Andy Dalton won't need surgery on his broken thumb and could play again this season.

Dalton broke the thumb on his passing hand during a 33-20 loss to the Steelers on Sunday that left the AFC North up for grabs. He had an appointment with a specialist Monday who recommended that the fracture could heal without surgery.

It's still unclear how many games he will miss. His hand will remain in a cast for now.

"Basically we'll go week to week with things," coach Marvin Lewis said. "I think that's about as good an outcome right now as we could expect. He won't play this week. As we move forward, we'll see how he is each week and it'll be up to Andy and the doctors."

AJ McCarron will make his first NFL start Sunday in San Francisco, trying to make an Alabama breakthrough. A quarterback from Alabama hasn't won an NFL game as a starter since Jeff Rutledge in 1987, according to STATS.

McCarron won back-to-back national titles at Alabama. The fifth-round pick in 2014 missed his rookie season because of a sore passing shoulder, but played well enough during the preseason to win the job as Dalton's backup.

Since Rutledge's win in 1987, Alabama quarterbacks have gone 0-13 in NFL starts.

"That's history," McCarron said on Monday. "I'm not really worried about history. I'm worried about what we have right now."

Hoyer has concussion

Houston quarterback Brian Hoyer suffered his second concussion in less than a month and is doubtful for Sunday's game against Indianapolis.

Coach Bill O'Brien said Hoyer is in the concussion protocol and that he's also dealing with a strained neck and a wrist problem after being sacked five times in a 27-6 loss to New England. He missed a game earlier this season after getting a concussion on Nov. 16 against the Bengals.

If he can't go, the Texans will look to T.J. Yates, who started the last time Hoyer was out and led them to a win.


Charles Woodson and Calvin Johnson are among eight finalists for the NFL's Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award. Joining the Raiders safety and Lions receiver are running backs Matt Forte of the Bears and Justin Forsett of the Ravens; linebacker Luke Kuechly of the Panthers; quarterback Matt Hasselbeck of the Colts; cornerback Jason McCourty of the Titans; and tackle Joe Staley of the 49ers.

•Bears safety Antrel Rolle will miss the remainder of the season because of a sprained right knee. An 11-year veteran and three-time Pro Bowl pick, he suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament in practice last month.

•Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew will not return this season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in Sunday's loss to the Rams. Pettigrew finished the season with a career-low seven catches.

•The Packers signed defensive lineman Mike Daniels to a contract extension worth $42 million over four years, keeping one of the top potential free agents off the open market this offseason. Daniels has 56 tackles, four sacks and a forced fumble.

•The most frustrating season of Joe Haden's career is over. Six weeks after suffering his second concussion, the star cornerback was placed injured reserve by the Browns.