A lot to catch up on with injuries, but I'm getting ready to leave for vacation so I'm gonna have to save the introductory chit-chat for a later date. Try to contain your sighs of relief. Let's do this:
RB Tim Hightower — All was quiet on the Hightower front—usually good news where injuries are concerned—until he piped up Wednesday to tell media members that "the knee is fine." "I can make every cut. I can run. I don't feel any restrictions or limitations," he said. The latest from his coach? Hightower is expected to begin participating in team drills Friday. There's still some hope that he'll face Indy, but the safer bet is a return for the preseason finale against Tampa. That's an improvement from the previous timetable, which had Hightower back for week 1 of the regular season.
RB Roy Helu —Tendinitis in Helu's left achilles is nothing new, but the heightened pain level is, he told reporters this week. The back met with trainers Tuesday to discuss a treatment plan and indicated that it may involve expanding his stretching regimen, as he's "naturally a tight person." As of yesterday, Mike Shanahan said his gut was telling him to rest Helu for Saturday. Alfred Morris, meet open door.
FB Darrel Young — Young strained his hamstring on July 31 and still hasn't practiced as of yesterday. I'd pretty much count him out for Saturday and possibly (strategic italics) the rest of preseason. The longer Young is sidelined, the better Chris Cooley's chances of making the cut.
WR Anthony Armstrong — Since spraining the AC joint in his shoulder August 2, Armstrong has been wearing a yellow no-contact jersey. As if his human highlighter getup doesn't stand out enough, the receiver has decorated it with white tape. First came the upside-down question mark, then the tic-tac-toe board. He showed up Tuesday with "Bob III" and the number one on his back. Pshh, this guy. Luckily, Armstrong won't look like caution tape much longer, as he's expected to return to action this weekend.
WR Darius Hanks — Hanks tore his labrum last week and is out for the season, leading the team to waive him and add offensive lineman Chris Campbell. Campbell is not injured.*
WR Lance Lewis — Still no news on Lewis and his ailing groin. Lance Lewis is alive: confirm or deny... anyone?
OT Jammal Brown — Does it count as news if the report is that nothing's changed? Brown has a bum hip. It's been a bum hip since 2009. Just because there's no structural damage doesn't mean it will heal on its own. This week, Brown tried a second cortisone shot to reduce inflammation and pain. There's no timetable for return. "He is still pretty sore. He gets treatment a couple times a day," Shanahan said. "I don't see much improvement, but hopefully it comes quickly." At one point, I would've laughed and shaken my head at this non-news, but I can't now that the situation has taken on futile, tragic overtones. That's a lot of pain suffered over a long period of time for a guy who still can't see light at the end of the tunnel. Is there a permanently unable to perform list?
OT James Lee — Did not play against Buffalo. Can't find anything on Lee's knee or status for Saturday.
OT Trent Williams — Williams suffered a bone bruise in Washington's defeat of the Bills last Thursday. Eeesh with this offensive line! The left foot has hampered him since, but as of yesterday, Williams, Hurt, and Chester participated in all but the final 15 minutes of practice. The "Silverback" remains bullish, telling everyone who will listen that he expects to play in Chicago. Not so fast, said Shanahan of the trio. "They'll have to improve by tomorrow. They got good reps, but they're by no means 100 percent." Take from that what you will, but my money's on Williams suiting up Saturday.
G Chris Chester — Chester sprained his ankle on August 6 and missed the Bills game. Along with Williams and Hurt, he practiced until the last 15 minutes of yesterday's session. Also like Williams, he voiced his intention to take the field against the Bears. Shanahan expressed optimism that he'll return on Saturday, but there's no official decision.
G Maurice Hurt — An inflamed tendon in Hurt's left knee limited him this week, but like Williams and Chester, he practiced all but the final 15 minutes yesterday. His status for the Chicago contest will likely be a game-time call.
G/C Kory Lichtensteiger — Getting Lichtensteiger healthy for the regular season opener is still the goal.
CB Morgan Trent — Trent did not practice yesterday due to knee and shoulder issues. I haven't seen anything specific, but he's missed a few practices and seems doubtful this weekend.
LB Markus White — Rib/back soreness forced White to leave Wednesday's practice early. Coaches said it was nothing serious.
DT Chris Neild — Cofield's backup tore the ACL in his left knee on Monday. He left the field without assistance and hoped MRIs would show something minor, but instead was forced to accept a season-ending injury. The meniscus wasn't affected, so I guess things could be worse? With Neild out, Chris Baker will have the chance to show how he's improved.
Notes: DE Jarvis Jenkins missed last Saturday's practice with flu-like symptoms. WRs Leonard Hankerson and Josh Morgan were carted off the field on Tuesday suffering from heat exhaustion and dehydration. Both received intravenous fluids and returned to practice yesterday.