Here’s a look at the injury situations worth monitoring in the days leading up to the divisional round of the 2012 NFL Playoffs:
Three Baltimore Ravens did not participate on Wednesday, including fullback Vonta Leach (knee/ankle), rookie running back Bernard Pierce (knee) and offensive lineman Jah Reid (toe). Linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (ankle) was limited with the rest of the roster participating fully.
With the exception of cornerback Tracy Porter, who is recovering from a concussion, every member of the No. 1 seed Denver Broncos practiced fully on Wednesday. The Broncos did list 60 percent of the offensive line on the injury report. Left tackle Ryan Clady has a shoulder injury, right guard Chris Kuper has an ankle injury and right tackle Orlando Franklin has a knee issue worth keeping an eye on this week.
The Green Bay Packers ruled second-round defensive end Jerel Worthy “out” for Saturday night’s game against the San Francisco 49ers and practiced without four players on Wednesday, including wide receivers Jordy Nelson (ankle), Randall Cobb (illness) and Jarrett Boykin (ankle). Despite the ailments, head coach Mike McCarthy is not concerned about the availability of Nelson and Cobb. Outside linebacker Clay Matthews was limited with a knee injury, but is expected to play against the 49ers.
Several 49ers were limited on Wednesday, including Pro Bowl defensive tackle Justin Smith, who has missed the last few games with a left elbow/triceps injury. Head coach Jim Harbaugh said “God willing and the creek don’t rise, he’s going to play” when asked about Smith’s availability for Saturday night. Also limited for the 49ers was outside linebacker Aldon Smith, the team’s leader with 19.5 sacks, who has a shoulder injury, safety Dashon Goldson (shoulder) and cornerback Tarell Brown (shoulder).
Five players on the defense of the NFC’s No. 1 seed Atlanta Falcons were on the team’s practice participation report. Two players – cornerback Christopher Owens and safety Charles Mitchell – missed practice, while defensive end John Abraham (ankle) and safety William Moore (hamstring) were limited. The Falcons listed cornerback Dunta Robinson, who suffered a head injury in the regular season finale, was a “full participant”.
The Seattle Seahawks listed three players on their practice participation report. Running back Marshawn Lynch (foot) did not participate, but is expected to play against the Falcons on Sunday. Also not practicing on Wednesday were cornerback Byron Maxwell and safety Jeron Johnson, who have hamstring injuries. The Seahawks placed defensive end Chris Clemons (knee) and kicker Steven Hauschka (calf) on injured reserve, replacing them with Patrick Chukwurah and Ryan Longwell.
As has been the case throughout the season, the New England Patriots’ injury report included 20 players who were “limited” during Wednesday’s practice. The good news for the Patriots is that offensive tackles Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer were removed from the list, as was defensive tackle Kyle Love. First-round linebacker Dont’a Hightower was also limited, but for just a hamstring injury and not the “shoulder/hamstring” listing he’s had in recent weeks.
The list of limited Patriots included tight ends Rob Gronkowski (forearm/hip) and Aaron Hernandez (ankle), wide receivers Brandon Lloyd (knee) and Wes Welker (ankle), left guard Logan Mankins (ankle/calf) and right guard Dan Connolly (back), first-round defensive end Chandler Jones (ankle) and veteran defensive end Rob Ninkovich (hip), linebackers Jerod Mayo (elbow) and Brandon Spikes (knee/ankle), cornerbacks Aqib Talib (hip) and Alfonzo Dennard (hamstring/knee).
For the Houston Texans, cornerback Alan Ball (foot) was the only player to miss practice on Wednesday, but several players were limited. Limited Texans on Wednesday were tight end Owen Daniels (shoulder), right tackle Derek Newton (knee) and left guard Wade Smith (knee), defensive end Antonio Smith (ankle) and nose tackle Shaun Cody (back).