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Saints put WR Ted Ginn Jr. on injured reserve with knee injury


METAIRIE, La. — The New Orleans Saints placed veteran receiver Ted Ginn Jr. on injured reserve Thursday with a knee injury, which will mean a greater role for backups Cameron Meredith and Tre’Quan Smith.

It’s unclear if Ginn has a chance to return later this season after missing the required eight weeks. He had been dealing with a knee injury for more than a month and did not play in Week 5 before the Saints had a bye in Week 6. It was not immediately clear if he suffered a setback or if the Saints decided to give him additional time to recover.

Losing Ginn is a disappointing development for the NFL’s top-scoring offense. Ginn, 33, had one of the best seasons of his career after he joined the Saints as a free agent in 2017, posting 53 catches, 787 yards and four touchdowns in the regular season and then 12 catches, 187 yards and a TD in two playoff games.

The Saints do have good depth at the position and an obvious contingency plan in place. Smith, who was drafted in the third round out of UCF, replaced Ginn as New Orleans’ primary deep threat in Week 5 and delivered in a big way in a 43-19 rout of the Washington Redskins. Smith had three catches for 111 yards, including a 62-yard TD and a 35-yard score.

Before that, the 6-foot-2, 210-pound Smith had just one catch for 18 yards on the season. But he showed his big-play ability throughout training camp and the preseason.

Meredith, meanwhile, plays both in the slot and on the outside. And he has seen his role with the Saints steadily increase since he was a healthy inactive in Weeks 1 and 2.

Meredith, 26, joined the Saints this year as a restricted free agent after he suffered a major knee injury with the Chicago Bears last summer. It took him a little while to get up to speed after he also missed time in training camp with an unspecified ailment. But he had a season-high five catches for 71 yards in Ginn’s absence in Week 5.

The Saints will also rely on Pro Bowl playmakers like No. 1 receiver Michael Thomas and the running back duo of Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram, among others.

The Saints may also have an injury concern on the offensive line this week. Both of their starting guards missed practice Thursday (Larry Warford with a back injury and Andrus Peat with a head injury). The team re-signed veteran offensive lineman Michael Ola for added depth.

In positive injury news for the Saints, top cornerback Marshon Lattimore has cleared the concussion protocol after he was sidelined during the first quarter of that Week 5 game against Washington. Lattimore has practiced fully all week and is expected to play Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens and their ninth-ranked passing offense.



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Detroit Lions plan to put Jamal Agnew (knee) on IR; T.J. Lang improving from concussion


The Detroit Lions are planning to place All-Pro returner and cornerback Jamal Agnew on injured reserve this week because of a knee injury he suffered against the Green Bay Packers, a source tells ESPN.

But Agnew would be a candidate to be activated off IR and return to the Lions later this season if Detroit is making a playoff push, according to the source.

The Lions received better news on veteran guard T.J. Lang, who is showing signs of improvement after suffering a concussion last month, according to a source.

Despite suffering at least five concussions since 2015, Lang is feeling better and is no longer experiencing any fogginess, according to the source. If he passes his baseline test this week — and there is optimism and an expectation that he will — Lang would be expected to play next Sunday at Miami after Detroit’s bye this week.

Agnew, 23, was an All-Pro as a rookie last season, when he scored two touchdowns off punt returns and averaged a league-best 15.4 yards per punt return.

Lang, 31, suffered his most recent concussion on Sept. 30 against the Dallas Cowboys and did not play last week against the Packers. The two-time Pro Bowler had been working through a back injury throughout the first few weeks of the season and dealt with a foot injury during training camp.

ESPN’s Michael Rothstein contributed to this report.



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Cooper Kupp of Los Angeles Rams injures knee taking hit, carted off


DENVER — Los Angeles Rams receiver Cooper Kupp was carted off the field Sunday in Denver after suffering a knee injury but returned to the game in the second half.

Kupp took a jet sweep in the second quarter, gained 12 yards and was headed out of bounds as safety Darian Stewart grabbed him by the face mask and eventually took him down with a horse-collar tackle, for which Stewart was penalized. Kupp lay on the Broncos sideline before he was taken away on a cart.

A second-year pro, Kupp was also sidelined for the second half of a victory over the Seattle Seahawks last week after he was placed into the concussion protocol. He cleared protocol a day before facing the Broncos.

Kupp did not record a reception Sunday. He has 30 receptions for 438 yards and five touchdowns this season.

Backup Josh Reynolds, who caught two passes for 39 yards last week, was inserted in Kupp’s absence.



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Cameron Wake of Miami Dolphins has arthroscopic knee surgery, could return for Week 7 game vs. Lions


Miami Dolphins Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Wake underwent arthroscopic knee surgery, a clean-up procedure to remove some cartilage, a league source told ESPN.

This type of surgery usually sidelines players for about four weeks, but Wake is such a quick healer that he could be back next week against the Detroit Lions, according to a source.

The Dolphins certainly could use Wake, who forms a formidable pass-rush tandem with Robert Quinn even though he has only one sack so far this season.

With their upcoming Oct. 21 game against a Lions team that likes to throw the football, the Dolphins want Wake to return in time for that game.

Wake, 36, did not play in last week’s loss to the Bengals and is listed as inactive Sunday against the Bears.



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Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers hopes to avoid knee brace


GREEN BAY, Wis. — There’s good news and potentially bad news for Aaron Rodgers.

The Green Bay Packers quarterback could have his top three receivers back together for Monday night’s game against the San Francisco 49ers, but he might be a little less mobile than he’d like.

Rodgers experienced what he called a setback with his ailing left knee during last Sunday’s loss to the Detroit Lions, when he took a hit from linebacker Christian Jones on the game’s opening drive.

For the first time since he was injured in the season opener, Rodgers wore a smaller, lighter brace against the Lions. Now there’s a chance he may have to go back to the larger brace that he wore in the three games immediate following the injury.

“I hope not,” Rodgers said. “The goal would be to wear the same brace I wore last week, but I have a lot of faith in our training staff and we’re going to [use] the brace we feel is most safe and allowing me to do exactly what I’m able to do on Monday.”

Rodgers did not practice on Thursday, the Packers’ first of the week in advance of the 49ers game. That followed the same pattern as the last month. He said he hoped to practice on Friday; the past two weeks, he has taken part in that full-pads workout (which is normally on Thursday in advance of a Sunday game).

He did, however, call what happened against the Lions a setback. He threw for 442 yards and three touchdowns against the Lions but was done in by two first-half fumbles on strip sacks, marking only the third time in his career that he lost two fumbles in a game.

“Yeah, kind of a setback last week, the beginning of the week,” Rodgers said. “Got to be in the rehab group again today, got a lot of good work in with [assistant trainer] Nate [Weir] and just hoping I get back out there tomorrow and have a feel-good Friday and a practice [Sunday] and be good to go — hopefully back to where I was in Detroit.”

While Rodgers worked with the trainers, receivers Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison were surprise participants at practice on Thursday after missing the Detroit game. Both had hamstring injuries; Allison also was diagnosed with a concussion. Coach Mike McCarthy said before Thursday’s practice that Allison had cleared the concussion protocol, but indications were both receivers would be in the rehab group.

Instead, they went through at least part of practice, meaning the trio of Cobb, Allison and No. 1 receiver Davante Adams are on the verge of a reunion. The trio hasn’t played together since Week 3 because Cobb missed the previous two games.

Against the Lions, it was Adams and three rookie receivers. Two of them, Marquez Valdes-Scantling (seven catches for 68 yards) and Equanimeous St. Brown (three for 89) made contributions, but Adams (nine for 140 and a touchdown) did the majority of the work.

“I think we can be one of the best in the league,” Adams said of the trio of himself, Cobb and Allison. “I honestly think that because obviously you know how I feel about myself and my game. Randall’s been doing this thing for a long time, longer than I have. I have the utmost respect for him, and G-Mo goes about his business as good as anybody else in the league. So the sky’s the limit for him. I feel like he has not even come close to reaching his potential. He’s shown flashes, but he can do a lot for us.”

Perhaps that will help the Packers get off to a faster start, something Rodgers has identified as a goal. Although they’re 10th in the NFL in total offense, they are tied for 18th in scoring and tied for 19th in red-zone touchdown percentage. They have been outscored 42-13 in first quarters this season and 76-43 in first halves, while averaging just 23 points per game.

“It’s definitely below, and we’ve kind of been stuck at that number,” Rodgers said. “Scored that a couple of times — 22, 24, way up to 29 in Week 2. Not quite the standard that we’ve set here over the years with the type of offense we think we can have and the type of offense we think we could have coming out of training camp.

“I told you guys Week 1 it’s going to be a work in progress; I don’t think we’re far off. I feel kind of like after Washington a couple of years ago [2016, Week 11]. We are very close to getting things going and like I said then and I’ll say again now, I feel like if we can get off to a better start on offense, it makes the entire squad play with a different type of confidence.

“We need to lead from the front as an offense and as a team and give our defense an opportunity to pin their ears back and get after the quarterback and make them a little more one-dimensional.”

A full complement of receivers and the smaller knee brace could help.



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Ted Ginn Jr., New Orleans Saints wide receiver, out vs. Washington Redskins with knee injury


NEW ORLEANS — Ted Ginn Jr. has been ruled out of Monday night’s game with a knee injury, which could create more opportunity for New Orleans Saints rookie receiver Tre’Quan Smith or fourth-year pro Cameron Meredith.

The severity of Ginn’s injury is unknown. He played through a knee injury in recent weeks despite being limited in some practices, but then he didn’t practice at all this week. The Saints (3-1) have a bye in Week 6, which gives him extra time to heal.

Ginn, who is used often as a deep threat, has 12 catches for 135 yards and two touchdowns this season. He ranks second among Saints receivers behind Michael Thomas in every category, though running back Alvin Kamara and tight end Benjamin Watson have more catches and yards.

Smith, a third-round pick from Central Florida, could potentially run downfield routes in Ginn’s place. The 6-foot-2, 210-pounder showed some big-play ability throughout training camp and the preseason, but he has just one catch for 18 yards so far this season.

Meredith, meanwhile, has gradually worked his way into the offense after recovering from a knee injury suffered in 2017, when he was with the Chicago Bears. He was inactive for the first two games this season. Then he caught four passes for 43 yards and a touchdown over the past two weeks.

Meredith (6-3, 207) could be used both in the slot and on the outside. Second-year pro Austin Carr is also an option in the slot.

The Saints’ healthy pass-catchers could be part of history on Monday night when New Orleans hosts the Washington Redskins. Drew Brees is just 201 yards away from passing Peyton Manning as the NFL’s all-time passing yardage leader.

Washington, however, ranks among the NFL’s top three defenses in total yards, passing yards and points allowed per game.

The Saints also released running back Mike Gillislee and officially activated running back Mark Ingram following his four-game suspension.

New Orleans signed Gillislee in Week 1 after he was released by the New England Patriots, but he carried the ball just 16 times for 43 yards with one catch for 9 yards, no touchdowns and one lost fumble.



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Bengals RB Joe Mixon returning after knee procedure


CINCINNATI — Bengals running back Joe Mixon looks poised make his return in Sunday’s game against the Dolphins following a knee procedure that sidelined him for two weeks.

Mixon missed games against the Panthers and Falcons after going through a procedure to remove loose particles in his knee. Giovani Bernard played in Mixon’s absence, but Bernard injured his knee on the final drive of Sunday’s game against the Falcons and has been ruled out against the Dolphins this weekend.

Although Mixon is still wearing a brace on his knee, he returned to practice this week and has no designation on Friday’s injury report, meaning he’s good to play. It’s unclear if Mixon will get the majority of the workload with Bernard out, but it’s likely the team will give rookie Mark Walton significant snaps to try to ease Mixon back in.

“If he gets the opportunity to play, obviously he’s not going to be, conditioning-wise, where he was before he missed the last two weeks so we’ll just evaluate it as we go through,” said Bengals coach Marvin Lewis.

Mixon worked with the athletic trainers on his own prior to returning to practice this week, and he certainly looked no worse for wear on Sunday. Mixon went through a pregame workout in Atlanta and was running up and down the sideline during the Falcons’ game, even jumping on A.J. Green after the Bengals scored the game-winning touchdown.

“I wasn’t worried about none of that,” Mixon said of running around on the injured knee. “A.J. just scored a touchdown to win the game. I went over there excited. We always play off our emotion.”

The Bengals will still be without center Billy Price, who remains in a walking boot and said he has at least two more weeks before the doctors reevalute his foot injury. Wide receiver John Ross, who injured his groin against the Falcons, has also been declared out. Linebacker Vontaze Burfict is expected to return to action Sunday following a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy.



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Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott (ankle, knee) is sore, but will be ready Sunday


FRISCO, Texas — Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott went through a full practice on Wednesday after he took himself out for a few plays in last week’s win against the Detroit Lions because of knee and ankle soreness.

“This is the best Wednesday practice I had. This is the freshest I have felt of any Wednesday,” said Elliott, who got his ankle taped in the second quarter against the Lions. “I did a good job of coming in and getting that treatment to be ready to go today. I got to thank the training staff and all those guys for helping me get back on my feet.”

Elliott acknowledged there is soreness but said it would not slow him down in Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans.

“I’m good,” he said.

Elliott had a season-high 25 carries for 152 yards against the Lions. He also caught four passes for 88 yards, including a 38-yard touchdown pass and a 34-yard catch that set up Brett Maher‘s game-winning field goal at the end of regulation.

“I was banged up. It’s football. That is what it is,” Elliott said. “I am young. I got fresh legs. I’m going to get the ball as much as I can.”

It was the ninth time in Elliott’s career he has had at least 25 carries in a game.

In 29 career games, Elliott has rushed for 3,040 yards. Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson is the only running back to reach 3,000 yards in fewer games than Elliott. Hall of Famer Jim Brown also reached 3,000 yards in 29 games. Elliott missed six games last season because of a suspension.

“I wouldn’t be able to do it without that O-line. They’re the best in the game. They’ve paved the way for me to be able to even be mentioned with those guys,” Elliott said. “That’s what I expect out of myself as a player, to be mentioned with those guys. I want to keep grinding so I can continue to be mentioned with those guys.”



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Doug Baldwin of Seattle Seahawks ‘ready to go,’ says knee OK


RENTON, Wash. — Doug Baldwin insists he’s “ready to go” now that he has sufficiently healed from the knee injury that sidelined — and frustrated — him for the past two weeks.

The Seattle Seahawks‘ No. 1 receiver is hoping the team’s training staff agrees with him. He knows that will be the ultimate determination of whether he plays Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals.

“Again, that’s going to be their call,” Baldwin said. “There’s a lot of things that go into it, obviously the precautionary reasons of making sure that I’m healthy fully, so that I can go for the rest of the season, not just this game. And I get that. But as a competitor and somebody that hasn’t missed games that often, who had an 89-game streak, I feel like I know my body pretty well, so I feel like I’m ready to go.”

Baldwin returned to practice this week for the first time since suffering an MCL sprain early in Seattle’s opener at Denver. That relegated him to a spectator for the second half of that game and the Seahawks’ Monday night loss in Chicago that dropped them to 0-2.

He called it “really frustrating” to not be able to play and said that emotion, among other things, was at play when he lost his cool on the sideline during the Seahawks’ win over the Cowboys. The FOX broadcast showed a fired-up Baldwin talking passionately with the team’s co-director of player personnel, Trent Kirchner. He said he apologized to Kirchner a few minutes later and that the two are fine.

“It was empathy, is what it was,” Baldwin said. “I won’t go into a great deal of detail but essentially it’s frustrating when you start 0-2 and you start the way we’ve started. We’ve had some frustrating games. And especially as a receiving corps, being here for so long and knowing the process and knowing what you guys are going to say, the questions that come up in the receivers room, and how that plays a role in just the emotional stability of the receivers and then just other things that come along with that, so when they come off the field and they’re telling me how they’re feeling and they’re expressing their emotions and myself, trying to be empathic to them in that regard, there’s a lot of energy there.

“On top of the fact that I’m not able to go out there and help them out and play with them, on top of the fact that there’s history, there’s a lot there. I think that was just an exertion of energy that Trent just happened to be in the area at the time unfortunately. I sent him a text message and I just told him – well, during the moment I came back to him and said, ‘Look, man, I’m sorry. I just had to let get that out.’ And he’s like, ‘I get it. I get it.’ He knows. He understands. So we had a god conversation about it. That’s my guy, though.”

Baldwin had missed a month of training camp with an injury to his other knee before he suffered the MCL injury in Denver. That snapped his streak of 89 consecutive games played, which had been the fourth-longest among active receivers. He returned later in the first half before realizing he had to take himself out.

“In that moment, it was one of those situations where, ‘OK, Doug, it’s messed up, you know it’s messed up but let’s see what you can do,'” he said. “I knew it was a serious injury, but just again, being out for so long prior to that game I wanted to do everything I could to go back in and I did that, realized that it wasn’t getting better so I had to pull myself unfortunately. It’s just the nature of the business but the reasoning for going back out there was really just the competitive nature in my mind.”

Baldwin said his other knee is doing better with the extra time off it’s had to rest.

“Knowing that I have a lot of mileage on my legs, knowing that I’m not 25 years old any more, I take all that context into account when I’m making my decisions as well,” he said. “The process of getting my body to this point has been obviously a long process but I know where I’m at. And of course I have to tell [coach Pete Carroll] and anybody who asks me how confident I am. But that’s just the truth. I think all of you all know when I come up here, you’re not going to get BS from me. I’m going to be honest with you. And I’ll say the same thing to Pete and anybody else who asks me about my health. I’m ready to go, so we’ll see what happens. I think we have a good plan in place and I’m willing to go with that so we’ll see what happens.”



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Green Bay Packers Aaron Rodgers concerned about knee


GREEN BAY, Wis. – The hope, of course, is that Aaron Rodgers‘ injured left knee improves as the season goes along.

The concern, however, is that the more the Green Bay Packers quarterback plays on it, the worse it gets.

“Yeah, obviously that’s a concern,” Rodgers said Wednesday. “Hopefully it goes the other way though.”

Rodgers made it through all of Sunday’s 29-29 tie against the Minnesota Vikings while playing with a large brace on his left knee, which he injured in the previous week’s season-opening win over the Chicago Bears.

He admitted that his knee “obviously it won’t be 100 percent, so I’ll just adjust accordingly to how I’m feeling and try to get through.”

“It just depends on how the week goes with the rehab and the recovery,” Rodgers said. “Obviously, I’d love to be better than I was last week as far as health-wise but there’s some factors that are out of my control.”

That likely means another week without much time on the practice field. Rodgers did not practice last week until Saturday, when he took part in the hour-long session that coach Mike McCarthy typically holds the day before games.

McCarthy altered his usual practice schedule in advance of Sunday’s game at Washington. He cancelled Wednesday’s practice, although not necessarily because of Rodgers’ injury. The Packers’ overtime game against the Vikings was played in 80-degree heat with 71 percent humidity. That followed a Sunday night season opener against the Bears.

“I think it’s obvious we came off of a Sunday Night game, played an overtime game in unusual heat for this part of the country, so just trusting our numbers,” McCarthy said. “That’s why we’re doing what we’re doing.”

Rodgers said the warm weather on Sunday actually helped his knee get loose as the game went on.

“The heat and the adrenaline definitely helped, but it’s just going to be something you’ve got to deal with for a while,” Rodgers said. “Take it week by week. It doesn’t seem like there’s a major setback at this point, so just being smart about it and trying to get ready to play Sunday.”

Rodgers completed 30-of-42 passes with one touchdown and no interceptions, while often favoring throws from within the pocket.

He ran three times for 8 yards (with a long run of 7 for a first down). One of them was a read-option keeper in overtime when he fumbled. He completed 30-of-42 passes with one touchdown and no interceptions. However, the Packers converted just one of five red zone trips into touchdowns.

“We’re still in a day by day mode, I mean, just how he’s progressing,” McCarthy said Wednesday. “So we’ll see how the team responds out of this format that we’re in today. They’ll be, there’s a number of players obviously, there’s players that have played a lot of reps the first two weeks. So, what we want to get done with them and how we practice them tomorrow will be based off the information that we go through tonight as a staff. So, he’s obviously in that group from an injury standpoint.”

The other major injury of concern is to cornerback Kevin King, who dropped out against the Vikings because of a groin injury. Although McCarthy did not think it was a long-term issue, he said King would be “hard pressed” to play Sunday at Washington.



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