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2007 Off-Season Injury Report - Running Backs
Philip Gentles
July 25, 2007

Shaun Alexander, SEA
Fractured Foot

Huddle Up: According to reports RB Shaun Alexander's left foot might still not be completely healthy but he told reporters that it won't prevent him from participating in training camp and the preseason. Alexander missed 7 weeks last year because of a severely bruised bone in the fourth metatarsal of his foot that eventually became a break. Although he wasn't healed Alexander was finally cleared to return in Week 11. Team doctors felt that the damage in his foot wasn't going to get any worse so they allowed him to finish out the season. Alexander's foot was extremely sore following the Seahawks' playoff loss to the Bears and X-rays confirmed that his foot was still broken. A precautionary MRI revealed that there was localized swelling within his foot, but according to reports his ligaments and tendons were still in good shape and so the medical staff decided that surgery was not necessary to repair the cracked bone. He did require a walking boot and several months of rehab. In an interview last month Alexander said that his foot might still be broken, but he later told reporters that his comments were taken out of context and that he was actually healthy and ready for the 2007 season. Well several team officials have since said that Alexander will likely be limited in training camp, which would indicate that he still has some healing to do. He's definitely made a lot of progress, but we won't know how ready he is until we see him in action during the preseason.

Cedric BensonCedric Benson, CHI
Sprained Knee

Huddle Up: The knee injury that knocked RB Cedric Benson out of the Super Bowl is no longer an issue and the team expects him to be completely healthy for the start of training camp. Benson sprained his left knee in the first quarter of the Super Bowl against the Colts and did not return to the game. An MRI performed on his knee confirmed that there was a minor sprain, but there was no significant damage done to his ligaments and cartilage and the team's medical staff felt that he could recover from the injury without surgery. Benson has sprained his left knee several times the last couple of years so the Bears kept him limited in their early off-season workouts as a precaution. But Benson has been running, cutting and jumping without restriction for several months now so he should be at full speed when the regular season begins.

Michael Bush, OAK
Fractured Fibula

Huddle Up: According to reports there is a good chance that rookie RB Michael Bush will be able to take part in training camp, but he is still recovering from the fractured leg that ended his college career and the team doesn't expect him to start contributing until middle of the season. Bush fractured the fibula in his right leg during Louisville's first game last year and had a titanium rod and several screws surgically inserted into his leg to help repair it. He was supposed to be healed by March but additional X-rays and an MRI showed that the bone had not healed as quickly as his doctor would have liked. So a new rod was inserted into his leg to promote healing. So a severely fractured leg and two surgeries later Bush has a lot of prove and by all accounts he has come a long way and he's very close to being cleared to take part in contact drills. But even if he gets clearance to play before the start of the regular season the Raiders don't expect him to be ready to factor on offense until sometime in October or November. So don't be surprised if Bush doesn't see the field until then.

Warrick Dunn, ATL
Lower Back Surgery / Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery

(UPDATED) Huddle Up: Falcons' RB Warrick Dunn, who was already recovering from off-season shoulder surgery, had surgery earlier this week to repair a herniated disc in his lower back and he could miss anywhere from 3 - 6 weeks. Dunn reportedly injured his lower back during the team's last minicamp and after seeing several back specialists he was left with two options: postpone the surgery until after the season in which case he would have to deal with back and leg discomfort all year, or undergo the corrective procedure so that he's healthy for the regular season. After playing the entire 2006 season with a bad shoulder he felt that he would give his team a better chance of winning if he was at full strength, so he decided to have the surgery. Team officials believe that the procedure was a success and they expect him back for their third exhibition game. However there are reports that he will not only miss training camp but he will also miss all of the team's exhibition games. So his status for the start of the 2007 regular season is currently questionable. But we will keep you posted on his recovery.

Priest Holmes, KC
Spinal Stenosis

(UPDATED) Huddle Up: In a surprising development doctors have cleared Chiefs' RB Priest Holmes to play football, which means he will be available for the start of training camp this weekend. Holmes, who has been sidelined for nearly two years with Spinal Stenosis (inflammation that causes an abnormal narrowing of the structures surrounding the spine), has reportedly been working out on his own this off-season. And after being examined by orthopedic specialists in South Florida he was finally cleared to resume his NFL career. Head coach Herman Edwards told reporters that he was excited about Holmes' return, but he went on to say that they will probably place him on the active PUP list and limit him to non contact drills until they feel that he is ready for full contact drills and team workouts. Edwards also said that Larry Johnson would remain as the team's starting RB no matter how healthy Holmes looks. So it looks like Holmes will be used as the 3rd down back, unless of course Johnson stays true to his promise and holds out until he gets a new contract.

Edgerrin James, ARI
Arthroscopic Knee Surgery

Huddle Up: Cardinals' RB Edgerrin James underwent minor surgery on his right knee during the off-season, but he's already made a full recovery and he's expected to be fine for the start of training camp. James began complaining of pain and swelling in his right knee after working out in April. An MRI confirmed that his ligaments and cartilage were in good shape, but he had his knee surgically drained of fluid. According to reports he hasn't complained of swelling or pain since the procedure so the team expects him to be fine when training camp begins. On another note, James no longer has gold teeth and he recently told reporters that he plans on working hard in training camp and participating in all of the team's preseason games. Hopefully this change of attitude leads to a more productive season for himself and the Cardinals offense.

Kevin JonesKevin Jones, DET
Lisfranc Fracture / Dislocation

Huddle Up: Lions' RB Kevin Jones, who suffered a season-ending foot injury in Week 14 last year, will likely open training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list and according to reports his status for the start of the regular season remains in doubt. Jones suffered what the team described as a complete Lisfranc fracture and dislocation and had several pins surgically inserted into his foot to help stabilize the injury site and facilitate healing. He has since undergone a second surgery to remove the pins and according to reports the Lions' medical staff is relatively pleased with his recovery. Now there were several reports that said that Jones would miss at least half of the 2007 season. Head coach Rod Marinelli told reporters that Jones was ahead of schedule and should be ready earlier than expected. However Marinelli isn't sure when he'll be cleared to play and there's a good chance that he won't be ready to go when the team starts the regular season. The Lions brought in Tatum Bell and T.J. Duckett in the off-season, which should indicate that they are very concerned about Jones' status. We'll keep you posted on his recovery.

LaMont Jordan, OAK
Torn Medial Collateral Ligament

Huddle Up: RB LaMont Jordan's knee appears to be completely healthy and he looks ready for the 2007 season. Jordan tore the MCL (medial collateral ligament) in his left knee during a game against the Chiefs in November last year. And while the injury did not require surgery it still kept Jordan sidelined for the remainder of the season. He underwent several months of intense rehab and was cleared to take part in the team's OTA's in April. According to reports Jordan looked strong in the team's last minicamp workouts and with Dominic Rhodes out for the first four weeks of the regular season because of suspension look for a healthy Jordan to enter Week 1 as the starter.

Jamal Lewis, CLE
Arthroscopic Ankle Surgery

Huddle Up: Browns' RB Jamal Lewis, who had arthroscopic surgery back in January to remove bone spurs from his ankle, told reporters that he is feeling great and that he is ready for the start of training camp. Lewis was reportedly diagnosed with bone spurs a couple of weeks into the season last year and he began taking injections for them weekly until the end of the regular season. The bone spurs reportedly caused pain in his ankle and foot when he ran and the Ravens' medical staff believed that it affected his mobility and overall performance. Lewis is now 6 months removed from the surgery and according to reports he's running and cutting at full speed and the team expects him to be healthy for the start of the 2007 season.

Laurence MaroneyLaurence Maroney, NE
Undisclosed Shoulder Injury

Huddle Up: As expected head coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots have remained tightlipped about RB Laurence Maroney's off-season shoulder surgery, but according to local reports the team expects him to participate in training camp and be at full strength when the regular season begins. Maroney, who also suffered minor knee sprains and torn rib cartilage at different points during his rookie season, began to experience pain in his right shoulder with a couple of weeks to go in the regular season. He continued to suffer from stiffness and pain throughout the playoffs but the medical staff did not believe that the injury was serious. Following the team's playoff loss to the Colts Maroney underwent exploratory arthroscopic surgery. Unfortunately the medical staff found what they described as "fairly significant" damage, which they immediately fixed. The Patriots did not say (and continue not to say) what was repaired, but Maroney's recovery kept him in a sling for nearly 2 months and it has limited him to individual drills during the off-season. Belichick recently told reporters that he was happy with Maroney's recovery and said that he expects his starting RB to be fine for the start of the regular season. But there is a good chance that he could be limited in training camp and even held out of the first 2 or 3 exhibition games as a precaution. We'll definitely know a lot more about his status in a couple of weeks.

Chris Perry, CIN
Fractured Fibula

Huddle Up: According to the Bengals' organization RB Chris Perry is still recovering from a fractured right fibula and he won't be ready for training camp. Perry, whose brief NFL career has been riddled with injuries, was placed on Injured Reserve last season after having a plate and several screws surgically inserted into his leg near his ankle to repair and stabilize a couple of fractures in his right fibula that occurred during a game in November. He had off-season surgery to remove some of the screws and while he has worked hard since then he still hasn't been cleared by the medical staff to resume all football-related activities and team officials aren't expecting him to be completely healthy anytime soon. Rudi Johnson is still the unquestioned starter but look for rookie Kenny Irons to step in for Perry and be the Bengals' change-of-pace running back.

Clinton Portis, WAS
Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery / Fractured Hand / Knee Tendinitis

Huddle Up: Fantasy prognosticators expected big things from Redskins' RB Clinton Portis last season, but a preseason shoulder injury and a late season hand injury kept him from having a productive year. Portis suffered a partial left shoulder dislocation during a preseason game last year but he was able to return for the team's Week 1 game. According to reports an MRI prior to the start of the regular season revealed that Portis tore the labrum in his shoulder, but after consulting with the medical staff Portis decided to forego corrective surgery and attempt to play through the pain and discomfort. He struggled through each game but he continued to play until he fractured his right hand in a game in November. Portis had three screws surgically inserted into his hand to help repair the injury and according to reports he has long since made a full recovery. But Portis' biggest concern, his injured shoulder, still needed to be addressed. So he underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair the torn labrum in his shoulder shortly after his hand surgery. Portis is now 7 months removed from the surgery and he is now reportedly close to full strength and should be cleared for contact drills when training camp begins. Portis has been dealing with a minor case of tendinitis in his knee that forced him to miss the team's June minicamp. However head coach Joe Gibbs isn't concerned about his knee and he told reporters that he expects Portis (knee, shoulder and hand) to be completely healthy for the start of the regular season.

Domanick Williams, FA
Arthroscopic Knee Surgery

Huddle Up: RB Domanick Williams, formerly known as Domanick Davis, was released by the Texans in the off-season and since his status for the upcoming season remains in question there is a chance that he could remain on the free agent market for a long time. Williams had arthroscopic surgery to repair damaged cartilage in his right knee following the 2005 season. But after being cleared to take part in training camp last season he began to suffer from swelling and discomfort in the same knee. Williams claimed that he suffered a bone bruise, however he was soon placed on Injured Reserve indicating that the damage in his knee was more than just a bruise. According to reports team officials eventually said that his surgically repaired knee was still not completely healed and that it would require additional surgery to fix. He has since undergone another arthroscopic procedure, but his recovery has been slow and there is a good chance that he won't be ready to play this season.

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