NFL notebook: Packers TE Graham aims to play with broken thumb
Green Bay Packers tight end Jimmy Graham returned to the practice field on Thursday on the heels of breaking his thumb in last week’s game against Seattle.
Graham had not practiced yet this week but is set to attempt to play with a heavily bandaged broken thumb when the Packers return to the field Sunday night against the Minnesota Vikings. Graham, who was officially limited, was seen at practice sporting a bulky wrap around the thumb.
While it is unknown how quickly Graham will return to game action, he was seen testing his thumb by catching passes from quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Graham, who turns 32 on Saturday, has 34 receptions for 452 yards and two touchdowns this season, the first in Green Bay for the nine-year veteran with previous stints in New Orleans and Seattle.
–Seven-time Pro Bowl receiver A.J. Green was sidelined for the Cincinnati Bengals’ practice yet again with a lingering toe injury, an indication that his status remains up in the air for Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns.
After head coach Marvin Lewis expressed optimism about the status of his star receiver after Green did not practice a day earlier, Green didn’t participate Thursday and remains uncertain to return Sunday after missing two straight games.
After getting off to a 5-3 start, the Bengals have been outscored 75-35 in losing the two games without Green, who leads the team with six touchdown catches this season. The 30-year-old Green, who has surpassed 1,000 receiving yards in six of his prior seven seasons, has caught 45 passes for 687 yards in 2018.
–New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold remained a non-participant at practice, putting his availability for Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots in serious doubt.
For the second straight day, Darnold was in full uniform at practice but did not participate in quarterback drills. The rookie has shed the walking boot on his right foot since the team returned from its Week 11 bye, but he appears likely to miss his second consecutive game.
Darnold injured his right foot during the Jets’ Nov. 4 loss against the Miami Dolphins and did not play in the Nov. 11 loss to the Buffalo Bills. The No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, he has a 3-6 record in nine starts and has completed 55.0 percent of his passes for 1,934 yards with 11 touchdowns and a league-high 14 interceptions.
–Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota was limited again in practice, his second day of action since suffering a stinger in Sunday’s loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
Head coach Mike Vrabel, who said he is hopeful Mariota is “trending up,” added that Friday’s practice will be a bigger factor in determining whether or not Mariota can play Monday night against the Houston Texans.
Mariota is officially listed with a neck injury after he got a stinger from a hit to the head against the Colts. He told reporters earlier this week he has had some numbness in his throwing arm, but the injury is not related to the elbow injury he sustained in the season opener, which caused issues with numbness and grip in his throwing hand for several weeks.
–Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill was a limited practice participant for the second consecutive day, according to the team’s injury report.
Tannehill, who has not played since a Week 5 loss at Cincinnati, has been out with a right shoulder capsule injury but is expected to return as the starter this Sunday when the Dolphins visit Indianapolis. Head coach Adam Gase told reporters Tuesday that he believed Tannehill’s shoulder could hold up against the Colts on Sunday.
Tannehill, 30, completed 65.9 percent of his passes for 972 yards with eight touchdown passes and five interceptions in his five games with the Dolphins this season. But after Miami got out to a 3-0 start, the quarterback struggled in the next two games, throwing for only 285 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions in the two losses.
–Suddenly thrust into the starting lineup, Washington Redskins quarterback Colt McCoy has an opportunity to earn a significant raise or hit free agency after this season, per an NFL Network report.
According to the report, McCoy is now likely to hit playing time incentives (25 to 30 percent of the offensive snaps) that would allow him to opt out of his contract into free agency after the season, a year earlier than expected. If he does opt out, Washington would have the option to buy back McCoy’s contract for 2019 at a higher price, depending on other incentives.
After signing a one-year extension in July, McCoy is currently on the books for $3.5 million in 2019, with $2 million of that guaranteed. If he hits his playing time incentives and opts out, the Redskins could buy his contract for 2019 for a minimum of $4.25 million, a $750,000 raise. If McCoy opts out, his buy-back price could climb as high as $7 million.
–Baltimore Ravens running back Alex Collins was added to the injury report after missing practice with what is apparently a new foot injury.
It is unclear when Collins was hurt. He played a season-low 17 snaps against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, but head coach John Harbaugh said that had more to do with a hot-hand approach — undrafted rookie Gus Edwards had 17 carries for 115 yards — and Collins was not listed on Wednesday’s injury report.
Meanwhile, quarterback Joe Flacco missed another practice with a hip injury, with all signs pointing toward rookie first-rounder Lamar Jackson making his second career start against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.
–Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky was inactive for the Thanksgiving Day win over the Detroit Lions due to a shoulder injury, giving Chase Daniel the start.
NFL Network reported that Trubisky’s injury is believed to be a one-week issue, and it’s possible he could have been ready to play had Chicago’s game been on Sunday this week instead of Thursday.
Trubisky was listed as doubtful after not practicing this week. He hurt his right (throwing shoulder) on a hit by Vikings safety Harrison Smith while he was sliding in the fourth quarter Sunday night.
–Field Level Media