Cincinnati Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis returned to practice on Wednesday after missing Sunday’s regular-season finale with a hamstring he injured during pregame warmups. Green-Ellis hopes to be healthy enough to play against the Houston Texans.
“If my health is good enough to play, of course I’ll be out there,” Green-Ellis told Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “I want to be out there, and if everything lines up as it needs to be, then I’ll be out there.”
Bengals cornerbacks Jason Allen (hamstring) and Terence Newman (groin), and safeties Chris Crocker (thigh) and Taylor Mays (hamstring) were also limited. Bengals defensive end Wallace Gilberry, who is third on the team with 6.5 sacks, was sick and missed practice.
The biggest injury concern for the Texans is at inside linebacker where valuable run-stopper Tim Dobbins did not participate Wednesday because of an ankle injury. The Texans signed Mister Alexander earlier this week to add depth at inside linebacker. Houston also practiced without guard Antoine Caldwell (back) and listed seven players as “limited,” including nose tackle Shaun Cody (back), tight end Owen Daniels (chest/knee), right tackle Derek Newton (knee), outside linebacker Brooks Reed (groin), left guard Wade Smith (knee) and defensive end Antonio Smith (ankle).
As has been the case late in the season, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (abdomen) did not practice on Wednesday, but should play against the Green Bay Packers on Saturday night. Cornerback Antoine Winfield also missed practice after aggravating his fractured hand in a Week 17 win against the Packers. Head coach Leslie Frazier expects Winfield to practice on Thursday, reports Judd Zulgad of 1500ESPN.com.
“He’s making some progress, and has a lot less pain than he had a week ago at this time. So we’ll get him some more work Thursday,” Frazier said of Winfield.
Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder (right elbow), defensive end Brian Robison (shoulder) and safety Harrison Smith (knee) were limited, but should play against the Packers.
Packers safety Charles Woodson (collarbone) has been cleared to play and practiced fully on Wednesday. Five Packers were limited, including wide receivers Randall Cobb (ankle) and Jordy Nelson (knee), tight end Jermichael Finley (quadriceps), running back James Starks (knee) and cornerback Davon House (hip). Nelson will be further evaluated this week to determine his availability for Saturday night. The Packers ruled out rookie defensive end Jerel Worthy, who injured his knee in the regular-season finale.
Four Indianapolis Colts did not practice Wednesday, though only one – guard Joe Reitz – was for injury-related reasons. Reitz sustained a concussion in Sunday’s 28-16 win over the Texans and has not yet been cleared to play. Six Colts were limited, including right tackle Winston Justice (shoulder), nose tackle Antonio Johnson (ankle), defensive end Cory Redding (quadriceps) and safety Tom Zbikowski (knee). The Colts listed No. 1 overall pick Andrew Luck as a “full participant” with a knee injury. Also participating fully were center Samson Satele (ankle) and linebacker and team leader in tackles Jerrell Freeman (thumb).
Eleven Baltimore Ravens were “limited” on Wednesday, most notably defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (knee), safety Bernard Pollard (chest) and guard Marshal Yanda (shoulder/knee). Participating fully in Wednesday’s practice were: wide receiver Anquan Boldin (shoulder), linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (ankle), linebacker Ray Lewis (other), right tackle Kelechi Osomele (knee), safety Ed Reed (shoulder), cornerback Jimmy Smith (abdomen), wide receiver Torrey Smith (knee) and linebacker Terrell Suggs (biceps).
Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch was the only player on the team’s injury report. Lynch was listed as “limited” with a back injury, but is expected to play against the Washington Redskins on Sunday afternoon. The Redskins did not have inside linebacker London Fletcher (ankle) or left guard Kory Lichtensteiger (ankle) for Wednesday’s practice. Fletcher’s absence is not rare or cause for alarm and the veteran will play on Saturday. Lichtensteiger hopes to play against the Seahawks, if not, rookie Josh LeRibeus would start.