As NFL teams prepare for Week 3, injuries have caused an adjustment in their depth charts.
The San Francisco 49ers will be without quarterback Trey Lance for the rest of the season following successful ankle surgery on Monday. He suffered a fractured fibula and torn ligaments in Week 2 against the Seattle Seahawks. Alternate Jimmy Garoppolo, who led the team to an NFC championship game last season, will replace center.
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert is recovering from a costal cartilage injury he sustained late last week against the Kansas City Chiefs. Coach Brandon Staley said his signaller “feels more comfortable” ahead of Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The New Orleans Saints have two key hitters who are struggling with injuries. Quarterback Jameis Winston (back) and running back Alvin Kamara (rib) were limited in workout thursday. Due to Kamara’s illness, he missed the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week. Winston said on Wednesday that he is preparing to start the game against the Carolina Panthers.
Our NFL Nation reporters have more news on key players heading into the weekend:
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J.K. Dobbins, RB, Baltimore Ravens
Dobbins has been fully involved in training for the past two weeks, but it doesn’t look like he’ll be making his 2022 debut Sunday in New England. “We have certain parameters that we’re looking at,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Friday. “It won’t be too long.” If Dobbins crashes again, it’s unclear how Baltimore will distribute touches in the backfield. Justice Hill, who received a vote of confidence from Harbaugh earlier in the week, may see his role strengthened over Kenyan Drake and Mike Davis.
— Jamison Hensley
Roquan Smith, LB, Chicago Bears
Smith injured his hip while playing in Green Bay and did not practice at all for Chicago’s Week 3 game against Houston. The Bears are hoping Smith can play because his backup, Matt Adams, is out with a hamstring injury. That could mean enough playing time for Jack Sanborn’s UDFA. “We’re looking at all combinations because if you lose two players, obviously in professional football, it’s never a good thing,” coach Matt Eberflus said. “We’re working on it right now, but we’ll have all the combinations.”
— Courtney Cronin
Michael Gallup, WR, Dallas Cowboys
Gallup is looking to make his 2022 season debut on Monday against the Giants after tearing his left anterior cruciate ligament in January. On Friday, he had a second pad workout and signs indicate he is playing. It won’t be a complete set of shots, but it might be enough to impact the game. He brings an element of deep passing to the offense and is a better option than what the Cowboys had in the first two games. As for tight end Dalton Schultz (knee), his availability will most likely not be known until the warm-up before the game. If he can’t go, Sean McKeon will be called up from the practice squad as rookies Jake Ferguson and Peyton Hendershot get more work to do.
— Todd Archer
Sammy Watkins, WR, Green Bay Packers
It’s not just that Watkins, who leads the Packers receiving both yards and wins in two games, was out on Sunday with a hamstring injury. The fact is that the other two recipients – Christian Watson (hamstring) and Randall Cobb (illness) – are in doubt. That should mean more work for budding Romeo Dubs, whose coach Matt LaFleur said Friday “probably has to take on more work this week.”
— Rob Demowski
Michael Pittman Jr., WR, Indianapolis Colts
Pittman’s injury persisted late last week, prompting the Colts to rule him out for a second week shortly before leaving for Jacksonville. Pittman is “ready to go” this week, according to trainer Frank Reich. Pittman is one of the main figures in the Colts’ attack, a fact that has become painfully clear in his absence against the Jaguars.
Shaquille Leonard, LB
Leonard will miss his third straight game since Friday’s elimination. Reich said that although Leonard has been training for the last three weeks, the All-Pro linebacker has not yet advanced to a level where he can play anywhere close to his previous level. Reich said Leonard’s self-esteem is also under scrutiny and the player doesn’t yet feel ready to return.
Alec Pierce, WR
Pierce was hit hard during a Colts’ Week 1 game against the Texans and developed concussion symptoms the next day, which he himself reported to the team. The symptoms persisted to the point that the Colts ruled him out due to last week’s loss in Jacksonville. But Pierce cleared the concussion protocol on Thursday and will return to the lineup. Attacking Colts may need help.
Yannick Ngakue, Delaware
The Colts’ popular winger is considered dubious for having a sore back this week, but expect him to play Sunday against the Chiefs. The Colts haven’t been able to consistently put pressure on quarterbacks this season, but that job is taking on more importance with the arrival of Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes.
— Steven Holder
Shaquille Griffin, CB, Jacksonville Jaguars
Griffin was added to the injury report on Friday. He was limited to lighter training and listed as dubious. Since it was an injury at the end of the week, there’s a bit more to fear, especially if the Chargers bring Keenan Allen back to full strength. If Griffin can’t play, the Jaguars can move Darius Williams out of the slot and Tre Herndon line up inside.
– Michael DiRocco
Hunter Renfrow, WR, Las Vegas Raiders
Renfroe took hits to the head in a row on Sunday and lost the last one. This led to a stunning 59-yard win for the Cardinals, and he’s been on concussion protocol ever since. He was eliminated on Friday. With Renfroe, the Pro Bowl wide receiver who caught 103 passes last season, unable to play, the Raiders have options. All-Pro Davante Adams has shown he can move inside while Keelan Cole is technically Renfroe’s understudy. Depth, according to trainer Josh McDaniels, is key to a roster and should be tested at a wide receiver in Nashville.
— Paul Gutierrez
Justin Herbert, QB Los Angeles Chargers
Herbert, who suffered a broken rib cartilage in a Week 2 loss to the Chiefs, didn’t train Friday and is in question ahead of Sunday’s game against the Jaguars. On Friday, Herbert said he felt “good” and that he hadn’t been training as part of a recovery plan that included Thursday’s throws. Herbert will be decided during the game and if he is unable to play, Chase Daniel will start.
— Lindsey Thiry
Van Jefferson, WR, Los Angeles Rams
Rams wide receiver number 3 still hasn’t trained since undergoing knee surgery during training camp. Rams coach Sean McVeigh said that Jefferson has not faced any setbacks and is “on the road” to rehab. McVeigh said Jefferson won’t play Sunday against the Cardinals.
— Sarah Barshop
Harrison Smith, S, Minnesota Vikings
Smith is one of the NFL’s best and most versatile defensemen, and his presence will be missed Sunday against the Lions. According to coach Kevin O’Connell, according to coach Kevin O’Connell, a strong center fielder, good blitzer and confident tackler, Smith will be replaced by a combination of Josh Metellus and Lewis Cena based on the flow of the game.
— Kevin Seifert
Jacobi Meyers, WR, New England Patriots
The Patriots’ leading wide receiver was hoping he’d get a chance to get dressed despite not having a big training load this week. He originally injured his knee in the preseason final against the Raiders and has been recovering ever since. He politely declined to comment in the locker room when approached on Friday. If he can’t go, Nelson Agolor and Kendrick Bourne will see their snaps increase.
— Mike Reiss
Jamis Winston, QB New Orleans Saints
Alvin Camara, RB
Winston has had a limited schedule, as he did last week after injuring his back in week one, but appears to be focused on playing against the Pirates. Winston is listed as questionable, as is Kamara, who missed last week with a rib injury but is looking to return as he has appeared in all three practices. Cornerback Paulson Adebo, who has yet to play this season, also appears to be returning with a dubious assignment, and it’s definitely a good sign he’s back in training this week, but he may not be 100 percent yet.
— Katherine Terrell
George Kittle, TE, San Francisco 49ers
Kittle returned to training last Friday, which is a sign he’s getting closer to a comeback. However, he did not play against the Seattle Seahawks last Sunday. This week the return will take place.
Kittle has been training all week and is not on the injury report for Sunday’s game against the Broncos. Coach Kyle Shanahan said Kittle was “ready to go” with no limits, which set him up for his 2022 regular season debut.
Aric Armstead, DL
Armstead’s availability is questionable after not training all week. He’s officially listed as questionable for Sunday night in Denver, which means the Nines are still hoping he can play. Be that as it may, coach Kyle Shanahan said on Wednesday that he hoped Armstead would be “in good shape” by Sunday evening. But it could be a game time decision.
— Nick Wagoner