NFL Injury Tracker: Latest On Jared Goff, Kyler Murray, More Week 16 Updates
Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images. Pictured: Jared Goff
The biggest story of Week 15 was the return of Drew Brees, as the future Hall of Famer was deemed healthy enough to play just 35 days after he fractured 11 ribs. Brees was understandably rusty in his return, completing only 15-of-34 passes against the Chiefs for 234 passing yards. His progress with be worth monitoring as New Orleans prepares for a playoff run.
Looking ahead to Week 16, two star players are looking to return despite their teams being eliminated from the playoffs, as George Kittle (foot) reportedly “has a chance” to play in the 49ers’ final two games, while Christian McCaffrey (thigh) has been considered week to week since he was injured in Week 9.
We’ll be tracking their progress throughout the week as this page is updated with all the latest injury news.
NFL Injury Report
Latest On NFL Injuries
Rams QB Jared Goff (thumb): Goff sustained a broken and dislocated thumb in yesterday’s loss to Seattle. The injury will require offseason surgery, but Goff is “adamant” about finishing the season, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. With that said, Goff may not have a choice depending on the severity of the injury. The Rams’ starting QB is undergoing further testing to inform the team’s path moving forward.
If Goff is unable to go in Week 17, Los Angeles’ playoff hopes would rest on the shoulders of John Wolford, whose last game action came in 2019 as a member of the AAF’s Arizona Hotshots.
Cardinals QB Kyler Murray (leg): The team chasing the Rams for that playoff spot also might be without its starting quarterback after Murray suffered a lower-leg injury on Sunday that puts his Week 17 outlook in jeopardy. Head coach Kliff Kinsgbury said today he is “hopeful” that Murray will be available to play, but this will be a situation to monitor throughout the week. Behind Murray on the depth chart is Chris Streveler, who spent the 2018 and ’19 seasons as a member of the CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Washington QB Alex Smith (calf): Smith missed Week 16 with a calf injury, but head coach Ron Rivera said today that the quarterback was “very close last week” after a strong Friday practice. Rivera continued to say he was “optimistic” about Smith’s Week 17 availability.
The team cut Dwayne Haskins on Monday, leaving Taylor Heinicke — a backup last season for the XFL’s St. Louis Battlehawks — in line to get the start against Philadelphia with the NFC East on the line if Smith is forced to miss the game.
Cleveland Browns WRs (COVID protocols): Yesterday, the Browns identified wide receivers Jarvis Landry, Rashard Higgins, Donovan Peoples-Jones and KhaDarel Hodge as high risk close contacts, and as a result the receivers have all been placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 List.
Assuming these players do not test positive for the virus, they’ll be available to play in Week 17, but the team is left short-handed this week. Marvin Hall is the only remaining receiver on the active roster, though the team called up Derrick Willies and Ja’Marcus Bradley from its practice squad for added depth. Expect Cleveland to lean more on its group of tight ends and Kareem Hunt in the receiving game this week.
Chargers WR Keenan Allen (hamstring): Allen was clearly limited by a hamstring injury in Week 15, finishing with a disappointing 1-17-0 receiving line on three targets, and the injury is expected to keep him off the field in Week 16. The team will also be without Hunter Henry, who landed on the Reserve/COVID-19 List earlier in the week.
Tyron Johnson, Jalen Guyton and Donald Parham should be in store for larger roles in the receiving game this week.
Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott (calf): In Week 15, Zeke was considered questionable to play on Sunday before being ruled out shortly before kickoff, but things are trending in a different direction this week, according to ESPN’s Todd Archer. Elliott was unable to get on the practice field throughout the week last week, but he was able to get in limited sessions each day this week. He is expected to be active today against the Eagles.
Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill (hamstring): Hill missed Wednesday’s practice with a hamstring issue before getting in limited sessions on Thursday and Friday of this week. Tyreek is expected to play today, though ESPN’s Adam Schefter notes the team will “monitor Hill and be smart with him.”
Bears WR Allen Robinson (hamstring): Robinson had a strange week of practice, getting in a full session on Wednesday before missing Thursday’s practice and finishing the week with a limited session on Friday. Nevertheless, he is expected to play through his questionable tag as the Bears look to capitalize on Arizona’s Saturday loss to San Francisco in the NFC playoff picture.
Washington Football Team injury update: We are watching three key players on Washington’s offense heading into Week 16: Alex Smith (calf), Terry McLaurin (ankle), and Antonio Gibson (toe). The team will examine Smith’s calf before making a final call today, but it is more likely that Haskins will be under center this afternoon. McLaurin missed practice all week and is expected to be inactive, while Gibson is expected to return to the lineup just 20 days after suffering a turf toe injury against the Steelers.
Washington QB Alex Smith (calf): Head coach Ron Rivera called the team’s quarterback situation “jumbled up” with Smith limited in practice for the second straight day with a calf injury. ESPN’s Adam Schefter added that it “would be challenging” for Smith to return this week.
Dwayne Haskins — who started Week 15 in Smith’s place — was found to be in violation of the league’s COVID-19 protocols for “engaging in high risk COVID-19 conduct” earlier this week. Nevertheless, Haskins has handled the majority of the team’s starter reps in practice and appears to be in line to draw another start if Smith is held out.
Chargers TE Hunter Henry (COVID-19 list): Henry was added to the reserve/COVID-19 list on Thursday. A player can be placed on the reserve list either as a result of testing positive himself or by having a close contact test positive, and it is not immediately clear which camp Henry falls into. Either way, he is out for Week 16 and XFL-alum Donald Parham should soak up the majority of the snaps with Virgil Green (ankle) currently on IR.
49ers TE George Kittle (foot): Kittle is officially back! Head coach Kyle Shanahan confirmed that his star tight end will be active against the Cardinals, adding that Kittle “felt great” in practice throughout the week. With the 49ers’ roster currently decimated by injury, Shanahan joked that Kittle is “one of the healthiest players” on the team. With that being said, it is likely that Kittle will be on a pitch count in his first game back.
Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott (calf): Elliott was a somewhat surprising scratch in Week 15 for the Cowboys. Although he missed practice throughout the week with a calf injury, head coach Mike McCarthy and team owner Jerry Jones both seemed optimistic about Zeke’s chances of playing before he was ultimately ruled out on Sunday.
While it is still early in the week, Zeke likes his chances of playing in Week 16, responding, “Yes, sir” when he was asked whether he expects to be on the field against the Eagles this weekend.
Nonetheless, Elliott should be considered questionable to play for the time being.
Giants QB Daniel Jones (hamstring/ankle): Jones also has a chance to be on the field in Week 16 after a one-week absence due to a combination of hamstring and ankle injuries. A limited participant in today’s practice, Jones gave updates on both injuries to members of the local media today.
Jones noted that he’s “further away” from the hamstring injury, while adding that his ankle is feeling much better, but it’s still being rehabbed.
The Giants will face the Ravens this weekend in a must-win game for both teams.
Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey (thigh): It’s been a lost season for the reigning scrimmage yardage leader. First, McCaffrey suffered a high-ankle sprain in Week 2 that kept him out of the lineup through Week 8.
Then in Week 9, CMC sustained a shoulder injury that kept him out through the Panthers’ Week 13 bye, and just when he was ready to return from that injury, he injured his thigh, which brings us to Week 16.
Unfortunately, the news doesn’t get any better this week as CMC has already been called “doubtful” to play against Washington by head coach Matt Rhule.
Expect Mike Davis to lead the Carolina backfield once again.
Chiefs RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire (ankle): Edwards-Helaire has been diagnosed with a high-ankle sprain that will almost certainly keep him off the field through the end of the regular season, though the team “remains hopeful” that he’ll be available for the playoffs. In 13 games, CEH was able to exceed 1,000 scrimmage yards in his rookie campaign, rushing for 803 yards while adding 297 as a receiver.
Midseason acquisition Le’Veon Bell will likely lead the Chiefs in carries down the stretch. They also held a visit with free agent running back Elijah McGuire as the team works to round out its depth at the position.
49ers TE George Kittle (foot): At 5-9, the 49ers are miles from the NFC playoff picture, but that might not be reason enough to keep Kittle off the field as he works his way back from a foot injury that landed him on IR after Week 8. Head coach Kyle Shanahan said on Monday that Kittle “has a chance” to play in Week 16, adding: “How can he be healthy and me not play him and still look every other player in the eye?” Stay tuned.
49ers QBs Jimmy Garoppolo (ankle) and Nick Mullens (elbow): These two are trending in opposite directions as we enter Week 16. Mullens was forced to leave San Francisco’s Week 15 loss with an elbow injury that may require Tommy John surgery, an injury that ends his 2020 season.
On the other hand, the 49ers designated Garoppolo for return from injured reserve on Monday, allowing him to return to practice. While this is good news, Shanahan said he’d be “very surprised” if Jimmy G were able to play in Week 16. C.J. Beathard would get the start in Week 16, while Garoppolo may have a chance to return for the season finale.