Wednesday's NFL injury and roster news ahead of Super Wild Card Weekend

A day after coach Ron Rivera entertained the idea of rotating quarterbacks in Saturday’s wild-card game against the Buccaneers, the Washington Football Team took steps toward making it a reality.

With Alex Smith still dealing with a calf strain, Washington gave backup Taylor Heinicke first-team reps on Wednesday.

Smith, who injured the calf against the 49ers in Week 14 and missed Weeks 15-16, returned in the season finale to lead Washington to a division-winning victory over the Eagles. The 36-year-old’s movement was limited throughout the contest, which contributed to his up-and-down performance.

Heinicke played in relief of Dwayne Haskins in the Week 16 loss to Carolina and fared well in limited action. The 27-year-old joined Washington’s practice squad on Dec. 8; since going undrafted in 2015, Heinicke has had short stints with four NFL teams, including the Panthers in 2018, and in the XFL last year.

Here’s other injury and roster news we’re tracking on Wednesday ahead of Super Wild Card Weekend:

  • New Orleans Saints receiver Michael Thomas (ankle) is expected to practice on a limited basis and will ramp up during the week, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported.
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver Mike Evans (knee) was absent during the media portion of practice.
  • The Buffalo Bills announced running back T.J. Yeldon has been activated off the reserve/COVID-19 list. Yeldon, who tested positive for the virus has been on the list since Dec. 27. Receiver Stefon Diggs downplayed the severity of the oblique injury that limited him on Tuesday: “I’m fine,” Diggs said, per The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia.
  • The Tennessee Titans are signing former Colts receiver Marcus Johnson to their practice squad, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported via an informed source. Johnson appeared in two games against Tennessee in the regular season.

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