NFL Week 8 Injury Report: Who Will Play, Who Will Sit?
Week 8 of the NFL season sees an assortment of notable names hanging around injury reports.
Superstars such as Calvin Johnson, Rob Gronkowski and Jordy Nelson all have concerns heading into their Sunday contests.
So, who will be ready to go this week and who will be watching from the sidelines? Let's find out, and also examine the players that are true game-time decisions heading into the final slate of games before the trade deadline on Oct. 30th.
Out: Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
After returning from a torn ACL in Week 5, Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall has again been bitten by the injury bug.
Mendenhall is suffering from an injured Achilles and has been ruled out for the Steelers' Week 8 showdown with the Washington Redskins.
Replacement Jonathan Dwyer has looked solid in Mendenhall's absence and should demand a heavy workload even when Mendenhall returns in Week 9.
Steelers RB Rashard Mendenhall will not play this weekend, but is on schedule to return in Week 9. Could be another big week for Dwyer— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) October 26, 2012
Out: DeMarco Murray, RB, Dallas Cowboys
The injury that DeMarco Murray suffered against the Baltimore Ravens on Oct. 14 continues to bother him. In fact, he will again miss action this week as the Dallas Cowboys square off against the New York Giants.
Murray was a key contributor in the Cowboys' season-opening victory over the defending champions, rushing for 131 yards. His loss will certainly be felt this week, but there is optimism within the organization that he will return next week against the Atlanta Falcons.
In: Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions
There is no way "Megatron" would miss a chance to square off against "Optimus Prime" in Week 8 as the Detroit Lions face the Seattle Seahawks.
Johnson did sit out Friday's practice, but the Lions top receiving option is expected to face his new nemesis, cornerback Richard Sherman.
Sherman became infamous after tweeting a picture making fun of New England Patriots QB Tom Brady. Now, he has tested the mettle of another superstar, and it will be interesting to see the results on Sunday.
Questionable: Jimmy Graham, TE, New Orleans Saints
New Orleans Saints TE Jimmy Graham is the epitome of a game-time decision heading into this week's game with the Denver Broncos.
He missed last week's tilt with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and has been restricted to a limited practice schedule this week.
Graham is a dynamic playmaker for the Saints, and it would be surprising if he did not find his way onto the field in some capacity on Sunday.
Out: Aaron Hernandez, TE, New England Patriots
This week the New England Patriots travel to Wembley Stadium in London, England to play the St. Louis Rams.
Aaron Hernandez will not be making the trip as he attempts to rest up his sprained ankle injury he suffered back in September.
New England has an off week following the trip across the pond, so the extra time for Hernandez to recover should help him to finally return to his 2011 success.
So far this season he has caught 117 passes for 143 yards and two scores.
In: Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots
Like half of the New England Patriots roster, tight end Rob Gronkowski is listed as questionable for this week's game against the St. Louis Rams.
However, unlike the injured Aaron Hernandez, "Gronk" is fully expected to play in this contest. His hip injury has continued to hamper him this season, but he has not missed a game yet, and a trip to London will not be the exception.
Questionable: Trent Richardson, RB, Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns RB Trent Richardson provides an interesting conundrum this week. He says he wants to play against the San Diego Chargers, and coach Pat Shurmur wants him to play, too.
The problem lies in the fact that he has not yet been medically cleared, and Shurmur will not play him unless he is.
Richardson has not been 100 percent at all this because of painful rib cartilage. On the plus side, he has practiced all week.
Richardson has fought through the injury all season, and it would be surprising if he did not find his way onto the field in Week 8 as well.
Out: Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
Maurice Jones-Drew has been ruled out for the Jacksonville Jaguars' Sunday contest against the Green Bay Packers.
His sprained foot should not require surgery, but MJD will be replaced by Rashad Jennings in the coming weeks.
Jacksonville has also had to deal with an injury to quarterback Blaine Gabbert, but he should be good to go for Week 8.
In: Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, New York Giants
Ahmad Bradshaw missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday before being limited in Friday's practice.
He has a bone bruise in his foot, but Bradshaw is confident he will be able to go on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys.
The Giants running back has played through injuries before, and anything less than his usual workload would be a surprise.
Questionable: Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers
Wide receiver injuries are nothing new to the Green Bay Packers. Greg Jennings has missed most of the 2012 season already, and now Jordy Nelson is questionable for Sunday's contest with the Jacksonville Jaguars because of tightness in his hamstring.
The good news for the Packers is that they are relatively loaded with playmakers. Randall Cobb and James Jones are more than capable of filling in for Nelson if he is unable to play.
A favorable matchup with the Jaguars means Green Bay will likely be cautious with Nelson heading into this game. There is no reason to force him into action against the NFL's 24th ranked passing defense.