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Wes Welker practices; Randall Cobb could return

Two days after learning that All-Pro pass rusher Von Miller is done for the season with a torn ACL, the Denver Broncos received a bit of good news.

Wide receiver Wes Welker, defensive end Derek Wolfe and cornerback Kayvon Webster were back on the field for the start of Wednesday's practice.

Welker has missed the past two games after sustaining his second concussion in the past two months. Returning to practice is a positive, but that does not mean he's been cleared for game action.

One of Denver's key run-stoppers, Wolfe is back on the field for the first time since being hospitalized with seizure-like symptoms in late November.

Here are the rest of the Christmas Day injury updates from around the league:

  1. The Green Bay Packers didn't practice, but it was an eventful day as NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday that wide receiver Randall Cobb, who has been recovering from a broken leg, was very close to playing last week. A source who has spoken to Cobb gives the wide receiver a real chance of returning for Sunday's game against the Chicago Bears.
  1. Speaking of the Packers, their simulated practice injury report lists Aaron Rodgers as limited at practice. The Packers will know by Thursday if the quarterback can play at Chicago. Linebacker Clay Matthews officially has been ruled out for Sunday's game with a broken thumb
  1. Tony Romo (herniated disk) was not at practice or team meetings because he's still getting treatment and "doesn't seem overly comfortable." Coach Jason Garrett reiterated that Romo's status is "day to day" leading up to Sunday night's season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles.
  1. Rapoport also reported that the Cowboys' Sean Lee will not play Sunday against the Eagles with what was described as a "pretty significant" neck injury, per a source who has spoken with the linebacker.
  1. Calvin Johnson was one of nine players unable to practice for the Detroit Lions on Wednesday ahead of Sunday's clash with the Minnesota Vikings. Coach Jim Schwartz has said he wants the star wide receiver on the field, if medically cleared, even though his team has already been eliminated from postseason contention. Johnson declined to comment Tuesday when asked about a report that he's playing through a partially torn PCL in his knee.
  1. In other Lions news, tight end Brandon Pettigrew was placed on injured reserve as a result of his lingering ankle injury.
  1. New England Patriots running back Shane Vereen appears to have avoided a serious groin injury leading up to Sunday's matchup with the Buffalo Bills. He was listed as limited on Wednesday's simulated practice report while safety Devin McCourty was held out with a concussion.
  1. The knee injuries to Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill and Batimore Ravens signal-caller Joe Flacco won't affect their ability to suit up Sunday. Tannehill was a full participant Wednesday while Flacco was left off the Ravens' injury report.

  1. Two key Cincinnati Bengals players were held out of practice Wednesday ahead of the team's tilt with the Ravens. Leading tackler Vontaze Burfict is going through the concussion protocol, and tight end Tyler Eifert is battling a stinger injury.
  1. As expected, Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith missed practice with a sprained PCL. Smith is highly doubtful to play in Atlanta against the Falcons.
  1. Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders would have missed practice with a sprained meniscus had the Pittsburgh Steelers taken the field on Wednesday. He's optimistic about playing Sunday against the Cleveland Browns, but still taking it "day by day."
  1. Tight end Jordan Cameron (concussion) would not have participated had the Browns practiced.
  1. Falcons running back Jacquizz Rodgers (concussion) and linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (knee) failed to practice on Wednesday.
  1. St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher indicated that rookie wide receiver Tavon Austin (ankle) has a better chance to play this week against the Seattle Seahawks than he did last week.
  1. San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews (ankle) did not practice Wednesday but still is expected to play Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs.

The latest "Around The League Podcast" delivered a Christmas gift, analyzing the chaotic playoff picture in both conferences.

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