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2010 Off-Season Injury Report - Wide Receivers
Philip Gentles
June 6, 2010
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Other Positions:  Quarterbacks   Running Backs   Wide Receivers   Tight Ends   Kickers   IDP

Deion Branch, SEA - Arthroscopic Knee Surgery

Seahawks’ WR Deion Branch had off-season arthroscopic knee surgery and head coach Pete Carroll believes that he will be ready to go when training camp begins. According to reports Branch had a similar surgery on the same knee last year and he has had reoccurring issues with it since tearing his anterior cruciate ligament 3 years ago. Some of the problems include chronic soreness, instability and intermittent swelling and the medical hopes that his most recent surgery will allow him to practice more and play this season. Even if he is healthy he is going to have a hard time holding off rookie Golden Tate for playing time.

Harry Douglas, ATL - ACL Surgery

Falcons’ head coach Mike Smith expected WR Harry Douglas to make his return to the field during recent OTAs and while that didn’t happen Douglas is very close to 100% and the team expects him to be cleared in time for training camp. Douglas had surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee during training camp last year and missed the entire 2009 season as a result. According to reports he has spent a lot of time strengthening his knee and he has apparently been pain-free and running for several months. There has been no word of a setback so it appears that the medical staff is holding him out as a precaution. A healthy Douglas could push Michael Jenkins for playing time so keep an eye on that potential training camp battle.

Percy Harvin, MIN - Chronic Migraines

Vikings’ WR Percy Harvin, who dealt with migraines throughout his rookie season, has reportedly been dealing with the same problem all off-season and it looks like it is going to be an issue for the remainder of his career. The exact cause of Harvin’s migraines and what triggers each episode are both mysteries. He has said that when he does have a migraine he becomes nauseated and extremely sensitive to light and sound. There really isn’t s cure for migraine headaches, however medication (which I’m assuming he takes) can reduce the incidence and severity of each episode. He battled through it last season and he’ll have to do it again this season so don’t be surprised if he misses some practices and his status for a game or two is in question as a result.
                           
Anthony Gonzalez, IND - PCL and MCL Sprains / Additional Arthroscopic Knee Surgery

It has been a long and bumpy road to recovery for Colts’ WR Anthony Gonzalez and it appears that he is near the end of it. Gonzalez, who missed nearly all of the 2009 season after first reportedly spraining the posterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his right knee and then suffering a series of setbacks that required at least one arthroscopic procedure to fix, has practiced with the team and by all accounts he was running, cutting and jumping at full speed and his knee looked healthy. Gonzalez hasn’t really commented about his recovery however several of his team mates have said that it appears that he is back to full strength. He was supposed to be a full participant in this months OTAs however he hasn’t practiced and head coach Jim Caldwell hasn’t said why. Despite his recent absence from the practice field team officials remain optimistic about his chance of being cleared for contact when training camp begins. Let’s just hope he hasn’t suffered another setback. Check back in July for an update.

Devery Henderson, NO - Sports Hernia Surgery

Saints’ WR Devery Henderson underwent off-season surgery to repair a sports hernia and it looks like he will be ready for training camp. Henderson reportedly began having pain in his groin and lower abdomen while working out and an examination and MRI revealed that he had a tear in his oblique abdominal muscles. Henderson is already back on the field and although he remains limited the medical staff expects him to be full-go when training camp starts. He will probably be battling Robert Meacham, who has been recovering from toe surgery, for the starting job opposite Marques Colston.

T.J. Houshmandzadeh, SEA - Sports Hernia Surgery

Seahawks’ WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who suffered a sports hernia while working out during the off-season, had corrective surgery to repair the problem in the middle of April and he will likely be sidelined until the start of training camp. Houshmandzadeh told reporters that his recovery since the surgery has gone well and that he expects to be ready for the regular season. In fact he went on to say that he expects to catch at least 100 passes this year. Definitely a bold prediction, but not impossible. He did have 112 receptions with the Bengals in 2007 and it looks like the Seahawks will be using a pass-happy offense this year. But keep in mind that he is now 33 and it is going to take and injury-free year for him to pull that off.

Calvin Johnson, DET - Knee Soreness

Lions’ WR Calvin Johnson dealt with knee pain and soreness throughout the 2009 season and while the exact reason behind the discomfort has not been made public he has said that he spent a large portion of the off-season with the athletic training staff strengthening his wrists, ankles and knees to help prevent the same problems from reoccurring this season. According to reports he has looked great during OTAs and if he can stay relatively healthy he should have a big year.

Mario Manningham, NYG - Arthroscopic Shoulder Injury

Giants’ WR Mario Manningham is finally back on the field and it looks like his shoulder will be at full strength in time for the start of training camp. Manningham quietly had off-season arthroscopic surgery to reportedly remove loose bodies and scar tissue that was causing discomfort in his shoulder. Prior to the procedure he told reporters that he played the entire second-half of the season with a “really bad” shoulder bruise, although he probably did a little more damage than that since he required surgery. Manningham will need to stay healthy if he wants to hold-off Hakeem Nicks for starting job. Nicks is a lot more explosive and has more upside so it’s probably going to take more than just an injury-free preseason for him to do that.

Brandon Marshall, MIA - Arthroscopic Hip Surgery

Dolphins’ WR Brandon Marshall continues to held out of OTAs as he recovers from off-season hip surgery, however he is on schedule and team officials are confident that he will be ready for the start of training camp. There have been a number of websites and media outlets that have reported and continue to report that Marshall had arthroscopic surgery on the same hip that he had repaired last year. The truth is his most recent hip procedure was to the other side. Prior to making the trade with the Broncos the Dolphins made sure that the hip that was surgically repaired last year was no longer an issue. So it was a surprise to many that Marshall needed additional hip surgery when they acquired him. As it turned out Marshall began experiencing discomfort in his other hip shortly after joining the Dolphins and the medical staff decided to address the issue immediately rather than have it linger throughout the 2010 season and then require a more substantial surgery next off-season. Marshall has not taken the field with his new team, but he has been present at nearly every practice. He is regularly seen riding a stationary bike on the sideline and he spends the remainder of the time working with trainers or watching the offense. Head coach Tony Sparano hasn’t really indicated when he expects Marshall to be ready, but if the reports on his surgery being a “minor clean-up” are accurate then he should be cleared to return by training camp.

Robert Meachem, NO - Toe Surgery

Saints’ WR Robert Meachem hopes to be ready for training camp after undergoing an unusual foot surgery during the off-season. Meachem, who suffered the injury at the end of last season and had pain associated with the injury that lingered into the off-season, had a pin surgically inserted into the second toe on his left foot to help fix what is being widely reported as “torn cartilage.” Very rarely do you hear of toe cartilage problems in football players and when there is a problem the most common way to repair it is to either reconstruct it or remove it altogether. The fact that a pin was used to aid in recovery leads me to believe that he was likely dealing with torn ligaments, a fracture or both. Either way the pin has been removed and although he only recently began running head coach Sean Payton remains optimistic about Meachem’s chance of participating in training camp. He has about 6 weeks to get himself ready so he still has plenty of time to recover.

Hakeem Nicks, NYG - Off-season Arthroscopic Wrist and Toe Surgeries

Giants’ WR Hakeem Nicks has had a very busy off-season. Not only did he have arthroscopic surgery on his right wrist but he also had a screw surgically inserted into his big toe as well. Nicks had been bothered by soreness in his wrist for much of last season and he had what the team called a “clean-up” procedure to fix it. He has since made a full recovery. His toe surgery was a bit more serious and he continues to be limited in practice as a result. Nicks actually broke his big toe in college and he played the entire 2009 season with pain and discomfort. The medical staff wanted to treat the injury without surgery, but he wasn’t showing signs of improvement and so they opted to insert a stabilizing screw into the injury site. Nicks has taken part in individual drills this off-season but he is being held out of team drills as a precaution. He spoke with reporters recently and he said that he is happy with his recovery and he can’t wait to get on the field and play at full speed. If all goes well he should be ready for training camp.

Steve Smith, CAR - Forearm Surgery

Panthers’ WR Steve Smith, who missed the end of the 2009 season after fracturing the radius in his left forearm, had successful surgery to repair the damage and according to reports he is now completely recovered. Smith told reporters that his arm is feeling great and that he is ready to start the season. But he also mentioned that he was ready to take a step back from being the team’s top receiver and that he wanted a younger player to step up and takeover. All players want their team mates to be better, however you never hear a guy like Smith say that he no longer wants to be “the man.” He’s healthy, but his recent statements are a red flag. If he wants to take a back seat now how can we expect him to produce like a WR1?

Wes Welker, NE - ACL Surgery and MCL Sprain / Rotator Cuff Surgery

Patriots’ WR Wes Welker continues to make positive strides in his recovery from off-season reconstructive knee surgery and his recent involvement in OTAs is encouraging. However he still has a long way to go in his recovery and there is a chance that he will start training camp on the active PUP list. Welker tore the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his knee in early January and after waiting a month for the swelling to subside and the MCL to heal he finally had ACL surgically repaired in February. And to complicate things an MRI on his sore shoulder revealed tears in his rotator cuff that also had to be surgically fixed. According to reports his shoulder has healed and now his focus is solely on getting his knee ready for the 2010 season. In a bit of a surprise Welker was seen on the field during recent OTAs running routes and cutting and by all accounts he looked pretty good. He did have a brace on his knee and he was limited to individual drills, but he was doing a lot more on the field than expected. But keep in mind that he is just 4 months removed from major knee surgery and players aren’t cleared for contact until 6 to 8 months post-op. So there is a good chance that Welker won’t be ready for the start of training camp. In fact don’t be surprised if he is limited throughout the preseason.

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