NFL: Important Injuries

NFL: Important Injuries

Important Injuries
By Brian Edwards

As always, there are a slew of injuries that need to be monitored for your handicapping this week. Let’s take a quick look at the most vital injuries impacting the Week 8 numbers.

Tony Romo’s broken pinkie finger on his throwing hand is the most important malady to keep an eye on. His presence – or lack thereof – is a four-point difference in the line for Tampa Bay’s trip to Texas Stadium this week.

Las Vegas Sports Consultants has sent a note to its clients that Dallas should be a 6½-point favorite with Romo, but just a 2½-point ‘chalk’ without him. Most betting shops have refrained from posting a number (as of Wednesday morning), while others are seemingly hedging by hanging the Cowboys at 3 ½.

An ESPN report Tuesday night indicated that Romo will not play this week, but we saw similar reports early last week, too. But Romo practiced late in the week and was in uniform as the No. 3 quarterback in the loss at St. Louis.

Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck has missed back-to-back games and his absence has been obvious. The Seahawks have lost both games without their QB, falling at home to Green Bay (27-17) and at Tampa Bay (20-10).

Hasselbeck impacts the number by 3½ points. LVSC is recommending San Francisco as a 2½-point favorite if Hasselbeck is going to start. If his bad back keeps him out again, LVSC suggests the 49ers as six-point home ‘chalk.’

As of Wednesday morning, Hasselbeck's status was "doubtful," prompting most books to list the 49ers as 5½ point favorites.

Cincinnati quarterback Carson Palmer will continue to rest his sore elbow this week at Houston. The Texans are 9½-point home favorites.

The Bengals have placed linebacker Keith Rivers on injured reserve after he sustained a broken jaw in Sunday’s loss to Pittsburgh. Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward caught Rivers unprepared with a nasty crack-back block that looked clean but had a number of Bengals players fuming.

Rivers isn’t necessarily worth a point on the number, but his loss just adds to the woes of Marvin Lewis’s winless squad. Might Lewis be the next coach to go after Mike Nolan was canned Monday?

The premier game in Week 8 appears to be the Giants trip into Heinz Field to face the Steelers. Pittsburgh RB Willie Parker has missed three consecutive games with a sprained knee. He is “questionable” vs. the G-Men, who are 2½-point road underdogs.

Cleveland TE Kellen Winslow Jr. has been suspended one game for violating the organization’s “team-first” policy. Winslow Jr. was critical of the franchise for the way it handled his hospitalization for a staph infection, expressing his views to the media after a 14-11 loss at Washington. The Browns are seven-point underdogs at Jacksonville.

Jaguars WR Matt Jones will begin serving a three-game suspension this week for his off-season arrest in Fayetteville for possession of cocaine. RB Fred Taylor is “questionable” for the Jags.

Arizona is a 4½-point underdog this week at Carolina. The Cardinals are hoping WR Anquan Boldin can return to the lineup after he sustained multiple facial fractures in a loss to the Jets 2 ½ weeks ago. Boldin practiced Tuesday and was optimistic that he could play.

Philadelphia is hoping WRs Reggie Brown and Kevin Curtis can play against Atlanta. Both teams are coming off bye weeks and the Eagles are nine-point home favorites.

New England is a seven-point home favorite against St. Louis. The Patriots will be without veteran safety Rodney Harrison, who went down with a season-ending injury in Monday’s 41-7 win over Denver. The Pats have also put RB Laurence Maroney on injured reserve. Steven Jackson has been upgraded to probable for the Rams, who have won back-to-back games over Washington and Dallas under interim coach Jim Haslett.

The status of Kansas City RB Larry Johnson is "questionable" (at best) following a fourth domestic incident recently. Gamblers should probably anticipate Johnson being inactive for Sunday's game against the Jets in the Meadowlands.

Chiefs QB Brodie Croyle is out for the season and there are whispers that the team might be bringing in Daunte Culpepper. It is unclear at this point if Damon Huard or Tyler Thigpen will get the starting nod this week.

New Orleans RB Reggie Bush is out for at least two weeks, possibly longer, after having knee surgery earlier this week. Bush did not make the trip to London for the Saints game against San Diego. The Chargers are 3½ point favorites.

Indianapolis RB Joseph Addai is “very doubtful” for the Colts’ crucial AFC South showdown at Tennessee on Monday Night Football. The Titans are four-point home favorites.

Denver is off this week, but it's worth noting that Pro-Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey will be out 4-6 weeks with a torn groin.

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