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2009 Off-Season Injury Report - Wide Receivers
Philip Gentles
June 8, 2009
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Donnie Avery, STL – Cracked Pelvic Bone

Rams’ WR Donnie Avery has made a full recovery from a cracked pelvic bone and he will be ready for the start of training camp. Avery was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his pelvic bone during the 2008 training camp and after a number of weeks of being inactive the pain subsided and the team assumed he was OK. He began to complain of soreness in the same area in the second half of the season and an MRI revealed that there was still a crack in his pelvic bone. The medical staff was able to manage the pain and Avery finished out the season but he was told that he would need at least 2 months of complete rest for the crack to heal. According to reports Avery’s hip has healed as expected and he’s looked good in recent minicamp workouts. By all accounts Avery should be in the starting lineup when the regular season begins.

Nate Burleson, SEA – ACL Surgery

Seahawks’ WR Nate Burleson, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee at the beginning of last season, has been practicing with the team on a limited basis this off-season and the medical staff expects him to be cleared for contact when training camp begins. Burleson is over 8 months removed from reconstructive knee surgery and he continues to make progress. During May OTA’s Burleson, who was wearing a brace, put on a show making a number of impressive catches and running and cutting without a problem. He was held out of some team drills however he looked good when he was on the field. During recent minicamp workouts Burleson was asked work on the scout-team defense as a DB so his workload is increasing and it appears that he will be ready for training camp. T.J. Houshmandzadeh will be the Seahawks’ top WR and Burleson will have to beat Deion Branch in training camp if he wants to be the second starter.

Deion Branch, SEA – Arthroscopic Knee Surgery

Speaking of Deion Branch. Branch had minor arthroscopic knee surgery to remove loose bodies from the joint in the off-season and although he’s still recovering team officials expect him to be healthy enough to participate in training camp. Branch has worked with the team’s training staff, but he hasn’t been cleared for team drills and he’ll likely remain limited until training camp begins. Branch is very talented, but the obvious question is can he stay healthy long enough to be a fantasy factor? If he avoids injury he’ll probably have a good year.

Greg Camarillo, MIA – ACL and Meniscus Surgery

Dolphins’ WR Greg Camarillo, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament and cartilage in his knee last season, remains limited in practice however his recovery has gone well and there is optimism that he will be able to practice in full during training camp. Camarillo had his knee surgically repaired in December and spent the next 5 months working with medical staff and he admitted to a reporter that it was the most difficult thing he has ever had to do. Although he was progressing as expected team officials weren’t expecting him to participate in team drills until sometime in August and there were reports that he would likely open up training camp on the PUP list. But he was cleared to practice with the team on a limited basis at the end of May and he will continue to take part in selected team drills in June.  His status for training camp remains a question mark but at this point it looks like he might be healthy enough to participate. Camarillo will battle with Davone Bess for a chance to start opposite Ted Ginn Jr. this season.

Marques Colston, NO – Microfracture Knee Surgery

Saints’ talented WR Marques Colston had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in January and the team initially said that it was a minor clean-up procedure. But there are reports that he actually underwent microfracture knee surgery and that he’ll likely be less than full strength through training camp and the pre-season. Colston, who complained of soreness in his left knee last season, has a history of cartilage problems in his knee that run as far back as his playing days in high school and college. And unfortunately the cartilage in his knee was in such disrepair (bone-on-bone contact had worn a whole in his kneecap) that the medical felt that the only chance he had of eliminating the discomfort and prolonging his career was for him to undergo the microfracture procedure. By all accounts the surgery went well and he has made positive strides in his recovery. He was running at full speed and cutting at close to full speed by the middle of May and while he was limited during recent OTA’s Colston believes that he will be strong enough to practice during training camp. As a precaution the medical staff will continue to limit him throughout training camp and the pre season and the team is hoping that he will be at full speed when the regular season begins.

Michael Crabtree, SF – Foot Surgery

49ers’ rookie WR Michael Crabtree, who had surgery to repair a stress fracture in his foot, remains limited to individual drills however head coach Mike Singletary expects him to practice with the team as soon as training camp begins. Crabtree reportedly suffered a stress fracture in his foot while preparing for the NFL Combine prior to the Draft. Screws were surgically inserted into his foot and he was told that it would take up to 10 weeks for the fracture to heal. The injury was discovered during testing at the combine and as a result he was unable to run at the combine or at any of his scheduled workouts. He was still selected early by the 49ers and the team’s medical staff is confident that he will be back to full speed in time for training camp.

Patrick Crayton, DAL – Arthroscopic Ankle Surgery

According to reports a sore ankle bothered Cowboys’ WR Patrick Crayton last season and limited him during practices. However he did not miss a game and after undergoing minor arthroscopic surgery to remove problematic scar tissue the team expects him to be pain-free and at full strength for the 2009 season. Crayton has said that his ankle feels great and that it has been a non-issue at recent OTA’s. With Terrell Owens gone look for Crayton to get the start opposite Roy Williams this season.

Kevin Curtis, PHI – Arthroscopic Groin Surgery

Eagles’ WR Kevin Curtis, who had sports hernia surgery last August, had a second procedure on his groin in April to release and remove scar tissue and head coach Andy Reid expects him to practice with the team during training camp and be at full speed in time for the regular season. Several websites are running inaccurate reports regarding the type of procedure that Curtis recently had. According to these reports Curtis reinjured his groin and had a second sports hernia surgery. The truth is that he complained of lingering soreness in his groin area and in a follow-up procedure the scar tissue causing the soreness was removed. Curtis is already practicing on a limited basis and although he’ll probably open up training camp at less than 100% he should be fine when the regular season begins.

Larry Fitzgerald, ARI – Fractured Thumb and Torn Hand Cartilage

Cardinals’ WR Larry Fitzgerald is coming off the best playoff performance by any WR in NFL history and according to reports he did it while playing with injuries to his left hand. Fitzgerald reportedly played with a fractured thumb and torn cartilage in his left hand between the middle and ring fingers. He admitted that his hand bothered him especially during the Super Bowl but it clearly didn’t affect his performance. The injuries did not require surgery and have already healed. He has been active this off-season taking part in team drills and team officials are confident that his hand is now a non-issue. On a separate note Fitzgerald suffered an undisclosed injury during practice last week. The injury forced him to leave practice but he was allowed to return after receiving treatment. It doesn’t appear to be a problem but we will keep an eye on the situation just in case it limits his involvement in practice. 

James Jones, GB – Torn PCL

Packers’ WR James Jones, who suffered through a swollen knee last year, is back to full strength and team officials expect him to be ready for training camp. Jones tore the posterior cruciate ligament in his knee during training camp last year and it limited him throughout the season. The medical staff believed that the injury would require off-season surgery, however after a month of rest and treatment Jones’ knee began to show signs of improvement so team doctors determined that a surgical procedure was unnecessary. He’s since made a full recovery and he’ll be in competition with Jordy Nelson for the third wide receiver spot behind starters Greg Jennings and Donald Driver.

Derrick Mason, BAL – Surgery to Repair Torn Labrum and Damaged Scapula

Ravens’ WR Derrick Mason proved his toughness last season. Mason dislocated his shoulder and in doing so he tore his labrum and suffered undisclosed damage to his scapula. But he continued to play through the pain and he finished out the regular season and the playoffs without missing a game. The medical knew of the damage to Mason’s labrum but they had no idea of the additional damage to his scapula until the surgery. Mason’s range of motion and strength have significantly improved but he has still not been cleared for practice and it looks like he will miss at least a portion if not all of training camp. Mason remains optimistic and he’s hoping that he will be back at some point in August, but right now the goal is to have him back in time for the regular season and head coach John Harbaugh believes he’ll be ready by then.

Brandon Marshall, DEN – Hip Surgery

Broncos’ WR Brandon Marshall, who had problems with his hip last season, had surgery to repair the damage in early April and the team is hoping that he will be cleared to practice with the team during training camp. Marshall injured his hip last year and as the season went on it progressively got worse. In fact team officials said that the injury made it difficult for him separate from defenders during the final weeks of the regular season. Marshall started his rehab in Denver but moved his workouts to Orlando with the approval of the team’s coaching staff. He has since returned and has begun running, but he has not been cleared to participate in football drills and he will likely be limited to individual workouts until late July. We’ll keep you posted on his recovery.

Lance Moore, NO – Surgery to Repair Torn Shoulder Labrum

Saints’ WR Lance Moore dislocated his left shoulder while lifting weights in April and after having the damage surgically repaired the team isn’t sure if he will be cleared to practice with the team in time for training camp. According to reports Moore tore his labrum when his shoulder dislocated and an MRI showed that the injury needed to be surgically fixed. He’s currently in the middle of rehab and he is reportedly working specifically on his range of motion and strength. Needless to say he hasn’t practiced with the team and he probably won’t see the field until sometime after training camp starts. Moore recently spoke with reporters and he said that he wasn’t sure when he would be cleared to return that he would definitely be ready for the start of the regular season. We won’t know much more until after training camp begins.

Hines Ward, PIT – Rotator Cuff Surgery and Sprained MCL

The Steelers initially classified WR Hines Ward arthroscopic shoulder surgery this off-season as minor but we have found out that Ward had a torn rotator muscle repaired and he won’t be cleared to practice until training camp. Ward, who avoided surgery on the partially torn MCL in his knee, has not taken part in any of the team’s off-season workouts and practices and he has been focused on getting his shoulder back to full strength. By all accounts his shoulder is doing much better but he is at least a month away from being able to handle contact. Team officials are cautiously optimistic about his chances of returning by late July and Ward believes that he will be 100% in time for Week 1.

Mike Walker, JAC – Sprained MCL and Knee Infection

Jaguars’ WR Mike Walker, who missed several games and was limited in others because of a problematic knee, is completely healthy and ready for the start of training camp. Walker sprained his MCL last season and the injured joint became infected. He was hospitalized for several days and was released after the infection was controlled, but his knee was an issue for the remainder of the season. The good news is that his knee appears to be a non-issue and team officials believe that he could end up being the team’s second WR this season behind Torry Holt.

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