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Doc Talk: A look at NFL Week 15 injuries
Buccaneers QB Josh Freeman (shoulder)
Jock to Doc take: Freeman admitted he played through some discomfort last week against Jacksonville, but it looks like he's going to continue to fight through the pain and play Saturday night against Dallas. Although he struggled last week against the Jags, I wouldn't consider him a poor fantasy option after watching Eli Manning beat down the Dallas defense last week.
Health Rating: Josh Freeman @ 70%
Dolphins QB Matt Moore (concussion)
Jock to Doc take: Moore said he took the majority of first-team reps in practice Thursday, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports. As long as he avoids setbacks or concussion symptoms throughout practice in the next few days, expect to see him on the field in Buffalo.
Health Rating: Matt Moore @ 85%
Bears QB Jay Cutler (thumb)
Jock to Doc take: Cutler mentioned there's an "outside chance" he can return to face the Packers in Week 16, the Chicago Tribune reports. Although I highly doubt that, there is a chance. And the Bears, whose struggling offense is currently being led by Caleb Hanie, would need all the weapons they have against the undefeated Packers.
Health Rating: Jay Cutler @ 45%
Texans WR Andre Johnson (hamstring)
Jock to Doc take: Johnson looks like he's going to be missing yet another game with hamstring problems, as he didn't practice either Wednesday or Thursday, the official Houston Texans' website reports. Until the team rules him out, we'll consider him day-to-day, but one would think it would probably be smart for the Texans to conserve him until the playoffs.
Health Rating: Andre Johnson @ 55%
Titans QB Matt Hasselbeck (calf)
Jock to Doc take: Coach Mike Munchak mentioned he's "definitely confident" Hasselbeck would start Sunday in Indianapolis, The Tennessean reports. Rookie Jake Locker's received the majority of first-team snaps, but the Titans are fighting for a playoff spot and surely want to save the embarrassment of being the Colts' first win. I expect to see the veteran QB out there Sunday.
Health Rating: Matt Hasselbeck @ 69%
Chiefs QB Kyle Orton (finger)
Jock to Doc take: Orton, who is trying to bounce back from a dislocated index finger, looks like he may be the starter Sunday against the Green Bay Packers. Coach Romeo Crennel hasn’t confirmed it, but he hinted that Orton would “probably start” for them, The Kansas City Star reports.
Health Rating: Kyle Orton @ 72%
Vikings RB Adrian Peterson (ankle)
Jock to Doc take: Peterson was listed as being limited in practice this week, but OC Bill Musgrave mentioned that Peterson was cutting much better and that he was confident he'll play Sunday. Unless he suffers setbacks before the game Sunday, I expect to see him on the field.
Health Rating: Adrian Peterson @ 78%
Giants RB Ahmad Bradshaw (foot)
Jock to Doc take: Bradshaw didn’t practice Wednesday or Thursday, but was on the stationary bike, the New York Daily News reports. If he returns to practice Friday and doesn’t have a setback, he'll be on the field sharing time with fellow RB Brandon Jacobs against the Redskins.
Health Rating: Ahmad Bradshaw @ 67%
Bengals RB Cedric Benson (back)
Jock to Doc take: The Bengals RB was limited at practice Wednesday and Thursday, the official Bengals’ team website reports. His status depends on how well he is doing in Friday practice, but I expect to see Cincinnati use him to gash through St. Louis’ poor run defense.
Health Rating: Cedric Benson @ 79%
Raiders RB Darren McFadden (foot)
Jock to Doc take: McFadden seems to remain out indefinitely. He is listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game against Detroit, but I don’t think Oakland will risk his health. He hasn’t practiced all week.
Health Rating: Darren McFadden @ 30%
Cardinals RB Beanie Wells (knee)
Jock to Doc take: The Cardinals’ starter was limited in practice this week, according to Arizona’s official team website. So long as he doesn't encounter any setbacks, he is an advisable fantasy option this week, and I expect to see him with his usual workload against the struggling Browns.
Health Rating: Beanie Wells @ 80%
Eagles QB Michael Vick (ribs)
Jock to Doc take: Vick returned to practice Thursday after not practicing Wednesday, Phillysportsdaily.com reports. I expect Vick will be fine this week against New York, but I wouldn’t go as far as saying he is an advisable fantasy option this week against a tough Jets secondary.
Health Rating: Michael Vick @ 80%
Patriots WR Deion Branch (groin)
Jock to Doc take: Branch was limited in practice this week, the Boston Globe reports. Assuming he doesn't have any setbacks, he'll be on the field, and I expect to see him do much more Sunday than he did last week, since the Broncos secondary will be keying on Wes Welker and breakout TE Rob Gronkowski.
Health Rating: Deion Branch @ 82%
Ravens LB Ray Lewis (turf toe)
Jock to Doc take: Lewis looks like he should be back Sunday in San Diego, as he practiced in a limited fashion this week, the official Baltimore Ravens’ team website reports. After missing the past four games, I wouldn't be surprised if Lewis is on the field, even if he is in some pain.
Health Rating: Ray Lewis @ 75%
Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger (ankle)
Jock to Doc take: Roethlisberger didn't practice Wednesday or Thursday after suffering a high-ankle sprain last week against Cleveland. After watching him come back into the game and play through the pain, it seems likely he'll be on the field no matter what he feels like. The Steelers are still in the hunt to become AFC North champions, and the Ravens are ahead of them, so I expect to see him on the field Monday night.
Health Rating: Ben Roethlisberger @ 72%
HEALTH RATINGS: WHAT DO THE NUMBERS MEAN?
100-85% = NFL players are tough and despite injuries still perform at a high level. Let’s be honest, when is an NFL athlete really physically 100 percent? Practically never. With a rating in this range, a player can be expected to perform at peak levels.
70-85% = In this range, a player's performance will be affected, but he can still get the job done.
55-70% = Players with a rating this low will require assistance to do their jobs. The team might be better served by placing these warriors on the inactive list. Only some All-Pros can get the job done when rated this poorly.
40-55% = These players need some more time to heal. Unlikely to be active unless miraculous healing occurs or my rating was based on erroneous information.
25-40% = Players will not play, but show signs of recovery, opening the door for a return to the active roster the following week.
< 25% = Players will not play, and there is concern that additional games may be missed.