The races for the last remaining NFL playoff spots are heating up, and a few contenders are facing big injury questions.
The Los Angeles Chargers have clinched a wild-card spot and might have one of their best defenders back for the postseason. Edge rusher Joey Bosa returned to practice Thursday for the first time since undergoing groin surgery after Week 3.
“It’s kind of revitalizing, honestly. This was something that really caused me a lot of pain and kind of stress throughout the last couple of years, and I’ve gotten to a point where I was used to it and I didn’t understand how much was really wrong,” Bosa said Thursday.
On Friday, the Chargers activated Bosa and he will be able to play Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams.
With a win Sunday, the Philadelphia Eagles can clinch the No. 1 seed in the NFC. Quarterback Jalen Hurts, who is recovering from a sprain in his throwing shoulder, returned to practice Thursday. It was Hurts’ first time back on the field since injuring the shoulder on Dec. 18 against the Chicago Bears. On Friday, however, Hurts was later listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints.
The doubtful listing came down to a health and safety issue, a source told ESPN’s Tim McManus. It also all but eliminates his chance to play this week.
Our NFL Nation reporters have more injury developments heading into the weekend action.
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Jackson was ruled out after missing his 12th straight practice, and Tyler Huntley will get his fourth straight start. Huntley looks to keep Baltimore in the hunt for the AFC North title while trying to get the offense out of a slump. In Jackson’s three-game absence, the Ravens have scored just two touchdowns and have averaged 12 points per game, which is the third lowest in the NFL over this stretch. Jackson has now missed eight of Baltimore’s past 20 games because of injuries, dating back to Week 15 of last season.
— Jamison Hensley
Watson left last Sunday’s game at Miami because of a hip injury he suffered on a fourth-down catch in the second quarter. He practiced Friday on a limited basis after missing Wednesday and Thursday. He leads the Packers with seven touchdown catches and is their best deep threat. The Packers’ offense has changed dramatically since he became a bigger contributor in Week 10.
— Rob Demovsky
Walker has missed the past two games, but coach Doug Pederson said he is on track to play against Houston on Sunday. Walker got more reps as a down lineman in the last game before he got hurt and it was one of his best games of the season (sack, forced fumble against Tennessee). Walker will get more reps as a lineman, which is where he mainly played at Georgia, when he does return.
— Michael DiRocco
Injury: Ankle and thigh, respectively
Stevenson is officially listed as questionable for the game but sounded like he was ready for action. He’s just managing the grind of the season, saying: “I’m feeling it, what everyone talks about — the NFL season. But I feel like I’m doing a good job taking care of my body and just trying to stay proactive more than anything.” Meanwhile, Harris has missed the past three games but was removed from the injury report Friday. So he’s good to go as a complement to Stevenson. Finally, the Patriots ruled out starting WR DeVante Parker and TE Jonnu Smith because of concussions.
— Mike Reiss
Olave missed last week’s game against the Browns with a hamstring injury and is officially listed as questionable. He participated in practice and said he feels good this week, indicating he’s probably good to return to the lineup. Alvin Kamara missed two practices for personal reasons but returned on Friday and will play.
— Katherine Terrell
It’s going to likely be another week before the Giants’ top corner returns. Jackson is listed as doubtful for Sunday vs. the Colts. That means more from Fabian Moreau and Nick McCloud as the starting cornerbacks. Jackson said they’re “not trying to rush it” as he comes back from the sprained MCL in his right knee. But he does appear close.
— Jordan Raanan
White, who fractured at least two ribs three weeks ago, practiced fully all week and will return to the lineup for the Jets. White said he expects to wear extra protection. If he gets hurt, his replacement will be Joe Flacco. Former starter Zach Wilson, benched for the second time, will be inactive. There’s an outside chance Chris Streveler will be active as QB3. He’d be used as a change of pace in a run-based package.
— Rich Cimini
The Seahawks list Lockett as questionable, but a source tells ESPN that he is expected to play Sunday against the Jets in what is all but a must-win game for Seattle. Sunday will mark 13 days since Lockett had surgery to repair a broken bone in his left hand. He went from limited in practice on Thursday to a full participant on Friday.
— Brady Henderson
Injury: Knee, foot
Gibson was ruled out because of his left leg injuries. He had been serving as a complementary back to starter Brian Robinson Jr. Gibson helped in a variety of roles, from pass-catching back to change-of-pace runner and kick returner. Jonathan Williams will replace Gibson as the No. 2 back, with Jaret Patterson serving as the No. 3.
Curl, who did not play last week against San Francisco, is questionable to play Sunday, but Washington is optimistic about his chances. His return would be pivotal against an offense that features a playmaking tight end in David Njoku. Curl also is crucial to the communication in the secondary. If he can’t play, then Jeremy Reaves and/or Percy Butler could fill in.
— John Keim