NFL Week 14 Injury Report: Who Will Play, Who Will Sit?
Week 14 of the NFL season will see numerous high-profile players watching from the sidelines as the playoff race begins to truly heat up.
Guys like Clay Matthews, Jordy Nelson, Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy have all been ruled out well in advance of Sunday's games, but others have not been so forthcoming.
Will Terrell Suggs be able to play against Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins? Has Michael Turner's injury allowed Jacquizz Rodgers to take over the top spot in Atlanta's backfield?
Let's answer these questions and more, starting in Pittsburgh with the return of a certain star QB...
Ben Roethlisberger: Playing
After a three-week roller-coaster ride, normalcy can finally return to the Pittsburgh Steelers offense as QB Ben Roethlisberger is going to start on Sunday against the San Diego Chargers.
If there was a doubt, there's not anymore. Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger will start Sunday vs. San Diego.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 6, 2012
Byron Leftwich and Charlie Batch went 1-2 in Roethlisberger's absence, but now the starter's rib and shoulder injuries seem well enough to at least give it a go in Week 14.
Pittsburgh's remaining schedule includes tough matchups with the Dallas Cowboys and Cincinnati Bengals.
Cecil Shorts: Out
The Jacksonville Jaguars have not had much reason for optimism this season, but the emergence of rookie WR Cecil Shorts has certainly stood out.
That emergence will have to be put on hold in Week 14 as the concussion Shorts suffered against the Buffalo Bills in Week 13 is still causing problems.
He did pass a concussion test at some point this week, but he is still experiencing symptoms, per ESPN.
Shorts has gained 368 yards and four touchdowns in the last four weeks.
Dustin Keller: Likely out
The Jaguars' opponents in Week 14, the New York Jets, are experiencing injury issues of their own.
Tight end Dustin Keller is currently listed as "doubtful," but he has missed practice all week and The Star-Ledger is reporting he will not play.
Keller's ankle injury will be of serious concern the rest of the season, as he has struggled even when healthy. Keller has just 317 yards and two touchdowns in eight games of action.
Devin Hester and Alshon Jeffery: Playing
While Brandon Marshall has been an absolute stud for the Chicago Bears all season, the rest of the passing attack has struggled to support him.
Chicago currently ranks 31st in the NFL in passing offense, but that should change with Devin Hester and rookie Alshon Jeffery both set to return to the starting lineup this week against the Minnesota Vikings, per Marc Sessler.
Jeffery has missed the last two games after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery while Hester had been hampered by a concussion suffered against these very same Vikings in Week 12.
LeSean McCoy and Michael Vick: Out
The Associated Press is reporting that neither QB Michael Vick or RB LeSean McCoy are ready to return to the Philadelphia Eagles lineup just yet.
Both players are battling back from concussions and may have a tough time returning to their regular roles once healthy. It appears the Eagles have decided to move forward with the Nick Foles era at QB as expected.
However, the shocking turn of events has been the play of Bryce Brown at RB. Brown has rushed for 347 yards in his first two starts and has simply played too well to bury on the bench once McCoy returns.
It will be interesting to see how Philadelphia handles the situation once the time comes.
Michael Turner: Likely Out/Limited Role
Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner is in a precarious position. Once upon a time, he was the only guy worthy of handoffs in the backfield.
However, Turner is now on the wrong side of 30 and backup Jacquizz Rodgers is a versatile playmaker with a speed-based skill set that nicely complements Turner.
With Turner battling an elbow injury that limited him in practice this week, the likelihood of Atlanta leaning on Rodgers against the Carolina Panthers is good, allowing Turner to rest and get to 100 percent before the playoffs.
Clay Matthews, Jordy Nelson and Charles Woodson: Out
Three of the Green Bay Packers' best players will all be out this week due to an assortment of reasons, per Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Some #Packers injuries: T.J. Lang questionable, Matthews/Nelson out, Neal doubtful, Shields probable, C. Woodson out, CJ Wilson out.— Tyler Dunne (@TyDunne) December 7, 2012
Injuries to Clay Matthews and Jordy Nelson (both suffering from hamstring problems) were alluded to in the intro, but Charles Woodson can be added to the list as well. Woodson has a collarbone injury that should keep him out until a Week 15 meeting with the Chicago Bears.
In fact, while all three of these men will miss Week 14 against the Lions, none are expected to miss any time after that.
Terrell Suggs: Should Play
Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com tweeted the following on Friday afternoon:
Ravens list Suggs as questionable. from everything i am hearing he's going to play. question will be how effective can he be
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) December 7, 2012
Suggs has shown a desire to be on the field at all costs and it is no surprise that he is again looking to return from injury as soon as possible. Torn bicep injuries can take up to eight weeks to heal, but Suggs is no ordinary human being and has been able to practice some this week.