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ESPN: Brunell's calf injury not expected to sideline him


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Brunell's calf injury not expected to sideline him

ESPN.com news services


Washington Redskins: Quarterback Mark Brunell sat out for much of practice with a strained left calf muscle, but remains listed as probable for this weekend's game against the San Francisco 49ers.

"We kept Mark out as a precautionary measure," coach Joe Gibbs said. "He looked good this morning. We don't anticipate any problems."

Brunell felt the strain while dropping back to pass near the end of Thursday's practice. He said the injury might have concerned him had it happened on Saturday, but he said he expects to be fine in time to face the 49ers.

Brunell did take a few snaps Friday, but backup Patrick Ramsey got the majority of the work.

"I dropped back a little bit and I was able to plant and throw, so that's good," Brunell said. "I feel better."

Several players who missed practice Wednesday and Thursday were back on the field. Running back Clinton Portis, who has a sore calf, practiced and is expected to play. Center Casey Rabach (ankle) and cornerback Carlos Rogers (ankle) also returned and are listed as probable.

Gibbs also indicated that rookie Nick Novak would be the kicker for at least another week, even though John Hall's practice load increased substantially this week after missing four games with a quad injury.

Dallas Cowboys: Halfback Julius Jones could only do rehab work on his high ankle sprain Friday, so he is expected to be scratched for a second consecutive week. The team still lists him as questionable, but Bill Parcells hasn't played a back who doesn't take a snap in practice. Jones hasn't taken a snap in two weeks.

Wide receiver Patrick Crayton is out with an ankle injury. Linebacker Dat Nguyen should play after practicing all week despite a neck injury.

-- John Clayton, ESPN.com senior writer

Pittsburgh Steelers: Receiver Hines Ward was upgraded to probable for Sunday's AFC North game at Cincinnati after missing a game for the first time in his NFL career with a hamstring injury last weekend.

Ward was listed as questionable when the practice week began, but took part in drills Thursday and Friday after missing practice last week. He sat out a 23-17 overtime loss Sunday to Jacksonville, the first time he has missed a game since being drafted in 1998.

Cornerback Deshea Townsend, upgraded to questionable on Thursday, was downgraded to doubtful and is unlikely to play in the first of the Steelers' two games against the Bengals this season. After injuring a hamstring Sunday, Townsend was replaced by rookie Bryant McFadden and 13-year veteran Willie Williams.

Denver Broncos: Although listed as probable, cornerback Champ Bailey provided his own update Friday on his playing status for Sunday's game.

"I took reps every day with no setbacks," Bailey said. "I'm ready to go."

Bailey missed two games with a strained left hamstring. He returned last Sunday against New England, but played only a portion of the game.

"I feel good and I didn't hold back on anything," he said. "I ran around and covered the best I could."

Bailey is listed as probable for Sunday's game.

Teammate Nick Ferguson showed no ill effects of a sprained right ankle injured on a special teams play last week.

"I'm playing," he said. "I hurt it making a tackle. My leg was trapped underneath, the pile fell on me and my ankle gave way."

Cleveland Browns: Rookie wide receiver Braylon Edwards was upgraded from doubtful to questionable on Friday's injury report, increasing his chances of playing on Sunday against the Detroit Lions.

Edwards has missed two games since undergoing surgery on Oct. 8 to clean out an infection in his right arm. He was hospitalized for four days, and returned to practice this week with his arm wrapped in a sleeve.

Cleveland coach Romeo Crennel said Edwards would be a game-time decision.

"The [doctors] are pleased with the way the wound looks," Crennel said of the long incision in Edwards' arm. "Their major concern is the wound itself and will he be able to make it through the game without breaking that thing open again. Some of the concern is what kind of padding and what kind of procedure they need to do to try to keep those stitches together if he plays in the game.

"If the doctors say he can play, we'll probably play him some."

Edwards, the No. 3 overall pick in April's NFL draft, has nine catches for 166 yards and one touchdown.

New York Jets: Receiver Justin McCareins strained his calf in practice and is questionable for Monday night's game against the Atlanta Falcons.

"Hes going to go get it looked at now, so well see where its at," coach Herman Edwards said.

Also, cornerback Ty Law was downgraded to questionable because his back tightened up on him. He was limited in practice. Running back Curtis Martin also missed practice with a sore knee but is listed as probable.

Green Bay Packers: Ahman Green hasn't gotten the green light just yet, but indications are Green Bay's featured running back will return to the starting lineup Sunday for a pivotal early season game at Minnesota.

Green practiced all week after nursing knee and thigh injuries for two weeks. Head coach Mike Sherman said Friday the team will make a final decision Saturday on Green, who's listed as questionable on the injury report.

"He was limited in some capacity," Sherman said of Green's practice workload this week. "But, what he did do, he looked good at. [We're] hopeful that he'll be able to play on Sunday and give us what we need."

The Packers are itching to get their once-dominant running attack on track.

They rank 28th in the league with an average of only 77.8 rushing yards per game and are 29th with a per-carry average of 3.3 yards.

Buffalo Bills: Cheeseburgers and a walking tour are back on the Bills' travel itinerary.

Coach Mike Mularkey announced this week he's reintroducing the regimen for when the Bills travel to San Francisco on Saturday for their game at Oakland the following day.

"I think it's a team-builder," Mularkey said.

The walk, especially, helps offset the affects of the cross-country plane trip, Mularkey added. "I think it's good to get the blood flowing."

The cheeseburgers, meanwhile, are something Mularkey got from Eagles coach Andy Reid, who has traditionally treated his players to the same meal on their travels to the west coast.

It worked last year for the Bills, who ended a six-game losing streak on the road dating to 2003 by winning their final four away games. The turnaround began with a 38-9 win at Seattle, which coincided with the introduction of the additional meal and walk.

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