There was a time not too long ago when Tom Brady was on the injury report nearly every week. It was a funny joke, and Bill Belichick was the class clown waving his finger at principal Goodell and his silly little injury list.

Now Brady’s on the injury report again, and this time it’s for realz.

1. But don’t worry, Patriots fans, Brady is fine and he’ll play this weekend against Buffalo in a game where a win clinches homefield advantage throughout the playoffs, giving him more healing time. There’s some minor confusion about Brady’s level of participation in practice today, with Adam Schefter reporting that he was merely physically present, and didn’t participate, while the Boston Herald’s Ian Rapoport watched Brady as he threw in practice despite his ailing left shoulder. Jason La Canfora reports that Brady’s played through much worse, and that this injury is just a “ding.”

2. Tony Romo‘s hand is making progress, and he was able to do more in practice today than he did yesterday. But it’s still swollen.

3. Updating the key Giants injuries, Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham still look like they’re ready to go, but Jake Ballard was held back by trainers today. On the defensive side of the ball, Osi Umenyiora‘s progress is also encouraging, and barring a setback it’s looking like he’ll play. He won’t be starting against the Cowboys, though, because even Umenyiora admits that Jason Pierre-Paul has more than earned the right to keep his spot opposite Justin Tuck.

4. Texans head coach Gary Kubiak isn’t a fan of making promises, especially with Andre Johnson and his fragile hamstring. Kubiak said that Johnson took a step forward in yesterday’s practice, and he took another positive stride today. Starting in Week 17 will likely require three bounding steps for Houston’s No. 1 wideout, with the third hopefully and likely coming tomorrow.

5. Reggie Bush missed his second straight practice with a knee sprain, and now he has one more day to avoid an offseason of comments that start with “Reggie Bush started to look like he could carry the load this year,” and end with “but he still missed that last game.” If he does miss Sunday’s game, it’ll be Bush’s 19th absence over just six seasons.

6. The Raiders injury round-up is about as lengthy as the Giants’ list. Richard Seymour returned to practice today after a standard maintenance day, and both Jacoby Ford and Taiwan Jones were running at full speed for the second straight day. But the Darren McFadden watch hit Day 67, and there’s still no sign of the oft-injured running back. Unless something miraculous happens tomorrow, McFadden played his final regular-season game of 2011 in Week 10.

7. Our first Ben Roethlisberger update of the day came in this morning’s links post, and nothing has changed since then regarding his status. Roethlisberger, Maurkice Pouncey and Emmanuel Sanders are still on track to start and play a portion of Pittsbrugh’s game against Cleveland, but LaMarr Woodley is likely out.