Tom Brady, NE - Foot Soreness and Inflammation
Patriots' QB Tom Brady has not played in a preseason game this year because of an undisclosed injury to his foot, however during a radio interview on Monday Brady said that his foot is feeling a lot better and that he expects to play in the team's Week 1 game against the Chiefs. According to reports Brady has been dealing with soreness and inflammation in his foot since the start of training camp and the team's medical staff has decided to limit his involvement in practice and keep him out of games so that his foot has every opportunity to heal. Brady is pleased with the progress of his foot and said that he will try and play in the team's final preseason game. He indicated that the medical staff might keep him out of that game as well as a precaution. As expected team officials have been very tight lipped about Brady's injury and his weekly status. But the Patriots believe that Brady will be healthy enough to start in Week 1 and while it would be nice to see him on the practice field with his teammates he has played hurt before so expect him to play even if he isn't 100%.
Peyton Manning, IND - Surgery to Remove Bursa Sac
Despite reports that Manning was immobilized for two weeks after the surgery while he battled infection and that he needed a second medical procedure on his knee, he was removed from the active PUP list on Monday and it appears he will be allowed to participate in individual drills today (Tuesday). According to the local media in Indianapolis Manning's knee was treated with antibiotics for two weeks after the surgical procedure on his knee and Mike Lombardi, a former NFL front office executive, wrote in his blog that Manning actually underwent a second medical procedure that would keep him out longer than expected. Head coach Tony Dungy has denied that there have been setbacks in Manning's recovery but while he downplayed the report made by Lombardi he did not deny it. With all that being said Manning is about to make his official return to the practice field which indicates that he is getting closer to full strength. Dungy said that the team would work him back slowly and have him avoid contact as long as necessary. It looks like he will be held out of the team's final preseason game, but Dungy remains optimistic and expects Manning to start in Week 1. I'm not as optimistic but we should know more about his status next week.
Carson Palmer, CIN - Surgery to Repair Broken Nose
Bengals' QB Carson Palmer, who broke his nose during the team's preseason against the Saints, will probably miss the team's final exhibition game however head coach Marvin Lewis expects him to start against the Ravens in Week 1. Palmer was hurt when he was hit hard on a safety blitz at the end of the first half. He was slow to get up and while he was escorted off the field there was a noticeable bump in his nose and blood was seen coming from his nose and mouth. X-rays in the locker room confirmed that there was damage to the cartilage and a crack in one of his nose bones. Palmer underwent surgery the next day to straighten and repair his nose and he was able to go home afterwards. Lewis told reporters that Palmer was feeling fine and that he would likely miss practice this week while he heals. He's officially listed as questionable for this Thursday's preseason game against the Colts however team officials don't expect him to play. The good news is that the injury is not considered to be a serious problem and it will not keep him from playing in Week 1 of the regular season.
Ronnie Brown, MIA - Sprained Thumb / Recovering from ACL Surgery
Dolphins' RB Ronnie Brown, who was held out of this weekend's preseason game because of a sprained thumb, split first-team reps with Ricky Williams in practice on Monday however head coach Tony Sparano remains concerned about his health. Sparano told reporters that he believes that Brown's injured thumb will affect his workload early in the season and he went on to say that while Brown's knee has healed he isn't mentally recovered from ACL surgery. Brown returned to practice last week wearing a cast and he had his thumb wrapped for practice on Monday. The Dolphins are giving him every opportunity to win the starting job, but Williams continues to shine and the best Brown can ask for is a split of the carries. Williams could end up with a majority of the carries to start the regular season and if he plays well Brown might have a hard time getting on field even if he returns to full strength.
Kevin Curtis, PHI - Sports Hernia Surgery
Eagles' WR Kevin Curtis will miss the start of the regular season after undergoing surgery to repair a Sports Hernia that occurred in the team's preseason game nearly two weeks ago. According to reports Curtis began to complain of pain in his abdominal region that spread into his groin region following the game and after being examined by team physician's he was diagnosed with athletic pubalgia, or a sports hernia. Head coach Andy Reid confirmed that the surgery to repair the muscle damage went well, however he said the team is about a week away from knowing when Curtis will be able to make his return. Curtis spoke with reporters shortly after the procedure and while he wasn't sure when he would be back he was confident that he wouldn't miss a large part of the regular season. It usually takes athletes 6 - 8 weeks to recover from this type of surgery, so he could be back as early as Week 4. But there is speculation that the Eagles will keep him out until after their Week 7 bye. But we should know more about his long-term status within the next week or two.
Chad Johnson, CIN - Partially Torn Labrum
According to recent reports Bengals' WR Chad Johnson partially tore the labrum in his shoulder when he subluxed the joint during a preseason game a couple of weeks ago. Team officials originally reported the injury as a sprain and head coach Marvin Lewis didn't appear to be concerned about his availability for the start of the regular season. But this latest development not only affects his status for Week 1, but it raises questions about his health and productivity for the entire 2008 season. Johnson, who is currently wearing a harness to protect the shoulder, told reporters that he would attempt to play through the injury. He indicated that if he were to reinjure his shoulder that he would probably have to undergo season-ending surgery to repair the damage. But he said that the chances of that happening are "unlikely." Many wondered why the Bengals brought back troubled WR Chris Henry, but it turns out that Johnson's injury status had a lot to do with that decision. There are also reports that the team is looking to trade RB Rudi Johnson in return for an established wide receiver. Marvin Lewis has said that Johnson's shoulder is progressing faster than the team originally expected and he still feels that he will be ready to play in Week 1. However despite what he would like us to believe Johnson is now one big hit or awkward fall away from the Injured Reserve and the Bengals know it. I highly recommend that you avoid him on draft day.
James Jones, GB - Sprained Knee
Packers' WR James Jones is listed as "week-to-week"after he sprained his knee during last Friday's preseason game. According to reports Jones banged his knee during the first half and after being examined in the locker room at halftime he was held out for the remainder of the game. The injury was first described as a bruise but team officials have confirmed that he suffered a sprain to an undisclosed ligament in his knee. The severity of the injury has not been made public, but he will not play in the team's final exhibition game and he will be held out of practice for at least a week. There is a chance that he will miss the start of the regular season, but the team won't know for sure until they see how his knee responds to treatment and rest. We will keep you posted.
Jerry Porter, JAC - Hamstring Surgery
Jaguars' head coach Jack Del Rio told reporters on Monday that WR Jerry Porter, who is recovering from hamstring surgery, might miss the team's Week 1 game. Porter could return to practice as early as today (Tuesday) however Del Rio said that Porter will need to practice for at least two weeks before he will be allowed to play in a game. So if he returns to practice this week there is a chance that he will be cleared to play in the regular season opener. Porter's hamstring has reportedly healed and his strength and flexibility are close to being within normal limits. He's been seen running without a limp and the medical staff is confident that once he returns that his hamstring will not be an issue. Hopefully he takes the field with his teammates sometime this week, because if he doesn't Del Rio has indicated that he will be inactive for the start of the regular season.
INDIVIDUAL DEFENSIVE PLAYERS
Shawn Merriman, LB, SD - Torn Posterior Cruciate and Lateral Collateral Ligaments
LB Shawn Merriman's 2008 season appears to be in jeopardy as he has been advised by three separate specialists to undergo season-ending surgery to repair the damage in his knee. It isn't exactly clear when the injury occurred, but an MRI on Merriman's sore and swollen knee last week revealed a partially torn LCL and a completely torn PCL. Merriman, who had arthroscopic surgery on the same knee back in March, complained of lingering soreness and stiffness in the joint but he continued to practice and play through the discomfort. The medical staff finally sent him for an examination and unfortunately it revealed severe damage in his knee. He was told that he has three choices: the first is to undergo reconstructive knee surgery that would end his season but allow him to play next year, the second is to undergo a less invasive cleanup procedure that would allow him to play at some point this season but he would still need to undergo reconstructive surgery after the season and the third is to try and play this year without surgery. Merriman has been advised that if he opts to postpone the surgery he could be putting his career at risk. Merriman has since seen two other specialists and both have agreed that he needs to undergo reconstructive surgery right away. He is scheduled to see a fourth specialist sometime this week in Miami and at that point he will make a decision. Merriman has said that he can't see himself missing this season and that he might postpone surgery and try to play. But that wouldn't be smart and I hope that someone in his inner circle convinces him to undergo the season-ending procedure so that he is ready to go next year.
Jason Taylor, DL, WAS - Sprained Knee / Cracked Bone
Redskins' DL Jason Taylor will miss the next 10 - 14 days after spraining a ligament and cracking a bone in his right knee during this weekend's preseason game against the Panthers. Taylor, who hyperextended his knee in the second quarter, said that he felt a pop and that he was immediately concerned that the injury was bad. He was helped off the field and eventually carted to the locker room where he was examined by the medical staff. According to reports Taylor was diagnosed with a minor sprain of an undisclosed ligament. But what about the "pop" that Taylor felt in his knee? According to reports it turns out that he cracked a bone near the joint, but since the bone is non-weight bearing it is not considered a problem. Taylor is currently wearing a knee brace and he will be held out of practice this week and the team's final preseason game while he recovers. Head coach Jim Zorn is hoping that Taylor will be cleared to play in time for Week 1. But Zorn admitted that there is a chance that he could miss the start of the regular season.
Osi Umenyiora, DL, NYG - Torn Lateral Meniscus
Giants' DL Osi Umenyiora is scheduled to undergo season-ending surgery today (Tuesday) to repair what is being described as severe damage to the lateral meniscus in his left knee. Umenyiora was hurt when his foot got caught in the turf while rushing the quarterback in the first half of this weekend's preseason game. He had to be helped off the field and he was carted to the locker room for an examination. According to reports an MRI the next morning showed that the ligaments in his knee were fine, but that the lateral meniscus was shredded and that pieces of damaged cartilage had lodged itself into the joint preventing him from moving his leg. Although the cartilage damage is being called serious, an injury of this nature doesn't usually take 4 months to recover from as the team's medical staff says it will. So there is more going on here than what is being reported. Umenyiora had arthroscopic surgery back in college to repair damaged cartilage in the same knee. So there is the possibility that he actually underwent microfracture surgery. This has not been reported by the Giants and remains speculation. But it appears that his history of cartilage damage in his left knee has played against him. The Giants expect him to make a full recovery in time for next year's off-season conditioning program, but in a effort to fill his void team officials have contacted retired DL Michael Strahan about returning to the Giants for the 2008 season.