November 25, 2009

Here are the up-to-the-minute updates for Thanksgiving Day's crucial slate of games.

The Packers' defense took a hit last week when the team suffered two season-ending injuries. Both linebacker Aaron Kampman and cornerback Al Harris tore anterior cruciate ligaments in their left knees. Green Bay signed ex-Broncos corner Josh Bell for emergency secondary help. Otherwise, the team is getting healthier, with center Scott Wells the only notable injury. Coach Mike McCarthy said he's likely to play.

The two big guns of the Lions' offense, quarterback Matt Stafford and wide receiver Calvin Johnson, will probably miss the Thanksgiving game. Johnson injured his left knee in Sunday's comeback win over the Browns, while Stafford has a sprained left shoulder. Daunte Culpepper will start at quarterback; with Johnson out, look for wideout Bryant Johnson to get more opportunities.

The Raiders, who upset the Bengals on Sunday, are relatively healthy. Defensive end Richard Seymour left Sunday's game with a back strain, but coach Tom Cable said it isn't serious. He's listed as questionable for Thursday's game.

Cowboys tight end Jason Wittenwill be a game-time decision on Thursday. If Witten can't go, Martellus Bennett will start in his place, and disappointing wideout Roy Williams could get more looks in the passing game. Quarterback Tony Romo, who injured his back making a tackle after a fumble Sunday, will play. On the defensive side, safety Ken Hamlin has been ruled out of the Thanksgiving game.

Giants running back Ahmad Bradshawwill not play on Thanksgiving, and with good reason: He has two sprained ankles and a cracked bone in his right leg. This means more carries for Brandon Jacobs, of course, but Danny Ware -- normally a third-down specialist -- should get increased action as well. Middle linebacker Antonio Pierce is also out with a bulging disk in his neck.

The Broncos started backup quarterback Chris Simms last week, but injured starter Kyle Orton replaced him after the offense was ineffective in last week's loss to the Chargers. Orton is likely to return to the starting lineup on Thanksgiving night. On the defensive side, safety Brian Dawkins injured his neck against San Diego and will be a game-time decision. He says he'll play.

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