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2010 Off-Season Injury Report - Running Backs
Philip Gentles
June 6, 2010
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Ahmad Bradshaw, NYG - Surgery to Repair Bi-lateral Foot Fractures / Arthroscopic Ankle Surgery

Giants’ RB Ahmad Bradshaw remains limited to one or two practices a week as he continues to recover from multiple off-season foot and ankle surgeries. However he will attempt to take part in every phase of the team’s June mini camp and if all goes well he should be ready for training camp. According to reports Bradshaw had screws surgically inserted into both feet to help repair and stabilize fractures and he had an additional arthroscopic procedure to clean out loose bodies in his bothersome ankle. In a recent interview Bradshaw admitted that screws in his feet continue to cause soreness especially after activity. But he did say that his ankle feels great and that he should be able to take part in more practices this year as a result. 

Ronnie Brown, MIA - Surgery to Repair Lisfranc Fracture

According to reports Dolphins’ RB Ronnie Brown is still not completely recovered from foot surgery but he remains optimistic that he will be cleared for all activities when training camp begins. Brown’s 2009 season came a premature end when he suffered a Lisfranc fracture in his right foot. The surgery to repair the damage reportedly went well and he has spent the entire off-season getting treatment and working hard in rehab. Team officials are pleased with his progress and he appears to he on schedule in his recovery. However he remains a limited participant in OTAs and he recently admitted that his foot was at about 80 percent. Head coach Tony Sparano still expects him to participate in training camp and he is confident that Brown will be 100% in time for the start of the regular season. Keep in mind that Brown could be facing a league-imposed suspension as a result of his March DUI arrest.

Jamaal Charles, KC - Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery

Chiefs’ RB Jamaal Charles told reporters that his recovery from off-season shoulder surgery has gone well and that he expects to be at full speed when training camp begins. Charles, who has a history of shoulder dislocations, said that it popped out of place during a game late last year and that the off-season procedure was done to help improve shoulder stability and clean out scar tissue. As expected he’s spent the entire off-season recovering from the surgery and he has so far been limited to medically supervised non-contact individual drills. Head coach Todd Haley indicated to reporters former Jets’ RB Thomas Jones, who has taken a lot of reps with the first-team offense in Charles’ absence this off-season, was brought in to share carries with Charles and according to reports a healthy Charles will have every opportunity to be the starting tailback.

James Davis, CLE - Torn Shoulder Labrum

Browns’ RB James Davis, who needed surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder  following a strange incidence in practice last year, has reportedly made a full recovery and the team expects him to be ready to battle rookie Montario Hardesty and James Harrison for playing time during training camp. Davis originally injured his shoulder in the team’s opening game last season but he suffered a more serious labrum tear when he was hit while not wearing pads in what the Browns called a “post-practice opportunity period.” Apparently he was pass-blocking and a linebacker who was wearing pads ran into him. Davis said that he is back to full strength, unfortunately he has a tall mountain to climb as he is currently listed as the team’s third running back.

Matt Forte, CHI - Arthroscopic Knee Surgery

Bears’ RB Matt Forte was a first-round favorite for many fantasy football drafters last season. Unfortunately he did not live up to expectations and he had a very disappointing year. We now know why his production suffered. According to reports Forte partially tore the medial collateral ligament in his left knee in last year’s Week 3 game against the Seahawks and he spent the remainder of the season dealing with pain, swelling and some instability. Former team offensive coordinator Ron Turner told reporters that the injury affected his performance in that it prevented him from accelerating like he did as a rookie. Forte underwent arthroscopic surgery on his knee at the conclusion of the regular season and by all accounts his knee is back to full strength. The Bears have brought in Chester Taylor and head coach Lovie Smith has indicated that both will share carries this upcoming season. However Forte will likely be the team’s starting RB and several local reporters have predicted that he will get a majority of the playing time once the regular season begins.

Earnest Graham, TB - Torn Toe Ligament

Buccaneer’s RB/FB Earnest Graham, who was placed on Injured Reserve last year after tearing a ligament in his big right toe, was a full participant in recent OTAs and team officials are confident that he will be fine for the start of training camp. It looks like Graham has officially been changed from RB to FB as he has been working as the team’s starting fullback during the off-season. Obviously he won’t get a lot of carries while blocking for Cadillac Williams and Derrick Ward. But according to reports he will be very involved in the passing attack and he thinks he can catch “50 or 60” passes.

Shonn Greene, NYJ - Torn Rib Cartilage

RB Shonn Greene’s ribs and ankle are feeling great and it appears that he is ready for the start of the season. Greene sprained his ankle during the regular season and the injury lingered into the post-season. He also tore left rib cartilage during the AFC Championship game and he spent the two months of the off-season in rehab. By all accounts Greene has completely recovered and he will enter training camp as the team’s top RB. LaDainian Tomlinson was brought in not to challenge Greene but to help lighten his load and as insurance. Greene isn’t afraid of contact and his style of running makes him more prone to injury. Tomlinson has accepted his role as a backup and change-of-pace tailback and he has said that he will be ready to handle more carries should the team need it.

Steven Jackson, STL - Herniated Disc Surgery

Rams’ RB Steven Jackson, who was bothered by pain and stiffness in his back last season, opted to have the problem surgically repaired and it looks like he made the right decision. According to reports an examination on Jackson’s back last year revealed a herniated disc and despite his team’s struggles he decided to play through the pain. In the off-season the team’s medical staff said that he had two options. The first would be to undergo surgery and guarantee that the problem would be fixed while running the risk of missing part if not all of the team’s off-season conditioning program. The second option would be a non-surgical treatment and rehabilitation program that would allow him to be active in OTAs, but not guarantee that his back would be completely healthy. Jackson took a wait and see approach and felt that rehab and treatment was not enough so he decided to have the surgical procedure. According to reports the surgery was a success and he no longer has pain and stiffness in his back. Head coach Steve Spagnuolo told reporters that there is a chance that he will be able to take part in some drills in this month’s OTAs and he’s confident that Jackson will be healthy enough to participate in training camp and 100% for the start of the regular season.

Brandon Jacobs, NYG - Arthroscopic Knee Surgery

According to reports Giants’ RB Brandon Jacobs had arthroscopic knee surgery early in the off-season to repair torn cartilage that he says happened in Week 1 and he’s already made a full recovery. Jacobs said that he was told by the team’s medical staff that surgery was needed to repair the damage in his knee and that decided against surgery because he didn’t want to miss 4 to 6 weeks while he recovered. But he admitted that his decision was a mistake as the injury affected his performance for the remainder of the season. The good news is that his knee is now healthy and he will be ready for the start of training camp. 

Steve Slaton, HOU - Cervical Fusion Surgery

Texans’ RB Steve Slaton is doing well after undergoing off-season cervical fusion surgery in his neck. According to reports Slaton was dealing with a compressed nerve in his neck that resulted in numbness that ran from his right shoulder down to his right hand and thumb. The surgery, in which one cervical vertebra was fused to another, opened up enough room in his neck so that the affected nerve was no longer being compressed. By all accounts the numbness has completely gone and after participating on a limited basis in May OTAs he hopes to be cleared for contact this month. Slaton blames his 2009 fumbling problem on his nerve condition so now that he is better he should be able to hold on to the ball more in 2010. Rookie Ben Tate, who has been battling a hamstring strain, has impressed head coach Gay Kubiak and he will battle Slaton in training camp for playing time.

Kevin Smith, DET - ACL Surgery

Lions’ officials are being publicly optimistic about RB Kevin Smith’s chance of being ready for the start of training camp, however according to several reports there is doubt within the organization that he will have recovered enough from ACL surgery to participate with teammates when training camp begins. Smith tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee late last season and he underwent major reconstructive surgery soon thereafter. Smith has said that his rehab is on schedule and head coach Jim Schwartz believes there is still a chance that he will be ready for the start of training camp. But at least two local newspaper reporters who cover the team have said that Smith is not close to returning and that he will likely open up training camp on the PUP list. One reporter has gone on to predict that he will start the regular season on the reserve PUP list as well. You can’t fault the team for trying to be positive, but realistically speaking Smith has little chance of being cleared for contact in time for training camp.

Jonathan Stewart, CAR - Ankle Surgery

After at least two full seasons of questions we finally found out what was causing RB Jonathan Stewart’s Achilles tendon to inflame. According to reports Stewart had a bone spur that was pressing into his Achilles tendon surgically removed this off-season. During the procedure surgeons removed all excess calcium deposits and drained swollen bursa sacs. Stewart admitted that the pain and discomfort in his leg and ankle was bad and that he didn’t think that he would make it through last season. But with the help of the medical staff he was able to make it through the year. As expected Stewart has been held out of all off-season workouts and practices and he only just began running. Team officials are hoping that he will be able to take part in some drills during this month’s mini camp, but we probably won’t see him on the field until sometime during training camp.

Michael Turner, ATL - High Ankle Sprain

According to reports Falcons’ RB Michael Turner has completely recovered from the high ankle sprain that limited him to just 13 carries over the final 7 games last season and he will be ready for the start of training camp. Turner fell behind in his conditioning and he reported to last year’s training camp in poor shape. Even so the Falcons still gave him the ball a lot and to no one’s surprise his body began breaking down halfway through the season. Fortunately he is in great shape this year and the Falcons plan on monitoring his touches so that he get’s plenty of rest during games and throughout the season. He’s still going to be the team’s featured back and he will be in on most plays down by the goal line so he’ still worthy of a first round pick.

Leon Washington, SEA Surgery to Repair Compound Leg Fracture

Seahawks’ RB Leon Washington, who suffered a compound fracture (fractured bone breaks the skin) of the tibia and additional fracture of the fibula, has been running for over a month now and he hopes to be ready for contact at some point during training camp. Washington had a rod surgically inserted into his leg to help stabilize the damaged bones and there was initial concern that the injury could be career-threatening. The good news is that Washington has worked extremely hard in his rehab program and it looks like he will be able to resume his NFL career this season. Team officials believe that he will begin training camp on the PUP list but remain optimistic about his chance of playing in the preseason and being ready for Week 1. Justin Forsett will likely open the season as the team’s top RB, but as Washington heals his role in the offense will increase.

DeAngelo Williams, CAR - Arthroscopic Ankle Surgery

Panthers’ RB DeAngelo Williams, who missed the last two games last season because of ankle problems, had off-season arthroscopic surgery to repair the damage and he has since made a full recovery. Williams was healthy enough to play in the Pro Bowl prior to undergoing surgery so the damage in his ankle couldn’t have been serious. Williams said that with his ankle back to full strength he can now concentrate on getting himself physically ready for the season and he plans on being in great shape when training camp begins.

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