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2010 Off-Season Injury Report - Tight Ends
Philip Gentles
June 4, 2010
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Other Positions:  Quarterbacks   Running Backs   Wide Receivers   Tight Ends   Kickers   IDP

Kevin Boss, NYG - Arthroscopic Ankle Surgery / Pinkie Surgery

Giants’ TE Kevin Boss is currently recovering from arthroscopic ankle surgery and according to reports he probably won’t be 100% until at least the start of training camp. Boss sprained his ankle in Week 4 last season and he played through the pain and discomfort. The team’s medical staff believed that with rest, treatment and rehab in the off-season Boss would be able to make a full recovery. Unfortunately he began experiencing soreness and discomfort after working out and after consulting with specialists he decided to undergo a “clean-out” procedure. There’s a chance that he could be cleared to take part in individual drills during OTAs this month, but he won’t take part in team drills until training camp at the earliest. Boss also had off-season surgery on his pinkie finger and by all accounts he has made a full recovery from that procedure.

Chris Cooley, WAS - Fractured Ankle

Redskins’ TE Chris Cooley, who missed the final 9 games of the 2009-2010 regular season after undergoing surgery to repair a fractured bone in his right ankle, has made a full recovery and he will be 100% for the start of training camp. Cooley was eventually placed on IR after having three pins surgically inserted into his ankle and his recovery continued into the off-season. The good news is that he has been very active in the team’s off-season program and his ankle has held up well during workouts and practices.  He’ll likely lose some playing time to Fred Davis who played well in his absence last season, but Cooley is still the team’s starting tight end and if he stays healthy he will likely be the team’s leading receiver in 2010.

Owen Daniels, HOU - ACL Surgery

According to reports TE Owen Daniels’ recovery from reconstructive knee surgery is going better than the Texans’ medical staff expected and there is a chance that he will be cleared to take part in individual drills when training camp begins. Daniels, who has torn the anterior cruciate ligament in both knees a total of three times, spoke with reporters about a month ago and he said that his current  recovery from ACL surgery has been the smoothest. Head coach Gary Kubiak is happy with Daniels’ progress, however he said that Daniels would likely miss OTAs in June and be limited throughout training camp as a precaution. As with all players coming off reconstructive knee surgery look for Daniels to be a step slower especially at the start of the regular season.
                        
Antonio Gates, SD - Plantar Fasciitis

Chargers’ TE Antonio Gates has a history of serious left foot problems and he recently gave everyone in San Diego a scare when it was reported that he visited a specialist after experiencing soreness and discomfort in his foot during an off-season workout. But according to reports Gates was having problems with his right foot and not his problematic left foot and he was diagnosed with minor plantar fasciitis. The injury isn’t serious however the Chargers aren’t taking any chances. The team has decided to shut him down until training camp giving him plenty of time to rest and recover. We obviously won’t know how he is until he steps on the field during training camp, but he should be close to 100% by then.

Jermaine Gresham, CIN - ACL Surgery

Bengals’ head coach Marvin Lewis recently told reporters that he has been pleasantly surprised with rookie TE Jermaine Gresham’s progress and it looks like he will be a full participant in training camp. Gresham tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee last September and Bengals’ officials were so impressed with his recovery that they still took him in the first round in April’s rookie draft. The team wants to get him involved in the offense early and he will have every opportunity to be successful this season. We’ve seen a number of NFL players make quick recoveries from ACL surgery and return to play in as little as 6 - 8 months. However it takes these players anywhere from 12 to 18 months post-op before they are back to full strength. And keep in mind that that Gresham is a rookie and he will be trying to adjust to the professional game, so don’t be surprised if he is inconsistent this season.

Rob Gronkowski, NE - Lower Back Surgery

Patriots’ rookie TE Rob Gronkowski is completely healthy and ready to battle veteran Alge Crumpler for playing time. Gronkowski missed the entire 2009 college season after undergoing surgery to repair a herniated disc in his lower back and the resulting nerve damage. According to reports he began to experience weakness in his legs and pain in his back following practice prior to the start of the season and he was initially diagnosed with sciatica. Upon further examination the university’s medical staff discovered that a herniated disc was pinching a nerve and they advised him to undergo immediate surgery to repair the problem. After a few days of rest Gronkowski began feeling better and he decided to forego the surgery and keep practicing. Unfortunately the weakness and pain returned and it forced him to have the surgery. Surgeons reportedly removed a small piece of his spine to relieve the pressure on his sciatic nerve. There were reports prior to the 2010 rookie draft that Gronkowski had spinal stenosis (what ended Priest Holmes’ career), however he and his agent have dismissed those reports as inaccurate rumors and based on his performance during the off-season his back appears to be completely healthy. Gronkowski is a very talented pass-catching tight end and although he is currently behind Alge Crumpler on the Patriots’ depth chart don’t be surprised if he ends up as the team’s most productive TE this season.

Reggie Kelly, CIN - Achilles Tendon Surgery

Bengals’ TE Reggie Kelly, who suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon last season, has begun running routes on his own and cutting at full speed and he should be cleared for contact when training camp begins. Kelly told reporters that he hopes to take part in team passing drills during this month’s mini camp and he mentioned that there was a chance that he would be allowed to block as well. He still get’s treatment on his ankle and leg before and after workouts. But he no longer experiences soreness and the medical staff is confident that his Achilles will be back to full strength in time for the pre-season.

Brandon Manumaleuna, CHI - Arthroscopic Knee Surgery

Bears’ TE Brandon Manumaleuna had arthroscopic surgery on his knee this off-season to remove scar tissue and loose bodies and according to reports his recovery is going well and he should be ready for training camp. Manumaleuna has dealt with soreness and discomfort in that knee for over a year. In fact he had the same knee drained of fluid last season. The medical staff hopes that this recent procedure will allow him to play pain-fee this season. Things have gone well so far and since he will be held out of June mini camp practices as a precaution the next big test will come when he takes part in contact drills during training camp.

Marcedes Lewis, JAX - Fractured Facial Bones and Concussion

Jaguars’ TE Marcedes Lewis, who fractured a couple of facial bones and suffered a concussion after taking a big hit at the end of last season, is now completely healthy and he should be ready for training camp. Lewis told reporters that he broke bones under his right eye and that it took over a month to heal. According to reports the injury didn’t prevent him from working out this off-season and team officials are confident that he is now fully healed.

Jeremy Shockey, NO - Seizure

Not only is Saints’ TE Jeremy Shockey fine after suffering a seizure about a week ago, but according to reports he has been cleared to take part in the team’s upcoming OTAs as well. Shockey collapsed while working out in the weight room last week and he was reportedly unresponsive for a short period of time. He was transported to the hospital where he underwent a series of tests and while the exact nature of the problem has not been made public there are unconfirmed reports that suggest that Shockey was simply dehydrated after practicing hard for several straight days. He spent just one night in the hospital before being released and he told reporters earlier this week that he was feeling fine. He will take part in this weekend’s OTAs but don’t be surprised if he is held out of certain drills as a precaution.

Kellen Winslow Jr., TB - Arthroscopic Knee Surgery

Another off-season and another knee surgery for TE Kellen Winslow. Winslow, who has a long history of problems in both knees, had scar tissue surgically removed in an arthroscopic procedure this off-season and according to reports he probably won’t be cleared to return until training camp. Winslow has very little cartilage left in his knees and he suffers from chronic soreness, discomfort and swelling. The problems in his knees keep him limited in or completely out of practices but he’s actually played in all 16 games in three of the last four seasons which shows just how tough he is. Team officials have called his most recent knee surgery (his fifth in six years) routine “cleanup” and they hope it will keep him on the field this season. Unfortunately it’s just a matter of time before his knee problems become too much to overcome. He might make it through another season, but his long-term future in the league remains an uncertainty.

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