NFL Playoffs injury report: The Divisional Round is here – Who’s in, who’s out, and who’s a doubt

By Emile Avanessian

Published: 12:02, 21 January 2022

Fortunately, the NFL’s Wild Card Weekend did not claim any marquee stars – though that’s not to say that some remaining playoff teams aren’t licking wounds, and desperately hoping for positive diagnoses.

We’re a week into the NFL playoffs. The field of Super Bowl contenders has been narrowed to eight. In two games apiece on Saturday and Sunday, these groups will battle it out for places in their respective conferences’ championship games. Thanks to a slew of blowouts that afforded stars some rest – as well, of course, as a bit of luck – the injury toll taken by the wildcard round was relatively minimal. In fact, we may even in line to get one or two stars back. 

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That being said, as we head into the Divisional Round, a number of teams are contemplating the statuses of some key contributors, and hoping not to have to come up contingency plans on hilariously short notice.

Bengals at Titans


Surely, on the heels of their first playoff win in over three decades, the Bengals are flying high. However, at least some of that euphoria will be tempered by the toll that that victory took on their defensive line. Following Saturday night’s win over the Raiders, Cincy placed defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi (who had seven sacks and 12 tackles for loss in 16 regular season games) on injured reserve with a foot injury. With Ogunjobi lost for the remainder of the playoffs, the Bengals have picked up DT Zach Kerr off of the Cardinals’ practice squad.

Elsewhere on the line, Pro Bowl defensive end Trey Hendrickson left Saturday’s game and was subsequently placed in concussion protocol. However, Hendrickson seems to be recovered well, and was only limited in practice on Tuesday, before resuming a full workload on Wednesday. He should be good to go on Saturday.

As of Wednesday, the Bengals’ only limited participants in practice were backup defensive tackle Josh Tupou (knee) and wide receiver Stanley Morgan (hamstring). Both are expected to be available on Saturday, if needed.


It’s rare, come playoff time, that the injury provides an unqualified jolt of positivity. Given the attritional nature of NFL football, at this time of year most teams are simply hoping to tread water on the physical fitness front. The 2021 Tennessee Titans are a notable exception.

After a Week 8 foot injury threatened to end (and, in the eyes of many, seemingly did) Derrick Henry’s awe-inspiring 2021 season, the Titans’ all-universe running back has returned to practice and taken part in contact drills, suggesting that he will soon be cleared to return to action. Titans head coach Mike Vrabel has said that the team will wait until Friday to confirm Henry’s status for Saturday’s showdown with the Bengals, though the assumption seems to be that Henry will be back on the field, in some capacity.

Whether the winner of the NFL’s last two rushing titles can immediately return to his devastating best is a completely fair question, but the Titans cannot help but be thrilled with his progress.

Meanwhile, defensive tackle Teair Tart was limited Wednesday with an ankle injury, while an ankle injury kept cornerback Jackrabbit Jenkins off the practice altogether. However, according to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, Jenkins should be ready to play this weekend.

Elsewhere on the roster, pass-rusher Derick Roberson has missed practice for unspecified reasons.

On the whole, though, the Titans will be delighted to actually be getting healthier at playoff time.

 49ers at Packers


As he has for some time now, 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is expected to play with a torn ligament in his right (throwing) thumb and a sprained shoulder suffered in the Wild Card Weekend win over the Cowboys. In fact, those maladies haven’t even cost Jimmy G any time on the practice field!

Meanwhile, star pass-rusher Nick Bosa has been limited in practice, as he works his way through league protocols after sustaining a concussion in the first half of Sunday’s game in Dallas. Defensive lineman Jordan Willis was also limited by a high ankle sprain, as were cornerback Ambry Thomas (knee) and linebacker Marcell Harris (Achilles).

On the bright side, star linebacker Fred Warner, who’s also been dealing with an ankle injury, ramped up his participation throughout the week, and is now a full participant.


Packers head coach Matt LaFleur said that the team expects wide receiver (and Aaron Rodgers favorite) Randall Cobb – who’s been sidelined with a core muscle injury since Week 12 – to be back on the field for Saturday’s Divisional Round clash with the 49ers. Unfortunately for the Pack, Cobb’s fellow wideout, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who’s battling a back injury, missed practice on Wednesday, and it listed as ‘doubtful’ for the game.

Meanwhile, three-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle David Bakhtiari sat out practice on Tuesday, before taking part in a limited capacity on Wednesday. Bakhtiari missed virtually all of the 2021 regular season while recovering from a torn ACL injury that he suffered late in the 2020 regular season. He is officially listed as ‘questionable for the game on Saturday, though his light workload in practice is likely just an attempt to get him some rest.

Perhaps most importantly, cornerback Jaire Alexander was also a limited participant on Wednesday. This is encouraging, as Alexander has not played since injuring his shoulder against Pittsburgh on Oct. 3. When healthy, Alexander is a consensus top-three CB in the NFL, and would be vital in helping to slow down Niners’ playmakers Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk.

Rams at Buccaneers

Following their Monday night tilt with the Cardinals, the Rams had only a light walk-through on Wednesday, with three players – running back Buddy Howell (hamstring), safety Taylor Rapp (concussion) and offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth (knee) not taking part. 

The most significant contributor of three, Whitworth, who was injured against Arizona, has (per head coach Sean McVay) “swelling in his knee and ankle.” McVay added that ‘it’s a miracle’ that the injury wasn’t more serious. Whitworth hasn’t been ruled out for Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay, but is unofficially listed as somewhere between ‘questionable’ and ‘doubtful’ at the time of writing.

Other members of the Rams who are nursing knocks (and were believed to be limited participants on Wednesday) are return man Brandon Powell (ribs), wide receiver Ben Skowronek (back), and linebacker Troy Reeder (ankle). Powell and Skowronek are relatively minor role players, but Reeder has been a valuable contributor to the Rams’ defense this season, with 91 tackles, two sacks and two interceptions. His loss would be more acutely felt, though he’s expected to ready to go on Sunday.


The Buccaneers pretty well personify what we expect from NFL teams at playoff time: banged up heading into the Wild Card round, and more banged up ahead of the Divisional round.  

Absent from practice on Wednesday were wide receivers Cyril Grayson (hamstring) and Breshad Perriman (hip/abdomen) – bear in mind that Mike Evans is himself only recently recovered from a hamstring injury, and that Chris Godwin (ACL) and Antonio Brown (!!!!) are long since gone from the corps as well – as well as running back Ronald Jones II (ankle), cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting (hamstring), and, most vitally (if keeping Tom Brady upright is something one is interested in), offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs (ankle) and center Ryan Jensen (ankle).

According to head coach Bruce Arians, the team won’t have a definitive word on the status of either Jensen or Wirfs until very late in the week. It is worth noting that Wirfs was seen wearing a medical boot on his injured ankle, though that’s not believed to be indicative of his final status.

Tampa Bay also had several limited participants in practice on Wednesday: running back Giovani Bernard (hip/knee), linebacker Lavonte David (foot) and offensive tackle Josh Wells (quadriceps). All are expected to be available on Sunday.

Finally, in a much-needed dose of good news on the injury front, running back Leonard Fournette, who’s been out with a hamstring injury since Week 15, returned to practice this week and could return (the teams says ‘wait and see’) against the Rams.

Bills at Chiefs


For the Bills, defensive end Mario Addison (7 sacks in a backup/rotation role this season) was the ONLY player listed on the team’s injury report this week. Addison, who’s dealing with a shoulder injury, was a limited participant in Wednesday practice. Not bad, huh? 


The Chiefs, meanwhile, had a pair of guys sit out of practice Wednesday: cornerback Rashad Fenton, who is nursing a back injury, and running back Darrel Williams, who’s got an injured toe. Fenton missed last week’s blowout win over the Steelers, while Williams saw the field for just eight snaps, carrying the ball once, for four yards, before losing a fumble.

Elsewhere, three vital members of the team – running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire (shoulder), wide receiver Tyreek Hill (heel) and starting cornerback L’Jarius Sneed (knee) – are also listed on the injury report, but have all been full participants in practice.

Finally, linebacker Willie Gay didn’t practice on Thursday after being arrested on Wednesday following a domestic dispute. The team has only said that the decision regarding his status will be made by head coach Andy Reid.



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