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NFL Makes Significant Changes To Injury Report Rules

NFL: Pro Bowl Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

For as long as I can remember, National Football League teams have put together their injury reports 48 hours prior to the kickoff of their game for a particular week. Up until now, the reports have had players grouped into four categories, based on their likelihood of suiting up for that week’s game. Those categories were “probable” (75% chance of playing that week), “questionable” (50% chance), “doubtful” (25% chance), and “out” (0% chance).

On Sunday, the National Football League announced some significant changes to this process.

According to Pro Football Talk, there is no longer going to be a “probable” designation on the injury report. The league has also made changes to the “questionable” and “doubtful” designations.

“Questionable” now, literally, means that it is uncertain whether or not a player will be playing in a particular week, while “doubtful” now means. . .get this. . .that it’s unlikely a player will play. “Out,” apparently, still means out.

This basically means that any player that is less than 100% definite to play should be listed as “questionable” on the final injury report. As PFT points out, this does create a much broader range of which players can be listed as “questionable” on the injury report.

While these changes streamline the process, they create a much broader range for “questionable,” allowing visiting teams to keep the truly injured players under wraps until they head to the site of the game and leave the injured players behind. For home teams, the question of whether a “questionable” player will play won’t be finally resolved until the list of inactive players is filed 90 minutes prior to kickoff.

It’s going to be interesting to see how NFL teams take advantage of these new designations. Not having a “probable” designation will be helpful, since pretty much every player that’s listed as “probable” ended up playing anyway. The rest of the rules, however, should add some intrigue to the pre-game preparation process.