Jason Campbell, OAK - Sprained Wrist / Stinger
Raiders’ QB Jason Campbell, who suffered a stinger and a sprained right (throwing) wrist during last weekend’s preseason game against the 49ers, is showing signs of improvement and team officials expect him to start in Week 1. Campbell’s wrist and shoulder were sore on Sunday following the game but he was spotted throwing mid range passes in practice on Monday and according to reports his neck and shoulder are fine and his wrist is feeling a lot better. He was held out of Thursday night’s pre-season finale as a precaution, however he should be able to practice in full next week and it appears that he will be ready for the start of the regular season.
Josh Freeman, TB - Fractured Thumb
According to reports Bucs’ QB Josh Freeman threw passes during warm ups prior to Thursday night’s preseason game and barring a setback he should be healthy enough to play in Week 1. Freeman, who is recovering from a fractured right thumb, told reporters that his grip on the football has improved and he was able to throw passes on the side of practice on Monday and Tuesday. Head coach Raheem Morris is happy with Freeman’s recovery and he is optimistic that Freeman will be cleared to play against the Browns when the regular season begins. There is a good chance that Freeman will have to wear some kind of protective splint on his thumb for the first couple of games so don’t be surprised if there is some inconsistency with his performance.
Byron Leftwich, PIT - Sprained MCL
Steelers’ QB Byron Leftwich left Thursday night’s preseason game against the Panthers after hurting his left knee and he did not return. According to reports Leftwich was hurt when a teammate was blocked into him during a passing play in the second quarter. He was eventually taken off the field and transported to a local hospital where he underwent an MRI. The results of the MRI have not been made public, but there are reports that he suffered damage to his medial collateral ligament. We’ll keep you posted.
UPDATE: Conflicting reports have Leftwich suffering either a torn MCL or just a grade-2 sprain. Either way his prospects for playing week one are doubtful at this point. The recovery time for a grade-2 sprain can be from 2-4 weeks, for a torn MCL as long as 8 weeks depending on the severity of the tear.
Donovan McNabb, WAS - Sprained Ankle
The Washington Redskins expect QB Donovan McNabb to return to practice next week and team officials believe there is a good chance that he will be in the starting lineup for their Week 1 game against the Cowboys. McNabb, who has missed the last couple of weeks with a sprained ankle, was held out of Thursday night’s game. According to reports he is still experiencing soreness in his ankle but the strength and stability in and around the joint have improved. McNabb continues to get his ankle wrapped and he also wears a sleeve for additional support. He won’t be 100% when the regular season begins, but he should be healthy enough to play.
Michael Bush, OAK - Fractured Thumb
Raiders’ RB Michael Bush will likely miss Week 1 of the regular season and he could be out for up to a month after suffering what the team is calling a fracture dislocation of the left thumb (also know as a Bennett’s Fracture) during last weekend’s preseason game against the 49ers. Bush has already had screws surgically inserted into his hand to help align and stabilize the damaged bones and affected joint. Head coach Tom Cable has not ruled him out of Week 1 as of yet and he has not given a timetable for his return, however injuries like this usually take 4 - 6 weeks to heal. So Bush definitely won’t be healed when the Raiders face the Titans on September 12 and I doubt that the team will clear him to play with a cast on his hand. Darren McFadden, who has completely recovered from a hamstring strain, will probably be the team’s starting RB in Week 1 and he will get a bulk of the carries while Bush recovers.
Montario Hardesty, CLE - Undisclosed Knee Injury
Browns’ rookie RB Montario Hardesty left Thursday night’s game with an undisclosed left knee injury and he was unable to return. Hardesty, who missed most of training camp with a bone bruise in his right knee, was hurt when he was hit on a carry in the second quarter. He walked off the field and into the locker room on his own where he was examined and treated. Hardesty was seen leaving the locker room after the game with crutches and a brace on the injured left knee and according to reports he will undergo a precautionary MRI sometime on Friday. Hardesty looked good before getting hurt so let’s hope that his knee is OK.
UPDATE: Reports Friday morning are that Hardesty suffered a torn ACL and will miss the entire season.
Fred Jackson, BUF - Fractured Hand
Bills’ RB Fred Jackson returned to practice on Tuesday for the first time since breaking a bone in his hand about 3 weeks ago, however head coach Chan Gailey told reporters that Jackson would still be “limited early in the year.” Jackson had the cast taken off his hand earlier this week and he was fitted for a removable brace that he says prevents him from holding the ball properly. Gailey expects Jackson to do more in practice starting next week, but even if he is active for their Week 1 game look for rookie C.J. Spiller and Marshawn Lynch to get a majority of the carries.
Maurice Jones-Drew, JAX - Torn Knee Cartilage
There were reports that Jaguars’ RB Maurice Jones-Drew, who tore the lateral meniscus in his knee, underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair the damage. But according to Jones-Drew and head coach Jack Del Rio surgery was not performed and the damage to the cartilage in his knee is not serious enough to require surgical intervention. As expected MJD was inactive for Thursday night’s preseason finale, however according to reports his knee is improving and team officials expect him to return to practice on Monday and play when the regular season begins. The Jaguars will tell you that they aren’t concerned about his knee injury, but keep in mind that cartilage problems can linger. It wouldn’t surprise if he his knee bothers him throughout the season.
Knowshon Moreno, DEN - Partially Torn Hamstring
According to reports Broncos’ RB Knowshon Moreno is about 80% recovered from a partially torn hamstring that kept him out of a majority of training camp, but team officials are confident that he will play in Week 1. Moreno returned to practice on Tuesday and participated in all non-contact drills and he actually led the team onto the field for Thursday night’s preseason finale. He took part in pregame warm ups but he did not register a carry in the game. Moreno admitted earlier this week that he wasn’t completely healthy and team officials aren’t expecting him to be 100% for the start of the regular season. They still expect him to play, however it is too early to tell how much playing he will get.
Clinton Portis, WAS - Sprained Ankle
Redskins’ RB Clinton Portis, who suffered a sprained ankle during the team’s third preseason game, has already returned to practice and head coach Mike Shanahan is confident that he will be ready for the start of the regular season. Portis made his return to the practice field on Tuesday and while he was limited Shanahan told reporters afterwards that he was impressed with what he saw. As expected Portis was held out of Thursday night’s preseason finale, but he will start getting more reps in practice next week and he should be active for Week 1.
Beanie Wells, ARI - Undisclosed Knee Injury
Cardinals’ RB Beanie Wells suffered an undisclosed knee injury against the Redskins on Thursday night and he forced to leave the game. Wells reportedly hurt his knee on a carry in the first quarter. He was able to leave the field on his own but he was examined on the sideline and his knee was eventually wrapped in ice. The nature and severity of the injury remains unknown, but Wells told reporters after the game that his knee was “fine.“ He will have it reexamined on Friday so we should know more about his status soon.
Dez Bryant, DAL - High Ankle Sprain
According to reports Cowboys’ rookie WR Dez Bryant has completely recovered from a high ankle sprain and he will be ready when the regular season begins. Bryant tweeted earlier this week that he was going to play in Thursday night’s game. However the coaching staff decided to keep him out of the game as a precaution. Bryant is listed behind Miles Austin and Roy Williams on the depth chart, but Williams is a little banged up at the moment and that could open the door for Bryant to get more playing time early in the season.
Sidney Rice, MIN - Arthroscopic Hip Surgery
As expected Vikings’ WR Sidney Rice, who is recovering from arthroscopic hip surgery, has been placed on the team’s reserve/PUP list, which means he won’t be eligible to play until Week 7. Rice told reporters that he was disappointed that his hip required surgery and he vowed to be ready as soon as he becomes eligible to return. According to reports Rice won’t be able to start running until sometime in October so there is a good chance that he won’t be cleared to play until sometime in November.
Roy Williams, DAL - Strained Hip Flexor and Lower Back
Cowboys’ WR Roy Williams has missed practice this week because of strains to his hip flexor and lower back and he was held out of Thursday night’s preseason game as a precaution. According to reports Williams was bothered by pain and stiffness in his hip and lower back during the team’s third preseason game. It isn’t clear if Williams will be able to practice next week, but team owner Jerry Jones told reporters that he expects Williams to play in the team’s regular season opener. Williams recently said that he is finally on the same page with QB Tony Romo. However rookie Dez Bryant is healthy and if Williams struggles early look for Bryant to take full advantage.