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2010 Early Training Camp Injury Update
Philip Gentles
July 30, 2010
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QUARTERBACKS

Brett Favre, MIN - Arthroscopic Ankle Surgery

Brett Favre has not decided if he will return to the Vikings for the 2010 season. He has met with head coach Brad Childress and he said that if he plans on playing he would only need two to three weeks of training camp to get ready for the start of the regular season. However Favre’s ankle remains a problem and if things don’t improve he could decide to retire from the NFL for good. Favre, who had arthroscopic surgery on his ankle back in May, is 9 weeks into a recovery that should have lasted 8 weeks at the most. According to reports he still experiences pain after workouts and on some mornings the joint is so stiff that he finds it difficult to walk much less run and cut. He has been openly frustrated with his progress and there is growing speculation that he might need a second surgery for the joint to completely heal. He still has a couple of weeks before he needs to make a decision, but if his ankle continues to be an issue the chances of him calling it a career will increase.

RUNNING BACKS

Ahmad Bradshaw, NYG - Bi-lateral Foot Surgery and Arthroscopic Ankle Surgery

Giants’ RB Ahmad Bradshaw spent a large portion of the off-season rehabbing and recovering from three surgeries. But after participating in a few drills with teammates during June OTAs it appears that he is healthy enough to practice when training camp begins this weekend. Bradshaw had surgery to repair fractures in both feet and he had a third surgery to remove scar tissue from his ankle in the off-season and while he has made progress he still isn’t 100%. Bradshaw recently told reporters that he feels great and that he was looking forward to the start of the season. There’s a good chance that he will be limited during the early phases of training camp, but at this point it looks like he is on track to being completely healthy for Week 1.

Steve Slaton, HOU - Neck Surgery

According to reports Texans’ RB Steve Slaton, who had cervical vertebrae in his neck surgically fused, has been medically cleared and he will be practicing with the team when training camp begins. Slaton was an active participant during June OTAs, however he did not take part in contact drills. During his June 25 checkup with team doctors it was determined that his neck was fine and he was subsequently cleared for live contact. Head coach Gary Kubiak and running backs coach Chick Harris have indicated that Arian Foster will begin training camp as the number one RB with Slaton likely listed as the number 2 and rookie Ben Tate, who has been dealing with a hamstring injury, listed as the number three. The depth chart isn’t set in stone and it will probably change based on how the three running backs perform.

Leon Washington, SEA - Compound Leg Fracture

Seahawks’ RB Leon Washington will probably be cleared for the start of training camp but don’t be surprised if he is held out of contact drills early on. Washington, who is recovering from a compound leg fracture, has been limited throughout the off-season. However head coach Pete Carroll has been pleased with his progress and he recently said that he expects Washington to practice during camp. He also said that the starting job is up for grabs, although most would agree that Justin Forsett is the favorite to win it. If Washington is healthy he could end up being a big part of the Seahawks’ offense especially in the passing game, but Forsett will likely get a majority of the carries making him the first Seahawk RB to take in your fantasy draft.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Antonio Bryant, CIN - Knee Pain and Inflammation

Bengals’ WR Antonio Bryant continues to have issues with his previously scoped left knee and according to reports the team is concerned that problem is getting worse. Bryant, who tore cartilage in his knee prior to the start of last season, had arthroscopic surgery on the troublesome joint and he was supposed to be fine. But he reportedly dealt with pain and discomfort for much of the 2009 season. Bryant was recovering well during the off-season, unfortunately he told reporters that his knee began bothering him once he started working out with the Bengals. Head coach Marvin Lewis said at the time that he wasn’t concerned about Bryant’s knee, but it was clearly a problem as he had difficulty running routes and making cuts. Team officials were hoping that his knee would be better for the start of training camp. However he continues to deal with pain and discomfort in the joint and he has been limited to just one practice a day. Now we are beginning to understand why the Bengals brought in Terrell Owens. I just don’t see how this situation is going to get better unless he completely rests his leg for several weeks or has another surgical procedure to help correct the problem.

Marques Colston, NO - Arthroscopic Knee Surgery

The Saints received some good news this week. According to reports WR Marques Colston passed his conditioning test on Thursday and it looks like he will be available for the start of training camp. Colston, who has been recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, has told reporters that he feels great and that he expects to practice at full speed when camp begins. Colston has a history of left knee injuries but the joint appears to be healthy and the team does not anticipate it being a problem this season.

Donald Driver, GB - Bi-lateral Arthroscopic Knee Surgeries

Packers’ veteran WR Donald Driver, who had both knee’s scoped in January, has not done much with the team since the procedures and according to reports the team is concerned about his status for training camp and the pre season. Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin admitted that Driver’s knees have not recovered the way the team had expected and he wasn’t sure when or even if he would be allowed to practice during training camp. Philbin went on to say that James Jones and Jordy Nelson would see more playing time this season regardless of what happens with Driver. Driver still has some time to get ready for the start of the regular season. But his health and availability for Week 1 are far from guarantees.

Anthony Gonzalez, IND - PCL and MCL Sprains / Additional Arthroscopic Knee Surgery / Strained hamstring.

According to reports Colts’ WR Anthony Gonzalez is completely recovered from the knee injury that kept him sidelined for a majority of the 2009 season and he should be ready to battled Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie for playing time when training camp begins. Gonzalez, who suffered posterior cruciate and medial collateral ligament sprains in his knee, spent the early part of the off-season recovering and strengthening his leg. He practiced with the team in May and he apparently impressed the coaching staff. He was held out of several practices in June and several media outlets speculated that he suffered a setback in his recovery. However Gonzalez suffered a hamstring stain not related to his knee problems, but by all accounts his hamstring is back to full strength and he should be full go for the start of camp. Garcon is the favorite at this point to win the starting job opposite Reggie Wayne, but Gonzalez will have a chance to take it from him with an impressive training camp and productive pre season.

Brandon Marshall, MIA - Arthroscopic Hip Surgery

Dolphins’ WR Brandon Marshall is very close to 100% and the team expects him practice when training camp begins. Marshall, who had off-season arthroscopic hip surgery, was limited during June OTAs and head coach Tony Sparano has said that the team might limit him to non-contact drills as a precaution for the first couple of practices. The Dolphins have said on a number of occasions that they aren’t concerned about his status for Week 1. But don’t be surprised if he is limited throughout training camp and the pre season so that he is fresh and healthy for Week 1.

Sidney Rice, MIN - Lingering Hip Soreness

There were rumors that Vikings WR Sidney Rice had undergone groin surgery during the summer and that there was a chance he would miss training camp and the pre season. However according to his agent Drew Rosenhaus Rice is dealing with a hip injury that apparently happened during the playoffs last season and as of right now the injury does not require surgery. Rice will reportedly undergo several tests on Friday morning to see if he will be cleared for the start of training camp. If he isn’t cleared he will start training camp on the active PUP list. Rice has predicated that he will be able to participate in camp, however he recently admitted that his hip remains an issue. The most concerning thing about this injury is that it has lingered for 6 months. Let’s see what happens with his evaluation on Friday.

Steve Smith, CAR - Fractured Arm

Panthers’ WR Steve Smith no longer has a cast on the arm that he fractured while playing flag football, however he will begin training camp on the active PUP list and he probably won’t take part in contact drills for at least another 2 weeks. Smith told reporters that he is making “good strides” in his recovering and that he fully expects to be ready for the start of the regular season.

Wes Welker, NE - ACL Surgery / Shoulder Surgery

The Patriots have placed WR Wes Welker on the active PUP list for the start of training camp but team officials hope that he will be able to play in at least one exhibition game before the start of the regular season. There were reports that Welker would be medically cleared for the start of camp. However it appears that an evaluation of his knee indicated that he wasn’t ready for contact. As expected there isn’t much being said about his progress. But according to reports it looks like Welker will be back before Week 1 of the regular season.

TIGHT ENDS

Owen Daniels, HOU - ACL Surgery

Texans’ TE Owen Daniels is reportedly on schedule to be ready for the start of the regular season after spending the entire off-season recovering from anterior cruciate ligament surgery. Daniels, who did very little during OTAs, might be cleared for non-contact  individual drills at the start of training camp. Team officials aren’t sure when he will be able to practice with the team but they hope that he will be cleared for contact before the start of the regular season. Daniels recently tweeted that he was “looking forward to being ready for Week 1.” He sounds optimistic which is great, however if he is limited throughout training camp and the pre-season there is a good chance that he won’t be in good playing shape to start the season.

Todd Heap, BAL - Undisclosed Illness

Ravens’ TE Todd Heap has been placed on the active/non-football illness list and will miss the first day of training camp because of an undisclosed health problem. The exact nature of the illness has not been made public, however team officials have indicated that the illness is not serious and they don’t expect Heap to be out for an extended period of time. 

Kellen Winslow, TB - Arthroscopic Knee Surgery

According to reports Bucs’ TE Kellen Winslow, who has been recovering from off-season arthroscopic knee surgery, will be cleared to participate in training camp this weekend. Head coach Raheem Morris told reporters on Wednesday that Winslow’s knee was fine and that he expects him to participate in the team’s first training camp practice on Saturday. He’ll likely be limited to one practice each day and since he has a long history of knee problems there is a good chance that the medical staff will limit him throughout the pre-season as a precaution as well. Despite dealing with chronic knee pain and inflammation Winslow has played in every game in three of the past four years, so he’s found a way to manage the discomfort and play. Let’s just hope his knee holds up through at least one more season.

INDIVIDUAL DEFENSIVE PLAYERS

Sergio Kindle, LB, BAL - Fractured Skull

Ravens’ rookie LB Sergio Kindle, who fractured his skull after falling down two flights of stairs, will miss training camp and according to reports it appears that he will start the regular season on the PUP list. Kindle apparently suffers from narcolepsy and there is speculation that he fell asleep while visiting a friend which resulted in him falling down the stairs. Kindle is reportedly doing fine and doctors expect him to make a full recovery. However it appears that he will eventually be placed on the reserve PUP list and miss the first 6 weeks of the regular season.

Phillip Merling, DE, MIA - Ruptured Achilles Tendon

The Dolphins’ have lost Phillip Merling for the entire 2010 season after the defensive end tore his Achilles tendon during an off-season workout. Merling, who is scheduled to undergo surgery to repair the tear, was projected to be in the starting lineup on the right side. The team’s medical staff expects Merling to be ready for OTAs next year.

Osi Umenyiora, DE, NYG - Torn Hip Flexor and Chronic Hip Pain

Giants’ DE Osi Umenyiora continues to be bothered by a lingering hip injury but it looks like he will attempt to practice and play through the pain. Osi tore his hip flexor in 2006 and according to reports he has dealt with discomfort in and around the injured area ever since. In fact team doctors have told him that the pain will not subside until he undergoes hip surgery. Obviously any surgical procedure now would keep him out for a long time so it appears that he’s going to play and manage the pain with the help of the medical staff. Osi won’t be at his best, but he still feels he can start for the Giants. Don’t be surprised if the team limits him throughout training camp and the pre-season so that he is as healthy as possible for the regular season.

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