AFC: NFL Playoffs Injury Analysis Round One

<b><u> Broncos</u></b> <BR> <b> Injury:</b> Guard Dan Neil (knee/abdomen), Defensive End Trevor Pryce (back), Safety John Lynch <BR><BR> <b> Analysis: </b> Neil has missed the last four games is expected to have surgery on both injured areas after the team completes their season.

Reserve lineman Cooper Carlisle has filled in for Neil and has done a nice job.

Pryce returned to play last week after missing 14 games in a situational pass-rushing role and is expected to see a similar role against Indianapolis this weekend. Veteran end Marco Coleman has worked with the starting unit virtually all season. Pryce's ability to put pressure on the quarterback has really been missed.

Lynch suffered a broken thumb on the first play of last week's game against the Colts but was able to finish the game. He's expected to wear a cast on his left hand during this week's game and he'll try to get used to it during practice this week.

Colts

Injuries: Tight End Marcus Pollard (ankle), Tight End Dallas Clark (head), Wide Receiver Brandon Stokley (foot), Guard Rick Demulling (ribs)

Middle Linebacker Rob Morris (head), Cornerback Nick Harper (back), Cornerback Jason David (foot), Safety Idrees Bashir (hamstring)

Analysis: Pollard has missed the last two games due to a sprained ankle and is considered questionable to play this week. If Pollard can practice this week, look for him to play this weekend. Clark missed most of last week's game after suffering a concussion on a hit from Denver safety John Lynch. Despite the hard hit, Clark is considered probable to play this week which means there is a good chance that he'll be able to play. He'll still need to get cleared by the team's medical staff in order to play.

Stokley had his foot stepped on during last week's game but the injury isn't expected to keep him out of this week's rematch with Denver. Should Stokley not be able to play, the team could have to go a little deeper on the depth chart to reserve receiver Aaron Moorehead since Troy Walters (concussion) is considered questionable to play. Moorehead, the son of former NFL player Emery Moorehead, has good size (6'3") but has hardly played this season.

Demulling has been limited by sore ribs for a while and has missed the last two games. Rookie G Ryan Lilja has filled in for him and has played well.

Morris missed last week's game and was replaced by second-year linebacker Gary Brackett. Morris still needs to get cleared to play in this week's game. The team is high on Brackett and is considered a future successor to Morris.

Harper has been limited by shoulder and now a neck injury for several weeks. Rookie cornerback Von Hutchins, a sixth-round selection, started for Harper last week. The team isn't deep at the position and Hutchins could be exposed by the Denver passing game should he have to start again.

David, another rookie, has started 11 games this season. David, who is very small, injured his foot in last week's game and is considered questionable to play. If he can't play, the team could turn to reserve cornerback Joseph Jefferson who has been limited this season at times by a sore knee.

Bashir missed the last two games due to a hamstring injury but is expected to return to the field this week. Rookie safety Bob Sanders, who was coming back from a knee injury, started for him last week. With Bashir set to become a free agent after the season, Sanders could be their starting free safety in 2005 and beyond.

Chargers

Injuries: Running Back Jesse Chatman (toe), Wide Receiver Tim Dwight (toe), Wide Receiver Keenan McCardell (hamstring), Cornerback Sammy Davis (broken leg)

Analysis: Chatman has seen little practice time this season due to a troublesome turf toe injury but is expected to play this week against the Jets. It does help that this week's game is being played on grass.

Dwight has also seen little practice time for several weeks due to a sore toe. Dwight is expected to be available for this week's game. With Dwight still not 100%, second-year receiver Kassim Osgood could see more snaps than usual in this week's game.

Davis saw limited time in last week's game after missing the four previous games due to a broken bone in his leg. Second-year cornerback Drayton Florence has been starting in his place and will do so against the Jets this week. Florence gives the team a little more of a physical presence at the position.

Jets

Injuries: Wide Receiver Wayne Chrebet (head) and Defensive End John Abraham (knee)

Analysis: Chrebet suffered a concussion against the Rams last week and though he's listed as probable on the injury report, he's considered more to the questionable side. Chrebet has had concussion problems in the past and wasn't a sure bet to return to the club after having post concussion issues last season. If he can't play, rookie receiver Jericho Cotchery would move up the depth chart to the no.3 spot.

Abraham has missed the last four games due to a sprained LCL in his right knee. This type of injury won't heal totally for several more weeks but there is a possibility that he will be able to play a limited pass rushing role in this week's game. Abraham, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent after this season, is also listed as probable but is considered more questionable to play. Former fellow first-round pick end Bryan Thomas has been filling in for him.


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