Early Injury Report: Week 1
Philip Gentles
September 4, 2012

Running Backs

Ahmad Bradshaw, NYG - Hand Contusion

Giants’ RB Ahmad Bradshaw, who has been recovering from a hand contusion, returned to full practice on Sunday and according to reports the team expects him to start on Wednesday night against the Cowboys. Bradshaw will likely have the previously injured hand wrapped and padded as a precaution, but the medical staff does not expect the injury to be an issue moving forward.

Brandon Jacobs, SF - Sprained Knee

49ers’ RB Brandon Jacobs continues to recover from a sprained left knee and his status for Week 1 appears to be in question. The exact nature of Jacob’s injury has not been made public, but there are reports that suggest his knee has significantly improved and that team officials aren’t prepared to rule him out of their first regular season game just yet. But he’s a long shot to play so don’t be surprised if he is inactive.

Marshawn Lynch, SEA - Back Spasms

Seahawks’ head coach Pete Carroll has told reporters several times the last couple of days that RB Marshawn Lynch, who has missed practice time because of a lingering back problem, is doing well and that he expects him to start in Week 1. Lynch has apparently been dealing with back spasms and the associated discomfort has kept him off the practice field. He also suffered from a similar issue last year, however he made a quick recovery and finished the year feeling fine. Carroll did say that Lynch’s rehab has been “effective“ and that it “took a really good turn” last week. It certainly would be nice to see him participate in and complete full practices with teammates at some point this week. But even if he is limited as a precaution the Seahawks still expect him to be healthy enough to start.

Ryan Mathews, SD - Fractured Collarbone

Chargers’ RB Ryan Matthews has still not been cleared by the medical staff to resume contact drills and despite his optimism it doesn’t look like he will be ready in time to play on Monday night against the Raiders. Mathews is recovering from a fractured collarbone and according to reports his shoulder and arm are now pain-free. He’s nearly regained all of his strength and range of motion and he did catch passes and take part in individual drills during practice on Monday. Mathews has told reporters that he remains “very hopeful” that he will be cleared to play against the Raiders, but the medical staff is concerned that the bone has not completely healed and unless something dramatic happens this week Mathews will likely be inactive.

Rashard Mendenhall, PIT - Recovering from ACL Surgery

Steelers’ RB Rashard Mendenhall was removed from the active/PUP list a couple of weeks ago sparking optimism about his availability for Week 1. But Mendenhall’s surgically repaired knee is still not close to 100% and team officials don’t expect him to be a factor in their Week 1 game. Mendenhall was originally targeting a return to field in Week 5, so his activation two weeks ago came as a surprise. According to reports he’s running and cutting without a problem and he is no longer experiencing soreness after activity. However he’s still not in football shape and he probably won’t be ready to play for at least another 2 or three weeks. He hasn’t been ruled out for Week 1 yet, but don’t expect him to play.

Adrian Peterson, MIN - Recovering from ACL Surgery

Vikings’ RB Adrian Peterson, who is recovering from reconstructive knee surgery, is working hard in an effort to get clearance for the team’s Week 1 game against the Jaguars. However head coach Leslie Frazier told reporters on Monday that Peterson will be a game-time decision and that even if he plays his role within the offense will be limited. To his credit Peterson has made significant strides in his recovery. But Frasier indicated that Peterson is still not ready to handle a full load and that Toby Gerhart will get a bulk of a carries on Sunday.

Isaac Redman, PIT - Undisclosed Hip/Groin Injury and Sprained Ankle

Steelers’ RB Isaac Redman is dealing with a couple of problems that will likely limit his involvement in practice this week. However team officials are confident that he will be healthy enough to play in their Week 1 game. According to reports Redman suffered an undisclosed hip and groin injury during the preseason. The injury did not require immediate surgery, but Redman has said that it’s the kind of injury that will linger all season which means that it will probably need to be addressed at some point. Redman also suffered what is being called a minor ankle sprain. Head coach Mike Tomlin does not expect his ankle injury to be a long-term problem and he told reporters that he expects Redman to play on Sunday night against the Broncos.

Trent Richardson, CLE - Arthroscopic Knee Surgery

Browns’ rookie RB Trent Richardson finally returned to practice on Monday after missing a month following his second arthroscopic procedure on his left knee and he hopes to be ready for the team’s Week 1 game against the Eagles. According to reports Richardson did not run at full speed, but he still took part in team drills and if his knee responds well the medical staff will continue to increase his workload this week. Head coach Pat Shurmur told reporters that he was pleased with Richardson’s progress and indicated that the rookie will start if he is healthy enough to play. But, even if he does start he’ll probably split the workload with the Browns’ other running backs. Check back later in the week for an update.

Kevin Smith, DET - Sprained Ankle

Lions’ RB Kevin Smith, who has missed time because of a sprained ankle, took part in practice on Monday and if his ankle holds up this week he will be the starting RB for the team in Week 1. Smith rolled his ankle just over a week ago and there were initial concerns that he suffered a high ankle sprain. But according to reports he suffered a regular ankle sprain and the team’s medical staff does not expect the injury to be a long term problem. With so many injuries to Lions backfield if Smith is active for Week 1 he will likely be their primary ball carrier.

Darren Sproles, NO - Undisclosed Knee Injury

Saints’ RB Darren Sproles has been held out of exhibition games and limited in practice since suffering what the team called a minor knee injury in their first preseason game. However team officials expect him to participate in team drills this week and be ready for their Week 1 game against the Redskins. The exact nature of Sproles’ knee injury has not been made public, but interim coach Joe Vitt has said that Sproles is “fine” and that he expected him to play when the regular season begins.

Jonathan Stewart, CAR - Sprained Ankle

RB Jonathan Stewart’s status for Week 1 remains in question as he continues to recover from a sprained ankle. Stewart will likely be limited in practice this week and head coach Ron Rivera has said that he won’t know more about his availability until he sees how Stewart’s ankle responds to the increased activity. Needless to say he won’t be 100% so there is a good chance that the Panthers will lean heavily DeAngelo Williams.

Wide Receivers

Miles Austin, DAL - Strained Hamstring

Cowboys’ WR Miles Austin, who missed the entire preseason with a strained hamstring, returned to practice on Saturday and after making it through full practices on Sunday and Monday it looks like he will be ready to play in Wednesday’s Week 1 game against the Giants. Austin does have a history of lingering hamstring issues so he’s definitely an injury risk moving forward. But he’s healthy now and head coach Jason Garrett has told reporters that he will be in the starting lineup on Wednesday night.

Dez Bryant, DAL - Patellar Tendonitis

Cowboys’ WR Dez Bryant, who was limited during the last two weeks of the preseason because of a mild patellar tendonitis in his knee, returned to full practice on Saturday and barring a setback he will be in the starting lineup on Wednesday night. According to reports Bryant is no longer dealing with inflammation and soreness in his knee and his return to full practice indicates that he is completely healthy and ready for the start of the regular season.

Austin Collie, IND - Concussion

Colts’ WR Austin Collie, who has a history of serious head injuries, has made a surprisingly quick recovery from his most recent concussion and after being cleared for contact on Monday team officials expect him to play in Week 1 against the Bears. Collie suffered his fourth concussion in less than two years during the preseason and there was some initial concern that he would be out for a significant amount of time. But his concussion symptoms quickly subsided and according to reports he has had several neurological exams and all have come back fine. Head coach Chuck Pagano confirmed on Monday that Collie was a “full go” in practice and that he will be healthy enough to play in Week 1.

Hakeem Nicks, NYG - Recovering from Fractured Foot

Giants’ WR Hakeem Nicks, who has been recovering from surgically repaired foot, was held out of practice on Sunday and Monday as a precaution. But head coach Tom Coughlin has said that Nicks will play on Wednesday night against the Cowboys. Nicks has reportedly been dealing with post-activity soreness in his foot and there is some concern that he still isn’t completely healthy. With that in mind don’t be surprised if his playing time is limited on Wednesday

Tight Ends

Dustin Keller, NYJ - Strained Hamstring

Jets’ TE Dustin Keller has been limited during the preseason because of a strained hamstring, but the injury is not considered serious and he should be ready to play in Week 1. According to reports Keller’s hamstring strain was diagnosed as a grade 1 (minor) injury and he has been limited in practices and workouts as a precaution. He probably won’t do much this week until Wednesday or Thursday, but he will be in the starting lineup on Sunday against the Bills.

Jason Witten, DAL - Lacerated Spleen

Cowboys’ TE Jason Witten continues to recover from a lacerated spleen and his status for Wednesday’s game against the Giants is in question. Witten, who has steadily improved since getting hurt, is scheduled to undergo a series of tests and examinations on Tuesday to determine if he is healthy enough to play. Right now it doesn’t look like he will be cleared, but we should get news on his official status sometime today.

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