NFL Week 16 Injury report focuses on running backs

Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon (28) celebrates following a victory against the Seattle SeahawksPhoto: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Chargers seek top seed with RB Gordon back, but Ekeler out (neck)

The status of running backs is making headlines this week as crucial Week 16 games approach with playoff spots and positioning on the line.

Front and center is Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon, who missed the last three games with a knee injury, but practiced this week and was not listed on the team's status report for Saturday night's game against the Baltimore Ravens. Austin Ekeler (neck) was listed as doubtful Thursday, but was downgraded to out on Friday.

The Chargers have clinched a playoff berth, but are still hopeful of overtaking the Kansas Chiefs for first place in the AFC West. Both teams are 11-3, but the Chiefs hold the tiebreaker edge over the Chargers. Kansas City travels to Seattle and raucous CenturyLink Field for a Sunday night game. For the Chiefs, running back Spencer Ware is doubtful with a hamstring injury, while Rashaad Penny of the Seahawks is questionable. Penny was limited Friday after not practicing Wednesday and Thursday.

The Pittsburgh Steelers, in a battle with the Ravens for the AFC North title, will once again be without running back James Conner (high-ankle sprain).

The New England Patriots (9-5) will win fewer than 12 games for the first time 2009 when they were 10-6 and the third seed in the playoffs. In the ensuing eight seasons, the Patriots won a total of 102 regular-season games and were a one (five times) or two (three times) seed, thus earning a first-round bye.

They are in danger of not having a bye this year, and will be playing a Buffalo Bills team that will have running back LeSean McCoy, who was limited on Wednesday, but fully practiced on Thursday and Friday and was not listed on the status report.

Finally, the Los Angeles Rams, losers of two straight games for the first time since Sean McVay became head coach in 2017, are one game ahead of the Chicago Bears, who have their eyes on a bye in the first week of the playoffs. The Rams (11-3) are ostensibly two games behind the New Orleans Saints (12-2) for the No. 1 seed in the NFC because the Saints defeated the Rams earlier this season. New Orleans can clinch the top seed with a win over Pittsburgh Sunday or Carolina in Week 17.

The Rams could be without running back Todd Gurley II (knee), who did not practice this week. McVay said the decision whether to play Gurley against Arizona Sunday will likely be made on game day, but that Gurley's availability for the postseason won't be jeopardized just to have him play this week or in Week 17 against San Francisco.

Said McVay Friday, "We'll take it up to the game. If there's a chance he's going to do something that's going to set him back for when you get into the playoffs, different things like that, that's when we're going to have to make smart decisions for our football team.

"We're not going to do anything that isn't smart for Todd. I thought he said it perfectly yesterday. It's a team effort. Trusting how he feels, what our doctors say and what is best for our football team. The one thing that's really good about him is he's not going to do anything to put himself in harm's way. He knows his body. We're certainly not interested in doing anything of that nature, but we're going to give ourselves about that 48 hours that we do have until we kick off on Sunday. That's exactly where we're at with that."

WASHINGTON REDSKINS at TENNESSEE TITANS (Saturday)

WASHINGTON REDSKINS

--OUT: TE Vernon Davis (concussion), WR Maurice Harris (concussion), QB Colt McCoy (fibula), T Ty Nsekhe (knee), TE Jordan Reed (ankle, foot)

--QUESTIONABLE: LB Ryan Anderson (hamstring), C/G Tony Bergstrom (knee, ankle), WR Josh Doctson (lower back), T Austin Howard (hip; reserve/injured), DE Matt Ioannidis (shin), NT Tim Settle (pectoral)

TENNESSEE TITANS

--OUT: LB Sharif Finch (shoulder), RB David Fluellen (knee), LB Brian Orakpo (elbow), TE Cole Wick (shoulder)

--QUESTIONABLE: WR Tajae Sharpe (ankle)

BALTIMORE RAVENS at LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (Saturday night)

BALTIMORE RAVENS

--QUESTIONABLE: TE Nick Boyle (concussion), LB Matthew Judon (knee), LB/DB Anthony Levine (toe, ankle), G Alex Lewis (shoulder)

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS

--OUT: TE Sean Culkin (back), RB Austin Ekeler (neck)

--QUESTIONABLE: WR Keenan Allen (hip)

ATLANTA FALCONS at CAROLINA PANTHERS

ATLANTA FALCONS

--QUESTIONABLE: WR Julio Jones (hip, ribs)

CAROLINA PANTHERS

--OUT: QB Cam Newton (right shoulder)

--QUESTIONABLE: DT Kawann Short (not injury related, calf)

BUFFALO BILLS at NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

BUFFALO BILLS

--OUT: CB Ryan Lewis (concussion)

--QUESTIONABLE: RB Chris Ivory (shoulder)

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

--QUESTIONABLE: LB Brandon King (knee)

CHICAGO BEARS at SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

CHICAGO BEARS

--DOUBTFUL: S Eddie Jackson (ankle), LB Aaron Lynch (elbow)

--QUESTIONABLE: DT Bilal Nichols (knee)

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

--OUT: S Jaquiski Tartt (shoulder; reserve/injured)

CINCINNATI BENGALS at CLEVELAND BROWNS

CINCINNATI BENGALS

--OUT: WR Tyler Boyd (knee), LB Jordan Evans (ankle), CB Tony McRae (hamstring)

--QUESTIONABLE: LB Vontaze Burfict (concussion)

CLEVELAND BROWNS

--QUESTIONABLE: T Austin Corbett (foot), CB Phillip Gaines (knee), DT Larry Ogunjobi (biceps), S Jabrill Peppers (neck), C JC Tretter (ankle), LB Tanner Vallejo (hamstring)

GREEN BAY PACKERS at NEW YORK JETS

GREEN BAY PACKERS

--OUT: DT Kenny Clark (elbow), CB Will Redmond (shoulder)

--DOUBTFUL: WR Randall Cobb (concussion), T Jason Spriggs (concussion)

--QUESTIONABLE: WR Jake Kumerow (hand)

NEW YORK JETS

--OUT: WR Quincy Enunwa (ankle)

--DOUBTFUL: LB Kevin Pierre-Louis (shoulder)

--QUESTIONABLE: LB Jordan Jenkins (ankle), CB Darryl Roberts (toe)

HOUSTON TEXANS at PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

HOUSTON TEXANS

--OUT: S Mike Tyson (concussion)

--QUESTIONABLE: WR Keke Coutee (hamstring), NT Brandon Dunn (ankle), WR DeAndre Hopkins (ankle), CB Johnathan Joseph (hip, illness), G Senio Kelemete (elbow, rib, illness), RB Lamar miller (ankle)

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

--OUT: CB Sidney Jones (hamstring), G Isaac Seumalo (pectoral), QB Carson Wentz (back)

--QUESTIONABLE: LB D.J. Alexander (hamstring), DE Michael Bennett (foot), DT Timmy Jernigan (back), CB Cre'von LeBlanc (hamstring)

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS at MIAMI DOLPHINS

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

--OUT: WR DJ Chark Jr. (quadriceps), S Ronnie Harrison (knee), K Josh Lambo (right groin), T Jermey Parnell (knee)

MIAMI DOLPHINS

--DOUBTFUL: S T.J. McDonald (ankle)

--QUESTIONABLE: LB Kiko Alonso (knee, hamstring), DT Ziggy Hood (hamstring), CB Xavien Howard (knee), DT Kendrick Norton (ankle)

LOS ANGELES RAMS at ARIZONA CARDINALS

LOS ANGELES RAMS

--QUESTIONABLE: RB Justin Davis (shoulder), RB Todd Gurley II (knee)

ARIZONA CARDINALS

--QUESTIONABLE: S Rudy Ford (ribs), DE Markus Golden (ankle), DT Rodney Gunter (foot), OL Will Holden (shoulder), WR J.J. Nelson (illness, not injury related), CB Patrick Peterson (illness), TE Ricky Seals-Jones (illness)

MINNESOTA VIKINGS at DETROIT LIONS

MINNESOTA VIKINGS

--OUT: LB Eric Kendricks (hamstring)

DETROIT LIONS

--OUT: WR Bruce Ellington (hamstring), S Charles Washington (hamstring)

--QUESTIONABLE: CB Jamal Agnew (knee), RB LeGarrette Blount (calf), WR Kenny Golladay (chest), DT Damon Harrison Sr. (ankle), LB Devon Kennard (hip), QB Matthew Stafford (back)

NEW YORK GIANTS at INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

NEW YORK GIANTS

--OUT: WR Odell Beckham Jr. (quadriceps), LB Alec Ogletree (concussion), C Spencer Pulley (calf), WR Russell Shepard (ankle)

--QUESTIONABLE: DE Kerry Wynn (thumb)

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

--OUT: S Clayton Geathers (knee)

--QUESTIONABLE: LB Anthony Walker (shoulder), G Mark Glowinski (ankle), WR T.Y. Hilton (ankle), S George Odom (knee), S Mike Mitchell (calf)

PITTSBURGH STEELERS at NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

--OUT: RB James Conner (ankle)

--QUESTIONABLE: WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (groin)

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

--OUT: G Jermon Bushrod (hamstring)

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS at DALLAS COWBOYS

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

No players listed

DALLAS COWBOYS

--OUT: DL David Irving (ankle), TE Geoff Swaim (wrist)

--QUESTIONABLE: WR Tavon Austin (groin), CB Anthony Brown (hand), LB Sean Lee (hamstring), G Zack Martin (knee)

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS at SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (Sunday night)

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

--OUT: WR Sammy Watkins (heel)

--DOUBTFUL: RB Spencer Ware (hamstring)

--QUESTIONABLE: CB Kendall Fuller (thumb)

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

--OUT: S Tedric Thompson (chest, ankle)

--QUESTIONABLE: G D.J. Fluker (hamstring), CB Shaquill Griffin (hip), T Germain Ifedi (groin), S Bradley McDougald (knee), LS Tyler Ott (illness), RB Rashaad Penny (knee), DT Jarran Reed (groin, oblique)

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