The Denver Broncos got their three “W’s” back at practice on Christmas Day — Wes Welker, Derek Wolfe and Kayvon Webster.
It’s unlikely that Welker and Wolfe will play against Oakland in the regular-season finale Sunday, but both were cleared to practice after prolonged absences and are working to regain their timing and conditioning.
Welker’s practice was his first since suffering a second concussion on Dec. 8. He was allowed to participate on a limited basis according to the NFL’s concussion protocol.
“It was good to see him out there,” coach John Fox said.
The Broncos have struggled to convert third downs since losing Welker just before halftime against Tennessee three weeks ago.
“Yeah, we’d like to stay on the field more,” Peyton Manning said. “... That’s definitely a point of emphasis that we can improve on.”
Wolfe hadn’t practiced since having a seizure-like episode on the team bus trip to the airport on Nov. 29 before the Broncos flew to Kansas City. He had been working out with the team’s training staff for a couple of weeks.
Matthews ruled out
Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews will miss Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears for the NFC North title after aggravating a right thumb injury.
Matthews got hurt during a sack in Sunday’s 38-31 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. He missed four games earlier this season after initially breaking the thumb in Week 5 in October.
Matthews looked to be in extreme pain on the sideline Sunday after the sack. Coach Mike McCarthy has described it as a “repeat injury.”
The Packers are expected to announce today if quarterback Aaron Rodgers is ready to return from a left collarbone injury.
Taylor on injured reserve
The New York Giants placed safety Cooper Taylor on injured reserve, about two weeks after he injured his hamstring.
The Giants announced the move Wednesday. They also signed guard Eric Herman from their practice squad to replace Taylor on the active roster, and signed defensive back Travis Howard to the practice squad.
Taylor, a fifth-round selection, appeared in 10 games. He was hurt in the Dec. 8 loss to San Diego and was inactive the last two weeks.
Pettigrew to miss finale
The Detroit Lions placed tight end Brandon Pettigrew on injured reserve, ending his season. The five-year veteran injured an ankle late in a Dec. 16 loss to Baltimore and has not practiced or played since. He finished the year with 41 receptions for 416 yards and two touchdowns.