Tom Brady, NE
Sports Hernia Surgery
Huddle Up: With training camp only a few weeks away everything within the New England Patriots organization appears to be OK, including Tom Brady’s health. Brady, who played the second half of last year’s regular season and the playoffs through a painful sports hernia, had the injury surgically repaired in early February and according to reports he’s already at full strength and ready for the start of training camp. Things went so well in the surgery that Brady was back playing golf at a celebrity invitational two weeks post-op. And while the Patriots’ haven’t said much about his recovery he’s been spotted working out and he is reportedly looking great.
Drew Brees, NO
Surgery To Repair Torn Labrum
Huddle Up: Saints’ QB Drew Brees has made tremendous progress in his recovery from major shoulder surgery, but despite being about a month a head in his rehab the team still isn’t sure if he’ll be ready in time for the start of the regular season. Brees underwent surgery on his right shoulder back in January to repair tears in his rotator cuff and labrum and at the time doctors told him that he wouldn’t be able to play golf until April and start throwing until May. But team trainers really stepped up his rehab and he was swinging golf clubs by the middle of March and he began throwing footballs in early April, a full month ahead of schedule. In May he was reportedly throwing the ball up to 80 times a day at distances up to 25 yards. And while he didn’t take part in many of the team’s June OTA’s several members of the team’s coaching staff believe that Brees will be more involved in team practices when training camp begins. Now there have been several reports from media outlets that have raised concerns about Brees’ recovery, but his progress to this point would indicate that those concerns have be exaggerated and overstated. That being said the team’s medical staff isn’t exactly sure when he will be completely cleared to play so keep an eye on his progress during training camp.
Mark Brunell, WAS
Huddle Up: Redskins' QB Mark Brunell, who fractured his left index finger when he hit the helmet of a defensive player while throwing a pass during May OTA's, should be ready to go when the team begins training camp. According to reports the fracture did not require surgery and was considered minor and if all goes well in his recovery he should be fine for the start of the regular season.
Marc Bulger, STL
Sprained and Bruised AC Joint
Huddle Up: According to reports Rams’ starting QB Marc Bulger is very close to full strength after injuring his shoulder on two separate occasions and missing a total of 8 games last year. Bulger originally suffered a sprain to the AC (Acromioclavicular) joint in his right shoulder back in Week 6 and was forced to miss a couple of games. He returned in Week 10 but aggravated the injury in Week 11 and missed the remainder of the season. A source close to the Rams organization reported that Bulger did not suffer any structural damage the second time his shoulder was hurt but there was a significant amount of swelling within the joint that resulted in pain and stiffness and it prevented him from throwing the ball. The good news is that his shoulder has responded extremely well to rehab and according to team officials he looked solid during off-season workouts in May. He is no longer experiencing soreness in his shoulder after workouts and the team’s medical staff expects him to be cleared for all football activity, including contact, by the start of training camp.
Daunte Culpepper, MIA
Surgery To Repair Torn ACL, MCL and PCL
Huddle Up: Dolphins’ QB Daunte Culpepper, who has made steady progress in his recovery from major knee reconstruction, has looked good in recent team practices and although the team remains optimistic about his chances of being ready by Week 1 there is a chance that he might not be able to play until sometime after the start of the regular season. Culpepper suffered damage to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), medial collateral ligament (MCL), and posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) in his right knee during last season’s Week 8 game against the Panthers. He soon underwent what the Vikings’ medical staff called “major” surgery to repair the damage in his knee and to this point everything has gone well in his rehab. Culpepper has already been cleared to start taking three, five and seven-step drops, to start running and to begin doing light change of direction drills. He’s looked great and he’s impressed the coaches and medical staff with his conditioning and mobility. That being said Culpepper still has a long way to go and a lot to prove. The accepted timetable for return from ACL surgery is 9 months; however since he suffered additional ligament damage don't be surprised if he isn’t cleared for contact until sometime in September or October. And since it can take up to 18 months post-surgery before an athlete coming back from this type of injury makes a complete physical and mental recovery don’t be surprised if Culpepper isn’t himself this season.
Trent Dilfer, SF
Surgery To Repair Partially Torn Patella Tendon
Huddle Up: Newly acquired 49ers’ QB Trent Dilfer is still at least a couple of weeks away from being back to full strength, however his surgically repaired knee is looking good and according to reports the team expects him to be completely healed and ready to go in time for the start of the 2006 regular season. Dilfer had arthroscopic surgery back in February to repair a partially torn patella tendon in his right knee, an injury that bothered him throughout the 2005 season. In an effort to help speed up his recovery physicians also cleaned out and debrided his knee joint during the surgical procedure. Prior to his trade to San Francisco the 49ers medical staff ran several tests on his knee and they were satisfied that things were going to plan. And while he was held out of minicamp workouts in May Dilfer was running under the supervision of team trainers. He’s scheduled to take part, on a limited basis, in the 49ers’ June OTA’s and if all continues to go well he could get full clearance to play close to the start of training camp.
Donovan McNabb, PHI
Surgery To Repair A Sports Hernia And Torn Groin
Huddle Up: Eagles’ QB Donovan McNabb has already made a full recovery from off-season hernia and groin surgery and he’ll enter the start of training camp completely healthy. McNabb, who had surgery to repair what was called a “severe” sports hernia as well as repair a tear in his right groin, looked strong and mobile during the workouts in May and according to team officials his groin is no longer a concern.
Carson Palmer, QB
Surgery To Repair Torn ACL, MCL and Medial Meniscus
Huddle Up: The Bengals organization has been openly optimistic about QB Carson Palmer’s chance of being ready for the start of the regular despite undergoing major knee reconstruction at the beginning of the year. However despite all the good news that is being reported about Palmer’s recovery there is little chance that he will be at full-speed for the start of the regular season and no chance that he will be completely recovered until sometime in 2007. Palmer needed his knee surgically reconstructed to repair what has been described as major damage in his knee. He injured his knee during the Bengals' playoff loss to the Steelers and the damage included tears to the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL), Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) and medial meniscus. According to reports Carson has made an unbelievably fast recovery. After several hard months of rehab and treatment doctors cleared him to start jogging in late March and by May he had progressed to running wind sprints and he began participating in light cutting and change of direction drills. He even did some five-step drops on the side at the Bengals’ May OTA’s and by all accounts he looked sharp and mobile. Head coach Marvin Lewis has been pleased with Palmer’s progress and he recently told reporters that he expects him to be ready by Week 1 of the regular season. But while his fast recovery is encouraging, Week 1 would put Palmer a little under 8 months post-op and that just isn’t enough time for his knee to be ready for football contact. So despite what you have read, don’t expect him to be ready to play in a regular season game until sometime in late September or early October. And because he had his ACL and MCL repaired it could take him up to 18 months before he is completely physically and mentally recovered so don’t be surprised if he isn’t as productive as he was last season.
Chad Pennington, NYJ
Surgery To Repair Torn Rotator Cuff
Huddle Up: According to reports Jets’ QB Chad Pennington is very close to full strength and he appears ready for the start of training camp and the 2006 regular season. Pennington, who had his right rotator cuff surgically repaired prior to the start last season, re-injured his shoulder during the season and had it surgically repaired again. Pennington admitted to reporters earlier this year that he rushed back from his first surgery and that his goal this time around was to stick with the rehab no matter how long it took. Well the good news is that things have progressed extremely well since the second surgery. The team’s medical staff has told reporters that Pennington has been throwing pain-free for nearly 3 months and that he has demonstrated good range of motion, flexibility and strength. According to team officials he is back throwing every route in the playbook. Pennington was actually cleared to participate in the May OTA’s where he took part in a number of 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills and he was scheduled to be even more involved in the June workouts as well. Several Jets’ players, including Pennington himself, have already declared him “full-go” and while he hasn’t officially been cleared for all activity he’ll probably get full clearance when training camp begins.
Ben Roethlisberger, PIT
Multiple Facial and Jaw Fractures and Lacerations, Damaged Teeth and a minor concussion
Huddle Up: According to reports Steelers’ QB Ben Roethlisberger, who is still recovering from a serious motor cycle accident that occurred back in early June, is expected to make his return to the field at some point during training camp and team officials believe that he will be cleared to play in time for the start of the regular season. Roethlisberger suffered a number of injuries as a result of the accident and was in surgery for seven hours to repair the damage. The injuries included fractures to his lower and upper jaw, a broken nose, two broken teeth and a handful of chipped teeth, several abrasions, contusions and facial lacerations, a mild concussion and a few other undisclosed facial fractures. Roethlisberger’s jaw was not wired shut and was previously expected but he does have a number of screws and titanium plates stabilizing the fracture sites. The good news is that despite suffering a mild concussion, several CT scans have indicated that there was no brain damage. And while there were initial concerns about his knees, the team’s medical staff has confirmed that there was no ligament and cartilage damage present in the joints. According to team physicians he could take anywhere from 6 – 8 weeks for his injuries to completely heal and they believe that he will be ready to make his return as early as the beginning of August. If all goes well he could get clearance to play in time for the Steelers’ second or third pre-season game. The medical staff did warn that it could take Roethlisberger additional time after he returns before he has made a complete psychological and emotional recovery. So even if he does make it back in time for Week 1 don’t be surprised if he gets off to a shaky start.
Kurt Warner, ARI
Partially Torn MCL
Huddle Up: Cardinals’ veteran QB Kurt Warner missed the final two weeks of the regular season last year because of a partially torn medial collateral ligament (MCL) in his right knee. The injury did not require surgery but Warner underwent several months of rehabilitation and he has since made a full recovery. Barring a setback during off-season workouts look for Warner to be at full strength for the start of training camp.
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