Michael Vick, PHI - Bruised Ribs and Hand
According to reports Eagles’ QB Michael Vick, who was knocked out of the team’s second preseason game against the Patriots with bruised ribs, has already returned to practice on a full-time basis and team officials expect him 100% when the regular season begins. Vick also left the team’s first preseason game after suffering a bruised hand and while neither injury was considered serious his playing style and body type do raise legitimate durability concerns. Can he stay healthy for an entire season? Fantasy prognosticators are in love with his upside, but I must caution that he is a big injury risk and his history suggests that he will spend a portion of the upcoming season dealing with some kind of injury.
Jahvid Best, DET - Post Concussion Syndrome
Lions’ RB Jahvid continues to suffer from post concussion syndrome related to the severe concussion that ended his 2011 season and the team has placed him on the reserve PUP list which means he will be out for the first 6 weeks of the regular season. Best, who has not practiced with the team since getting hurt last year, recently told reporters that he was no longer experiencing any symptoms and that he was hoping to be cleared before the start of the regular season. Unfortunately a recent checkup revealed an undisclosed neurological irregularity. Best remains optimistic, but at this stage it’s reasonable to question if he’ll ever be able to play football again (let alone this season). Kevin Smith will likely be the Lions’ Week 1 starting running back.
Roy Helu, WAS - Bilateral Achilles’ Tendonitis
Redskins’ RB Roy Helu continues to deal with inflammation and soreness in both Achilles’ tendons and his status for the start of the regular season remains in question. Helu, who had missed almost two weeks of practice and games while resting his injuries, returned to practice on a limited basis last week and he has said that he plans on being ready when the regular season begins. But head coach Mike Shanahan isn’t sure if Helu will be active and we won’t know more about his availability until sometime next week.
Ryan Mathews, SD - Fractured Clavicle
Chargers’ RB Ryan Mathews, who is recovering from shoulder surgery, has said that he is ahead of schedule and that he will be back when the regular season begins. But according to reports the team isn’t expecting him to return until at least Week 2. Mathews suffered a fractured clavicle in the team’s preseason opener and after the injury was surgically repaired the team’s medical staff said that it would take 4 - 6 weeks for him to recover. Now if he is ahead of schedule he could make it back in time for Week 1. But he probably won’t be 100% and the Chargers will likely keep him sidelined until he is back to full strength. Don’t be surprised if he is inactive for the team’s first regular season game.
Trent Richardson, CLE - Arthroscopic Knee Surgery
Browns’ rookie RB Trent Richardson continues to recover from arthroscopic surgery on his left knee and while he remains limited in practice team officials expect him to be cleared for all activities when the regular season begins. Richardson, who had surgery on the same knee earlier in the off-season, could have played this year without the second procedure. However he was experiencing soreness and discomfort the team wanted to make sure their top pick was completely healthy. According to reports Richardson will likely split time with Montario Hardesty and Brandon Jackson for the first couple of regular season games, but as soon as his knee is 100% (which could be by Week 3) the team will increase his workload and he will likely be the team’s primary ball carrier for the bulk of the season.
Jonathan Stewart, CAR - Sprained Ankle
Panthers’ RB Jonathan Stewart, who left Sunday’s preseason game against the Jets with an ankle injury, has been diagnosed with a regular sprain and his status for Week 1 remains uncertain. Stewart was seen on crutches on Monday morning and there was speculation that he suffered a severe high ankle sprain. But Head coach Ron Rivera told reporters that didn’t think the sprain was of the high variety. Stewart will not play in Thursday preseason finale and Rivera said he won’t know what his status for Week 1 will be until sometime next week.
Kenny Britt, TEN - Bi-lateral Knee Surgeries
Titans’ WR Kenny Britt, who has been recovering from ACL surgery on his right knee and a clean-up arthroscopic procedure on his left knee, could finally be removed from the active PUP list this week and head coach Mike Munchak is hoping that he will be active for the team’s Week 1 game. Britt is reportedly pain-free in both knees and although he hasn’t been cleared to practice with the team the medical believes that he is almost back to full strength and he could get medical clearance before the end of the week. He won’t play in Thursday’s preseason finale, but it looks like he will be available when the Titans start the regular season. Keep in mind that Britt’s playing time will be limited to start the season and there is a good chance that he will be suspended for a couple of games as a result of his well publicized off-the-field issues.
Dez Bryant, DAL - Patella Tendonitis
Cowboys’ WR Dez Bryant has been limited to individual drills in practice over the last week because of inflammation in the patella tendon of his right knee and while he will probably miss the team’s last preseason game he should be ready for the start of the regular season. According to reports Bryant, who has not practiced with teammates since the onset of the inflammation, has shown signs of improvement and he medical staff is confident that he will be ready to go in time for Week 1.
Austin Collie, IND - Concussions
Colts’ WR Austin Collie suffered a minor concussion about a week ago and team officials are calling him day-to-day indicating that his situation isn’t serious. However with his history of concussions this latest incident should raise concerns. Collie missed a significant portion of the 2010 season after suffering three concussions in less than a year. He was able to make it back in time for the 2011 season and he played in all 16 games, however this latest concussion suggests that he is at a higher risk for re-injury. Collie is being watched closely and according to reports his symptoms have almost subsided, so there is optimism about his availability for Week 1.
Steve Smith, CAR - Foot Infection
Panthers’ veteran WR Steve Smith, who picked up a left foot infection following the team’s preseason game against the Dolphins, will likely return to practice this week and he should be fine for the start of the regular season. It isn’t clear how the infection developed, but head coach Ron Rivera told reporters that it could have come from “a scratch or something.” Smith was reportedly dealing with pain and swelling in his foot, but he was put on a course of antibiotics that have reportedly controlled and cleared the infection. He won’t play in the team’s finale preseason game, but the coaching staff expects him to be at full speed for their Week 1 game.
Dustin Keller, NYJ - Strained Hamstring
Jets’ TE Dustin Keller left Sunday’s preseason game after pulling his hamstring in the first quarter, but the injury does not appear to be serious and the team expects him to he fine when the regular season begins. Keller admitted that his leg was sore and bit tight following the game, but he also said that “it’s not that bad” and there are reports that he didn’t require an MRI. Don’t be surprised if he is held out of the team’s final preseason game as a precaution, but he has plenty of time to recover and he should be ready for Week 1.
Jason Witten, DAL - Lacerated Spleen
Cowboys’ TE Jason Witten will miss the remainder of the preseason and he might not be ready for the start of the regular season as his continues to recover from a lacerated spleen. According to reports surgery to remove his damaged spleen does not appear to be necessary, but the injury did cause internal bleeding and he only recently received clearance to resume exercising. The Cowboys’ Week 1 game is on September 5 against the Giants so he probably won’t be ready in time for that. But team officials don’t think he will miss a lot of time and it looks like a return for Week 2 is a more realistic goal.