Week 17 NFL Injury Tracker: Updates on Alvin Kamara, Tyreek Hill & More

Week 17 NFL Injury Tracker: Updates on Alvin Kamara, Tyreek Hill & More article feature image
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Mitchell Leff/Getty Images. Pictured: Alvin Kamara.

We made it to Week 17! While players can often miss the regular season finale for reasons related to playoff positioning, this article will continue to focus on injury news.

For a team-by-team look at Week 17 motivations, be sure to check out this article by Tommy Stokke. 

With that being said, let’s get into this week’s key injuries.

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Sunday Update

Saints Injury Update: After Alvin Kamara tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday, three of his backfield mates were identified as close contacts on Saturday and were also ruled out for Week 17. That group includes Latavius Murray, Dwayne Washington, and Michael Burton, leaving only RB/WR Swiss Army knife Ty Montgomery and practice squad call-up Tony Jones Jr. available at running back, though Taysom Hill is sure to factor into the equation as well.

As long as Murray, Washington, and Burton continue to produce negative test results, they should all be available for a potential playoff game next weekend, while Kamara’s availability may come down to whether the Saints play on Saturday or Sunday next week if they have a first-round matchup.

Rams RB Cam Akers (ankle): Listed questionable to play in Week 17, Akers missed the Rams’ first two practices this week before getting in a limited session on Friday. Akers suffered a high-ankle sprain — an injury that typically requires multiple weeks of recovery — in Week 15, but he is considered a true game-time decision to play against Arizona today. His final status will be updated in the above table 90 minutes before kickoff.

Washington Football Team Injury Update: According to ESPN’s Field Yates, Washington expects QB Alex Smith, RB Antonio Gibson and WR Terry McLaurin to all be available tonight when the team takes on the Eagles with a playoff berth on the line . Of the three, McLaurin’s status was the most questionable, as he missed practice throughout the week after also sitting out Week 16 and it’s possible he’ll be limited in tonight’s game.

Cardinals WRs Christian Kirk (COVID-19 Protocol) and Larry Fitzgerald (groin): Kirk was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 List on Saturday, ruling him out for Arizona’s win-and-get-in showdown with the Rams. It’s unclear whether Kirk has tested positive himself or whether he’s been designated as a close contact. If he’s on the reserve list as a close contact, he’ll have a chance to play in a potential playoff game next weekend assuming he continues to test negative for the virus.

Arizona is also expected to be without Fitzgerald, who missed practice all week with a groin injury. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the team is not expecting him to be active today. KeeSean Johnson, Trent Sherfield and Andy Isabella will be in line for larger roles in the receiving game against the Rams.

Friday Update

Saints RB Alvin Kamara (COVID-19 Protocol): Kamara produced a confirmed positive test for COVID-19 on Friday afternoon, landing him on the Reserve/COVID-19 List. Kamara will miss Week 17, and his status for the Saints’ first postseason game next week will become uncertain too unless New Orleans are able to clinch the No. 1 seed and a first-round bye. New Orleans can clinch the 1 seed with a win over Carolina, a Packers loss and a Seahawks win.

Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill (hamstring): Hill has been officially ruled out of playing in the season finale due to a hamstring injury. Head coach Andy Reid already said earlier in the week that Patrick Mahomes would have the week off and other starters may be rested as well, so it’s possible Hill may not have played regardless of the hamstring injury. There does not seem to be much concern over Hill’s long-term status so consider him probable to play in the Chiefs’ first playoff game.

Washington Football Team Injury Update: Ahead of their win-and-get-in showdown with the Eagles on Sunday Night Football, Washington has listed three key members of its offense as questionable to play:

    • Alex Smith was able to get in limited practice sessions on Thursday and Friday after sitting out on Wednesday. Officially questionable, Smith feels closer to “probable”.
    • Antonio Gibson missed practice all three days this week, but he did play through the same injury last week.
    • Terry McLaurin missed Week 16 and also missed practice throughout this week. He feels the most doubtful of the three.

Jacksonville Jaguars Injury Update: The Jaguars have officially clinched the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming NFL draft and they’ll close out the regular season against the Colts missing several pieces on offense. Running back James Robinson will miss his second consecutive game, ending his impressive rookie campaign with over 1,400 scrimmage yards in 14 games, while wide receiver D.J. Chark will miss his third game of the season with an ankle injury. WR Chris Conley and RB Dare Ogunbowale are the two most likely candidates to pick up the slack.

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Thursday Update

Washington QB Alex Smith (calf): After sitting out Wednesday’s practice, Smith was back on the field Thursday as a limited practice participant. Washington is currently clinging to a playoff spot by virtue of leading the NFC East, but they’ll need to beat Philadelphia to ensure they stay ahead of Dallas in the standings.

Smith has not played since Week 14 and the team released Dwayne Haskins earlier this week, leaving Taylor Heinicke in line for the start should Smith be unable to play. With that being said, head coach Ron Rivera said that Smith was close to playing in Week 16, so Smith feels closer to “probable” this week.

Dolphins QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (COVID-19 Protocol): If the Dolphins are to qualify for the playoffs, they’ll have to do so without the services of Fitzpatrick, who has tested positive for COVID-19. Miami has turned to Tua Tagovailoa as its starter, but Fitzpatrick came off the bench last week and led Miami to a come-from-behind victory over Las Vegas. The team promoted QB Jake Rudock from its practice squad to serve as depth behind Tua in Week 17.

Lions QB Matthew Stafford (Ribs/Thumb/Ankle): At 5-10, the Lions have long been eliminated from playoff contention, but that may not be reason enough to keep Stafford from playing through an assortment of injuries. Stafford is listed on the injury report with ribs, thumb and ankle injuries, the latter of which knocked him out of last week’s loss to the Bucs. A non-participant in Wednesday’s practice, Stafford practiced in a limited fashion on Thursday and it appears he has a real chance of playing in Week 17.

Chargers WR Keenan Allen (COVID-19 Protocol): Allen has struggled through a hamstring injury since Week 15 when he was limited to a single reception for 17 yards against the Raiders and subsequently missed Week 16 with the same injury. His hamstring injury likely would have kept him off the field this weekend as well, but all doubt surrounding Allen’s Week 17 status was removed today when the Chargers placed him on the Reserve/COVID-19 List.

It’s not immediately clear whether Allen has been designated as a close contact or whether he tested positive for the virus himself, but whatever the case may be, his 2020 campaign now comes to a close.

Wednesday Update

Los Angeles Rams Injury Update: Facing a win-or-go-home showdown with the Cardinals this week, the Rams find themselves dealing with injuries at multiple positions on offense. 

At quarterback, the Rams will turn to John Wolford after Jared Goff underwent thumb surgery on Monday, forcing him to miss Week 17. There is some optimism that Goff may be able to return during the playoffs, should the Rams qualify.

At running back, the team is “hopeful” that Cam Akers (ankle) will be able to return from a one-game absence, while Darrell Henderson (ankle) was placed on IR on Monday after Henderson filled in for Akers in Week 16. If Akers is unable to go, Malcolm Brown could be in line for a workhorse role.

At wide receiver, Cooper Kupp has already been ruled out after he tested positive for COVID-19, landing him on the Reserve/COVID-19 List.

The Rams have stayed remarkably healthy on offense this season prior to Week 17, but their depth will be tested this weekend.

Cardinals QB Kyler Murray (leg): Things are trending in a more positive direction for the Cardinals, who appear as though they will have Murray under center in Week 17. Kyler told reporters today that his leg is “feeling good,” while adding, “There’s no holding back. If we lose, I’ll be home chilling.”

For now, consider Murray probable to play in the regular season finale.

Panthers RBs Christian McCaffrey (thigh) and Mike Davis (ankle): Unsurprisingly, McCaffrey has been ruled out for the seventh consecutive week, closing the book on a disappointing 2020 season for the reigning scrimmage yard leader. 

The bad news doesn’t end there for Carolina, as the team is also likely to be without Mike Davis, who has led the team in carries this season during CMC’s absence. Head coach Matt Rhule said Davis has a severely sprained ankle, which he played through during the second half of last week’s victory over Washington.

Carolina’s remaining depth at the position consists of Rodney Smith, Trenton Cannon and Alex Armah, though WR Curtis Samuel has also taken carries at times this season. 

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