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NFL Week 8 injury updates

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Week 8 of the NFL season has gotten off to a great start thanks to the Green Bay Packers and Arizona Cardinals. Despite missing their three top receivers, an improbable cast of Packers, led by Aaron Rodgers, handed the Cardinals their first loss.

Quarterback availability was a big question for Week 8. The Houston Texans will start Davis Mills with Tyrod Taylor not ready to return from injured reserve. The Cleveland Browns got good news. Baker Mayfield, who did not play in Week 7 due to an injury to his left shoulder, will start Sunday in a rivalry game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers go into Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints with a few question marks. Receiver Antonio Brown will be out, but tight end Rob Gronkowski (cracked ribs), inside linebacker Lavonte David (low ankle sprain) and cornerback Richard Sherman (hamstring strain) all have “a chance” to play Sunday, according to Bucs coach Bruce Arians.

Before the weekend slate of games gets underway, our NFL Nation reporters bring you the latest info on star players dealing with injuries. They have the details of who will be available and who will be out.

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Injury: Hand
Knox fractured his hand in the team’s win over the Tennessee Titans in Week 6, and then successfully threw a 2-point conversion pass to quarterback Josh Allen before leaving the game. The tight end will miss this weekend’s game against the Miami Dolphins but has not been placed on injured reserve. Tommy Sweeney is expected to get the start at tight end in his place. Knox’s absence will likely give a variety of offensive players opportunities. — Alaina Getzenburg


Injury: Foot

The Bears are bracing to be without Mack for the near future. Mack has not practiced in weeks but still managed to play in games. However, Mack’s lingering foot pain has caused the Bears to determine that their best defensive player needs rest. He has been officially ruled out of Sunday’s game against the 49ers. Losing Mack is a huge blow to the Bears. He leads the team with six sacks. –– Jeff Dickerson


Injury: Hamstring

Ward, Cleveland’s top corner, will be out due to the injury he suffered last week. That means the Browns’ starting corners vs. Pittsburgh will be rookie Greg Newsome and Greedy Williams. — Jake Trotter


Injury: Thigh

Williams was limited in practice throughout the week. He’s listed as questionable. “He’s still got some strength in it, which is good,” Lions coach Dan Campbell said. “That’s a positive. It kind of popped up last week, but he finished the game for us and did really well. But, we just won’t know. Jamaal, if he can go, he’s going to go. It’s just a matter of, ‘Can he take a load?’ that’s it.”

Injury: Groin

Swift has dealt with his ongoing groin injury since training camp, but he should be ready to go against his hometown Philadelphia Eagles. The Lions continue to monitor the situation to prevent it from getting worse with limited practices throughout the week. — Eric Woodyard


Injury: Hamstring

Taylor will miss his sixth straight game after the Texans determined he wasn’t ready to return from injured reserve on Sunday against the Rams. Head coach David Culley said Taylor has made progress but wasn’t quite ready to play. Rookie quarterback Davis Mills will start against Los Angeles. — Sarah Barshop


Injury: Knee

Whitworth will not play Sunday against the Houston Texans, coach Sean McVay said. “He got treatment. Wanted to be able to be smart about that and we feel like he’s responded really well from that treatment,” McVay said. “But we knew when he took part in that treatment that it was probably going to eliminate him from this game.” In Whitworth’s absence, the Rams will start Joseph Noteboom, who started nine games at the position last season when Whitworth was sidelined also because of a knee injury. — Lindsey Thiry


Injury: Elbow

Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said that Pierce would be back after the bye, but Minnesota has ruled out its starting nose tackle for the Dallas game. Pierce didn’t practice this week as he continues to recover from an elbow injury.

Injury: Ankle

Special teams coordinator Ryan Ficken said he expects Westbrook to be the team’s punt returner in Week 8, but Westbrook was listed as questionable on the final injury report. — Courtney Cronin


Injury: Shoulder

Smith, who was knocked out of the Week 7 win over the Jets, was on the practice field each day this week, with limited participation. So things seem to be heading in the right direction. — Mike Reiss


Injury: Pectoral
Peat was injured Monday night and could potentially miss the rest of the season — a significant loss considering he has made the past three Pro Bowls. But the Saints have several experienced options they can turn to, with veteran James Hurst and second-year pro Calvin Throckmorton among the potential replacements. And fortunately, they just got two other starting offensive linemen back from injuries last week to keep them mostly intact. — Mike Triplett

Injury: Concussion
Hill has been missed as both a runner and pass-catcher on a Saints offense that is lacking reliable playmakers this year. Fortunately the Saints are getting some reinforcements in both areas, with RB Mark Ingram II just being acquired in a trade and WRs Tre’Quan Smith and Deonte Harris returning from injuries over the past two weeks. Sean Payton hasn’t given a specific timetable for Hill’s return but said he is getting better.


Injury: Hamstring

Ebron popped up on the practice report Thursday with a hamstring injury and didn’t practice Friday before being ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Browns. He has only one touchdown this season and hasn’t made a huge offensive impact, but with WR JuJu Smith-Schuster done for the year, Ebron and the tight ends figured to have an increased role. Ebron’s absence likely means more action for rookie Pat Freiermuth and Zach Gentry. The Steelers also listed OLB Melvin Ingram as doubtful. He was limited in practice all week and missed Friday with a groin injury. Coach Mike Tomlin also dismissed any trade rumors Friday around his rotational linebacker.— Brooke Pryor


Injury: Elbow/ankle

For the second consecutive week, Williams’ status is in doubt. He missed last week against the Colts after not practicing during the week, but he took a step forward Friday when he participated on a limited basis. He’s listed as questionable on the injury report, but getting him back would be a big development for an offense that is still without tight end George Kittle and coming off a rough outing in the rain last week. — Nick Wagoner


Injury: Knee

The All-Pro guard has missed the past three games after injuring his knee, but, while limited, Scherff was able to practice this week. Washington coach Ron Rivera said Scherff is “very, very close” to being able to play. At this point it would be surprising if he didn’t play. That would be a big boost for a team on a three-game losing streak. His ability to block in space will help against a Denver team that has struggled at teams in the screen game.— John Keim

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Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love placed on COVID-19 list

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GREEN BAY, Wis. — Green Bay Packers backup quarterback Jordan Love, who has been taking most of the midweek practice reps while Aaron Rodgers treats and rests his fractured pinkie toe, was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Monday.

The team made the announcement on the day players returned to the facility from their bye week. Love, who has said he is vaccinated, would have been part of the group of players tested upon their return for their week off. Unvaccinated players who have not had COVID in the last 90 days would have been tested daily during the bye.

Love has taken only one game snap since his Nov. 7 start against the Kansas City Chiefs, the game Aaron Rodgers missed while he was on the COVID list. It was a kneel-down play on Nov. 21 against the Vikings, when Rodgers went into the locker room shortly before halftime to get treatment on his toe.

However, Love handled all the starting quarterback practice duties leading up to the Nov. 28 game against the Rams.

Rodgers elected not to have surgery on his toe during the bye week, but coach Matt LaFleur wasn’t ready to say whether Rodgers would practice much, if at all, this week in advance of Sunday night’s game against the Chicago Bears.

“I know he was getting treatment and doing everything he can to be 100 percent,” LaFleur said Monday. “I still think it’s a process like anything, and we’ll see where he’s at this week. Hopefully we can get him out there at practice, but if not, we’ve got a lot of confidence in just his ability to go out there and play at a high level.”

The only other quarterback the Packers have is Kurt Benkert, who is on the practice squad. He, too, was on the COVID list this season, but returned to the team on Nov. 15.

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Las Vegas Raiders RB Kenyan Drake to have season-ending ankle surgery

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HENDERSON, Nev. — Las Vegas Raiders running back Kenyan Drake will travel “in a few days” to undergo season-ending surgery on his broken right ankle in Birmingham, Alabama, Raiders interim coach Rich Bisaccia said Monday in his weekly news conference.

Drake, who was carted off the field after being tackled and twisted down awkwardly from behind by Washington’s Daniel Wise midway through the second quarter of the Raiders’ 17-15 loss, took to Twitter Sunday night to say that the tackle that injured him “should be an illegal form of tackling like a horse collar.”

Bisaccia said Monday that Drake was frustrated since he suffered a similar injury last season, when he had a high right ankle sprain in Week 7 while playing for the Arizona Cardinals against the Seattle Seahawks. He missed one game with that injury.

“When you look at the play on tape, it did not look intentional,” Bisaccia said. “I think he got himself in a funky body position at the end, when he went to finish … the guy kind of rolled him over, got his ankle caught underneath there.

“Certainly, it ended up being a roll-up position at the end.”

Drake, 27, signed a two-year free-agent contract worth $14.5 million with $11 million guaranteed with the Raiders this offseason. A versatile change-of pace back to complement starter Josh Jacobs, Drake rushed for 254 yards and two touchdowns on 63 carries and caught 29 passes for 283 yards and a TD. He also returned 10 kickoffs for 192 yards for the Raiders.

The Raiders have also lost fullback Alec Ingold for the season with a torn ACL in his right knee and backup running back Jalen Richard was placed on the COVID list the morning of the Washington game.



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Los Angeles Chargers put leading WR Keenan Allen on reserve/COVID-19 list

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Los Angeles Chargers leading receiver Keenan Allen was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Monday, putting his availability for Sunday’s game against the New York Giants in doubt.

Allen was one of 11 players placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list by teams on Monday. All were the result of positive tests, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports.

Allen, who has been selected to the Pro Bowl each of the past four seasons, leads the Chargers with 929 receiving yards this season and has four touchdown receptions.

If Allen is vaccinated, he will need two negative tests 24 hours apart and be asymptomatic for 48 hours before he can return. If he is unvaccinated, Allen will have to stay away from the team for a minimum of 10 days.

The Chargers improved to 7-5 with their 41-22 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, a game in which Allen had two touchdown receptions.

Los Angeles is currently in second place in the AFC West standings.

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