As the remaining 12 teams prepare for the start of the 2014 NFL playoffs, they hope that key players who were hurt at the end of the regular season will be good to go for this upcoming weekend. The No.1 and No.2 seeds are fortunate enough to have an extra week in between games, allowing their players to rest up.
For the first time since the middle of the season, Aaron Rodgers does lead the injury report. Below are the biggest names that are battling injuries on wild-card weekend.
After being traded to the Seattle Seahawks in the offseason, the wide receiver did virtually nothing this year, playing in just one game. As the teams prepares for its first playoff game, though, signs are pointing towards Harvin getting back on the field. He practiced on Thursday, and though he might not be ready this week, the Seahawks have a bye in the wild card round. Quarterback Russell Wilson said he thinks Harvin will play, who’s has battled a torn labrum all year. When he played his first game in November, he caught one pass before aggravating the injury.
While several Kansas City Chiefs starters rested in their Week 17 matchup, Bowe didn’t play because of a concussion. After a week off, the wide receiver has been cleared to play against the Indianapolis Colts. Having a healthy Bowe on the field might not be the game changer that it would’ve been in years past. This is the first season since 2009 that Bowe did not lead the team in receiving. His 41 yards per game are the lowest of his career.
After Carlos Rogers injured his hamstring in the final game of the season, Jason Cole of the National Football Post reported that the San Francisco 49ers were preparing to play without him. However, the cornerback isn’t ruling himself out just yet, telling Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle “we’ll see.” Rogers has been very durable since joining the 49ers, playing in every game from 2011-2013. He has two interceptions and 47 combined tackles this year.
Steve Smith and Jonathan Stewart
A few of the Carolina Panthers’ key offensive players are battling injuries. Fortunately for them, they have a bye week to give to players a chance to get healthy. Smith missed the last game because of a sprained PCL and isn’t practicing this week to recover from the injury. The team expects him to be ready for their matchup next week. Stewart’s injury is more serious. The running back has only played six games this year, and he tore his MCL in Week 14. Still, nfl.com reports that the Panthers expect to have him back, as well, for the divisional round of the postseason.