The 2011-12 NFL playoffs are fewer than two months away. Every injury becomes more significant when referring to the playoff picture in its entirety. Teams want to remain as healthy as possible as they're fighting for their playoff lives and seeding.
There are a slew of starting quarterbacks who could miss their Week 11 games because of lingering injuries. Some of these injuries could potentially end their seasons. Here are a few of the quarterback injuries that fans should keep an eye on throughout Week 11.
Ben Roethlisberger: Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers will celebrate Thanksgiving a week early as they're enjoying their bye week in Week 11. The bye week has come at a good time for them as Ben Roethlisberger has a fractured thumb on his throwing hand. The injury occurred before the second half of the Steelers' 24-17 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.
Roethlisberger is expected to play with a splint when they face the Kansas City Chiefs on November 27.
Kevin Kolb: Arizona Cardinals
The Arizona Cardinals were 1-6 under the guidance of Kevin Kolb. John Skelton has led the Cardinals to two consecutive victories since replacing Kolb, who has been sidelined with the combination of turf toe and a bruised foot.
Kolb has returned to practice on a limited basis. However, it's not likely that he'll return for their game against the San Francisco 49ers. Now if Skelton can lead the Cardinals to another victory? Kolb might not return even when he's healthy.
Matt Cassel: Kansas City Chiefs
The only intriguing storyline between the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs was supposed to be the head-to-head matchup between Tom Brady and Matt Cassel. That won't be the case after Cassel had surgery to repair an injured hand that he suffered in a 17-10 loss to the Denver Broncos.
Chiefs head coach Todd Haley just hopes that Cassel can return this season. Until then, Tyler Palko will be the starting quarterback. Rookie Ricky Stanzi could get some playing time if Palko performs poorly.
Matt Schaub: Houston Texans
At 7-3, the Houston Texans appeared to be ready to enjoy their first postseason appearance in franchise history. They had already beaten the Tennessee Titans 41-7, Peyton Manning is recovering from neck surgery and the Jacksonville Jaguars elected to start rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert since Week 3.
It only took one quarterback-sneak play for the Texans to rely on Matt Leinart to manage them into the playoffs. Matt Schaub is likely done for the season after suffering a Lisfranc injury to his foot in the Texans' 37-9 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Schaub played the entire game despite suffering the injury in the second quarter.
Matthew Stafford: Detroit Lions
The oft-injured Matthew Stafford is playing through a fractured index finger on his throwing hand. While it hasn't sidelined him, it's ironic that he had one of the worst performances of his career in the Detroit Lions' 37-16 loss to the Chicago Bears. Stafford threw four interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns.
Stafford suffered the injury in a game against the Denver Broncos. Jim Schwartz has no plans of benching him. However, it's worth keeping an eye on.
Michael Vick: Philadelphia Eagles
The NFL's latest $100-million quarterback is trying to overcome a challenging season that was supposed to reward him with a "Dream Team." At 3-6, the Philadelphia Eagles basically must win out to have a somewhat realistic chance of winning the NFC East. Those hopes could be dashed with another loss to the New York Giants.
The questionable status on Michael Vick could open the doors for Vince Young or Mike Kafka. Vick suffered some cracked ribs in the Eagles' 21-17 loss to the Cardinals. Fortunately, the Eagles believe that his rib injuries aren't as serious as what he suffered last season. They don't expect him to miss anytime.
Other Injured Quarterbacks: Peyton Manning, Kerry Collins (IR), Jason Campbell, Chad Henne (IR)
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