Welp, bring the pain then.

Bengals safety Chris Crocker injured his quadriceps a week ago in what was pretty much a meaningless game, and he was listed as doubtful yesterday. So no, his inactive status isn’t a surprise, as it was pretty much a formality at this point. But it still brings a lot of suck to the Bengals’ defensive backfield.

Now the task of sticking with Owen Daniels downfield and helping with bracket coverage on Andre Johnson belongs to some combination of Nate Clements and Taylor Mays. It’ll likely be Clements, who was benched at midseason following a failed conversion to safety.

Crocker is the only notable inactive for the playoff and Wild Card Weekend opener between the Bengals and Texans that starts in just over an hour. But elsewhere in tonight’s game, we’ve now learned more details about Christian Ponder’s elbow that may be several pleasant shades of black and blue.

He has elbow bursitis, which is described thusly by the noble doctors at Wikipedia (also, holy shit look at the lump on this dude’s elbow:

Bursitis is the inflammation of one or more bursae (small sacs) of synovial fluid in the body. The bursae rest at the points where internal functionaries, such as muscles and tendons, slide across bone. Healthy bursae create a smooth, almost frictionless functional gliding surface making normal movement painless. When bursitis occurs, however, movement relying upon the inflamed bursa becomes difficult and painful. Moreover, movement of tendons and muscles over the inflamed bursa aggravates its inflammation, perpetuating the problem. Muscle can also be stiffened.

Yeah, that sounds comfortable.

Tom Pelissero from ESPN 1500 relayed that diagnosis, while also noting that Ponder had minimal reps throughout practice this week. The concern lies more so with that limited practice time than the injury itself, as it’s one that’s relatively common, and is connected to repeated motion.

Still, Ponder will clearly be limited, and at this point it’s only the severity of that limitation that remains in question. So this is the part when anyone supporting the Vikings in tonight’s football match should ask themselves a simple question:

Would you rather have a limited, bruised Ponder out there, or a healthy Joe Webb?

Ponder will start, but he might have a short leash.

UPDATE (3:37 p.m. ET): It seems this Ponder situation is indeed a bit of a situation. Our guess is still that he starts tonight, but these words from Jay Glazer are something less than encouraging…

UPDATE (4:53 p.m. ET): Hello, and welcome back to PONDER WATCH 2013(!)

We’ll keep updating this post as required until we know if Ponder really is going to play tonight, or if we’re getting a surprise Webb sighting. For now, know this…

UPDATE (6:07 p.m. ET): Alright, so the good news comes first. Ponder appeared on the field for warm-ups. Yep, that’s the end of the good news.

His tossing was brief, as ESPN’s Kevin Seifert reports that he only made 10-15 throws, none of which traveled more than 15 yards. He then had a long talk with Vikings offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave and trainer Eric Sugarman, and then Musgrave talked with general manager Rick Spielman.

So now we’ve officially reached red threat level for Ponder, as his minimal activity both tonight and more importantly throughout the week is putting his playing status in serious doubt. The inactives will be announced shortly.

You know, it would be nice if there was a reporter who’s really, really close to Ponder, and could obtain inside information right about now. Damn.