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2009 Off-Season Injury Report - Running Backs
Philip Gentles
June 8, 2009
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Joseph Addai, IND – Arthroscopic Knee Surgery

Colts’ RB Joseph Addai recently revealed that he had arthroscopic knee surgery during the off-season and team officials are confident that he will be ready for the start of training camp. Addai told reporters that his knee was an issue last season and early in the off-season and the debris that was causing the problems was surgically removed. He has not taken the field with teammates this month and he continues to spend a large portion of his day working with the training staff. The good news is that his knee is improving and if all goes well he should be 100% in time for the regular season.

Marion Barber, DAL – Dislocated Pinkie Toe

Cowboys’ RB Marion Barber, who was limited in the team’s final 5 regular season games because of a dislocated pinkie toe, has reportedly made a full recovery and he will be ready for the start of training camp. Barber admitted that his toe injury was extremely painful and uncomfortable, but that after a couple of months of inactivity the injury healed. Barber was an active participant in the team’s off-season conditioning program and he has looked sharp during OTA’s running and cutting without a problem. Barber will be ready for the start of training camp.

Reggie Bush, NO – Microfracture Knee Surgery

Saints’ RB Reggie Bush is making steady progress in his recovery from microfracture knee surgery. However he remains limited during workouts and it looks like he will begin training camp behind Pierre Thomas on the depth chart. Bush, who has a history of cartilage damage in his left knee, underwent a microfracture procedure in December and he has spent the last 6 months working with the team’s medical staff. According to reports his knee has improved and he was cleared to take part in some lighter portions of team’s workouts and practices this off-season. In an interview with reporters Bush said that his knee was “about 75 percent” and he indicated that he would be limited during the team’s June minicamp. But if all goes well he hopes to be cleared for unrestricted activity when training camp begins.

Matt Forte, CHI – Strained Hamstring / Turf Toe

Bears’ RB Matt Forte strained his hamstring during a recent practice, however team officials aren’t concerned about the injury and they expect him to be fine in time for training camp. Forte said that he heard a pop in the back of his left leg while running during a drill and he limped off the field. He was reportedly taken for a precautionary MRI and while the results have not been made public team officials don’t believe the injury is serious. He’ll likely rest his leg until the start of training camp so that it has every chance to heal. Forte, who was slowed by a nagging turf toe injury late last season, has said that his toe has healed and that it won’t be an issue this year.

Earnest Graham, TB – Severe High Ankle Sprain

Bucs’ RB Earnest Graham, who suffered a severe high ankle sprain last season, practiced at full speed during the team’s recent OTA’s and according to reports he will be healthy for the start of training camp. Graham partially tore a ligament just above the ankle joint during a game last November and although the injury did not require surgery he spent 6 months in rehab. Graham recently commented on his recovery saying that his ankle was feeling great and that he was now completely healed. The acquisition of Derrick Ward this off-season means that the Bucs will probably use both Graham and Ward in the backfield this season.

Felix Jones, DAL – Torn Toe Ligaments

Cowboys’ RB Felix Jones missed 10 games last season after tearing ligaments in his big toe. The injury required surgery and he’s spent a large portion of the off-season recovering. But he recently told reporters that his toe has been tested and that things are going exactly the way he wants them to. According to reports Jones looked explosive during May OTA’s and team officials expect him to be healthy for he start of training camp.

Jamal Lewis, CLE – Arthroscopic Ankle Surgery

Browns’ RB Jamal Lewis had problematic bone spurs surgically removed from his ankle during the off-season and although he remains limited in practice the medical staff is confident that he will be practicing in full when training camp begins. Lewis, who has sprained both ankles a number of times in his career, dealt with soreness in the joint all year. He had a similar procedure done on his ankle in 2007 and he hopes that his most recent surgery is as successful. Lewis has still not practiced in full with the team. In fact he was on the field for parts of practice at the end of May OTA’s but he was back on the sideline for the start of OTA’s in June. He’ll likely remain limited as a precaution until training camp which begins in the end of July. Jerome Harrison is currently working with the first-team however the coaching staff would like to see both Lewis and Harrison in the backfield when the regular season begins.

Laurence Maroney, NE – Fractured Shoulder

Patriots’ RB Laurence Maroney recently broke team protocol and came clean about an injury that kept him from playing last season. According to Maroney he fractured a bone in his shoulder during Week 2 and he tried to play through the injury but it was just too painful. The Patriots have obviously kept this injury very quiet and as a result we were all left wondering what happened to him in 2008. Maroney, who has been a full participant during OTA’s in May and June, told reporters that his shoulder was completely healed and that he’s ready to compete for and win the starting job. The problem of course is that you just don’t know what the Patriots will do. They brought in veteran RB Fred Taylor during the off-season and they have Kevin Faulk and BenJarvus Green-Ellis who will both get touches at some point this year. It’s an ugly situation that you might want to avoid on draft day.

Darren McFadden, OAK – Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery / Bi-lateral Turf Toe

Raiders’ RB Darren McFadden played through a number of injuries last season. But after undergoing surgery on his shoulder and rehabbing his injured ankle and toes this off-season it looks like he will be healthy for the start of training camp. McFadden dealt with turf toe on both feet last year and it limited his involvement in the offense over the second-half of the 2008 season. He also dealt with a sprained ankle and required minor arthroscopic surgery to repair the damage in his shoulder. According to reports his shoulder made a quick recovery and McFadden is confident that his feet are healthy. He was reportedly one of the most impressive players on offense during OTA’s in May and team officials believe he could win the starting job during training camp.

Willis McGahee, BAL – Arthroscopic Knee Surgery / Chronic Ankle Sprain

There have been conflicting reports regarding which part of Ravens’ RB Willis McGahee’s body was operated on in April. Initial reports said that McGahee had his knee cleaned out but later McGahee indicated that his ankle was the major problem and several websites reported that he actually underwent surgery on his ankle, not his knee. To clarify McGahee actually had arthroscopic knee surgery in April because he continued to complain of swelling and soreness in the joint. He said that his ankle was the biggest issue because it kept him out of several games last year and he spent a large portion of the off-season in rehab getting it ready for the 2009 season. But he did not have surgery on the ankle. The good news is that McGahee feels that he is finally back to full strength and after missing practice in May he was back on the field for the start of minicamp in June.

Rashard Mendenhall, PIT – Fractured Shoulder Blade

Steelers’ RB Rashard Mendenhall, who missed a large portion of the 2008 season after fracturing his shoulder blade, has been a full participant in recent OTA’s and according to reports his shoulder is healthy and he is ready for training camp. Mendenhall was actually healthy during the playoffs but he was unable to participate because he was already on Injured Reserve. Willie Parker should open up as the team’s starting tailback but if he gets hurt (and he probably will) look for Mendenhall to step in and produce.

LaDainian Tomlinson, SD – Partially Torn Groin

Chargers’ RB LaDainian Tomlinson, who missed the team’s final playoff game because of a partially torn groin muscle, has reportedly made a full recovery and head coach Norv Turner expects him to be at full speed when training camp begins. LT’s injured groin did not require surgery, but he spent two months in rehab and he was limited as a precaution during the early phases of the team’s off-season conditioning program. But he was back on the field in May and he practiced at full tilt and without an issue. Turner told reporters that Tomlinson has looked so good that he would like to get him over 300 carries this season. We all know what he could do with 300 carries, but at this stage of his career you have to wonder if his body will be able to take the pounding. So even though Turner is telling us that LT will be the feature back, don’t be surprised if backup Darren Sproles is brought in often to spell Tomlinson during the regular season.

Ryan Torain, DEN – ACL Surgery

Broncos’ RB Ryan Torain, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee last season, has made some progress in his recovery from reconstructive surgery. However he still has a long way to go and team officials aren’t expecting him to be ready in time for the start of training camp. Torain said that he was hoping to take part in some of the team’s workouts in May. But he has not been cleared by the medical staff to start practicing. He’ll be reevaluated prior to the start of training camp but don’t be surprised if he ends up on the PUP list. We’ll keep you posted on his recovery.

Brian Westbrook, PHI – Arthroscopic Ankle and Knee Surgery

The Eagles are calling Brian Westbrook’s recent arthroscopic surgery a “minor procedure” and team officials expect him to be back on the field at some point during training camp. However according to several reports the surgery was more than just a minor clean-up and there is some concern that he won’t be ready for the start of the regular season. Westbrook, who dealt with and played through an uncomfortable high ankle sprain last season, began to experience increased soreness and discomfort during workouts in May. So after an examination it was determined that surgery was the only way he was going to play without pain this upcoming season. Westbrook is also recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery. He tore cartilage in his knee last year as well and he had it surgically repaired in February. By all accounts his knee is no longer a problem. We should know more about Westbrook’s training camp and regular season status over the next couple of weeks.

Cadillac Williams, TB – Torn Patellar Tendon

According to reports Bucs’ RB Cadillac Williams has not been cleared to take part in the team’s OTA’s and there is a chance that he will begin training camp on the PUP list and he may stay there for the start of the regular season. Williams is reportedly running and doing some light cutting and jumping however the medical staff doesn’t want him to take part in team drills just yet. In fact team officials aren’t sure when he will be ready for contact and they are preparing to begin the season without him.

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