Injuries (relatively) few for AFC, NFC championship games
I won't lie. I loved
The Packers have their normal assortment of injuries heading into this week, but only John Kuhn has a new and significant issue. His shoulder injury isn't thought to be enough to keep him out, but it could change how he plays, one would think, though the more likely answer is that he'll have a
The Bears, as they have been all season, are relatively healthy. Earl Bennett and Zack Bowman were both on the injury report, but reports say they were given time off to be with their expectant wives. Chris Harris has the only injury to a key player, a hip pointer that he thinks he'll be able to play through. I'm sure that Aaron Rodgers has a note on this one.
While most of the focus is on Troy Polamalu's Achilles, the Steelers' key defensive player appears to be fine. Rumors of off-season surgery seem premature and his play has shown little evidence of a major issue. He's moving well in all aspects and doesn't seem to have any deficits he's covering for, so to me, the rest helped a moderate strain heal up. I doubt he's 100 percent, but few players on the field are, at least until the game starts. The Steelers had some hopes that they'd get Aaron Smith back this week after a torn triceps cost him most of the 2010 season, but he's not quite there. He could be a Super Bowl factor, if the Steelers win.
The Jets have some significant concerns of their own. Jason Taylor suffered a concussion and was out of practice, but the Jets said that Taylor had been cleared to return. Taylor should play normally, but the Steelers will be looking to re-ring that bell if they can and will test him early. The Jets are also unsure about Brad Smith's availability. He was back at practice but described as "tentative." Smith's returns are replaceable, but his ability to run the Wildcat is not, something that the Jets would like to be able to use this week against the blitzing Steelers. The rest of their injuries are relatively minor and all should play their normal roles, including Mark Sanchez.
For once, it's not probable. Tom Brady is going to have surgery to fix a broken bone in his foot. All reports point to the navicular bone, which could require the use of a pin or screw. Brady will be ready in time for next season, though some of the off-season workouts could be affected. Once healed, he should have no issues. If he has any questions, he should head over to Fenway, where Dustin Pedroia went through the same thing last season for the Red Sox ... Indy is awash in rumors about Peyton Manning's next contract. It will be curious to see how