Biggest Week 4 injury questions for all 32 NFL teams: What's next for Michael Thomas, George Kittle and others

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The 2020 NFL season moves into Week 4, which features a highly anticipated matchup between the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS).

The Chiefs could be without defensive lineman Chris Jones against quarterback Cam Newton and the Patriots, who received some good news on Wednesday when running back Damien Harris returned to practice.

Also getting good news on the injury front were the New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers. Star wide receiver Michael Thomas and tight end George Kittle returned to practice on Wednesday — a favorable sign they could be returning to action before long.

Here’s a look at the biggest injuries for every team:

Jump to:
ARI | ATL | BAL | BUF | CAR | CHI | CIN
CLE | DAL | DEN | DET | GB | HOU | IND
JAX | KC | LAC | LAR | LV | MIA | MIN
NE | NO | NYG | NYJ | PHI | PIT | SF
SEA | TB | TEN | WSH


AFC EAST

Receiver John Brown left Sunday’s game against the Rams with a calf injury after playing through a foot injury that kept him out of practice earlier in the week. He missed the team’s first practice of the week Wednesday, and considering the possibility of a calf injury turning into an Achilles tendon injury, it will be interesting to see whether Buffalo plays it safe with its leading receiver from 2019. Rookie Gabriel Davis has proved more than capable of stepping into Brown’s role if needed. — Marcel Louis-Jacques



Cornerback Byron Jones missed Wednesday’s practice with lingering groin and Achilles issues. Coach Brian Flores said Jones is working diligently behind the scenes in order to play on Sundays, but he will need to heal in a hurry to face the Seahawks. The Dolphins will monitor Jones’ progress over the next few days and hope he can participate in practices later in the week. — Jeremy Fowler


Running back Damien Harris, who was placed on injured reserve with a hand injury Sept. 7, practiced for the first time Wednesday. The Patriots have until Saturday at 4 p.m. ET to activate him to the 53-man roster, and thus, his status becomes the most notable injury-related move for the club this week. With Sony Michel, Rex Burkhead, James White and J.J. Taylor at running back, the depth is plentiful. — Mike Reiss


The Jets’ woeful offense welcomes back two starters — WR Jamison Crowder (hamstring) and RT George Fant (concussion). Sam Darnold has the league’s lowest QBR when targeting wide receivers, but he has confidence in Crowder, who is crafty out of the slot. — Rich Cimini


AFC NORTH

All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley was limited Wednesday with a shoulder injury. It has been a tough season for Stanley, who battled hip and ankle injuries through the first two weeks of the season. But there really isn’t anyone who is in danger of missing Sunday’s game. The one positive coming off Monday night’s loss to the Chiefs is that all 53 players on the roster were able to suit up for Wednesday’s practice. — Jamison Hensley



Bengals cornerback Mackensie Alexander was spotted working with the training staff on Wednesday and missed practice with a ribs/hamstring injury. The slot cornerback has quietly been a key piece in the Bengals’ defense this season. If he is out this week, it will deplete a secondary that is already without outside cornerback Trae Waynes. The likelihood that Alexander misses Sunday’s game against the Jaguars is significant enough to cause some stress heading into this weekend. — Ben Baby


Running back Kareem Hunt said out Wednesday’s practice with a groin injury. Coach Kevin Stefanski termed Hunt as day-to-day, as the team is hopeful he’ll be available to play Sunday in Dallas. — Jake Trotter


The Steelers are seeing injuries pile up on special teams. Fullback Derek Watt, who forced a safety on a punt attempt against the Denver Broncos, suffered a hamstring injury in the first half of Sunday’s win against the Houston Texans. Coach Mike Tomlin said that he’s doubtful and likely will not play. Safety Marcus Allen, also a special-teamer, is battling plantar fasciitis. Tomlin said Allen is doubtful but slightly more likely to play than Watt. Both would be significant losses. — Brooke Pryor


AFC SOUTH

Coach Bill O’Brien said running back Duke Johnson, who injured an ankle in Week 1, is “trending in the right direction” to play on Sunday against the Vikings. “I feel good about Duke, and we’ll see how it goes today and tomorrow and Friday,” O’Brien said. In Duke Johnson’s absence, starting running back David Johnson has played most of Houston’s offensive snaps: 95% in Week 2 and 96% in Week 3. — Sarah Barshop


Starting cornerback Rock Ya-Sin returned to practice as a limited participant for the first time since he left Lucas Oil Stadium less than two hours before the start of the Colts’ Week 2 game against Minnesota with an undisclosed illness. Ya-Sin missed the Week 3 game against the Jets, but he returned to practice Wednesday — albeit in a limited capacity. — Mike Wells


Wide receiver DJ Chark was back on the practice field on a limited basis, which is a good sign for his availability on Sunday. Chark was wearing a red noncontact jersey, though, which is a little unusual. But the Jaguars want to keep him from getting contact to his upper body since he was dealing with a chest/back injury. The Jaguars really missed Chark in last week’s loss to Miami. He draws a lot of attention and that allows the other receivers a little more room to operate. — Mike DiRocco


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Ryan Clark details the benefits for the Titans in having extra time to prepare for the Steelers after their game Sunday was postponed for COVID-19-related reasons.

The biggest issue facing the Titans would have to be the four players who were placed on the COVID-reserve list. The mini-outbreak has caused their game to be postponed. The facility is shut down for now, but players in need of treatment have access to athletic trainers. That’s a good sign for left tackle Taylor Lewan, who suffered a shoulder injury in the first quarter against the Vikings last week. The Titans could be in trouble if they don’t have Lewan when they face a Steelers team that’s blitzing at a 52.8% clip, the highest in the NFL. — Turron Davenport


AFC WEST

With the Broncos having moved three more players to injured reserve this week alone — right tackle Elijah Wilkinson, defensive tackle Jurrell Casey and linebacker Austin Calitro — the biggest remaining injury question for Thursday night’s game against the Jets is running back Phillip Lindsay. Lindsay hasn’t played since the season opener because of a toe injury and has practiced on a limited basis the past two weeks. However, this week the Broncos simply did walk-throughs because of the short week, so Lindsay didn’t work in any real team drills. If he does play, it would be with a snap count. — Jeff Legwold



Not having Chris Jones against Cam Newton and the Patriots would be a setback for the Chiefs. He was limited in practice on Wednesday because of an injured groin. The Chiefs have some depth at his position, but nobody can rush the quarterback from there like Jones, who leads the Chiefs in sacks with 3.5 and makes a good pairing with their other top pass-rusher, Frank Clark. — Adam Teicher


Rookie receiver Henry Ruggs III tweaked a knee in the opener at Carolina, was more of a decoy in Week 2 and was inactive in New England after injuring a hamstring in practice on Thursday. He was again a nonparticipant in Wednesday’s practice and — along with fellow rookie wideout Bryan Edwards, who is nursing an ankle injury — might miss the Bills game this weekend. “They’re our starters, so it does affect you emotionally,” said Raiders coach Jon Gruden. “You’re depressed a little. You’re not as happy as you would be if you had your starters out there, but if it’s another player, so be it.” Paging, then, Nelson Agholor and Zay Jones. — Paul Gutierrez


Cornerback Chris Harris Jr. was placed on IR with a foot injury he suffered in Sunday’s game. So was defensive end Melvin Ingram and defensive tackle Justin Jones. “Every team is experiencing injuries,” said Chargers coach Anthony Lynn. “I would love to go into the season with all my guys, but that’s not realistic.” Also, wide receiver Mike Williams sat out practice Wednesday with a hamstring injury. He is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game. — Shelley Smith


NFC EAST

The Cowboys could benefit from the return of offensive tackle Tyron Smith this week considering Cleveland pass-rusher Myles Garrett is looking to get after Dak Prescott. Smith went through a limited portion of Wednesday’s practice, the first on-field work he has had since Sept. 17, after missing the past two games with a neck injury. “I think we all recognize the importance of the left tackle position with a right-handed quarterback, particularly the way your offense is designed and primarily being right-handed,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “He’s obviously very important to our offense.” — Todd Archer



Safety Jabrill Peppers didn’t practice Wednesday after a scare knocked him out of Sunday’s loss to the 49ers. There was some concern that ankle surgery could be an option, but tests Monday were encouraging. Peppers still seems like a long shot to play this week against the Rams. His loss means Julian Love, who was pulled from the starting lineup last week, will be reinserted alongside Logan Ryan. — Jordan Raanan


DeSean Jackson was sidelined to start the week because of a hamstring injury and is considered day-to-day. Coach Doug Pederson expressed optimism that he’ll be able to play Sunday. Alshon Jeffery (Lisfranc) is increasing his workload with an expected return to action in his near future, though that might still be another week or so away. With wide Jalen Reagor and tight end Dallas Goedert on injured reserve, Carson Wentz is working with a stripped-down and banged-up unit once again. — Tim McManus


Rookie defensive end Chase Young (groin) did not practice Wednesday because of the injury he suffered in the second quarter of Sunday’s loss at Cleveland. Washington will be extra cautious with Young, which means the chances of him playing Sunday aren’t high — though, as defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio said, he hasn’t been ruled out yet. One person close to Young said earlier in the week that “it’s a long season.” Translation: Be smart; don’t play if it’s not 100 percent. Washington also promoted pass-rusher Nate Orchard off the practice squad, another sign the team is concerned about Young’s availability. Another end, Ryan Anderson, didn’t practice because of an ankle injury. — John Keim


NFC NORTH

To help fill the void left by Tarik Cohen‘s season-ending ACL tear, the Bears promoted undrafted rookie running back Artavis Pierce from the practice squad to the active 53-man roster. Chicago will lean heavily on starter David Montgomery — and still use Cordarrelle Patterson and Ryan Nall on occasion — but coach Matt Nagy said Pierce is talented enough to handle Cohen’s all-purpose role. “I think he (Pierce) has really good vision and patience in the hole,” Nagy said on Wednesday. “We’re going to keep working on his ball skills coming out of the backfield, but he’s a great kid that learns fast.” — Jeff Dickerson


Desmond Trufant (hamstring) practiced on a limited basis Wednesday. Getting the team’s top cornerback back — especially against a team he’s so familiar with in the Saints from his time in Atlanta — could pay Detroit big dividends. Otherwise, it would have to go with a young cornerback group in Amani Oruwariye and Jeff Okudah for the third straight week — this time against Drew Brees. Trufant, if he’s able to return to the lineup, would give Detroit some flexibility, too, with how it might want to match up its corners should Michael Thomas play Sunday. — Michael Rothstein


The Packers got by last week without Pro Bowl receiver Davante Adams thanks in large part to Allen Lazard‘s monster game. In fact, it was their fifth straight win in games that Adams has missed over the past two years. Might that influence the Packers to play it extra safe with Adams’ hamstring injury, especially with the bye to follow next week? They didn’t practice on Wednesday like usual; they pushed their schedule back a day because of the Monday night game, so we won’t know until Thursday at the earliest whether Adams will try to practice after rehabbing all of last week. — Rob Demovsky


The Vikings didn’t practice on Wednesday because their facility was closed after the COVID-19 scare with the Titans, their Week 3 opponent, but the team put out an estimated injury report to reflect how players would have been designated had they practiced. Minnesota’s cornerback unit is still dealing with injuries to Mike Hughes (neck) and Kris Boyd (hamstring), the latter of whom played against the Titans but was limited to 38 snaps on defense. Both Hughes and Boyd were classified as DNP on Wednesday, while rookie Cameron Dantzler, who has been held out for the past two weeks with a rib injury, was listed as “limited.” — Courtney Cronin


NFC SOUTH

Wide receiver Julio Jones‘ left hamstring, which kept him out of last week’s loss to the Chicago Bears, is worth monitoring again heading into this week. The 0-3 Falcons need their best player on the field for Monday night’s matchup with Aaron Rodgers and the 3-0 Packers. Jones didn’t practice all last week, and his practice status is unclear leading up to the Green Bay game. In six career games against the Packers (including the playoffs), Jones has 37 catches for 698 yards and five touchdowns, averaging 18.7 yards per reception. — Vaughn McClure


Starting left guard Russell Okung did not practice on Wednesday because of a groin injury that made him a late scratch for this past week’s game against the Chargers. The good news: Without Okung, the Panthers played well enough with Greg Little and Trenton Scott against a strong Chargers pass rush led by Joey Bosa to win. Carolina will have another challenge this week against Arizona’s Chandler Jones, who is coming off a 19-sack 2019 season. Depth on the line was a huge concern entering the season, but the Panthers are proving they have enough to survive a game or two without key players such as Okung. — David Newton


Wide receiver Michael Thomas returned to practice on a limited basis Wednesday after missing the past two games with an ankle injury. It’s unclear if he’ll be ready to play Sunday at Detroit, but this is a realistic timetable for his return since the Saints decided not to place him on injured reserve. They could really use him since they’re 0-2 without him and they rank last in the NFL in yards by wideouts this year (283). Also, tight end Jared Cook‘s status is uncertain after he missed Wednesday’s practice with a groin injury. — Mike Triplett


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Stephania Bell explains that Chris Godwin’s mild hamstring strain could cause him to miss two games because the Bucs play on Thursday night in Week 5.

Wide receiver Chris Godwin, who suffered a hamstring strain against their Broncos, is expected to miss this week’s game against the Chargers, sources told ESPN. Their speed wideout, Scotty Miller, suffered a hip/groin injury and also missed practice, as did running back Leonard Fournette with an ankle injury. “It’s the ‘next man up’ at that position. We’ve got guys,” coach Bruce Arians said. Starting cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting was limited with a groin injury. They’re taking it “day to day” with him. — Jenna Laine


NFC WEST

WR DeAndre Hopkins missed Wednesday’s practice with an ankle injury. He usually sits out the first practice of the week for a vet day, but there was no mention of Hopkins’ ailment prior to the release of Wednesday’s injury report. Should Hopkins miss Sunday’s game in Carolina, the Cardinals will likely be welcoming back Christian Kirk, who returned to practice in a limited fashion Wednesday with a groin injury. — Josh Weinfuss


Rookie running back Cam Akers, who suffered a rib injury in Week 2 and was inactive in Week 3, is still considered “day-to-day,” coach Sean McVay said Wednesday. Second-year pro Darrell Henderson Jr. started in Akers absence and is expected to maintain the role after he rushed for a career-high 114 yards and a touchdown in a loss to the Bills. Akers is part of a three-man running back committee that also includes Malcolm Brown. — Lindsey Thiry


The 49ers look poised to welcome tight end George Kittle back from a sprained knee, but who will be throwing him the ball? Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo did not practice again Wednesday as he deals with a high right ankle sprain. That doesn’t mean Garoppolo has been ruled out this week again, but coach Kyle Shanahan made it clear he wants to see Garoppolo return to practice at some point before he’d be comfortable starting him against the Eagles on Sunday night. “Anytime you’re dealing with an ankle, you might feel all right when you’re standing there, but can you move around and get into awkward positions without hurting yourself? That’s really what we’d have to see,” Shanahan said. — Nick Wagoner


Coach Pete Carroll said safety Jamal Adams was “pretty sore” Wednesday after suffering a first-degree groin strain against Dallas. Carroll described it as a day-to-day situation with Adams, one of several starters who is iffy after going down last week. Carroll sounded optimistic about running back Chris Carson (knee) but less so about linebacker Jordyn Brooks (knee), saying the first-round pick will have a hard time making it back this week. He isn’t putting a quick turnaround past Adams, saying: “He’s working really hard at it and we’ll see what happens.” Lano Hill (hip) is Adams’ backup but is also dealing with an injury. — Brady Henderson



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