The New York Giants' ultra-slim chances of making the playoffs took another hit when wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was ruled out of Sunday's game against the Tennessee Titans because of a quadriceps injury.
The decision to rule out Beckham on Friday came one day after the star wideout underwent further evaluation at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan. Beckham said tests were conducted to double-check the injury and ensure that he was healing.
The injury was described as being consistent with a hematoma, where a mass of blood pools in one area, the New York Daily News reported Thursday.
Beckham initially was hurt in a 25-22 loss at Philadelphia on Nov. 25 but played the following week against the Chicago Bears, posting three catches for 35 yards and a touchdown in a 30-27 victory.
Although he practiced during the week, Beckham reported discomfort in the quad a week ago and the Giants announced last Saturday that he would not accompany the team to Washington for last weekend's game.
Limited to four games because of a fractured ankle in 2017, Beckham has 77 catches for 1,052 yards and six touchdowns this season.
A first-round pick (No. 12 overall) in the 2014 NFL Draft, Beckham had at least 90 catches and 1,300 yards in each of his first three seasons with New York. He also had double-digit touchdowns in each of those seasons, including a career-best 13 in 2015.
Beckham reached 200 receptions and 3,000 receiving yards in just 30 games, getting to those milestones faster than anyone in NFL history.
--Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones returned to practice Friday and is expected to play Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals.
There was concern about Jones' availability after Falcons coach Dan Quinn told reporters on Thursday that his star wide receiver was sent home because of illness.
Jones has been among the few bright spots in a dismal season for Atlanta, which is mired in a five-game losing streak. In last week's 34-20 setback at Green Bay, Jones had eight receptions for 106 yards and two touchdowns, pushing his NFL-best total to 1,429 receiving yards.
It was the ninth 100-yard game of the season and the seventh in the past eight for Jones, tying his franchise record. He has all five of his touchdown catches in the past six games. Jones also set an NFL record by becoming the first receiver in history with five consecutive seasons of at least 1,400 yards.
--Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz will not need surgery for his back injury and might be able to play Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams, coach Doug Pederson told reporters on Friday.
Wentz has a fracture in his back and originally was listed as questionable, but later in the day he was downgraded to doubtful.
"He has a stress injury evolved over time and requires no surgery," Pederson told reporters. "I'm not asking or answering any more questions about it. We're playing the Rams in two days if you guys haven't figured this out. "If we put him out there, there has to be 100 percent that there is no risk of anything further."
Wentz has not practiced all week and Pederson said full recovery could take up to three months. Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles is expected to start Sunday for the Eagles (6-7).
--Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner, who missed last week's loss to the Oakland Raiders because of an ankle injury, practiced on a limited basis Friday and was listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the New England Patriots. Conner sat out practice on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Jaylen Samuels replaced Conner in the starting lineup against Oakland and rushed for only 28 yards on 11 carries, but he did catch seven passes for 64 yards. Stevan Ridley also played and managed only four yards on five carries, but he did score on a 2-yard run.
Conner has stepped up this season after All-Pro running back Le'Veon Bell held out for a new contract and has not reported, leading the Steelers with 909 yards rushing on 201 carries, a 4.5-yard average, and 12 touchdowns, in addition to catching 52 passes for 467 yards and another score.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who missed most of the second half against the Raiders because of a rib injury but returned late in the game, was a full participant in practice on Thursday and Friday, and will start against the Patriots. The Steelers also listed wide receiver Ryan Switzer as questionable because of an ankle injury and he was a limited participant in practice on Friday.
--Former NFL All-Pro guard Bill Fralic died Friday after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 56. Fralic's passing was announced by the University of Pittsburgh, where he was named a three-time All-American during the early 1980s. Fralic made history while at Pitt, becoming the first offensive lineman to finish among the top 10 in the Heisman Trophy voting on two occasions.
"Bill is truly one of the iconic figures in the history of Pitt athletics," Panthers athletic director Heather Lyke said in a statement. "He set a tremendous standard for our current generation of student-athletes, not only as an athlete but also for what he went on to accomplish once his playing days concluded. Bill's reputation for giving back might even transcend his Hall of Fame football career. He was a passionate supporter of Pitt and Penn Hills. Our deepest sympathies to his wife, Susan, and his many loved ones and friends."
Fralic was the No. 2 overall pick of the Atlanta Falcons in the 1985 NFL Draft. A tackle at Pitt, Fralic was shifted to guard with Atlanta and earned first-team All-Pro honors in his second and third seasons. That started a string of four straight years in which Fralic was named to the Pro Bowl.
Fralic wound up playing eight seasons for the Falcons before ending his nine-year career by starting all 16 games for the Detroit Lions in 1993.
--Oakland Raiders wide receiver Martavis Bryant was suspended indefinitely by the NFL on Friday for a violation of the league's substance abuse policy. It was the third such suspension for Bryant, who is on injured reserve.
"Effective immediately, Martavis Bryant has been returned to the Reserve/Commissioner Suspended list indefinitely for violating the terms of his April 2017 conditional reinstatement under the Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse," the league said in a statement.
The 26-year-old Bryant was suspended for four games in 2015 and was suspended for the 2016 season because of previous policy violations. Bryant is not under contract for the 2019 season, so no team will hold his rights of and when he is reinstated from his latest ban.
Bryant was placed on IR by the Raiders on Dec. 5 because of a knee injury. In eight appearances, he made two starts in his first season with the Raiders. He had 19 receptions for 266 yards before the knee injury kept him inactive for three games.
--Washington Redskins tight end Jordan Reed has been ruled out of Sunday's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars because of a toe injury he suffered in last weekend's 40-16 drubbing by the New York Giants.
Washington (6-7) has dropped four games in a row to lose control of first place in the NFC East and fall a half-game behind Minnesota for the sixth and final playoff spot.
Redskins coach Jay Gruden said earlier this week that Reed might not return this season. The sixth-year tight end underwent surgery on both of his toes in the offseason. Veteran Vernon Davis is expected to start in Reed's place.
Washington also could be without wide receiver Josh Doctson (concussion) and third-down back Chris Thompson (illness). Both are listed as questionable for Sunday's game.
--Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Kendall Fuller played through what is believed to be a broken wrist against the Los Angeles Chargers and had surgery on Friday morning, NFL Network reported.
Fuller will be out for an undetermined length of time, a blow to the Kansas City defense because he is perhaps the best player in a secondary that has allowed the most yards in the NFL this season.
Orlando Scandrick is expected to take over for Fuller for the Chiefs, who also could go with Charvarius Ward or Tremon Smith opposite Steven Nelson.
Fuller was penalized twice in Thursday night's game against the Chargers -- a 5-yard defensive holding call in the second quarter and crucial pass interference penalty in the end zone with eight seconds left in the game. The Chargers capitalized on both infractions by scoring touchdowns and won the game 29-28 with a two-point conversion.
--San Diego Chargers veteran tight end Antonio Gates never expected to be in the playoffs this season. He was not even certain if he'd be playing football. Yet 7 1/2 months after he was released by the Chargers, Gates was basking in the glow of reaching the postseason for the first time since 2013 after the dramatic 29-28 win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night.
"Very emotional," Gates told the team's official website after the Chargers rallied from 14 points down in the fourth quarter. "I think what happens is that you think about all the hard times and the things you had to go through to get to this point."
Gates was uncertain if he would play at all in 2018 after the Chargers informed his representatives in late April that they would not seek to re-sign the future Hall of Famer.
An eight-time Pro Bowl selection and three-time All-Pro, Gates had only 30 receptions for a career-low 316 yards and three touchdowns in a reduced role in 2017. He has 25 receptions for 312 yards and two scores this season.