Montario Hardesty, CLE - Undisclosed Knee Injury
Browns' rookie RB Montario Hardesty will be out at least two weeks after suffering an undisclosed knee injury during a workout prior to the start of training camp. Hardesty, who was plagued with knee problems in college, told reporters that he was doing fine and that he expected to be ready before the start of the season. Head coach Eric Mangini is calling the injury a "tweak" and while he doesn't consider the injury to be serious he said that we "probably won't see him (Hardesty) for a couple of weeks." According to reports Hardesty has a legitimate chance of being the team’s starting RB in Week 1. But the longer he's out is the more he loses ground to Jerome Harrison.
Knowshon Moreno, DEN - Partially Torn Hamstring
Broncos’ RB Knowshon Moreno, who suffered a partially torn right hamstring in practice, will miss at least two more weeks while he recovers and the team does not expect him to return until after their second pre-season game. Moreno told reporters that when he was hurt he felt a pop in the back of his knee and he initially thought that he tore a ligament. However an examination in the locker room and an MRI revealed that his ligaments were fine and that the damage was to his hamstring. The injury does not require surgery, but he will need to completely rest his leg for a couple of weeks and there is a decent chance that he will be held out of the team’s third and fourth pre-season games as a precaution. The goal is to have him ready for Week 1 so there is no need to rush him back any sooner. Correll Buckhalter, who will take a majority of the snaps with the first-team offense while Moreno is out, has been dealing with a back problem that was causing numbness down his leg. However he has been cleared by doctors to practice and he should be fine from this point forward.
Adrian Peterson, MIN - Strained Leg
A strained leg has kept Vikings’ RB Adrian Peterson out of practice since last weekend, however team officials are not concerned about the problem and they expect him to be 100% when the regular season begins. Peterson apparently injured his leg early in training camp and he has been bothered by tightness ever since. This does not appear to be a big deal, but if Brett Favre isn’t healthy enough to play this season the Vikings will have to lean heavily on Peterson and the running game. So don’t be surprised if he is limited throughout the remainder of training camp and the pre-season as a precaution.
Jonathan Stewart, CAR - Achilles’ Tendon Surgery
Despite multiple reports that Panthers’ RB Jonathan Stewart has completely recovered from off-season Achilles’ tendon surgery, he still hasn’t practiced with the team and he remains on the active PUP list. In a recent interview Stewart admitted that his surgically repaired leg hasn’t been 100% since his last year in college. He indicated that he was ready to return but because his Achilles’ has been an issue for such a long time the Panthers don’t want to take any chances. He hopes that he will be cleared to practice before the end of training camp.
Antonio Bryant, CIN - Knee Inflammation
According to reports Bengals’ WR Antonio Bryant, who is still being bothered by a swollen left knee, will not play in this weekend’s exhibition game and the team isn’t sure if he will be able to practice next week. Bryant had his knee drained last Sunday and he told reporters on Monday that he was feeling a lot better. Unfortunately he hasn’t recovered enough to return to practice and it appears that his knee will not be completely healthy anytime soon. This opens the door for rookie Jordan Shipley who could see a lot of playing time in the slot to start the season.
Dez Bryant, DAL - High Ankle Sprain
Cowboys’ rookie WR Dez Bryant suffered a high ankle sprain at the start of training camp, but the team expects him to be ready for the start of the regular season. Bryant, who has been diagnosed with partial tear of his syndesmosis (ligament that joins the tibia and fibula near the ankle) is out for at least another 3 weeks while he recovers. According to reports he has already made significant progress and he is aiming to play in the Cowboys’ final pre-season game. We’ll keep you posted.
Donald Driver, GB - Bi-lateral Arthroscopic Knee Surgeries
Veteran WR Donald Driver spent a good portion of the off-season recovering from arthroscopic surgery in both knees and several team officials openly expressed concern about his recovery. But Driver passed a conditioning test at the start of training camp and according to reports he has been practicing without a problem. Driver revealed this week that had been dealing with pain in both knees for “three or four years” and that the discomfort had affected his productivity. But he is now running a cutting without a problem and team officials are no longer worried about his status for the start of the regular season.
DeSean Jackson, PHI - Lower Back Strain
Eagles’ WR DeSean Jackson remains “day-to-day” as he continues to recover from a lower back strain. Jackson, who was injured in practice last weekend, has not worked with the team since getting hurt. But head coach Andy Reid indicated that the injury was not serious and that he wasn’t worried about Jackson’s health. Jackson has been seen working with the training staff and according to reports he is looking better each day. Reid believes he is close to returning to practice so don’t expect his back to be an issue for much longer.
Jeremy Maclin, PHI - Bone Bruise
Eagles’ WR Jeremy Maclin will probably miss the team’s first pre-season game with a bone bruise in his knee, however team officials are confident that he will be back on the field within the next couple of weeks. Maclin hyperextended his left knee in practice on Tuesday and there was immediate concern that there was serious damage within the joint. An MRI showed that he suffered a bone bruise, but his ligaments, cartilage and tendons were reportedly fine. Maclin spoke with reporters on Thursday and he said that he plans on returning to practice soon, although several team officials indicated that he would likely be out for at least a couple of weeks. Either way he should be fine for the start of the regular season.
Derrick Mason, BAL - Sprained Ankle
Ravens’ WR Derrick Mason , who sprained his ankle in practice this week, has said that his ankle has responded favorably to treatment and that he expects to return to practice soon. Mason reportedly suffered a minor sprain when he was hit in practice on Tuesday. He was unable to put any weight on his leg and had to be helped off the field. Mason said that he initially thought the injury was serious, however it quickly improved indicating that it wasn’t a bad sprain to begin with. According to reports Mason’s ankle is still stiff and he needs to ice the joint after rehab to help control the discomfort. Head coach John Harbaugh hasn’t announced a timetable for Mason’s return, but he is confident that Mason will be back well before Week 1.
Hakeem Nicks, NYG - Hyperextended Knee
WR Hakeem Nicks gave the Giants a big scare this week when he left practice earlier this week with a hyperextended right knee. But several tests and evaluations showed that his knee was fine and he was cleared to return to practice on Thursday evening. Nicks underwent an MRI on Tuesday and according to reports it was inconclusive. A second MRI on Wednesday was more revealing and it showed that his knee was structurally okay. He spent a lot of time in training room on Thursday morning getting ready for the evening session and after passing a strength test he was cleared to return. Nicks was supposed to battle Mario Manningham during training camp for the starting job opposite Steve Smith. However Manningham continues to deal with a groin problem and he has been unable to practice. So it looks like it is Nick’s job to lose.
Sidney Rice, MIN - Hip Soreness
Vikings’ head coach Brad Childress told reporters this week that WR Sidney Rice was still not close to returning to practice but Childress is optimistic that Rice will be ready in time for the start of the regular season. Rice, who is currently on the active/PUP list, was evaluated at the beginning of training camp and it was determined that his painful hip was still a problem. Rice has been running on the side during team practice this week and he said that he is getting faster. He hopes to be cleared for practice before the end of training camp and his goal is to play in the team’s final pre-season game. Childress isn’t worried yet, but I just can’t see him being completely healthy in time for Week 1. He was reportedly told by two specialists in the off-season that his hip needs surgery. So unless he gets that surgery, he will likely have to deal with pain and discomfort in his hip all season.
Wes Welker, NE - ACL Surgery
Patriots’ WR Wes Welker started training camp on the active PUP list, but he was quickly cleared to practice and after taking part in contact drills on Thursday it looks like he will be ready in time for the start of the regular season. Welker, who is recovering from major knee and shoulder surgery, did more and more during each session of practice this week and he was finally allowed to take part in 11-on-11 drills on Thursday morning. According to reports Welker was hit hard twice during the session and both times he got up quickly. We’ll have to see how his knee responds to the contact over the next couple of days, but taking part in contact drills is a big milestone in his recovery. Things are going well, but remember it takes 12 - 18 months to completely recover from ACL surgery. While it looks like Welker will be healthy enough to play in Week 1, it will probably be several more months before he is back to 100%. So don’t be surprised if he starts the season slowly.
Owen Daniels, HOU - ACL Surgery
Texans’ head coach Gary Kubiak recently revealed that TE Owen Daniels had a setback in his recovery from ACL surgery. Kubiak didn’t say what the setback was or how it affected Daniels, but he indicated that Daniels’ recovery has gone longer than expected. Daniels has not returned to practice yet and he’s been limited to rehab in the training room and riding the stationary bike on the sideline. He said that he will begin running and hopefully cutting next week and that he expects to be ready for Week 1. Kubiak isn’t sure when Daniels will be cleared for contact but he said that the team will know more about his status for the start of the season over the next couple of weeks.
Individual Defensive Players
Elvis Dumervil, LB, DEN - Torn Pectoral Muscle
Broncos’ LB Elvis Dumervil will miss at least 4 months after tearing his pectoral muscle during practice on Wednesday evening. According to reports an MRI on Dumervil’s chest and shoulder has revealed damage that will probably need to be surgically repaired. The team’s medical staff has already indicated that surgery and rehab would keep him sidelined for 4 - 5 months. Dumervil is reportedly seeking a second opinion in hopes that he can avoid surgery and play through the injury. If he has to undergo surgery, as nearly everyone expects, he won’t be able to return until late in the regular season. So there is a good chance that the Broncos will just place him on Injured Reserve freeing up a valuable roster spot.
Albert Haynesworth, DL, WAS - Undisclosed Knee Problem
Redskins’ DL Albert Haynesworth, who has not been able to complete a conditioning test because of what he says is a problematic knee, underwent an MRI on Thursday and to no one’s surprise it revealed no structural damage. According to reports Haynesworth has failed a mandatory conditioning test several times because he was unable to finish the running portion. Members of the local media have speculated since the start of training camp that his knee was fine and that his inability to finish the test came down to laziness and being out of shape. However Haynesworth continued to blame his knee and so he was sent for an MRI on Thursday morning. Unfortunately for Haynesworth the MRI showed that his complaints about his knee have not been legitimate. It isn’t clear what head coach Mike Shanahan and the Broncos are going to do, but they are reportedly considering allowing him to practice without passing the test. At the very least it should be interesting to see what happens.
Paul Posluszny, LB, BUF - Groin Surgery
Bills’ LB Paul Posluszny is still not completely recovered from off-season groin surgery, however the team hopes that he can be cleared in time for their third or fourth pre-season game. Posluszny has not practiced with teammates and has been limited to individual conditioning drills during training camp so far. He said that he feels great and that the medical staff is moving him along slowly as a precaution. If all goes well he could be back on the field with teammates in two weeks.
Marcus Spears, DL, DAL - Partially Torn MCL
According to reports Cowboys’ DL Marcus Spears will miss the next 4 - 6 weeks after partially tearing the medial collateral ligament in his knee during practice on Thursday. It appears that the injury will not require surgery, however Spears will likely miss the remainder of training camp and all 4 of the team’s exhibition games. The medical staff hopes to have him ready for Week 1, but his status for the start of the regular season is being considered questionable.