Mike Alstott, FB, TB
Undisclosed Neck Injury
Huddle Up: Bucs' veteran fullback Mike Alstott, who signed a one-year contract with the team worth about $1.5 million during the off-season, will miss the entire 2007 season after being placed on Injured Reserve because of an undisclosed neck injury. Alstott had surgery on his neck back in 2003 and at the time the medical staff felt that his career was in doubt. But he was able to bounce back and play a year later. Bucs' officials made it clear that this latest problem is in no way related to his previous neck problem. However several people within the organization have said that Alstott's career is probably over. The team has not been specific when discussing Alstott's injury, but it must be severe if it has already ended his season.
Alge Crumpler, TE, ATL
Arthroscopic Knee Surgery
Huddle Up: Falcons' TE Alge Crumpler continues to have problems with his surgically repaired knee and while team officials still expect him to be available for the start of the regular season they aren't sure if he'll be at full strength. Crumpler, who had off-season arthroscopic knee surgery to repair damaged cartilage, has complained of stiffness and pain in the joint since the start of training camp. The lingering knee problems have limited Crumpler's participation in practice and have affected his preparation for the start of the regular season. He was sent to an orthopedic specialist last week where he was examined and his injured knee tested. According to reports the results were "promising," but the medical staff decided to sit him for a week so that his knee got extra rest. Crumpler's scheduled to be reexamined today (Tuesday), but head coach Bobby Petrino doesn't expect him to return to full team practice for at least another couple of weeks. We'll continue to keep you posted on his recovery.
Warrick Dunn, RB, ATL
Surgery To Repair Herniated Disc
Huddle Up: Great news for Warrick Dunn owners: he's already back on the practice field and on pace to be at full strength when the regular season begins. Dunn, who had surgery to repair a herniated disc in his lower back three weeks ago, returned to practice yesterday (Monday) and according to reports he was running at close to full speed and he took part in all drills. Dunn worked with the second team offense and his back didn't appear to bother him while taking hand-offs and catching passes. The team has not said if he'll be available for their second preseason game, but don't be surprised if he is held out until the final exhibition game as a precaution.
Greg Ellis, DL, DAL
Recovering from Torn Achilles' Tendon
Huddle Up: The Cowboys have said on several occasions that that they expect DL Greg Ellis, who is recovering from a torn Achilles' tendon, to be ready for the start of the regular season. However in a recent interview Ellis told reporters that he's still in a lot of pain and that he may have played his last game. Ellis has been limited in training camp because of the pain in his Achilles' tendon. The medical staff is still listing him as "day-to-day," which means that they will monitor and reevaluate his injury on a daily basis and they remain confident that he will be back in time for Week 1. But Ellis appears to leaning towards retirement. We'll keep you posted.
Frank Gore, RB, SF
Huddle Up: 49ers RB Frank Gore, who is still recovering from a broken hand, did not play in the team's first preseason game last night and head coach Mike Nolan has already ruled him out for the team's next two exhibition games. But Gore has made steady progress in his recovery and Nolan expects him to be completely healthy when the regular season begins. Gore returned to practice last week wearing a cast and he's been cleared to participate in individual and non-contact drills. He started running a day after breaking his hand so he has been able to maintain his conditioning. The team isn't exactly sure when he will be cleared for contact but there is a good chance that he will play in the 49ers' final preseason game. It looks like he will be healthy when Week 1 of the regular season rolls around so don't let his injury affect his spot on your cheat sheet.
Kenny Irons, RB, CIN
Huddle Up: Bengals' rookie RB Kenny Irons will miss the entire 2007 season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during last Thursday's preseason game against the Lions. According to reports Irons was hurt at the end of a carry in the second quarter. He limped off the field and after being examined on the sideline he was carted to the locker room. Irons was later seen on crutches and after the game head coach Marvin Lewis told reporters that the team's 2007 second round pick injured his knee and ankle, but that the knee was the area that concerned the medical staff. An MRI performed on Iron's knee the following day revealed that the ACL was torn, and with reconstructive surgery scheduled for this week his season is definitely over. The medical staff said that if all goes well with the surgery and his recovery that he should be back on the field in time for minicamps next May. Kenny Watson will now replace Irons and the Bengals' backup running back.
Kevin Jones, RB, DET
Lisfranc Fracture / Dislocation
Huddle Up: Lions' RB Kevin Jones, who is still recovering from a complete Lisfranc fracture / dislocation, continues to deny reports that he will begin the regular season on the PUP list which means that he would be out until Week 7. Jones told reporters that he continues to make steady progress in his recovery and that he was still aiming to be ready for the start of the regular season. There were even reports out of Lions' camp that said that Jones was running at full speed and has begun to make cuts at half speed. And while the Lions' have said that any decision regarding his status for the start of the regular season wouldn't come until the week before their first game, it looks like the team is preparing to move forward without him. Expect Tatum Bell to be in the starting lineup in Week 1.
Thomas Jones, RB, NYJ
Huddle Up: According to reports Jets' RB Thomas Jones strained his right calf muscle during practice on Sunday and his status for the next week appears to be in question. Jones was hurt while trying to plant his right foot during a non-contact running back drill. He immediately fell to the ground where he was examined by an athletic trainer. He eventually was helped up and limped off the field where an ice bag was wrapped around his lower leg. He was later seen limping in the locker room. Jones did not practice on Monday and while the team has not officially announced the specifics behind his injury he was seen with an ice bag on his right calf leading several local newspapers to believe that the injury is a calf strain. Jones will probably be held out of team drills for at least another couple of days, but the team doesn't believe that this injury will affect his status for the start of the regular season.
Anthony McFarland, DL, IND
Torn Patellar Tendon
Huddle Up: The Colts' have placed Anthony McFarland on Injured Reserve after and MRI on the veteran defensive tackle's injured knee revealed a tear in his patellar tendon. McFarland was hurt during a training camp practice over a week ago and has since undergone season-ending surgery to repair the damage. According to reports head coach Tony Dungy was actually considering keeping McFarland off the IR in hopes that he would be ready for the Superbowl should they make it that far (similar to what they did with Dallas Clark last season). However the team's medical staff told Dungy that there was little chance that he would be ready to play anytime before next season. The Colts expect him to make a full recovery in time for training camp next year.
Donovan McNabb, QB, PHI
Recovering from Torn ACL
Huddle Up: Eagles' QB Donovan McNabb did not play in Monday night's preseason game. But head coach Andy Reid said that McNabb was held out as a precaution and that he will continue to practice with the first-team offense and he expected him to play in their next exhibition game. McNabb, who is recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, has reportedly looked strong in camp and his knee remains pain-free. As I explained in the off-season McNabb will probably be healthy enough to start in Week 1, but he'll probably be inconsistent to start the season.
Randy Moss, WR, OAK
Huddle Up: Patriots' WR Randy Moss did not play in the team's first preseason game because of a hamstring injury. However the team's medical staff does not believe the injury will be a long-term issue and they believe that he will be healthy for the start of the regular season. Moss was hurt in practice over a week ago and he's been limited in practice ever since. In classic Patriots' style the team has not been very specific in regards to his injury and Bill Belichick has not said when he expects Moss back on the field. So at this point we have no way of knowing when he will be cleared to practice with the team and play in a game. But it appears that he could be back as early as the team's next preseason game.
Chike Okeafor, LB, ARI
Huddle Up: LB Chike Okeafor's season is likely over after the Cardinals' defender tore his left biceps muscle during Saturday's preseason game against the Raiders. The team did not say how the injury occurred but an MRI on Sunday revealed that the muscle was torn. The medical staff is leading towards surgically repairing the damage, however Okeafor has been sent to a specialist for a second opinion. Any type of surgical procedure to fix the injury would probably end Okeafor's season so it's not surprising that the team is looking for alternative treatment methods. We'll likely know more about his status for the 2007 season sometime later this week.
Joey Porter, LB, MIA
Arthroscopic Knee Injury
Huddle Up: Dolphins' linebacker Joey Porter will miss at least three more weeks while he recovers from arthroscopic knee surgery, but the team hopes that he'll be ready for the start of the regular season. According to reports Porter began to complain of soreness in his knee during the offseason. The medical staff hoped that the problems would go away with rest and treatment. Unfortunately his knee continued to bother him during training camp and during exploratory arthroscopic surgery physicians did some minor repair to damaged cartilage in the joint. His rehab is reportedly going well and unless he suffers a setback in his recovery the medical staff believes that he will be strong enough to play in Week 1.
Tony Scheffler, TE, DEN
Huddle Up: Broncos' TE Tony Scheffler was removed from the PUP list and returned to practice last week after being sidelined for the start of training camp while he recovered from a broken foot. But according to reports he's still at least several days away from being cleared to practice in all drills. An MRI done on Scheffler's foot last week showed that the fracture site in his foot had completely healed. The medical staff will continue to bring him along slowly, but if all goes well in practice over the next couple of days he could be cleared to practice with the team by the end of the week. With Scheffler out Daniel Graham has cemented his spot in the starting lineup so look for Graham to be the most productive TE in Denver this season.
L.J. Smith, TE, PHI
Sports Hernia / Strained Groin Muscle
Huddle Up: Eagles' TE L.J. Smith, who is recovering from sports hernia surgery and dealing with an unrelated groin strain, did not play in Monday night's preseason opener and according to reports the team is not sure when he'll be cleared to play in a game. Smith entered training camp two months removed from sports hernia surgery and was able to participate in non-contact drills during practice. Unfortunately Smith suffered a strained groin while making in cut during a passing drill last week and he's been unable to practice since. The medical staff initially thought that he had aggravated his sports hernia injury, but an examination in the locker room revealed that this latest problem was new and unrelated. Prior to the injury Smith told reporters that he was at about 85 percent. So this groin strain, while unrelated to his sports hernia injury, is definitely a setback in his recovery. He'll likely be limited for the remainder of the preseason and his status for the start of the regular season remains unknown.