The Green Bay Packers might finally get two of their best defenders back this week.
Coach Matt LaFleur said pass rusher Za’Darius Smith and cornerback Jaire Alexander will practice Tuesday and he's hopeful they'll play Saturday. The top-seeded Packers, who were on a bye last week, host the sixth-seeded 49ers in the Divisional Round.
Alexander was officially listed as limited. Green Bay does not have to report Smith's participation because he remains on injured reserve. He has been out since injuring his back in Week 1. Alexander last played in Week 3, against San Francisco, when he injured his shoulder. Both aimed for a playoff return and came back to practice before the end of the regular season.
Alexander and Smith were Pro Bowlers in 2020. Their returns would be a potential boon for a Packers team with super aspirations after consecutive exits in the NFC Championship Game.
Offensive tackle David Bakhtiari (knee) did not practice Tuesday. Wideout Marquez Valdes-Scantling (back) was limited. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers (toe), running back Aaron Jones (knee), linebacker De'Vondre Campbell (elbow) and offensive tackle Billy Turner (knee) were all full participants.
- Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker said he expects to make a full recovery from a head injury suffered in Monday night's loss to the Rams. Baker was hospitalized after being immobilized and carted off the field with a concussion.
- Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Trey Hendrickson (concussion) was limited in Tuesday's practice, as were wide receiver Stanley Morgan (hamstring) and defensive tackle Josh Tupou (knee). Cornerback Mike Hilton (ankle) and defensive end Sam Hubbard (ribs) were full participants.
- Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay said Tuesday that offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth got his ankle and knee rolled up on in Monday's playoff win and is day to day. McVay also said cornerback David Long (knee) received positive initial reports.
- San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder/thumb) will practice Tuesday in a limited capacity, head coach Kyle Shanahan said. Garoppolo was asked if he was confident he would be able to play Saturday against the Packers and said he was feeling well at the moment and would see how things progressed through the week. "Yeah, we'll feel it out through the week," Garoppolo said. "But yeah, feeling good right now."
Linebacker Fred Warner (ankle) will also be limited in Tuesday's practice. Nick Bosa remains in concussion protocol. Running back Raheem Mostert and practice squad fullback Josh Hokit were removed from the reserve/COVID-19 list. Mostert, who underwent season-ending knee surgery in September, reverted to injured reserve. Running back Elijah Mitchell (knee) was also listed as limited for the team's walk-thru practice.
- Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry practiced in pads Tuesday, the contact session marking another step forward in his recovery from a foot fracture. A decision still has not been made on his status for this week's Divisional Round game versus the Bengals. Defensive lineman Teair Tart (ankle) was limited in practice. Defensive lineman Naquan Jones (knee) and cornerback Buster Skrine (hamstring) were full-go.
- The Cincinnati Bengals released guard Xavier Su'a-Filo from the active roster and punter Drue Chrisman and long snapper Colin Holba from the practice squad. They also signed defensive tackle Doug Costin to the practice squad.
- The Los Angeles Rams released kicker Ryan Santoso and long snapper Carson Tinker from the practice squad.
- The San Francisco 49ers released cornerback Luq Barcoo and punter Ryan Winslow from the practice squad.
- The Pittsburgh Steelers signed 12 players to reserve/future contracts, including tight end Jace Sternberger and kicker Sam Sloman.
- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers re-signed wideout Justin Watson to the practice squad and released punter Sterling Hofrichter and cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson.