Lacy, others fighting to regain full strength
Several standout signal-callers may be feeling better entering Week 6, but there’s no shortage of dinged-up players elsewhere. Here’s a glance at the NFL’s most pressing injury cases.
Yesterday, the Panthers announced Cam Newton (questionable) was out of the league’s concussion protocol. Having practiced in full on Thursday and Friday, he’ll assuredly resume quarterback duties against New Orleans. Given the Saints’ absolutely woeful defense, expect the 2015 MVP to flirt with 300 yards through the air in what amounts to a must-win situation for 1-4 Carolina.
Newton’s teammate, wideout Kelvin Benjamin, is also recovering from a medical issue. The former Florida State star’s knee problem limited his reps at the Panthers’ facility during the week. Nonetheless, he should find himself on the field when the defending Super Bowl champs commence their business in the Bayou. Carolina running back Jonathan Stewart (hamstring) could make his first appearance since Sept. 18, too.
The status of Green Bay’s leading rusher, Eddie Lacy, seems less certain. Last Sunday, the Alabama product departed the Packers’ 23-16 victory over the Giants in the third quarter. His ankle quandary, coupled with high-end backup James Starks’ knee malady, even prompted coach Mike McCarthy to suggest primary slot threat Randall Cobb would net a few carries in this afternoon’s bout vs. Dallas. In any event, Lacy’s compromised position means an absurd number of Aaron Rodgers tosses.
As for Cobb (neck), he appears fine after absorbing a scary hit from New York safety Landon Collins. McCarthy held Rodgers’ No. 2 target out of some sessions early in the week, but anticipate the 5-foot-10, 192-pounder to play a primary role in an important tussle with the Cowboys. With Jordy Nelson commanding immense attention on the outside, Cobb saw 11 targets against the G-Men.
In Pittsburgh, Ben Roethlisberger enjoys feeding the pigskin to the emerging Sammie Coates, as well. Unfortunately for the Steel City faithful, that partnership will probably hit a bit of a snag at 1 p.m. ET. Coates comes off a contest in which he suffered a hand laceration. Multiple outlets indicate that the burner’s officially dealing with a fractured index finger, putting a decent dent in his value vs. a putrid Miami secondary.
Finally, no report would be complete without another Dez Bryant check-in. While the hairline fracture in his knee continues to improve, we doubt Jason Garrett’s willingness to run No. 88 out there prior to Dallas’ bye week. Look for Cole Beasley, Brice Butler and Terrance Williams to reel in the majority of Dak Prescott’s throws in Wisconsin.