AFC West Blog
The remarkable effort that Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers gave to bring his team back from a three-score deficit Saturday night was made even more remarkable by what we found out about Rivers' health Sunday morning. Rivers has been playing with a bulging disk in his lower back for the past few weeks, an injury that may require surgery. However, Rivers is expected to play his normal role next Sunday in a crucial game at Kansas City.
Rivers threw for 356 yards and four touchdowns along with three interceptions against San Francisco in Week 16. San Diego trailed by margins of 21-0, 28-7 and, with less than six minutes remaining, 35-21. But Rivers just wouldn't be stopped, and the Chargers beat the Niners in overtime, 38-35.
As expected, Peyton Manning and Emmanuel Sanders are active and will be on the field tonight versus the Bengals as Denver tries to lock up a first-round bye. Both players were listed as questionable on the Broncos' injury report. Manning nursed a thigh injury during the week while Sanders had to miss some practice time because of the flu.
Running back Juwan Thompson is also active despite knee and hip injuries. However, Ronnie Hillman will miss his sixth consecutive game due to a sprained foot.
Some of you will be playing for fantasy titles in Week 17, but for the majority of us, this is the end. Championship Sunday is here, and it's time to be what this day is all about in fantasy football: A champion. Good luck to you all. To help your efforts, we'll be tracking this morning's game-time decisions and giving you the latest as the official inactives reports come out around 11:30 a.m. Eastern. Some of the bigger names we're tracking include Julio Jones and DeAndre Hopkins. Go get that ring!
The second half of this Saturday NFL doubleheader contains a lot of notable injuries. The two most important players for fantasy purposes who were considered questionable coming into tonight's game are both active. 49ers running back Frank Gore and Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers have both been given the green light.
Gore suffered a concussion in Week 15, but he has been cleared and will start against San Diego. With Carlos Hyde sidelined by back and ankle injuries, Alfonso Smith is expected to be Gore's backup.
Rivers has been dealing with rib and back ailments for a while now. But he will play through them, per usual
The inactives for the 49ers include wide receiver Stevie Johnson. Meanwhile, tight end Ladarius Green is active for the Chargers. He missed Week 15 due to a concussion.
Tight end Ladarius Green returned to practice for San Diego on Thursday and is likely to play this weekend. He missed the team's Week 15 loss to Denver after suffering a concussion in Week 14 against New England. Green practiced the Friday leading up to last Sunday's game but was unable to clear the concussion protocol prior to kickoff.
San Diego Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen's season could be over as he was diagnosed Tuesday with a broken collarbone. The team has yet to make an official move or announcement, but he will likely end up on season-ending injured reserve as he's unlikely to heal in time to play again this season, barring a deep playoff run by the Chargers. They would need help just to get into the playoffs. Their current record is 8-6.
Denver Broncos running back Montee Ball was placed on season-ending Injured Reserve Saturday. He has been unable to overcome the groin injury that has hampered him and kept him sidelined the majority of the season.
As the Broncos' passing game looks to get back on track after a couple of so-so performances, it looks like they will have their full complement of weapons ready to roll this weekend in San Diego. Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas and tight end Julius Thomas went through limited practice Thursday. Demaryius has been playing through an ankle injury while Julius' own ankle injury has kept him sidelined since Week 12.
As expected, Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles returned to practice on Thursday, albeit in limited fashion. Charles sat out Wednesday's session because of knee and ankle pain, but he's fully expected his handle his normal workload Sunday versus the Raiders.
It's looking like Ryan Mathews' impact in this Sunday's showdown versus the Broncos will match what he did during the practice week: nil.
Mathews didn't practice Friday, his third consecutive practice missed because of an ankle injury. The Chargers have yet to rule him out for Week 15.