Some Big Names on NFL Injury Report for Thanksgiving Week
It’s the final weekend of November football, and the NFL has its usual 3 game slate ready for Thanksgiving. At this point in the season it’s not just which teams are playing well, it’s which teams are staying healthy.
Justin Fields to Sit on Thanksgiving
The good news for the Bears is that rib injury quarterback Justin Fields sustained on Sunday doesn’t appear to be serious. The ribs are bruised, but not broken. The bruising is, however, causing enough pain for Fields that he will not start at Detroit on Thursday. Instead, Andy Dalton will get the nod.
Chicago head coach Matt Nagy says that he is hopeful that Fields is able to play the following Sunday, December 5, at Soldier Field against the Cardinals.
“You hope so. We’ve just got to see where his ribs are. I think it’s day-to-day. But he’s been doing pretty good, and we’ve just got to keep an eye on that.”
Dalton will be making his first start since Week 2, and the 145th start of his career. Against the Lions, that’s good enough to make the Bears field-goal road favorites according to the BetUS Sportsbook.
Ezekiel Elliott and Tyron Smith Good to Go
In other Thanksgiving Day injury news, the Cowboys will get Tyron Smith back at left tackle for Thursday’s game with the Raiders. Smith has missed the previous three games with a reaggravated high ankle sprain but has been a full participant at practice this week.
Ezekiel Elliott injured his knee in Sunday’s loss at Kansas City, but he too has been a full participant in practice and is expected to get his normal workload against the Raiders.
The news is less good and less certain for wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, who suffered a concussion on Sunday. Passing through the league’s concussion protocol by Thursday is considered a longshot, even though he is said to be doing well.
Wide receiver Amari Cooper remains on the reserve/COVID-19 list and will not play on Thursday.
Regardless, the Cowboys are laying over a touchdown on Thanksgiving NFL odds against the Las Vegas Raiders.
Zach Wilson is Back for Jets
The challenging rookie season for Zach Wilson is back on after he was out for nearly a month with a sprained right knee. Wilson was given clearance by Jets doctors to return to practice this week, and he will get the start against the Houston Texans.
Jets head coach Robert Saleh would likely have preferred to wait to name Wilson his starter until after seeing him in practice first, but that wasn’t an option after both Mike White and Joe Flacco were placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. White tested positive for COVID, and Flacco was deemed a close contact. Flacco is unvaccinated against COVID-19, which means that even as just a close contact, he will be out through the weekend.
With Wilson as the only available quarterback on the active roster, he gets the start, and Josh Johnson will be promoted from the practice squad to serve as his backup. Even against the also-ran Houston Texans, the Jets are only 2½-point underdogs on the road based on NFL point spreads.
Packers Tackle David Bakhtiari Has Another Knee Surgery
Last January Packers All-Pro tackle David Bakhtiari had reconstructive surgery on his knee to repair a torn ACL. He was expected to return at some point this season, but the knee hadn’t been cooperating recently, keeping him on the sideline.
Reports on Tuesday said that he recently had a second surgery on the knee — this one an arthroscopic surgery to clean up some lingering issues — and he is feeling much better. There still isn’t a timeline on a possible return, but the Packers are optimistic that it will happen sometime in December.
The Packers desperately need him to return before the season is over. His replacement, Elgton Jenkins, tore his ACL in Sunday’s loss against the Vikings and he is out for the rest of the season. Until Bakhtiari can return, the position will be played by third-string tackle Yosh Nijman.
Steelers Defense Getting Healthy
The Steelers lost a wild one on Sunday night, and both the team and fans have to wonder if the end result would have been different if Pittsburgh had T.J. Watt, Joe Haden and Minkah Fitzpatrick in that game.
Word from Mike Tomlin is there will be no such questions following this Sunday’s game with the Bengals because all three defensive stars will be back in the lineup. Watt was out with hip and knee injuries, Haden was down with a foot sprain, and Fitzpatrick was on the reserve-COVID-19 list.
In their absence, the Pittsburgh defense allowed 533 yards to the Chargers.