Sat, Dec 14, 2013 at 4:32 AM
NFL injuries: Welker out Thursday; Peterson not ready to practice
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Denver Broncos slot receiver Wes Welker will not play Thursday night against the San Diego Chargers because of a concussion he suffered Sunday.
Welker has endured two concussions in the past four games. He did not practice on Tuesday or Wednesday and was officially ruled out Wednesday afternoon. It will be the first game he has missed this season for the Broncos.
Versatile tight end Jacob Tamme could see more in the slot, and No. 4 receiver Andre Caldwell could also receive more playing time.
The only other Bronco ruled out for Thursday's game is defensive end Derek Wolfe, who has not practiced since suffering seizure-like symptoms Nov. 29. He was hospitalized for several days and was only allowed to return to the team facility this week to resume conditioning work.
Wolfe has been replaced by second-year defensive end Malik Jackson in the past two games.n
Veteran cornerback Champ Bailey is questionable but unlikely to play as he continues to work his way back to full speed after missing much of the season with a foot injury. He started two weeks ago against the Kansas City Chiefs but was pulled in the second half.
Head coach John Fox admitted Wednesday that Bailey and the team may have rushed him back too quickly.
For the Chargers, only wide receiver Eddie Royal (toe) and cornerback Johnny Patrick (ankle) are listed as questionable.
Vikings RB Adrian Peterson couldn't finish Sunday's game in Baltimore.(Photo: Larry French, Getty Images)
Peterson not ready to practicen
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has shed the walking boot on his sprained right foot, but he's not ready for practice.
Coach Leslie Frazier says Peterson probably won't practice until Friday at the earliest. The Vikings host Philadelphia on Sunday, and Peterson's status is in question.
Frazier says he's more optimistic about backup Toby Gerhart's condition, but he likely won't practice until Friday because of a hamstring injury.
At least the Vikings know who'll be giving the handoffs, even if they're not sure who'll be taking them.
Frazier named Matt Cassel the starting quarterback for a second straight week. Christian Ponder will be the backup.
Bears could get Cutler backn
Chicago Bears coach Marc Trestman is optimistic quarterback Jay Cutler will be ready to return from an ankle injury this week against the Cleveland Browns.
Cutler was to work with the receivers after Wednesday's walkthrough, and Trestman says the Bears will know Thursday if he's ready to start.
"We're not going to let it hang through the week," he said. "The starter tomorrow has got to get the work. So we'll make that decision tomorrow."
Cutler's missed the past four games with a high left ankle sprain and also sat out one with a groin injury. Veteran Josh McCown has played well in his place, but the Bears have repeatedly said they would go with Cutler once he's ready.
A return against Cleveland looks like a good possibility for Cutler — but not Lance Briggs. The star linebacker has missed the past six games because of a broken shoulder, and the odds that he'll suit up against the Browns appear slim.
"I'm not in any way as optimistic about Lance as I would be about Jay at this time because I've seen Jay move around and do the things that he did last week," Trestman said.
Briggs' return would be a huge lift for an injury-ravaged defense that can't stop the run.n
He was expected to miss about six weeks after he was injured against Washington on Oct. 20, but the recovery has stretched longer.
The Bears clearly miss him.n
Their defense ranks 27th overall and last against the run, and they've allowed 198 yards rushing or more in four of the past six games.
Rams hold Austin out of practicen
St. Louis Rams rookie receiver Tavon Austin and cornerback Janoris Jenkins sat out practice Wednesday.
Austin injured his left ankle when he was tackled on a 56-yard run in the second half of the Rams' loss at Arizona on Sunday. Jenkins, the team's top cornerback, was listed Wednesday as having a back injury.
Cornerback Brandon McGee (foot) and running back Daryl Richardson (thigh) also were held out. Both were inactive against the Cardinals.
Richardson began the year as the starter, but has missed the last five games. He previously had been sidelined with a foot injury.
Saints' Butler officially done for 2013n
Saints coach Sean Payton says outside linebacker Victor Butler won't be returning for the Saints' playoff push.
The chances of Butler returning appeared remote since he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and had surgery in June. Yet New Orleans kept the possibility of Butler's return alive by placing him on the club's physically-unable-to-perform list rather than on injured reserve. The window for Butler's return to the active roster closed this week.
Payton says Butler's rehabilitation has gone "extremely well," but the club felt it was best to let Butler continue his rehabilitation rather than risk rushing him back too soon.
Butler was acquired by the Saints as a free agent after starting his career in Dallas, where he played under current Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.
Contributing: The Associated Pressn
Follow Lindsay H. Jones on Twitter @bylindsayhjonesn
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