Definition of Doubtful Designation

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What does the term "doubtful" mean when it comes to the availability of NFL players? What is meant by the term "doubtful"?

A few years ago, the NFL redefined their injury designations, eliminating the term "probable".

The King explains the designation of Doubtful when it comes to the National Football League (NFL).  What does it mean?If a player is less than 100% healthy but not on injured reserve, there are two designations that are now used:

1) Questionable

2) Doubtful

The term doubtful means that "it is unlikely that a player will participate" in their next game.

This compares to "questionable", which is defined as a player being "uncertain" to play in their upcoming game.


It should be mentioned that it is very rare that a player that is listed as "doubtful" through the week ends up playing.

In fact, as we examine the first 15 weeks of the 2022 NFL season, we can see that there was not ONE instance where a player that was listed as doubtful ended up playing in their team's next game.

If a player is listed as doubtful, you can safely assume that they will not be playing in their team's next game.

With the questionable designation, on the other hand, there is a much higher likelihood of the player getting the start.