Injuries and news we're monitoring around the NFL this Monday:
A Week 6 return could be on the docket for Christian McCaffrey.
Carolina Panthers coach Matt Rhule told reporters on Monday that he's "hopeful" the star running back will play this week against the Vikings. CMC has been out of action since sustaining a hamstring injury in Week 3 against the Texans.
A return in Week 5 seemed imminent after McCaffrey logged a week of limited practices prior to Carolina's date with the Eagles. He was eventually listed as doubtful on the injury report before being deemed inactive prior to kickoff. The Panthers went on to drop that game, 21-18.
In the midst of a two-game skid, the Panthers have predictably looked like a much different team with CMC out of the lineup. Their home matchup against Minnesota presents them with an opportunity to right the ship, with or without their best player.
If McCaffrey is unable to go, rookie Chuba Hubbard will be called upon once more to help pick up the slack. Hubbard has performed admirably as a starter since CMC went down, logging 37 carries for 158 yards and seven receptions for 47 yards.
- Baltimore Ravens guard Ben Cleveland (knee) was carted off the field in the second quarter and did not return. Wideout Sammy Watkins (hamstring) was questionable to return but did not.
- Indianapolis Colts cornerback Xavier Rhodes limped off the field and headed to the locker room in the fourth quarter versus the Ravens. He did not return.
- Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields underwent tests Monday on the left knee he hyperextended on Sunday and he should be good to go, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported.
- Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster could have played his final snap in Pittsburgh. Smith-Schuster will undergo season-ending shoulder surgery, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported. Smith-Schuster suffered the shoulder injury last in the second quarter of the Steelers' 27-19 victory over the Broncos. The injury is brutal, as JuJu was hoping a big season would lead to a hefty payday in 2022. Now, he might be forced to take another one-year prove-it deal if the injury indeed ends his season.
- San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance suffered a left knee sprain and underwent an MRI on Tuesday, coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters. Lance will be reevaluated at the end of the week. Shanahan said Lance's knee injury would be a a one- to two-week injury at worst, but his status for the 49ers' Week 7 matchup versus the Indianapolis Colts is up in the air. The 49ers are on their bye in Week 6.
- Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow checked out fine after visiting a local hospital last night to be evaluated for a potential throat contusion, Rapoport reported. Burrow was released from the hospital last night and is expected to be OK. Coach Zac Taylor confirmed Burrow is back in the building and in "good shape." Linebacker Jordan Evans (knee) was placed on injured reserve while guard Jackson Carman and running back Samaje Perine were placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
- Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores said he's hoping quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will practice this week after throwing today. Tagovailoa has been on IR since Sept. 25 after sustaining fractured ribs in Week 2.
- Detroit Lions receiver Quintez Cephus suffered a broken collarbone Sunday, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported. Cephus is slated to undergo surgery to repair the potentially season-ending injury and is facing a three-month recovery, Pelissero added.
- New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones is in concussion protocol, coach Joe Judge said. The team won't know his status until later this week and the Giants are still evaluating running back Saquon Barkley's ankle injury. Wide receiver Kenny Golladay (knee) is expected to miss this week and possibly the next, a source tells Rapoport. Considering the initial fear was a major knee injury, Golladay's diagnosis is a sigh of relief in New York, Rapoport adds. Giants defensive back Rodarius Williams also suffered a torn ACL in his right knee on Sunday, Pelissero reported. His season is likely finished.
- Los Angeles Rams cornerback Darious Williams (ankle) won't be available for Week 6 versus the Giants and could be placed on short-term injured reserve, per coach Sean McVay.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David will miss Thursday's game against the Eagles after suffering a low-ankle sprain in Sunday's win. David, who is expected to miss some time, will be considered week-to-week following Week 6. Tom Brady sustained a thumb injury against the Dolphins but isn't expected to be hindered, per Rapoport. Brady was listed as limited in the team injury report. Jason Pierre-Paul also suffered a notable hand injury in Week 5, telling reporters that he has a fractured finger on his right hand that split "into two pieces." He was limited in the team's injury report, as well. Tight end Rob Gronkowski (ribs) has missed the last two games and it will be "very close" on him being able to play Thursday against the Eagles, head coach Bruce Arians said Monday. Arians added it's possible safety Antoine Winfield Jr. could play after missing a game in concussion protocol. Gronkowski did not participate in Monday's practice, while Winfield was limited. Wide receiver Chris Godwin (knee/ankle) was also listed as limited.
- Philadelphia Eagles offensive tackle Jordan Mailata (knee) was listed as a limited participant for Monday, while defensive end Derek Barnett (ankle), tight end Dallas Goedert (illness), offensive tackle Lane Johnson (personal reasons) and center Jason Kelce (foot/rest) were all DNPs.
- Green Bay Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari (ACL) is eligible to return to practice next week but Matt LaFleur didn't share the team's plans for Aaron Rodgers' blindside protector. "He's chomping at the bit to get back out there, too," LaFleur said, per The Athletic.
- Kansas City Chiefs guard Joe Thuney will undergo more tests Monday on a fractured hand suffered in Sunday's loss to the Bills, Rapoport reported. Thuney broke his hand on the game's first series and played the entire game with it in a cast. Running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire suffered an MCL sprain and is out for a few weeks, Rapoport reported, per sources familiar with the situation.
- Houston Texans left tackle Laremy Tunsil suffered a torn UCL in his thumb against the Patriots, Rapoport reported. The hope is that Tunsil can put off surgery, which he'll eventually need, until after the season and continue playing through the injury, Rapoport added.
- New England Patriots running back Damien Harris is day-to-day after being limited with rib and chest injuries against Houston, Rapoport reported. Further testing ruled out anything significant.
- Cleveland Browns rookie linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, who sustained a throat contusion versus the Chargers and was taken to an LA hospital after the game, was released from the hospital last night, Rapoport reported. JOK was cleared to travel to Cleveland this morning.
- Arizona Cardinals tight end Maxx Williams is feared to have suffered a major, season-ending right knee injury on Sunday, Rapoport reported. Williams was carted off after getting injured in the second quarter.
- Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden said guard Richie Incognito (calf) is aiming to make his return following the team's Week 8 bye.
- Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Myles Jack has an oblique injury and will be day-to-day, per coach Urban Meyer.
- The Seattle Seahawks activated tight end Gerald Everett off the reserve/COVID-19 list, Pelissero reported per the transaction wire.
- The Baltimore Ravens activated receiver Miles Boykin from injured reserve, and elevated offensive tackle Andre Smith (COVID-19 replacement) and safety Jordan Richards from the practice squad. Boykin, who has been on IR since Sept. 1, has been out since August with a hamstring injury.
- The Indianapolis Colts elevated safety Ibraheim Campbell and defensive end Kameron Cline to the active roster for Monday night's game versus the Ravens.
- The Carolina Panthers released running back Rodney Smith from the practice squad.
- The San Francisco 49ers cut defensive back Buster Skrine, Pelissero reported per the transaction wire.
- The Indianapolis Colts cut defensive tackle Antwaun Woods, Pelissero reported per the transaction wire.
- The Philadelphia Eagles cut wide receiver Travis Fulgham from their practice squad, Pelissero reported per the transaction wire.
- The Pittsburgh Steelers are bringing in free-agent wide receiver Anthony Miller for a physical on Tuesday, NFL Network's Aditi Kinkhabwala reported. Previously, Miller, who was recently released by the Texans, was expected to sign with the Jaguars practice squad. However, with Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster out for the season, a spot on an active roster could be had for Miller.