More football, more injuries. The steady stream of football that has whet our palates since training camps opened shop in July is nearing an end. We are now just two weeks and one giant step away from the Super Bowl, with another long offseason to follow. We'll take a look at all the injury news from the two huge matchups on tap for this weekend as the Cardinals, Panthers, Patriots, and Broncos all vie for those two precious spots in Santa Clara.
NFL Conference Championship Matchups
* all times central
AFC: New England @ Denver 2:05 p.m. CBS
NFC: Arizona @ Carolina 5:40 p.m. Fox
Here is your conference championship weekend injury report.
NFL Conference Championship Injury Report
- The Cardinals are expected to have both RB David Johnson (toe) and WR John Brown (shoulder) available for their cross-country trip to Carolina this weekend. Both players were limited in Wednesday's practice, though that is likely more a case of the team trying to manage the players' mid-week reps ahead of the big game. Johnson and Brown both handled a lion's share of reps against Green Bay in the divisional round, and should be ready to rock come Sunday.
- Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart (ankle) will be ready to play on Sunday after returning to practice on Thursday. Stewart tweaked his ankle against Seattle last weekend, but only needed a couple of rest days. Fozzy Whittaker (ankle) is on track to back up J-Stew this weekend after missing the divisional round. Greg Olsen (shoulder) wil also be full-go after suffering a burner against the Seahawks. On the other side of the ball, veteran DE Jared Allen (foot) remains an injury doubt after breaking a bone in his foot in the divisional round. Allen was on the practice field Thursday, so the door has not yet slammed on his chances of making it onto the field Sunday. Coach Ron Rivera said Wednesday that Allen is doing "everything he can" in an attempt to play.
- Peyton Manning (foot) will be fine and able to face New England on Sunday. Manning will continue to receive treatment on the foot injury that cost him a chunk of games earlier in the year, but it will not affect his chances of playing in what could be his last game if Denver loses.
- Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski (knee,back) was limited at Wednesday's practice, though there is practically zero chance he misses the game at Denver. The same goes for WR Julian Edelman (foot), who was also limited. Both players should be able to handle their usual heavy workloads. However, WR/special teams ace Matthew Slater(leg) is looking questionable. Slater, owner of 1 career reception over 8 seasons and arguably the best special-teamer in the league, has not been ruled out for the game in Denver, but missed Wednesday's practice.