Week 15 NFL Injury Tracker: Updates on Matthew Stafford, George Kittle, More
Nic Antaya/Getty Images. Pictured: Matthew Stafford.
Attrition at the quarterback position continued in Week 14, as both Alex Smith and Matthew Stafford were forced from their respective games with in-game injuries.
While initial word is that neither injury is serious, both quarterbacks are in danger of missing Week 15. Also in the Washington-San Francisco matchup, Deebo Samuel sustained an apparent hamstring injury on his first touch of the game and was unable to return. Samuel’s outlook is currently unclear as he joins a long list of injured 49ers players.
As always, be sure to check back throughout the week as this page is updated with the latest injury news.
Lions QB Matthew Stafford (rib/thumb): Listed as questionable, Stafford is expected to start today for Detroit, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Stafford missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday, but he was able to get in a limited session on Friday. Stafford responded well to his throwing session in that practice, and the team has felt confident about his chances of playing since that point.
49ers TE George Kittle (foot): The 49ers designated Kittle for return from IR on Wednesday, starting the clock on his 21-day practice window. The star tight end was able to return to practice on Thursday, but his Week 15 status remains up in the air. While Kittle is pushing to play, San Francisco’s playoff hopes are faint and the team may elect to play it safe with a focus on 2021.
Saints QB Drew Brees (ribs): It’s a good news/bad news situation for New Orleans in Week 15. First, the good news: the Saints will have Brees back under center for this weekend’s heavyweight matchup against the Chiefs, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Earlier this week, head coach Sean Payton said that Brees would not return to action until he is “asymptomatic” of the ribs injuries that had landed him on injured reserve for nearly a month. Presumably, this report means the team now feels Brees is back to 100% health.
Saints WR Michael Thomas (ankle): Now, the bad news: Thomas has already been ruled out this week with an ankle injury. This news comes as somewhat of a surprise, as Thomas has been listed on the injury report with an ankle injury every week since Week 8 — and has played through the injury recently — but it appears he has suffered a re-aggravation. With Brees back under center, expect the Saints to funnel targets towards Alvin Kamara against the Chiefs.
Falcons WR Julio Jones (hamstring): Jones has once again been a ‘DNP’ (did not participate) throughout the practice week, and he will miss his second consecutive game with a hamstring injury. With the Falcons nowhere near the playoff hunt, it’s fair to wonder whether Jones will play again this season.
Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott (calf): Despite missing practice all week, Zeke is expected to play through his “questionable” tag this week against the 49ers, according to team owner Jerry Jones. That sentiment was echoed by head coach Mike McCarthy Friday, who said, “He’s a little further away this week than he was last week. But I still plan on him playing on Sunday.”
Washington QB Alex Smith (calf): A calf injury prevented Smith from practicing all week, and he has been ruled out for Week 15, opening the door for Dwayne Haskins to make his first start since Week 4. When Haskins relieved Smith in Week 14, he completed 7 of 12 passes for 51 yards.
Chargers WR Keenan Allen (hamstring): According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Chargers are “concerned” they’ll be without Allen when they take on the Raiders tonight, as the receiver has limited by a hamstring injury over the past few days. Schefter adds that if Allen is ultimately active, the team may reduce his role within the offense.
Unfortunately for Los Angeles, Mike Williams (back) is not expected to play tonight, and that could potentially leave the team very thin at receiver. Jalen Guyton and Tyron Johnson would likely be the next men up in the receiving corps should the team find itself short-handed at the position.
Once the Chargers release their inactives list 90 minutes before kickoff, the statuses of Allen and Williams will be updated in the table above.
Saints QB Drew Brees (ribs): The Saints designated Brees to return from IR on Wednesday, making it possible for the veteran QB to resume practicing with the team. While this is good news, it doesn’t necessarily mean Brees will be back under center this week and his Week 15 status remains up in the air.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported today that a Week 15 return is “not out of the question,” adding that Brees looked good in his return to practice. However, head coach Sean Payton has said that Brees will not take the field until he is “asymptomatic” with full range of motion. For now, consider Brees questionable to face the Chiefs this weekend.
Giants QB Daniel Jones (hamstring/ankle): Jones was limited in today’s practice with a combination of hamstring and ankle injuries.
The hamstring injury was sustained in Week 12 and it caused him to miss Week 13, while the ankle injury is most likely a low ankle sprain that occurred last Sunday against the Cardinals. Head coach Joe Judge said today that he hasn’t yet made a decision on whether or not Jones will be able to play on Sunday.
Washington Football Team QB Alex Smith (calf): Smith was a ‘DNP’ (did not participate) in practice today for Washington after a calf injury forced him to leave mid-game in Week 14.
Dwayne Haskins took the first-team reps in today’s practice, though head coach Ron Rivera did say a decision on Smith’s Week 15 status may not be made until Sunday morning. For now, consider Smith questionable to play against Seattle.
Lions QB Matthew Stafford (rib): The Lions’ Week 15 QB outlook is also up in the air at the moment, as Stafford missed today’s practice with a thumb injury that caused him to exit the Lions’ Week 14 loss to the Packers in the fourth quarter.
Interim head coach Darrell Bevell left the door open for Stafford to start on Sunday even if he is unable to practice throughout the week, adding, “I’m totally comfortable with him not practicing and playing in the game.”
The Lions signed XFL alum Jordan Ta’amu to their practice squad today, presumably to serve as depth behind backup QB Chase Daniel in the event Stafford is held out this weekend.
Buccaneers RB Ronald Jones (COVID-19): Jones was already looking very iffy to play in Week 15 after he underwent surgery to repair a broken pinky finger on Tuesday, and he’s now even less likely to play after landing on the Reserve/COVID-19 List this afternoon.
It’s not immediately clear whether Jones himself tested positive for the virus or whether he has been designated as a close contact of someone else who had tested positive.
Leonard Fournette was a healthy scratch for the Bucs in Week 14, but he figures to factor into Tampa’s Week 15 plans at running back assuming Jones sits.
Chargers WR Keenan Allen (hamstring) and Austin Ekeler (quad): Allen and Ekeler are on similar trajectories ahead of the Chargers’ upcoming Thursday night showdown with the Raiders. Both players were listed ‘DNP’ (did not participate) on Los Angeles’ Monday practice report before getting in limited sessions on both Tuesday and Wednesday.
Both are officially questionable to play, though neither player’s Week 15 availability truly seems to be in jeopardy.
Lions QB Matthew Stafford (ribs): The injuries are starting to pile up for Stafford, who was questionable entering Week 14’s game against the Packers due to a thumb injury. On Sunday, a rib injury forced him to leave the Lions’ loss to Green Bay after completing 24-of-34 passes for 244 yards. Stafford’s Week 15 status “is in doubt”, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Interim head coach Darrell Bevell seemed to agree, saying of Stafford’s outlook, “This will be a deal where we’ll take it to the end of the week. He’s a little bit better this afternoon than he was this morning.”
Washington QB Alex Smith (calf): Smith injured his calf after throwing for only 57 yards and an interception on 19 attempts against the 49ers. In Week 14. Smith received further treatment this morning, and head coach Ron Rivera declined to update Smith’s status, opting to wait until more is known about the severity of Smith’s injury before offering a recovery timeline. If Smith is unable to go in Week 15, Dwayne Haskins will reclaim his position under center for Washington.
49ers WR Deebo Samuel (hamstring): Samuel injured his hamstring on his first touch of the game against Washington, and head coach Kyle Shanahan said today that the injury “didn’t look good.” MRI results are still pending, but Samuel looks to be like a longshot to play in Week 15. It’s possible that his season will be over with San Francisco out of playoff contention.