After wildcard weekend, the bye teams got healthier and those teams that did move on did not see any key injuries to marque players. For the NY Giants, Aaron Ross has been cleared to practice after suffering a concussion in the Falcons game in a collision with his own player. This has been a very difficult protocol for diagnosis and in my own experience treating NFL players, the concussion testing appears to be very erratic in it's outcomes and reliability. It will be interesting to see how Ross responds to contact and how effective he will be in that game. His teammate DJ Ware has not been cleared for a similar injury and is questionable according to team reports. The ankle injury that has sidelined Ted Ginn Jr of the 49ers appears to be healed enough for him to give it a go this weekend. Ankle sprains certainly can take a hair off his quickness and ability to cut and avoid tackles which has been his main credential. I don't expect that he will be as effective as the 49ers would like. Eric Decker of the Broncos has an MCL sprain which will allow him to participate in practice and drills but will eliminate his ability to move laterally in coverage without a brace. These braces give stability to the knee and give the player confidence, but can be cumbersome in mobility and function. The Texans key weapons of QB TJ Yates (non-throwing shoulder separation), Andre Johnson and Arian Foster (hamstring) did not appear to be significant in the wildcard game and the rest in the season finale likely has helped. Expect these 3 to be close to full effectiveness against the Ravens. Owen Daniels was suspected to have fractured his hand, but team officials expect him to play his normal role. Obviously, any significant injury to the hand (especially fracture) will cause significant pain when attempting to catch passes. Expect his role to be in freeing up the running game and protecting the quarterback.
It is good to see that the injury bug will not play a significant role in the Divisional Round and hopefully teams and players will stay healthy through this week's games. A report will be posted next week to get the real breakdown of key NFL injuries going into Conference Championships.