some treadmill work. He was ruled out of last weekend's game against the Raiders, and there is no guarantee that he will be back this weekend. The Titans used reserve cornerback Tye Smith and newly acquired cornerback Tramaine Brock at left corner in place of Jackson. Additionally, running back Derrick Henry (hamstring) missed practice Wednesday but is likely to play Sunday. Safety Kenny Vaccaro remains in the concussion protocol. -- Turron Davenport


Denver Broncos

Rookie tight end Noah Fant (hip, foot) was one of five Broncos players who did not practice Wednesday -- Dre'Mont Jones, Ja'Wuan James, Adam Gotsis and Ron Leary were the others -- and while coach Vic Fangio said the outlook for Fant this weekend was "positive," Fangio also added, "no guarantees.'' Fant, who had his second 100-yard receiving game of the season this past Sunday in Denver's victory over Houston, is a key part of the Broncos' offense against defenses that have been far more inclined to double-team wide receiver Courtland Sutton and take their chances with everyone else. Fant's speed makes him a difficult matchup, and he has already shown himself to have a comfort level with rookie quarterback Drew Lock.-- Jeff Legwold

Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs are expecting quarterback Patrick Mahomes to be at his best Sunday against the Broncos, even after bruising his passing hand in last weekend's win over the Patriots. X-rays on the hand were negative, and the swelling has been reduced. Mahomes took snaps Wednesday for the first time since the Patriots game and reported no problems. He also said Wednesday was the first time since the injury that he was able to drive the ball down the field to his satisfaction. The Chiefs have clinched the AFC West title, but have plenty to play for against Denver. They're a game behind New England for the AFC's No. 2 playoff seed and the resulting first-round bye. -- Adam Teicher

Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers are the healthiest they've been all season, with only three players listed on Wednesday's injury report. However, wide receiver Mike Williams remains someone to monitor this week. The Clemson product once again showed up as limited due to a lingering knee issue. The Chargers have been trying to take care of Williams as much as possible during the week so he can be effective on games days. So the expectation is Williams will be available to play on Sunday when the Chargers host the Vikings. -- Eric D. Williams

Oakland Raiders

Rookie running back Josh Jacobs has been cleared to practice after missing Sunday's loss to Tennessee with what Jacobs said was a fractured right shoulder, which he said was initially injured in Week 7. "Doesn't mean he's going to play, but I'm glad the reports are positive," Raiders coach Jon Gruden said. "Today, he's made some improvement, but he still has to go there and move explosively tomorrow and Friday and do the things a running back has to do to play in this league, and protect himself in this league. So, we'll see what happens in the next 48 hours." Jacobs has rushed for a franchise-rookie-record 1,061 yards, on 218 carries, and seven touchdowns. DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard combined for 81 yards on 21 carries in his absence against the Titans, and the Raiders also signed Rod Smith on Tuesday. -- Paul Gutierrez


Dallas Cowboys

There is no question quarterback Dak Prescott will play Sunday against the Rams, but he had tape on his right index finger from an injury he suffered in last week's loss to Chicago. It did not affect his throwing in practice, and he is also dealing with a sprained left wrist. But again, he will play. Linebacker Sean Lee did not practice Wednesday because of pectoral and thigh injuries, but he went through a heavy rehab period and is also expected to play Sunday. If he has a setback, the Cowboys would be thin at linebacker with Leighton Vander Esch set to miss his fourth consecutive game with a neck injury. -- Todd Archer

New York Giants

Daniel Jones is feeling "better." The rookie quarterback was a limited participant in Wednesday's practice, and appeared to be moving well. But the walking boot didn't come off until Monday and Jones conceded his ankle wasn't all the way there yet. It still seems unlikely Jones will be ready this weekend. In that case, Eli Manning would get one final home start in a Giants uniform. -- Jordan Raanan

Philadelphia Eagles

The knee injury that sidelined wide receiver Nelson Agholor for Monday's game against the Giants continues to be an issue, putting his availability for this weekend's game in Washington in doubt. Asked about his progress, Agholor used the term "stalemate" to describe the status of a knee injury he initially sustained Week 6 against the Vikings. With Alshon Jeffery (foot) expected to be out for the rest of the season, rookie J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and Greg Ward find themselves in primary roles. -- Tim McManus

Washington Redskins

Cornerback Quinton Dunbar did not practice Wednesday because of a hamstring injury, which sidelined him in the second half last weekend at Green Bay. Sunday's opponent, Philadelphia, has struggled at receiver, but losing Dunbar would sting. He's been Washington's best corner this season. The Redskins could turn to Josh Norman, who has been benched. Interim coach Bill Callahan has been reluctant to play Norman, but the Redskins might not have a choice. Dunbar, though, has been consistent in part because of how well he prepares. Most of the coverage breakdowns in which guys are wide open happen on the other side. If he gets beaten, it's more about losing one-on-one than a missed assignment. What also could hurt Washington: Three starting offensive linemen (tackles Donald Penn and Morgan Moses and guard Brandon Scherff) were limited. It's hard to imagine any of them missing Sunday, but it's also a sign they're getting a bit beaten up. -- John Keim


Chicago Bears

Bears defensive lineman Akiem Hicks is expected to be activated off of injured reserve and play against the Packers on Sunday. Hicks -- named to the Pro Bowl last season -- suffered a gruesome dislocated elbow in Chicago's loss to the Raiders in London back in October. "Akiem is a natural-born leader," Bears coach Matt Nagy said. "I think it would be huge from an emotional standpoint to get him back." Hicks said Monday that barring something unforeseen, he plans to take the field versus Green Bay. -- Jeff Dickerson

Detroit Lions

The Lions' offensive line is pretty beaten up. Guard Joe Dahl (back/knee) and right tackle Rick Wagner (knee) both were listed as "no practice" -- although Detroit walked through instead of fully practicing Wednesday. Being down two offensive linemen against the Bucs would mean another start for Tyrell Crosby at right tackle and Kenny Wiggins on the interior. Linebacker is also an area of concern, with Jarrad Davis (ankle/knee) and Christian Jones (shoulder) both hurt. It could mean extra work for rookie Jahlani Tavai and veteran Jalen Reeves-Maybin. In all, Detroit had 14 of 53 players listed with some sort of ailment, which is not surprising this time of year. -- Michael Rothstein

Green Bay Packers

Starting cornerback Kevin King, who has a long history of shoulder injuries during his short career, returned to practice Wednesday, albeit on a limited basis. Last week, he was a full participant in the Friday practice (the final workout of the week) yet was inactive against Washington, so it might be hard to determine his availability for Sunday against the Bears based on practice participation. King leads the Packers with four interceptions this season. -- Rob Demovsky

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings are expecting to be at full strength with their offensive starters in Week 15. Barring a setback with his hamstring, wide receiver Adam Thielen will be available to play against the Chargers, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter. That's great news for Minnesota, who has been without the talented receiver for six weeks. Running back Dalvin Cook shouldered a full workload against Detroit despite dealing with a chest injury, and said his body "feels great" as the Vikings begin preparations for Los Angeles. The only player not participating in Wednesday's practice was backup rusher Alexander Mattison. If all goes according to plan, this will be the first time since Week 7 that quarterback Kirk Cousins has all of his weapons available and healthy. -- Courtney Cronin


Atlanta Falcons

Running back Devonta Freeman was held out of Wednesday's practice with a knee injury. Coach Dan Quinn didn't address Freeman's status specifically during his Wednesday news conference, but Thursday's practice should reveal more about Freeman going into Sunday's game at San Francisco. He is fresh off a strong 17-rush, 84-yard performance in a victory over Carolina that included his first rushing touchdown since December 2017. Some have speculated about Freeman maybe not being a part of the Falcons' future plans. If he doesn't play this weekend, Brian Hill and rookie Qadree Ollison would handle the load. -- Vaughn McClure

Carolina Panthers

Tight end Greg Olsen (concussion) practiced on a limited basis Wednesday, another step in the protocol. He's progressing, but whether the Panthers want to push him back into the lineup remains to be seen. Coach Perry Fewell said it was "fun'' having Olsen back in practice after he missed a game. His presence on Sunday against Seattle would make Carolina's offense more efficient. If he can't go, look for Ian Thomas to be a primary target for quarterback Kyle Allen once again.-- David Newton

New Orleans Saints

The Saints were hit hard by injuries during their 48-46 loss to the 49ers. Starting defensive end Marcus Davenport will have season-ending foot surgery, a source confirmed. Starting defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins' suffered an ankle injury; both he and Davenport were placed on season-ending IR on Wednesday. And tight end Jared Cook's status is uncertain because of a concussion. When it comes to the defensive line, the Saints have better depth at DT than DE. It would also help if they could get starting linebackers A.J. Klein and Kiko Alonso back from injuries soon to help fortify the front seven. We should know more about everyone's status when the Saints hold their first practice of the week Thursday. -- Mike Triplett

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Quarterback Jameis Winston practiced Wednesday, but did only drills involving his lower body and did not grip or throw the football. His right hand is in a cast after he suffered a thumb fracture to his throwing hand against the Colts; Winston said they're "taking it day by day." Coach Bruce Arians does expect him to play Sunday. "That's the plan," Arians said. "We'll see how it goes." He added that Winston will throw before the team leaves for Detroit on Saturday. If he can't play, backup Ryan Griffin, who took his first-ever regular-season snaps last weekend, will go. "He's poised, he's accurate, he knows what he's doing with the ball, and gets it out of his hands quickly," Arians said of Griffin. "I think we all have a ton of confidence in him." -- Jenna Laine


Arizona Cardinals

Two of the Cardinals' five offensive linemen showed up on Wednesday's injury report, raising concerns about the stability of the line Sunday. Right guard J.R. Sweezy missed practice with an illness and left guard Justin Pugh missed with a back injury. If either can't go Sunday, Arizona might find itself in trouble with depth, since swing lineman Mason Cole also missed practice as he deals with a knee injury. -- Josh Weinfuss

Los Angeles Rams

Tight end Gerald Everett is still considered "day to day," Sean McVay said Wednesday. "His knee is making progress, but he's not ready to get out there and practice with us yet," the coach said. Everett has been "day to day" since suffering the knee injury Week 13. He did not play vs. the Cardinals or Seahawks. In his absence, starter Tyler Higbee has taken on an increased role in the passing game. Higbee has posted career bests in receiving yards the past two games. -- Lindsey Thiry

San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers could be particularly short-handed in the secondary against Atlanta on Sunday. Coach Kyle Shanahan has already said cornerback Richard Sherman is expected to miss a couple of weeks, which makes the status of nickel corner K'Waun Williams (concussion) and strong safety Jaquiski Tartt (ribs) even more important. There's no guarantee either will be available, and they'll be monitored as the week goes on. If they can't go, the Niners would be without three of their five primary defensive backs with Julio Jones coming to town, only adding to the test on the heels of a difficult three-game stretch. -- Nick Wagoner

Seattle Seahawks

Already dealing with a lingering core muscle injury, Jadeveon Clowney has now caught whatever illness has been going around the Seahawks' locker room, and didn't practice Wednesday. Coach Pete Carroll said Clowney is the only new player he knows of to have gotten sick. Ziggy Ansah is practicing Wednesday, and has a "real good chance" of playing Sunday at Carolina, per Carroll. However, Ansah practiced all last week with his neck injury and still didn't have the requisite strength to play in the Seahawks' loss to the Rams. Linebacker Mychal Kendricks, who missed that game with a hamstring injury, is another question mark. He ran Tuesday and practiced Wednesday, but was limited. That means rookie Cody Barton, who's dealing with ankle and knee injuries of his own, could get his second career start against the Panthers. -- Brady Henderson

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