NFL Week 14 News and Notes

Re: NFL Week 14 News and Notes

White says he'll play despite finger stitches

Running back LenDale White has an ugly line of stitches on the middle finger on his right hand, which remained swollen Wednesday.

White, injured in Sunday's win over the Texans, squeezed a rubber ball to build up strength in the hand and said he expects to practice today or Friday and play Sunday against the Chargers.

Although the injury could make holding the ball securely more difficult, White said he's fine.

"You just have to tape it up and go out and play with it,'' said White, who has fumbled four times this season. "I don't look at it as being an issue at all.''

Four other Titans also missed Wednesday's practice: defensive tackles Albert Haynesworth (hamstring) and Tony Brown (knee), receiver Brandon Jones (groin) and strong safety Chris Hope.

Coaches had planned in advance to hold Haynesworth out for extra recovery time. He played last week after missing three games in a row.

The Titans said Hope was being tested for a concussion suffered in the Cincinnati game Nov. 25, but they now have him listed with a back injury. Coach Jeff Fisher said Hope did some running and is making progress.

Fisher said Jones would have to practice at some point this week in order to play Sunday.

Tight end Bo Scaife was limited by a shoulder injury. Guard Benji Olson, who missed the past three games with back problems, returned to practice.

tennessean.com

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Re: NFL Week 14 News and Notes

Texans' top QB probably out

Houston coach Gary Kubiak said Wednesday he doubts quarterback Matt Schaub will be ready for Sunday's game against the Bucs because of a dislocated left shoulder. That would leave Sage Rosenfels the starter.

Rosenfels, 29, in his seventh season, has appeared in 22 games with three starts. The last came Nov. 4, when he was 11-of-19 for 181 yards, one touchdown and one interception in a 24-17 win over the Raiders. In five games this season, he is 78-of-123 for 914 yards, eight touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Meanwhile, second-year pro Mike Brisiel and rookies Kasey Studdard and Brandon Frye are competing at right guard after Fred Weary broke his right leg Sunday. Studdard saw his first major action Sunday. Neither Frye nor Brisiel has played a snap.

The Texans already are missing starting center Steve McKinney because of a torn ACL.

SUPPORTING CAST: Bucs fullback B.J. Askew, who has played through an ankle injury for more than a month, is wearing a hard cast on his lower left leg.

This is the first week Askew, the lead blocker for Earnest Graham who has not missed a game, has tried the more drastic approach. The cast was put on Monday, and he expects it to be cut off today so he can practice then play Sunday.

"It's giving me more time to get healthy," Askew said.

Askew was the only player to miss Wednesday's practice. Defensive ends Kevin Carter (shoulder) and Greg Spires (calf), quarterback Jeff Garcia (back), receiver Ike Hilliard (knee) and running back Michael Pittman (ankle) participated on a limited basis.

sptimes.com

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Re: NFL Week 14 News and Notes

Coles Is on a Mission to Be Ready for Sunday’s Game

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y., Dec. 5 — On Nov. 4, Laveranues Coles was inactive against the Washington Redskins because of a concussion. The Jets lost.

On Nov. 22, Coles was inactive against the Dallas Cowboys because of a sprained left ankle. The Jets lost that one, too.

Last Sunday, despite limited practice all week, Coles caught five passes as the Jets routed the Miami Dolphins, 40-13. His ankle is still bad, but this Sunday, when the Jets (3-9) play the Cleveland Browns (7-5) at Giants Stadium, Coles seems sure to be there. The Jets need him because Jerricho Cotchery, the other starting receiver, will probably be sidelined again with an injured right index finger.

At a news conference Wednesday, Coach Eric Mangini said Coles “is a good example of toughness.”

“With L. C., if he says ‘I’m playing,’ and you’ve gone through the process and you feel good about that, you know that he’s going to be there and you can expect a certain level of performance,” Mangini said. “Some guys with injuries, they may tell you one thing and may feel one way going into the game, but you get four or five plays in and it’s over for them, and now you’ve lost that roster spot. But that’s not the case with him. You’re not wondering whether or not he can do that.”

Coles does not seem to wonder, either.

“I’m here,” he said. “It’s another day and another practice.”

He said he was unsure of his availability, but he seemed to feel he would play unless the doctors and trainers held him down.

“Last Sunday was truly a game-time decision,” he said. “I’m always trying to push myself, but it was one of those things that I didn’t actually know until it was actually time to play. I didn’t know to what extent I would be able to help the team. I didn’t want to be a detriment. Before the snap, I was feeling a lot of pain. Once the ball was snapped, I was able to push through it. I was fortunate to make it through the game.”

Coles is an offensive captain, and he takes the responsibility seriously.

“I’m willing to do anything to finish this,” he said. “I started it. I want to finish this ride with these guys.”

His fellow receivers regard him as somewhat of an icon.

“If he’s able just to walk, he’ll be out there,” Justin McCareins said. “That’s the type of player he is. When the lights come on, he’s going to perform at his normal high level.”

Brad Smith said: “He hasn’t said much, but you know he’s dinged up. He’s going 100 miles an hour and working hard. He’s a good leader in the locker room and the receivers’ room. He’s got a great perspective on things, the way he approaches games, even off the field. He’s confident. He knows what he’s doing.”

Coles has been doing it well enough to have 554 career receptions, ranking him 70th on the N.F.L.’s career list. Immediately ahead are Wes Chandler and Roy Green with 559 each, and Troy Brown and Stanley Morgan each with 557, all distinguished players with longer professional careers.

“I had no idea of that,” Coles said. “It’s nice, but numbers and statistics can never compare to the relationships you’ve made with others. I’m just happy to be around.”

nytimes.com

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Re: NFL Week 14 News and Notes

Thomas placed on IR because of torn calf muscle
ASSOCIATED PRESS

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y.  -- Backup running back Anthony Thomas' season is over, but the Bills could have starter Marshawn Lynch back for Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins.

Thomas was placed on injured reserve Thursday, two weeks after he tore a calf muscle in a 36-14 loss at Jacksonville. The NFL rookie of the year in 2001, Thomas was in his second season with Buffalo and being used in third-down situations and as a backup.

Thomas had 36 carries for 89 yards and added 15 catches for 95 yards and a touchdown in 10 games, including two starts this year.

He became the 13th Bills player placed on IR this season, with the move coming as Buffalo (6-6) prepares to host the Miami Dolphins (0-12) this weekend.

The good news is Lynch could be ready to return after missing the past three games with a sprained left ankle.

Lynch practiced Thursday in full pads for the first time since he was hurt, leading coach Dick Jauron to say he's ''optimistic'' the rookie first-round pick will be ready to play.

Jauron noted that Lynch's ankle showed no signs of swelling after he had a limited role in practice a day earlier.

''I'm optimistic, too,'' said Lynch, who was hurt in helping the Bills secure a 13-10 win at Miami on Nov. 11. ''It's getting better every day.''

Lynch's ankle also held up as the Bills spent part of their session in the frigid outdoors, where temperatures dropped below 30. He split practice time with Fred Jackson, who made his first career start in a 17-16 win at Washington last weekend.

Lynch leads the team with six touchdowns rushing and, with another passing, has had a hand in seven of 13 TDs the offense has produced this season. He has 751 yards rushing, which still ranks 15th in the NFL.

Starting left tackle Jason Peters practiced on a limited basis for the second straight day after he hurt his groin last weekend. The Bills injury reports lists Peters having a hip injury, but Jauron referred to it as a groin on Thursday.

Starting right tackle Langston Walker left practice because of an illness. Safety Donte Whitner missed practice due to illness.

To fill Thomas' roster spot, the Bills re-signed linebacker Leon Joe two weeks after the team released him. Joe, who appeared in five games with Buffalo this season, rejoined the team after he was released by Jacksonville on Friday, a few days after the team signed him.

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Re: NFL Week 14 News and Notes

Redman is Falcons new starting QB
December 6, 2007

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) -Another week, another change at quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons.

Coach Bobby Petrino announced Thursday that Chris Redman, who was out of the league the last three seasons, will start against the New Orleans Saints after a strong performance in relief of Joey Harrington.

With Byron Leftwich still hurting and Harrington clearly not the answer, the Falcons (3-9) had little choice except to go with a quarterback who was selling insurance a year ago in their Monday night game against the Saints.

``It's been different. There's no doubt about that,'' Petrino said. ``We haven't had the continuity that you normally have.''

Redman will be the third player to start at quarterback for the Falcons, who have yet to come up with a replacement for Michael Vick. This is the third time that Harrington has lost the No. 1 job, and Leftwich has yet to make it through a full game in his two starts, going down with ankle and tailbone injuries.

Redman replaced Harrington at the start of the fourth quarter last Sunday with the Falcons trailing 21-3 at St. Louis. The backup completed 16-of-24 passes for 172 yards and two touchdowns in a 28-16 loss.

``I did it for one quarter,'' he said. ``Now I've got to show I can do it for four quarters.''

Redman spent four seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, playing 10 games with six starts, but his career was sidetracked by shoulder and back problems. He didn't play at all from 2004-06, getting cut by New England and Tennessee and flopping in a tryout with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Now, he's starting again in the NFL - in a prime-time game, no less.

``It's unbelievable,'' Redman said. ``I have a chance to be on a pedestal that I never thought I would be on again, to be honest. I want to take advantage of this opportunity.''

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Re: NFL Week 14 News and Notes

Rams lose Dante Hall for season with ankle injury
December 6, 2007

ST. LOUIS (AP) -Another day, another member of the St. Louis Rams is lost for the season.

Kick returner Dante Hall, who has been hobbled much of the season by a high ankle sprain, was put on injured reserve, coach Scott Linehan said Thursday.

``His ankle is not responding,'' Linehan said. ``He still has swelling and is unable to cut on it.''

Hall becomes the 11th Rams player to have his season ended by injury, and along with cornerback Tye Hill the second this week. Hill, the team's 2006 No. 1 draft pick, had season-ending wrist surgery.

Hall spent seven seasons in Kansas City before coming to St. Louis in a pre-draft trade. This is the first time he's been put on injured reserve.

``It's pretty tough,'' Hall said. ``I take pride in not missing games, so to be put on IR is like total devastation. But at this point, it's just a smart thing to do for me and the team.

``We were going back and forth,'' Hall said. ``It would feel good one week and then it would start to ache. It put coach in a bind not knowing who was going to be his returner every week. I'll heal up and get ready for next year.''

Surgery will not be required.

Hall aggravated the ankle on a return Nov. 25 against Seattle. The injury first occurred Oct. 7 against Arizona, forcing him to miss four games. Both injuries came in home games played on the turf field of the Edward Jones Dome.

Is there a connection?

``I hate to speculate on that,'' Hall said. ``I have no real evidence to suggest that. But I played on grass for seven years and never had any problems. I don't know.''

There were times when Hall flashed the brilliance he often displayed with the Chiefs.

On Sept. 30 in Dallas, he returned a punt 85 yards for his lone touchdown. That score gave Hall 12 career return touchdowns (six punt, six kickoff), second-most in NFL history.

``I've got very high standards for myself,'' Hall said. ``I'm not the best in the league right now. That's Mr. (Devin) Hester. Until I'm better than him, it's not good enough.''

NOTES: OT Rob Petitti was being evaluated after sustaining a concussion in Sunday's win over Atlanta. ... WR Isaac Bruce said his touchdown celebration Sunday was modeled after Chris Carter, whom he passed for fifth on the NFL's career receiving list. Bruce has 13,911 yards, 65 behind Indianapolis' Marvin Harrison and 125 behind James Lofton.

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Re: NFL Week 14 News and Notes

Steelers' Polamalu likely out against Pats
December 7, 2007

PITTSBURGH (AP) -Steelers safety Troy Polamalu is likely to miss Pittsburgh's game Sunday at New England after sitting out practice for the second day in a row Friday because of a sprained knee.

Polamalu, who has missed the Steelers' last two games, aggravated the injury during practice Wednesday and has been unable to practice since.

Polamalu, a Pro Bowl safety the last three seasons and the team's highest-paid player, injured the knee Nov. 18 against the New York Jets. He is not having a big year statistically - he doesn't have a sack or an interception - but his versatility is a key to Pittsburgh's zone blitz defense.

The Steelers almost never allow players to play in a game when they are physically unable to practice on Friday - one reason why wide receiver Santonio Holmes struggled through the team's workout on a sprained right ankle.

Holmes, also out for two games, continues to have pain in the ankle and was urged earlier this week to sit out another game. Holmes said the game against New England (12-0) is too important to the Steelers (9-3) to miss and he plans to play.

Holmes has averaged 17 yards per reception on 39 catches. He leads the Steelers with seven touchdown catches.

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Re: NFL Week 14 News and Notes

Bulger suffers setback in recovery from concussion; Berlin could start at Bengals
December 7, 2007

ST. LOUIS (AP) -Rams quarterback Marc Bulger had a setback in his recovery from a concussion, meaning it's possible Brock Berlin, who has never attempted a pass in a regular-season game, might start Sunday at Cincinnati.

Bulger began feeling poorly during meetings Thursday afternoon, said Rams coach Scott Linehan, who added that the decision on a starter is likely to be made late Saturday.

Regular backup Gus Frerotte will be the emergency quarterback for the Rams. Frerotte partially tore the labrum in his right (throwing) shoulder in Sunday's win over Atlanta. Frerotte can hand off, but is unable to throw, Linehan said.

``Right now, I'm just getting ready to play,'' Berlin said. ``If my number is called, I'll be ready to play. Football is football. I've played it my whole life. If it does come, it's a great opportunity.''

The Rams have added 35-year-old veteran Todd Bouman to the roster. The 11-year veteran out of St. Cloud State practiced Friday. He has played in 42 games with Minnesota, Green Bay, New Orleans and Jacksonsville.

Bulger, who was not made available to the media after practice Friday, was injured in the first quarter of a 24-19 loss to the Seahawks on Nov. 25. He passed a medical exam Tuesday - after failing one last week - and was cleared to practice. He worked out Wednesday and Thursday and took some limited snaps Friday.

``He was able to pass his baseline test and that put him into position to practice,'' Linehan said. ``He had, what I thought, were two really good practices Wednesday and Thursday. He didn't feel real good in the afternoon meetings. Because of that, it's put some question in my mind as to whether or not he should be cleared to play.''

The Rams' medical personnel, coaches, trainers and Bulger will discuss the situation before a decision is made.

``We're not going to put anybody who is not 100 percent in harm's way,'' Linehan said. ``After I gather the information, I'll make a decision if he'll be our starting quarterback or if he'll be up at all.''

It's been an injury-plagued season for Bulger, who has also missed time because of broken ribs and a sprained thumb. Bulger has completed 61 percent of his passes with six touchdowns and nine interceptions in what has been a disappointing season after he signed a six-year, $65 million contract extension on the first day of training camp.

That deal made him the highest-paid player in franchise history. The contract included $27 million in guaranteed money and put him in a group of six quarterbacks making $10 million annually.

The 26-year-old Berlin was activated from the practice squad Nov. 27.

``I told Brock to get ready after the meeting Thursday afternoon,'' Linehan said.

The University of Miami graduate was undrafted in 2005 despite going 19-5 as a two-year starter for the Hurricanes. He has spent time with Dallas and Miami, as well as the Hamburg Sea Devils of NFL Europe.

After practice, Berlin and Bouman stayed longer and threw passes to various receivers. In the locker room, Torry Holt spent several minutes with Berlin at his locker.

``We were chatting just in case,'' Holt said. ``We were going over some things; just trying to have some clarity. ... I thought he looked good in practice. Brock has a big arm. We'll see how it goes.''

Bouman has six starts in the NFL. He has 11 touchdowns and 11 interceptions on 129-of-230 passing. Bouman played in 2002 for Linehan when he was in Minnesota. He was released by Jacksonville on Nov. 20 after spending three weeks on the Jaguars' active roster.

CB Eric Bassey (knee) and OT Rob Petitte (concussion) are out for Sunday's game, and kick returner/receiver Brandon Williams (ankle) is questionable. Williams will be replaced by Marques Hagans.

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Re: NFL Week 14 News and Notes

Knee injury could sideline Bush

Reggie Bush has a partially torn left knee ligament that likely won't require surgery but could sideline him for Monday night's game at Atlanta.

Saints coach Sean Payton said Bush would be listed as questionable on the injury report and added whether Bush plays will be a game-time decision.

"We'll monitor where he's at," Payton said after Friday's practice, which Bush sat out. "I'm still hopeful for this weekend's game."

Bush practiced Thursday and did not indicate he was having any trouble when he spoke to reporters after practice. He became sore that evening, and the team ordered a MRI, which indicated a tear in his posterior cruciate ligament.

Bush was expected to seek a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews, an orthopedic surgeon based in Birmingham, Ala.

The injury is the latest setback for Bush, who took over as the Saints' featured running back after Deuce McAllister's season-ending knee injury in Week 3.

Bush has scored six touchdowns with 581 yards rushing and 417 yards receiving. His longest run so far has been 22 yards and his longest reception 25. He has 10 dropped passes and has fumbled eight times, though his team has recovered all but three of those.

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Re: NFL Week 14 News and Notes

Jets' Cotchery doubtful against Browns
December 7th, 2007

Hempstead, NY (Sports Network) - New York Jets wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery will likely not play Sunday against the Cleveland Browns due to an injured right index finger.

Cotchery, who is listed as doubtful, has 54 receptions for 730 yards and a touchdown in 11 games.

In other injury news, wide receiver Laveranues Coles is listed as questionable with an ankle injury.

On the year, Coles has 48 catches for 598 yards and six touchdowns.

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Re: NFL Week 14 News and Notes

Cards' Boldin, Fitzgerald questionable
December 7th, 2007

Tempe, AZ (Sports Network) - Arizona Cardinals wide receivers Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald are listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Seattle Seahawks.

Boldin suffered a dislocated toe in last week's 27-21 win over Cleveland. He missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday before going through limited reps on Friday.

Fitzgerald, who missed last week's game with a groin injury, went through limited practice all week.

Fitzgerald has 75 catches for 1060 yards, and Boldin has 48 receptions for 552 yards. The number three receiver, Bryant Johnson, has 38 catches for 432 yards and a score.

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Re: NFL Week 14 News and Notes

Bucs' Garcia questionable for Sunday
December 7th, 2007

Tampa, FL (Sports Network) - Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jeff Garcia is listed as questionable for Sunday's tilt against Houston.

He suffered a bruised lower back during the Buccaneers' 19-13 win over Washington on November 25. He went through limited practice all week.

Last Sunday, Luke McCown started in his place and guided Tampa Bay to a 27-23 victory against division-rival New Orleans, and will likely take the snaps again if Garcia is unable to play.

Garcia has completed 64.5 percent of his passes for 2,135 yards with 11 touchdowns and just three interceptions this season.

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Re: NFL Week 14 News and Notes

Redskins QB Campbell out against Giants
December 7th, 2007

Landover, MD (Sports Network) - Washington Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell will not play against the New York Giants on December 16 due to an dislocated right kneecap.

Campbell suffered the injury during Thursday's 24-16 win against the Chicago Bears in the second quarter when he was tackled by Chicago defensive end Mark Anderson. The quarterback was taken off the field on a cart and did not return.

He had an MRI performed on Friday to determine if there were any bone chips in the knee. The MRI came up negative and he will not require surgery.

Campbell, who has thrown for 2,700 yards and 12 touchdown passes in 13 games this season, has not been ruled out for the entire season.

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Re: NFL Week 14 News and Notes

Saints' Reggie Bush out for Falcons game Monday because of knee injury
December 8, 2007

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -Saints running back Reggie Bush will not play Monday night in Atlanta because of a knee injury.

He had been listed as questionable after an MRI this week indicated a partially torn left knee ligament. The team Saturday did not comment about Bush's prospects for the rest of the season.

Bush became the Saints' featured running back when a knee injury ended Deuce McAllister's season in the third week. Bush has scored six touchdowns with 581 yards rushing and 417 yards receiving.

With Bush out, Jamaal Branch, Aaron Stecker and rookie Pierre Thomas will be the running back. Thomas returned to practice Friday following a kidney bruise.

The Saints (5-7) have a slim chance at an NFC wild-card spot.

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Re: NFL Week 14 News and Notes

Gibril Wilson to miss 2nd game,linebacker Antonio Pierce a game-time decision
ASSOCIATED PRESS

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Free safety Gibril Wilson will miss his second straight game and Pro Bowl linebacker Antonio Pierce will be a game-time decision for the New York Giants on Sunday against the Eagles in Philadelphia.

Rookie Michael Johnson will replace Wilson, who has been sidelined with a knee injury.

Pierce sprained an ankle against Minnesota two weeks ago. He played last week against Chicago but the injury limited him in practice this week.

Chase Blackburn would start if Pierce cannot play.

Besides Pierce, receiver Plaxico Burress (ankle), cornerback Aaron Ross (hamstring) and safety James Butler (hamstring) are questionable, although coach Tom Coughlin expects Butler to play.

Burress has been questionable all season but he has not missed a game.

Halfback Brandon Jacobs, who pulled a hamstring three weeks ago, and rookie receiver Steve Smith, who has missed the last 10 games with shoulder and hamstring problems, are expected to play this weekend.

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