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2009 Off-Season Injury Report - IDP
Philip Gentles
June 22, 2009
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Defensive Linemen

Shaun Ellis, NYJ – Arthroscopic Knee Surgery

Jets’ DE Shaun Ellis has been limited during OTA’s because he is still recovering from off-season arthroscopic knee surgery. Ellis reportedly had damaged cartilage repaired and loose bodies removed after the 2008 season. He continues to be limited in practices as a precaution, however team officials expect him to be cleared for all drills when training camp begins.

Kelly Gregg, BAL – Microfracture Knee Surgery

After missing the entire 2008 season with a troublesome left knee Ravens’ DT Kelly Gregg looks like he will be healthy enough to participate in training camp. Gregg originally had his knee scoped in August last year, unfortunately the joint did not respond to the surgery and physicians eventually determined that the only way he would be able to continue his career was for him to undergo a microfracture procedure. Gregg admitted that rehab was difficult and after missing early portions of the team’s off-season conditioning program team officials weren’t sure if he would be ready in time for the start of the 2009 season. But he was able to take part in several of the team’s recent off-season practices and according to reports he ran without a problem. Gregg has told reporters that he is completely pain-free and he believes that he will be 100% when training camp begins.

Darren Howard, PHI – Sports Hernia Surgery

Eagles’ DL Darren Howard, who had sports hernia surgery back in January, has made a full recovery and he is ready for training camp. Howard is coming off a surprisingly productive season leading the team in sacks despite playing as a backup. He began to complain of pain in his groin and abdomen towards the end of the season and an MRI revealed that he had a torn muscle. He spent a good portion of the off-season in rehab, however he participated in all phases of the team’s recent minicamp workouts and according to reports he did so without a problem. He’s listed behind Trent Cole on the team’s depth chart so despite his big 2008 season he’ll continue to come off the bench limiting his fantasy value.

Jevon Kearse, TEN – Arthroscopic Knee Surgery

Knee problems aren’t something new for Titans’ DE Jevon Kearse. He has a long history of ligament and cartilage issues that have limited his productivity throughout his career. So the last thing we needed to hear was an additional problem. But that is exactly what was reported. Kearse reportedly underwent arthroscopic surgery this off-season to remove loose bodies from the joint and although head coach Jeff Fisher called the procedure “minor” he continues to be limited to individual drills. Kearse hopes to take part in team drills this upcoming week and the team’s medical staff is optimistic that he will be completely healthy for the start of training camp. But if he is on your draft list this recent procedure is a reminder that durability is a major issue making him a fantasy gamble this year.

Patrick Kerney, SEA – Shoulder and Elbow Surgery

According to reports Seahawks’ DE Patrick Kerney, who is recovering from a pair of off-season surgeries, might not be ready for the start of training camp which means he could end up on the team’s active PUP list. Kerney tore the labrum in his shoulder in the middle of last season and he eventually had it surgically repaired. The surgery was classified as a “major reconstruction” and needless to say he’s undergone a long and extensive rehab since. He also had bone chips removed from his elbow in late April. Team officials called that surgery “minor” and he has already recovered from that. However his shoulder remains the issue and it is still less than 100%. Head coach Mike Holmgren has said that since Kerney’s shoulder has been repaired twice (he’s torn the labrum in his shoulder twice) the medical staff would proceed cautiously making sure that he was ready for the start of the regular season. We’ll keep you posted on his progress.

Robaire Smith, CLE – Ruptured Achilles’ Tendon

Browns’ DE Robaire Smith has been limited throughout the off-season as he recovers from surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles’ tendon, however the team’s medical staff is confident that he will be ready for training camp. Smith was injured in Week 2 last season and he was immediately placed on season-ending IR. He’s had plenty of time to rehab and recover and by all accounts things are going as planned. The Browns’ brought in Kenyon Coleman this off-season and it looks like he will be competing with Smith for the starting job. If the team’s medical staff has been truthful about Smith’s recovery he should be healthy enough to battle Coleman when training camp begins.

Osi Umenyiora, NYG – Severely Torn Knee Cartilage

Giants’ DE Osi Umenyiora, who missed the entire 2008 season after severely tearing cartilage in his knee during a pre-season game, recently told reporters that his knee was practically pain-free and that he expects to be 100% when training camp begins. Umenyiora, who had been bothered by cartilage problems in the same knee since 2006, was told by several specialists that he could have returned towards the end of the regular season but that it could have resulted in additional and irreversible cartilage damage. So he agreed to be placed on Injured Reserve and spend the season in rehab. Usually when players have cartilage damage that is considered irreversible they end up having microfracture surgery. But it appears that he may have avoided that procedure for now. Umenyiora has been an active participant in recent minicamps and he told reporters that while there is still some soreness in the joint (soreness he says that has been there since he entered the NFL), pain and discomfort are no longer issues and he expects to be close to 100% when training camp begins. 

Ty Warren, NE – Sports Hernia Surgery and Arthroscopic Knee Surgery

Patriots’ DE Ty Warren is making steady progress in his recovery from off-season groin and knee surgeries and there is now optimism within the organization that he will be cleared to practice in full when training camp begins. Warren was limited at the end of last season and eventually missed three games because of partially torn abductor muscle in his groin and abdomen and inflammation in his knee. He had Sports Hernia surgery and arthroscopic knee surgery shortly after the conclusion of the 2008 season and according to reports the medical staff now feels there is a good chance that he will be ready to practice during training camp.


Nick Barnett, GB – ACL Reconstruction

Packers’ ILB Nick Barnett, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee last season, is reportedly ahead of schedule in his rehab but he admits that he probably won’t be ready to return to practice with the team until sometime late in August. Barnett is over seven months removed from ACL reconstructive surgery and he is reportedly running at full speed and cutting and jumping at close to full speed. The medical staff is pleased with his recovery but he probably won’t be ready for contact for at least another 2 months. Remember, it takes players anywhere from 12 – 18 months post-op before they are back to their pre-injury form. So don’t be surprised if he gets off to a slow start this season.  

Gary Brackett, IND – Leg Surgery

Colts’ MLB Gary Brackett is almost completely recovered from leg surgery and according to reports the team expects him to be 100% when training camp begins in July. Brackett fractured his fibula back in November but he decided to postpone surgery until after the season because he wanted to be available for the post-season. As expected he had the bone surgically repaired in an arthroscopic procedure and team officials have been pleased with his recovery. Brackett has told reporters that his leg is fine and he expects it to be a non-issue this season.

Tyrone McKenzie, NE – Torn ACL

Patriots’ rookie LB Tyrone McKenzie will miss the entire 2009 season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee during the team’s first minicamp. McKenzie was hurt while running during a non-contact drill. The third-round pick was supposed to compete with veteran Tedy Bruschi for snaps at inside linebacker this season, but it looks like Bruschi’s job is now safe. Team officials expect McKenzie to be ready for the start of the team’s off-season conditioning program next year.

Shawn Merriman, SD – PCL and LCL surgery

According to reports Chargers’ OLB Shawn Merriman will continue to be held out of team drills this month as he comes to end of his knee rehab, but the good news is that team officials expect him to be a full participant when training camp begins. Merriman, who played in only one game last season because of torn posterior cruciate and lateral collateral ligaments in his knee, recently told reporters that he felt “great.” The coaching staff has been impressed with what they have seen so far, but he has been limited to individual drills this off-season and we won’t know where he is until he takes part in full contact team drills. Thing are looking good right now, but he still has a few more hurdles to get over.

Defensive Backs

Ryan Clark, PIT – Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery

Steelers’ FS Ryan Clark, who injured his shoulder in Week 16, had the damage in the joint repaired in the off-season. Clark separated his shoulder (sprained the AC joint) twice last year and he likely had surgery to stabilize the joint, but that has not been confirmed by the team. By all accounts Clark has almost made a full recovery and it looks like he will be able to take part in contact drills when training camp begins.

Walt Harris, SF – Torn ACL

49ers’ CB Walt Harris will likely miss the entire 2009 season after an MRI on his injured knee revealed a partially torn anterior cruciate ligament. Harris was hurt while covering a receiver in a drill during OTA’s and the team initially felt it was a minor injury. However an evaluation in the locker room and an MRI the next day showed that he had damage to his ACL. Harris was looking for additional opinions on his knee, but it looks like his 2009 season is over before it started.

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