Now that the NFL Training camps have opened, we are getting a better idea of who is progressing in their injury rehabs and who is struggling to get back on the field, as teams have announced their physically unable to perform (PUP) lists at the start of their camps. The below is a report detailing the significant injury issues affecting NFL players at the offensive skill positions from across the league as of the beginning of the 2012 training camps.
ARI: The Cardinals' Kevin Kolb said Monday, April 16, that it was more than three weeks after the season when he felt normal again after battling a concussion. "To be honest with you, when I first went home it was still pretty severe," Kolb said. "It kind of worried me because I figured once I got away from the game it would clear up pretty fast. But it didn't and I stayed in contact with our guys here. Within three or four days after that three-week period it was fine. I was glad to be feeling back to normal." From a fantasy perspective, a history of concussions (such as Kolb has in his background) is worrisome as the league is being very careful with treating concussions, holding players out for weeks at a time - that's doubly true with players who have a prior history of concussions. John Skelton played well in relief of Kolb last season and the team has stated that the two players are in a competition for the starting QB job this season. Kolb got the initial first-team snap of training camp on July 25, 2012 and is expected to rotate with Skelton during training camp as the competition is played out.
ARI: The Cardinals' John Skelton suffered from swelling in his knee late last season due to a bursal sac problem - he had to have fluid drained before the season finale against Seattle and fainted during the procedure. However, no surgery was necessary to address the injury - doctors advised Skelton that rest would cure the condition. Kevin Kolb got the initial first-team snap of training camp on July 25, 2012 and is expected to rotate with Skelton during training camp as their competition for the starting job is played out.
BUF: The Bills' Tyler Thigpen said on June 3, 2012 he has missed the last two days of organized team activities because of a small abdominal tear. The injury is reported to be minor and isn't expected to keep Thigpen out during training camp. He is participating in training camp as of July 28,2012, but local reports indicate that his play was "atrocious" on the first day of practices. Fellow candidate for the number two job, Vince Young, also had his play panned on July 28.
CHI: The Bears' Jay Cutler was placed on IR Tuesday, December 27, 2011 due to a thumb injury that required surgery to place pins in his broken thumb (the surgery happened during the last week of November). As of Thursday, February 23rd head coach Lovie Smith said that Cutlers' thumb was "fine". There aren't any complications from the injury expected for 2012. The team has stated repeatedly during the summer that they expect to use Cutler's ability to roll out and pass on the run - he looks set to play as usual during 2012.
CLE: The Browns' Colt McCoy was unable to play in the final three games of the 2011 season due to after-effects from a concussion. On February 9, GM Mike Holmgren indicated that McCoy had "no residual effects" from the concussion. However, From a fantasy perspective, a history of concussions is worrisome as the league is being very careful with treating concussions, holding players out for weeks at a time. Also, the team was reportedly upset with how Brad McCoy (Colt's dad) criticized the team's handling of Colt's concussion. The team drafted Brandon Weeden, a 28-year old rookie, with the 22nd pick of the 2012 draft, and the Browns have indicated that McCoy and Weeden will compete for the #1 job on the team during training camp. The latest reports out of Cleveland on July 24 indicate that McCoy will likely be released, and that Weeden is the new starter here.
DAL: The Cowboys' Tony Romo suffered from a hand injury at the end of the 2011 season, but he has since recovered from the problem and looks good to go for 2012.
DEN: The Broncos' Peyton Manning is reportedly healthy and ready to start under center for the Broncos after missing all of he 2011 season due to a series of neck problems/four surgical procedures on the neck. Manning was one of the first players to arrive for voluntary workouts Monday, April 16, 2011. Bronco WR Eric Decker commented on Manning's throws during the workouts on April 16th, saying: "The guy's still throwing the ball a long time, throwing it great, hitting you in the right spot," Decker said. "He's such a perfectionist." As of June 4, 2012 reports out of Broncos' OTAs indicated that Manning is throwing the deep ball very well and his throwing arm strength looks recovered. On June 13, 2012 there was a conflicting report that indicated Manning is still trying to regain top velocity on deep throws but that he looks sharp on short- and intermediate-range throws. A July 3, 2012 report indicated that Manning is somewhere between 85-90% recovered regarding his arm strength, but also added that he may never regain his top form. Manning said on July 13 that he is happy with his rehabilitation, to the point where he feels like an NFL quarterback again. "It has been exciting for me to be back on the field," Manning said. "When you're injured, it's not fun. You're kind of quarantined. It's nice to be able to kind of get the reins cut off, being able to participate in OTAs, minicamp." Manning added he still has more rehabilitation ahead and has "stopped giving percentages" regarding how healthy he is, but his goal remains to participate fully in training camp, preseason and the regular season. Reports out of Denver on the first day of training camp (July 26), indicated that Manning was "impeccable" and that his throwing exhibition was impressive - however, not a lot of deep balls were thrown during the session.
HOU: The Texans' Matt Schaub reported that his rehab from a broken foot/Lisfranc injury (corrective surgery performed Wednesday, November 30, 2011) was progressing well as of Monday, April 16, 2012. There was a surgical procedure at the beginning of April to remove 'hardware' out of his foot - "We have a lot of time to get ready and there's no doubt I'll be ready," Schaub said. Texans' head coach Gary Kubiak commented about Schaub's participation in OTAs this year on May 8, 2012: "We're going to put the reins on him, so to speak. He will do drill work, could throw some 7-on-7, but he will not be put in a team environment where he might get tripped up or something like that happens. He's ready to go. It's us being cautious with him right now." Texans head coach Gary Kubiak said Schaub is doing well in his rehab from foot surgery and could have participated in the organized team activities Thursday, June 7, 2012. As of June 30, Schaub was scheduled to meet with Dr. Robert Anderson within the coming two weeks and expected to receive full medical clearance to participate in training camp. On July 6, 2012, a report from Houston indicated that Schaub won't receive a contract extension until after 2012 because the team wants to see him make a full recovery from the foot injury before making a long-term extension available. On July 12, 2012, Dr. Anderson gave Schaub the green light for full participation in training camp. On July 17, Schaub indicated that this year is a "pivotal year" for him as a member of the Texans.
JAX: The Jaguars' Blaine Gabbert revealed on April 2, 2012 that he played 'nearly all' of his rookie season with a broken toe. The pain from the injury may have contributed to his miserable 2011 showing, but there was more wrong in Jacksonville than just Gabbert's broken toe. Reports out of OTAs have been that Gabbert is adapting to Mike Mularkey's offense quickly and well.
JAX: The Jaguars' Chad Henne landed on IR Thursday, October 6, 2011 (placed there by his old team, Miami) due to a separated shoulder that required surgical repair. He was signed by the Jaguars to a two-year contract on Wednesday, March 14, 2012. He has since stated that he expects to compete for the starting job in Jacksonville (Sunday, April 15), even though the Jaguars' coaching staff is on record saying that Gabbert is the clear-cut #1 entering preseason.
KC: The Chiefs' Matt Cassel broke his hand in November, 2011 and was placed on IR Monday, November 21 after corrective surgery was performed on Wednesday, November 16. As of Friday, February 24, Cassel was reportedly throwing the football well. General Manager Scott Pioli said on February 24 that "He was throwing right as the season ended. I don't know if he's 100 percent because I haven't seen him, but he's throwing well." On June 27, 2012 Cassel stated that his fractured right throwing hand is now 100% healed.
MIA: The Dolphins' David Garrard had back surgery in October 2011 to fix a herniated disk. On February 15, 2012 Garrard indicated that he expected to be "fully healed" from his back surgery by early April, 2012. He was signed by Miami on Monday, March 19 and the team has declared their QB contest is 'open', meaning Matt Moore, Garrard or rookie Ryan Tannehill could win the job in training camp. On May 24, 2012 Garrard stated that he considered himself a candidate to win the starting job in Miami, despite owner Stephen Ross's comments that Matt Moore would likely be the starting QB week one of the regular season. Early word out of Miami (on July 22, 2012) is that Garrard is the slight favorite to win the starting job as of the opening of training camp.
MIN: The Vikings' Christian Ponder was slowed during December 2011 due to a hip pointer, and he eventually missed the season finale as a result of the injury. However, he was declared fully healed as of March 4, 2012, and is expected to fully participate in OTAs and training camp. Vikings QBs coach Craig Johnson said on July 2, 2012 that Ponder has made great strides during OTAs and that Ponder is at the point where the pro game is "slowing down" for him.
NE: The Patriots' Tom Brady aggravated a pre-existing left shoulder sprain during the third quarter of the Super Bowl on February 5, 2012. He did finish the game, and the injury isn't expected to have lingering effects into the 2012 preseason. Brady reportedly completed 26-of-29 passes during 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills Thursday, July 27 - he is playing well to open training camp.
NYJ: The Jets' Mark Sanchez fought through a shoulder injury during 2011, according to free-agent wide receiver Plaxico Burress. "He definitely has enough arm," Burress said on July 9, 2012. "He was battling some injuries last year, shoulder-wise that a lot of people didn't know about ... different things like that. But I think he really turned a corner." Sanchez was reported to have no problems throwing the football in very wet conditions the day Jets' training camp opened (July 27), though he is still in a camp battle with Tim Tebow.
OAK: The Raiders' Matt Leinart was placed on IR November 30, 2011 due to his broken collarbone. Surgery was performed in early December to repair the fracture (suffered while Leinart was with Houston) - he was signed by the Raiders to compete for the #2 quarterback job behind Carson Palmer on May 2, 2012.
PIT: The Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger spent the offseason recovering from foot, ankle, shoulder and thumb injuries sustained during 2011. As of February 15, 2012, Roethlisberger indicated that he was training to strengthen his throwing shoulder, and that the other injures were healed. As of May 9, 2012, Roethlisberger was working with new OC Todd Haley to learn the Steelers' new offense and appears to be past the numerous injuries he sustained during 2011. Reports out of OTAs on June 28, 2012 indicated that Roethlisberger has adapted to the new offensive scheme of Todd Haley very well - he appears to be fully healthy on the eve of training camp. However, the called nothing but running plays during the first full practice in pads on July 28, 2012 - there may be more rushes than expected in Pittsburgh this year under Haley.
STL: The Rams' Sam Bradford missed weeks 15-17 last season due to a nagging ankle injury. As of March 29, 2012, Bradford was declared healthy by new head coach Jeff Fisher: "Sam finished his rehab probably about a month ago," head coach Jeff Fisher said. "The ankle lingered a little bit in the offseason. He's in good shape now." It appears that Bradford will be good to go for OTAs/training camp. On July 5, 2012 Bradford stated that the ankle "feels good" but that there are days when it isn't 100%. Bradford reiterated the not-100% analysis on July 14, saying "I would say there's still days where it's not 100 percent, but I really haven't had any major setbacks. It seems to be getting better every week. I'm hoping by the time training camp gets here that it'll really be a non-factor."
SEA: The Seahawks' Tarvaris Jackson played through an injured pectoral muscle for most of the 2011 season (he was injured in early October). Reports on February 23rd indicated that he did not need surgery to repair the muscle. Seahawks general manager John Schneider said on March 4, 2012 that he believes Jackson can improve his play next season because he will not have to deal with the pectoral injury that affected his play this past season. However, the team added Matt Flynn from Green Bay in free agency and drafted Russell Wilson in April so it appears that Jackson's time under center in Seattle is likely to end soon. Jackson is set to start training camp as the team's starting QB, but observers widely expect Flynn to be the week 1 regular season starter. On July 28, Jackson took the first snaps under center opening training camp.
ARI: The Cardinals' Chris Wells described his arthroscopic right knee surgery Tuesday, January 24, 2012 "as just a scope," and he said the procedure went as expected. He was at the team's facilities Friday, January 27, to start the rehab process. Wells should be able to participate in offseason work if his rehab goes as planned. However, on May 22, 2012 Sean Howard, the agent for Arizona Cardinals RB Beanie Wells, said his client underwent "a clean-out procedure" and not microfracture surgery, which would have required extensive rehab. "He's in shape and looks good," Howard said. "The doctors and the Cardinals have decided to play it safe. Rather than rush him back, the consensus opinion was to let him heal." The team is still expecting Wells to be ready for training camp in late July. As of June 1, 2012 it's reportedly uncertain how long Wells will be out as he rehabs from his recent knee surgery. As of June 15, 2012, it appears that the Cardinals may limit what Wells and Ryan Williams do at the start of training camp and then increase their workload as camp goes on. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt said on June 14, 2012: "He's got to work himself back to being ready," Whisenhunt said. "We've done the right thing with Beanie as far as the offseason and making sure he is healthy." Whisenhunt also said that Wells should "bust his tail" because other backs have looked good in OTAs. Wells opened training camp on the PUP list, and he estimated himself at 75% healthy as of July 26, 2012. It is unclear when we may see Wells on the field as of the end of July. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt said the move was not unexpected, and he doesn't anticipate Wells being on PUP for an extended time.
ARI: The Cardinals' second-year running back Ryan Williams tore his patella tendon and sustained meniscus cartilage damage on August 19, 2011, and was placed on IR for the 2011 season. Williams is already running and cutting on his surgically repaired knee according to reports on May 7, 2012. Williams seems to be ahead of schedule in his rehab and said, "I am running and cutting and doing things I didn't think I'd be doing this early. I'm not worried about it." As of June 1, 2012 Williams hopes to begin practicing the following week. Williams is rehabbing from the knee injury that caused him to miss his entire rookie season in 2011. As of June 15, 2012, it appears that the Cardinals may limit what Chris Wells and Williams do at the start of training camp and then increase their workload as camp goes on. Williams avoided the PUP list to start camp (July 25), but he has been limited during the first week of practices as expected.
ATL: The Falcons Jason Snelling underwent surgery to wire his broken jaw Monday, January 9, 2012. "Well I just got back from the Dr. and it looks like I will be eating Jello and apple sauce next couple weeks," Snelling said. Atlanta re-signed Snelling to a new contract on Thursday, March 8, 2012 - it appears that the jaw is not an issue heading into 2012.
BUF: The Bills' Fred Jackson said on Monday, April 23, 2012 that he is completely healthy from the broken leg he suffered last season. He said he has been working out this offseason and has been medically cleared to practice. On May 7, 2012 he was awarded a contract extension - it appears the team is not concerned about the leg injury. C.J. Spiller played well in relief of Jackson, however, and the team has openly talked about a 50-50 work share arrangement between the two backs for 2012. Jackson reported to Bills camp on July 25 and reiterated that he's completely healed from his fractured fibula.
CHI: The Bears' Matt Forte suffered a knee injury at the end of the 2011 season, but was recovered enough to be medically cleared to play in the 2012 Pro Bowl (cleared on January 19, 2012). On July 16 2012 he signed a four year, $32 million contract extension and is set as the lead back on the eve of training camp.
CLE: The Browns' Montario Hardesty suffered from knee and calf injuries during 2011, and he managed just 3.0 yards per carry on 88 attempts last season. However, coach Pat Shurmur stated on January 4, 2012 that "I think he's hopefully finally getting back. This will be one of the first off-seasons he hasn't been dealing with an injury, so that will really help him develop." However, the selection of Trent Richardson during the 2012 draft will put Hardesty into a change-of-pace role at best for 2012. Reports out of OTAs this summer noted a hitch in Hardesty's steps during practices - there is speculation he may be cut if he can't stay healthy during training camp.
CLE: The Browns' Brandon Jackson was reported on June 3, 2012, to be fully recovered from the toe injury that cut his 2011 season short. On July 9, 2012 he was reported to be #2 on the Browns' depth chart entering training camp. He and Montario Hardesty are fighting for the backup job to Trent Richardson during August.
CLE: The Browns' rookie running back Trent Richardson is expected to be a full participant in the team's rookie minicamp, despite an early-February arthroscopic knee surgery on his left knee. The injury is considered a non-factor going forwards, according to reports out of Cleveland. The Browns agreed to a four-year, $20.5 million contract with Richardson on July 23, 2012.
DAL: The Cowboys' Demarco Murray was placed on IR December 13, 2011 due to a fractured right ankle. A corrective surgery was successfully performed in mid-December, and Murray began running in early February, 2012. On May 8, 2012, Murray declared himself back to 100% healthy."He's at a point now where he goes and does everything on the field with everybody else," RB coach Skip Peete said. Murray reiterated Wednesday, July 11, in a chat that he is healthy and he does not expected to be limited in training camp. "The ankle is doing great," Murray said. "I'll be able to do whatever the coaches want me to do."
DAL: The Cowboy's Phillip Tanner was placed on IR December 9, 2011 due to a hamstring injury. He was reported to be fully recovered as of May 23, 2012 - it appears Tanner will be ready for training camp.
DEN: The Broncos' Knowshon Moreno landed on IR Wednesday, November 16, 2011 due to a torn ACL in his right knee. He had surgery to repair the knee December 1, 2011, and on February 23, 2012 head coach John Fox stated that "He's had a great rehab. (Steve) "Greek" (Antonopulos), our trainer, does a great job. I see Knowshon in there just about every day down in rehab, so it's coming along quite nicely,". However, Moreno was arrested for DUI on February 1, 2012 and the team drafted rookie RB Ronnie Hillman in April. As of Friday, April 6 2012 there were reports that Moreno would likely miss training camp and start regular season on the PUP list - that's assuming that the team keeps Moreno on the roster. On May 26, 2012 it was reported that Moreno was struggling to stand out from the pack of backup running backs during the Broncos' late May OTA's - his roster spot appears to be in jeopardy. As of May 31, 2012 Moreno has been limited during organized team activities this offseason because he has not been cleared to take part in team drills. Moreno passed his training camp physical on July 27, 2012 but he is wearing a knee brace and not participating in team drills. He currently appears to be on the roster bubble.
DET: The Lions' Jahvid Best was cleared to resume working out on Tuesday, March 6, 2012 after being limited to just six games during the 2011 season after suffering a series of serious concussions during 2011. Best has a history of concussions stretching back to college, and given the league's new emphasis on handling concussions carefully, Best is at risk of missing multiple games if he suffers another brain trauma during 2012. On May 20, 2012, it was reported that Best will likely get clearance for full contact sometime in June and is expected to ready for the start of training camp. Best said on June 4, 2012 that he may try out some new helmets this season because of his past history with concussions. He added that he is feeling great and can't wait to get back on the field. On July 1, 2012 a report out of Detroit confirmed that Best is expected to be 100% for training camp. GM Martin Mayhew is on the record expecting a "breakout" season from Best during 2012. However, Best opened training camp on the PUP list due to lingering after-effects from his concussion - he is still not cleared for contact as of July 29, 2012. "That (suffering another concussion) has not crossed my mind yet. Right now I'm waiting to be cleared," Best said on July 27.
DET: The Lions' Jerome Harrison was placed on the reserve/non-football illness list on May 15, ending his 2012 season. He's recovering from having a brain tumor surgically removed.
DET: The Lions' Mikel Leshoure tore his left Achilles tendon on Monday, August 8, 2011. He landed on IR Sunday, August 14, and the injury was surgically repaired. On February 14, 2012 it was reported that Leshoure was in the final stages of his rehab, and might be ready for some level of participation in OTAs, with full participation in training camp. On March 28, coach Jim Schwartz stated: "I never like to put timetables on it," said Schwartz, "but I would be surprised if it [Leshoure's medical clearance to play] wasn't before [training camp]." However, Leshoure has since been arraigned for twice being arrested for possession of marijuana (February 18 and March 12, 2012). He pled guilty to a reduced charge of first offense, possession of marijuana on Friday, May 11 - Leshoure is widely expected to get a four-game NFL suspension due to the legal woes, though the league has yet to act as of mid-May. On May 20, 2012 Leshoure said he expects to be fully recovered by the start of the regular season. He hopes to be ready to participate once training camp starts and has been on schedule in his rehab. Leshoure did not participate in organized team activities Monday, June 4, because of his sore right ankle. Reports in early July indicated that Leshoure is expected to be ready for the start of training camp. Head coach Schwartz said on July 9, 2012 "We need to have the ability to pick up tough yardage, and I think that's something that Mikel can do for us." Leshoure tweaked his hamstring in practices on July 28, 2012 - "He grabbed his hamstring a little bit," coach Jim Schwartz said. "Where it turns out to be, we'll see, but again, if it's long-term, we'll let you know. Don't know."
DET: The Lions' Kevin Smith returned to the NFL last year after multiple knee injuries. He filled in for the injured Mikel Leshoure (Achilles) and Jahvid Best (concussions) at the end of the 2011 season, but did have some problems with his ankles and knees at the very end of the season. The team did re-sign Smith on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 and he'll provide veteran insurance against further injury woes with Leshoure and Best - Leshoure is suspended for two games to open the regular season. Reports out of training camp indicate that Smith is playing well in the lead running back role as of July 29, 2012, as Best remains not cleared for physical contact and Leshoure is currently out of practices due to a tweaked hamstring.
GB: The Packers' Alex Green enters 2012 coming off a torn ACL/reconstructive left knee surgery on November 16, 2011. He is said to be making a "very quick" recovery (head coach Mike McCarthy said so on March 28, 2012). On May 10, Packers team physician, Dr. Pat McKenzie, said he was "hopeful" that Green will be ready for training camp. Green has been running since April 20 and has started cutting as of May 10. On June 10, 2012, Green said he is not sure if he will be ready to practice when training camp begins. Green could start camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list but it does not appear like the team believes he will start the season on the list. He has not been running at full speed at this point but has been able to do cutting drills. On June 19, Green said regarding his recovery in time for training camp: "That's the plan. That's the goal." He reportedly had no problem running all the routes required from running backs during minicamp in mid-June. Green got strong reviews from head coach Mike McCarthy on July 26: "When he hits it, he's top speed, when that crease or when he sees the opportunity for it to split," said McCarthy. "He's a powerful man, and he's got excellent leg drive and does a good job running behind his pads. I think he definitely can add to our running back group. It's great to have him back."
HOU: The Texans' Arian Foster tweaked a foot during the playoffs, and sat out of the 2012 Pro Bowl as a result. However, he was awarded a five-year extension worth $43.5 million with $20.75 million guaranteed on March 5, 2012. It appears the sore foot isn't an issue going forwards.
JAX: The Jaguars' Rashad Jennings received more reps during the team's May OTAs because Maurice Jones-Drew was not in attendance. Jennings missed the 2011 season due to a knee injury, but the injury didn't require surgery and Jennings is participating in the 2012 OTAs. With Jennings' return to health, the Jaguars dropped fellow RB Deji Karim from the roster in April. Jennings was praised on the first day of training camp, July 26, by head coach Mike Mularkey: . "I thought Rashad Jennings responded to being pushed into the starting lineup. I thought he responded well, his work ethic was great.". Jennings is currently the Jaguars' starting running back as Maurice Jones-Drew was placed on the did not report list to open training camp - Jones-Drew is in an extended holdout over his contract.
KC: The Chiefs' Jamaal Charles suffered a torn ACL in his left knee on Sunday, September 18, 2011, and was placed on IR Wednesday, September 21. Charles took part in a football workout for the first time post-injury on Thursday, February 2, 2012. On May ninth, Charles commented on his rehab: "It made me stronger. It made me the person that I am today, I can't wait and I know how to take care of my body, how to eat right and do the right things and it's made me not want to wait to touch that field again. When I touch that field going out there, you're going to feel my pain; you're going to go through what I went through. That right there is going to be there for the rest of my career because I don't want to be out a whole year ever again. That point, at my stage, I'm 25 years old, I'm at the point in my life that I've got to win games ... That had me thinking a lot and made me a better player." The team expects Charles to be ready for training camp. On May 26, 2012 it was reported that the team has no concerns about Charles' status for training camp - he should be ready to go by July. Charles all but guaranteed Wednesday, June 13, 2012 that he would be cleared to participate when training camp begins next month. "I'm ready to put my cleats back on and punish everybody in my way," Charles said. Charles was officially cleared for full participation in training camp on July 27, 2012.
KC: The Chiefs' Peyton Hillis battled through hamstring and elbow injuries to have a disappointing 2011 campaign (10 games played: 161/587/3 rushing for 3.6 yards per carry on average, with 22/130/0 receiving). He was allowed to leave Cleveland in free agency and signed a one-year deal with the Chiefs for $3 million on Wednesday, March 14, 2012. During June minicamp, Hillis handled all the first team reps while Jamaal Charles continued rehabbing his surgically repaired knee. Hillis and Charles reportedly took turns as featured running back on the first day of training camp practices, July 28 2012.
MIA: The Dolphins' Reggie Bush missed the season finale in 2011 due to a knee injury that didn't respond to treatment. However, he is expected to be the starting RB for the new coaching regime in Miami during 2012 - on March 29, 2012 head coach Joe Philbin said bush would line up in several different spots this year, including wide receiver. "He just (does) a lot of different things. We're excited about the flexibility it gives an offense."
MIA: The Dolphins' Daniel Thomas said on June 10, 2012 that knee and hamstring injuries affected his play last season and took some of his burst away. "I know I've gotten better," he said. "The injuries affected me a lot last year. They messed my mind up. I lost the confidence I had. I didn't have the same burst I had earlier." Thomas also said his lack of leg drive was the reason he averaged only 1.9 yards on average after contact. Local reports on July 29, 2012 indicated that Thomas is in the lead for the #2 running back job behind Reggie Bush as of the start of training camp.
MIN: The Vikings' Adrian Peterson suffered a torn MCL and ACL as well as meniscus damage in his left knee on Saturday, December 24, 2011. He had reconstructive knee surgery on December 30, 2011 and has aggressively rehabbed the injury this spring, starting to run on land in April. Peterson is optimistic that he'll be able to play in week one of the regular season, but so far the team's training staff isn't so sure: "I love Adrian," head team trainer Eric Sugarman said on May 9, 2012. "But let's make this clear: I'm still not going to be quoted as saying he's going to play in the first game. That's not fair. I don't know that ... He'll keep throwing that out there. And good for him. That's great. That's obviously our goal, to get him playing the first game. But only if he's functionally safe to do it. This is our franchise. We can't be foolish about this." On May 31, 2012 Peterson said his lateral skills, flexibility and range of motion with his knee is improving and believes he could be ready for limited participation when training camp begins. Head coach Leslie Frazier indicated on the same day the Physically Unable to Perform list will still be an option for Peterson. On June 20, 2012, Peterson (knee) said he has been able to cut while running without restrictions but still needs to build strength in the rehabbing knee. Peterson said his goal is to be able to participate in come drills during training camp. Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier said Tuesday, July 3, RB Adrian Peterson (knee) is "right on course" in his recovery, but added the team will defer to doctors and trainers for any timetable. He also commented about Peterson's role early in the regular season, saying: "He's so valuable to our organization that we have to be smart. We'll tread lightly as far as Week 1 and how much he'll contribute on the field," said Frazier. "Even when we get to training camp, he's going to be chomping at the bit but we'll have to be smart." On July 27, the Vikings opened camp with Peterson on the active/PUP list - he is running on the side during practices, but isn't participating in drills/contact. Coach Frazier indicated on July 29 that Peterson would see some action during preseason: "Ideally, you'd like to see him get some carries at some point in the preseason just for his benefit," said Frazier. "Where he can gain some confidence and get a feel for where he is and where he needs to be by the first game." It appears that Peterson will be limited in practices throughout training camp, as was widely expected.
MIN: The Vikings' Toby Gerhart suffered a torn MCL in his knee during the 2011 season finale - the injury did not require surgery, though, and on April 11, 2012 Gerhart indicated that the knee was almost fully rehabilitated and that he would fully participate in offseason workouts. On May 3, Gerhart indicated that he is preparing the carry the load for Minnesota in the event that Adrian Peterson (torn ACL, MCL, and meniscus damage) can't play early in the year. "I'm preparing to be the guy,' Gerhart said. 'I try to do that every year. But this year it's a little more prevalent. I'm doing everything I can to be here, work hard, work with the new guys we have coming in. I'm pushing everybody and getting pushed by other guys. Preparing to be the guy, depending on whether Adrian comes back." On June 20, 2012, Gerhart reiterated that his slightly torn MCL feels 100 percent. Gerhart started taking first team snaps on July 27 as the Vikings opened training camp with Adrian Peterson on the PUP list. Gerhart will see extensive action in training camp/preseason.
NE: The Patriots' Shane Vereen struggled with a nagging hamstring injury throughout 2011, and missed weeks 13-the Super Bowl while only appearing in five contests his rookie season (with carries in just two games, weeks 11 and 12). He'll have to stay healthier if he's going to challenge Stevan Ridley for touches during 2012. During June OTAs Vereen and Ridley shared first team reps, setting up a training camp battle for touches. Ridley opened training camp as the starting running back, and Vereen is reportedly being challenged by undrafted free agent Brandon Bolden as of the end of July.
NE: The Ex-Patriots' Joseph Addai was plagued by hamstring woes during 2011, but did end the season (weeks 15-17) on the playing field for Indianapolis. He was allowed to depart the team in free agency and signed an incentive-laden deal with the Patriots on May 5, 2012. He was released at the start of training camp (July 25) after failing his physical and reportedly "quitting" during his conditioning test. This may be the end of Addai's NFL career.
NO: The Saints' Mark Ingram has undergone turf toe surgery (early January 2012) and then a second arthroscopic surgery since August 2010 on his left knee (May 4, 2012). The newest knee procedure should take about six weeks to heal, which means he may miss some OTA time but should be ready to participate in training camp. The series of knee operations is a red flag for potential fantasy owners, though. Stay tuned to see how well Ingram recovers from his latest surgical procedure. On June 6, 2012 he commented: "Just something, needed to have it fixed and went in and got it done," Ingram said. "A minor knee surgery, a little scope." Ingram asserted he'd be 100% for training camp. Reports on July 27, 2012 indicated that though Ingram is participating in practices the Saints are limiting his reps at the beginning of camp, though he reportedly looked good in the first session on July 26.
NO: The Saints' Pierre Thomas suffered a head injury/concussion during the Divisional round playoff game vs. San Francisco on Saturday, January 14. On March 30, 2012 he said that he was recovered from the brain trauma - "I'm great," said Thomas. "Ankle's all good. Body's feeling good. Head's feeling good." However, a history of concussion (or concussion-like) injury is a worry for fantasy owners as the league has been very proactive in handling concussions in recent years, holding some players out for weeks at a time - everyone has to pass the baseline neurological test once they've been concussed before resuming football activities.
NYG: The Giants' Ahmad Bradshaw struggled with a painful foot injury throughout the 2011 season. He has since undergone an injection of stem cells into his injured foot (March 8, 2012), which is expected to help heal the stress fracture. As of April 2, 2012, Bradshaw said he had an injection of bone marrow from his hip put into his foot to help the bone heal. He expects to rest for three months following the procedure. Bradshaw expects to miss most of the OTAs but hopes to be able to participate fully in training camp. Bradshaw was not a full participant at OTAs, saying on June 14 he wanted to "take it slow" after getting the bone marrow injection. The team expects him to be 100% for training camp. Bradshaw commented on July 27 that "I feel great. I've always said I felt better, but this year I feel great more than any year I've played in the NFL." He added, "Running-wise, I'm just light on my feet right now."
NYG: The Giants' Da'Rel Scott suffered a hyper-extended knee in the 2011 season finale - the injury doesn't appear to have developed into a larger concern so Scott should be fine to play during 2012.
NYG: The Giants' Danny Ware suffered a concussion in the Wild Card playoff game (January 8, 2012) and didn't return to action. Ware did return to practice four days later, January 12, after passing his concussion tests. Fantasy owners should note that given the league's new emphasis on handling concussions carefully, Ware is at risk of missing significant time during the coming season if he suffers another brain trauma during 2012. A local report on July 5 indicated that Ware is fighting for the backup job to Ahmad Bradshaw entering training camp.
NYJ: The Jets' Shonn Greene fought through rib and shoulder injuries at the end of December, and played through the pain. There have been no reports of surgeries during the offseason, so it looks like he's good to go for the 2012 training camp.
OAK: The Raiders' Darren McFadden said Tuesday, May 15, 2012 he is 100 percent after suffering a severe foot injury last season (he didn't play after week seven of the 2011 season). McFadden is not concerned with injuring the foot again. "It was just a freak thing, you know. I'm going out there and playing like it never happened," McFadden said. "I'm not going to worry about it. My thing is, just go out there and play hard. I can't control the things that happen when you go out there and get tackled, so I just go hard every play.' McFadden has stated that he wants to rush for 1,800 yards during 2012. On May 23rd, local reports indicated that he has showed no lingering effects during recent offseason workouts from the foot injury that forced him to miss the final nine games last season. On June 14, 2012, Raiders head coach Dennis Allen said he is convinced that McFadden is nothing short of 100 percent and ready to pick up where he left off last season before a foot injury ended his season after only seven games. "He looks extremely good to me," Allen said. "He looks fast. He looks explosive. He knows what to do. He knows how to do it. And as we all know the key is, can we keep this guy healthy? And if we can, I would expect him to have a good year."
OAK: The Raiders' Mike Goodson said on March 31, 2012, that the hamstring injury that landed him on Injured Reserve in mid-November last season (while with the Carolina Panthers) has healed. "I've been working real hard ever since the injury, rehabbing and getting it back to 100 percent," Goodson said. "It's finally there, definitely." Goodson is expected to be the primary backup to Darren McFadden in Oakland this year.
PHI: The Eagles' LeSean McCoy struggled with a sprained ankle at the end of the 2011 season, and was inactive in week 17 despite reports late in December that he would play. However, McCoy received a $45 million contract extension with $20.765 million in guaranteed money on May 17, 2012. The team clearly believes that McCoy's ankle woes are a thing of the past. Reports are that McCoy should see more reps split out wide this year, and he's working on improving his pass blocking so he can stay of the field more - "I think last year my blocking slipped just a little bit. Gave up some key blocks and key pressures I think." he said on July 25.
PIT: The steelers' Baron Batch suffered a torn ACL on August 11, 2011, and was placed on IR, undergoing reconstructive knee surgery. As of March 26, 2012, he was reported to be cleared for offseason workouts, but then on May 4. 2012 we learned that Batch wasn't ready for practices yet. However, he was fully participating in training camp workouts as of July 29 - "I like the fact that there was no hesitation in his play," said head coach Mike Tomlin. "For a guy that's coming off a knee injury, I thought he moved with authority and trusted his knee."
PIT: The Steelers' Jonathan Dwyer suffered a broken foot in early December, and landed on the IR list December 8, 2011. As of May 18, 2012, Dwyer had begun running and cutting drills, and he looks set to come into training camp as the #2 running back behind Isaac Redman, while Rashard Mendenhall continues his rehabilitation from a torn ACL suffered on January 1, 2012.
PIT: The Steelers' Rashard Mendenhall suffered a torn ACL in his right knee during the season finale on January 1, 2012. He is widely expected to start the 2012 season on the PUP list (Coach Mike Tomlin said he expected Mendenhall to start 2012 on the PUP list as of March 27, 2012). He may play at some point during 2012, but a lot depends on how his rehabilitation progresses. As of June 16, 2012 Mendenhall has resumed working out. General manager Kevin Colbert believes Mendenhall will open the season on the PUP list, making him unable to play until after the team's sixth game of the year. At that point the team would have three weeks to decide to either activate Mendenhall or put him on the IR list. On July 12, Mendenhall said on his Twitter page that his torn anterior cruciate ligament has healed wonderfully, but no time frame for his return to the football field was mentioned. Mendenhall began training camp (July 25) on the PUP list and is expected to be on that list for the first six weeks of the 2012 regular season.
SD: The Chargers' Ryan Mathews was held out of the week 17 game last season due to a calf injury, but he was later added to the AFC Pro Bowl Roster (January 22, 2012) - holding him out of the season finale was a precautionary move. The calf injury doesn't appear to be an issue entering the 2012 season. As of July 27, Mathews views himself as an every-down back for the Chargers - "I don't ever want to come off the field. I want to be the best guy for every situation," Mathews said. "I know I can handle a heavy workload and be that three-down back people believe I can be. That's what I've been preparing myself for all offseason."
SF: The 49ers' Frank Gore was slowed after the season due to an undisclosed illness - he skipped the Pro Bowl game due to "medical reasons". On May 8. 2012 Gore commented on his health: "I feel like I still got a lot left in my tank," Gore said. "I want to show it off that I still got a lot left in my tank and I can play at a high level. I will play at a high level as long as God blesses me to be healthy so I can go out and do something that I love."
TB: The Buccaneers' Doug Martin has dealt with a hamstring injury over the last few weeks, it was revealed on June 6, 2012, but he was able to fully participate in organized team activities the first week of June. Martin was ahead of LeGarrette Blount during the first training camp practice (July 27), with Martin receiving the bulk of first team reps. He was reportedly "very impressive" during the first week of training camp practices and is becoming the clear-cut #1 running back as of July 29, 2012.
TEN: The Titans' Javon Ringer was placed on IR December 19,2011 due to a broken right hand that required surgical repair. He should be ready for the 2012 training camp - no complications from the procedure were reported. On June 18, 2012 Ringer asserted that he is 100% healthy.
WAS: The Redskins' Tim Hightower suffered a torn ACL in his left knee week seven of the 2011 season (October 23, 2011). He underwent reconstructive knee surgery and was re-signed by the Redskins as of May 13, 2012 (contract details undisclosed beyond the fact it is a one-year contract). Hightower did not participate in the organized team activities Monday, May 21, but did work with trainers on the sidelines. He is hopeful that he'll be ready for the start of regular season - his rehab continues as of late May, so hopefully Hightower won't suffer any setbacks in the process. A report on June 28, 2012 indicated that Hightower will get a shot at being the Redskins' starter week one, if he is healthy enough. However, on July 27 2012 head coach Mike Shanahan conceded after Friday's training camp practice that Tim Hightower reconstructed left knee is "not close to 100 percent."
ARI: The Cardinals' Larry Fitzgerald suffered bruised ribs and a lung injury during the week 17 game against Seattle - his injury didn't require surgery and he was able to participate in the Pro Bowl on January 29, 2012.
BAL: The Ravens' Anquan Boldin (knee) said Sunday, January 15, 2012 that he felt fine after the team's Divisional Round playoff game win against the Houston Texans. He missed the final two regular season games after surgery to repair a partially torn meniscus in his knee. "Yeah, I felt good," Boldin said. "I went to (QB Joe Flacco) before the game and told him, 'If you see me out there in one-on-one coverage, just throw it up. I'm make a play.' Fortunately, he was able to do that." Boldin also played in the AFC Championship game, and looks set to start again for the Ravens during 2012.
BUF: The Bills' Stevie Johnson is having "very minor" surgery on his groin Tuesday, May 1, 2012. He's expected to be fully recovered within weeks, though - this is not considered a big issue as of mid-May. Johnson did miss OTAs on May 29, 2012 as he continues his recovery from the groin surgery, but the absence was not a surprise. He is still on track to be ready for training camp. Johnson participated in some individual drills Friday, June 15, 2012. Johnson looked good but wasn't moving at full speed yet. On June 22nd, Johnson was reported to be "ramping up" his involvement in OTAs and was seen making several nice catches - he seems to be on track for full participation in training camp. On July 26, Johnson was reported to be fully participating in training camp - "I am still about the same (as OTAs)," said Johnson. "About 90-plus (percent). I never really say a hundred because nobody is perfect here. But I feel good about it. I do not feel anything in my groin so I am pretty good."
BUF: The Bills' Donald Jones was lost for the season in week five of the 2011 campaign due to a serious ankle injury. He was placed on IR November 22, 2011. However, he enters 2012 as potentially the #2 wide receiver on the depth chart, depending on his full recovery from the ankle woes of last year. He worked extensively in the slot during June OTAs - the ankle appears to be in good shape on the eve of training camp. Jones was penciled in as the #2 starting wide receiver as of July 26, 2012, when training camp opened.
BUF: The Bills' Marcus Easley was medically cleared to resume his football career on Wednesday, December 14, 2011 after missing the season due to a heart condition. Head coach Chan Gailey said at that time that Easley will be given a chance to compete for a roster spot during 2012, though he has missed two straight seasons since being drafted. Bills head coach Chan Gailey said on June 8, 2012, that he has been impressed with how WR Marcus Easley has performed during organized team activities this offseason. "His work ethic and the things he's done in the offseason to get ready to participate. He's been so strong and so good I haven't had to say a word to him. He is an upbeat guy. He knows he's got to fight an uphill battle to get into the fray, but I think he can," Gailey said.
CAR: The Panthers' David Gettis was placed on IR Tuesday, August 30 2011 due to his torn left ACL. As of January 10, 2012, Gettis had begun running during his rehabilitation from reconstructive knee surgery, and he hoped to participate in OTA's as usual. He should be on pace to compete for the #2 wide receiver position in training camp if he doesn't suffer a setback in his rehab. On June 12, 2012 Gettis said he has been taking the rehab from his torn anterior cruciate ligament slowly this offseason because he wants to be careful with the injury. Gettis began training camp on the active/PUP list (July 23rd), but he was listed on PUP due to a hamstring strain, rather than any trouble with his rebuilt knee. On July 27 Gettis commented that he should be ready to play "in a few days".
CAR: The Panthers' Louis Murphy may miss the early part of training camp due to a hamstring injury (July 26 report).
CHI: The Bears' Johnny Knox had successful back surgery on Monday, December 19, 2011. Knox stated on February 2, 2012 that he would wear a back brace until mid-March because of the surgery. As of March 26, reports were that Knox is scheduled to start the 2012 season on the Physically Unable to Perform list, according to multiple sources familiar with Knox's progress. Knox was forced to wear a back brace after having surgery and was walking with a limp as of late March. There was more structural damage than initially anticipated, according to one source. Coach Lovie Smith stated on March 28 that "It would be hard for me to go into that right there,' Smith said. 'Are you a religious man? Do you talk to God? He can probably tell you. Besides that, it's going to be pretty hard.' Knox said on May 23, 2012 that he is working hard in his rehab from back surgery but is not sure if he will be able to play this season. On May 31, 2012 Knox said that he knows there is a chance he could miss the entire 2012 season (he is working to strengthen the muscles around his injured spinal column). Knox acknowledged on June 23, 2012 that there is still no timetable for a return to the football field as he makes his way back from his severe back injury. Knox opened camp (July 25) on the PUP list - he is expected to stay on PUP for at least the first six games of the regular season - though he may not play at all this year.
CIN: The Bengals' Jordan Shipley tore his left ACL on September 18, 2011, and missed the rest of the NFL season. As of May 7, 2012 Shipley was medically cleared for full participation in OTAs. However, a report on July 7, 2012 indicated that Shipley may begin the regular season on the PUP list because the team wants to be cautious with his recovery/rehab. Shipley started training camp on the PUP list (July 27), and he may be kept on that list into regular season, which would cost him the first six games of 2012.
DAL: The Cowboys' Miles Austin recently (April 16, 2012) revealed that he wasn't physically prepared for the 2011 season, and indicated that the lack of conditioning was a factor in the recurring hamstring injuries that limited him to 10 games during the regular season. He had previously stated on February 28, 2012 that his hamstrings were back to 100%. A local report on June 13 indicated that Austin is in outstanding shape and he was reportedly catching everything "in sight".
DAL: The Cowboys' rookie wide receiver Danny Coale will need surgery to repair a broken left foot (broken fifth metatarsal) suffered on May 22, during the organized team activity at Valley Ranch. The surgery means Coale could miss the early part of training camp, which will begin in the final week of July. On June 6, 2012, Coale said the goal is for him to be ready for the start of training camp. He said he will stop using crutches in a day or two and will take off the walking boot in seven to 10 days. However, a report from the team on June 10 indicated that Coale may begin training camp on the PUP list. He is still expected to be ready for part of training camp, according to reports out of Dallas. As of July 19, the timetable for Coale's return to the football field was sometime in early August.
DAL: The Cowboys' Kevin Ogletree was limited by a sore knee during the final two weeks of the 2011 regular season. However, he was re-signed to a one-year deal on Friday, March 16 by the team - presumably he's past the knee issue and ready for OTAs/training camp.
DEN: The Broncos' Andre Caldwell was put on IR by his former team, the Bengals, on Tuesday, December 27, 2011 due to a groin/abdominal injury. He was signed to a two-year contract by the Broncos on Wednesday, March 21, 2012 - he must have passed the Broncos' physical before being signed, so the injury appears to be a thing of the past. A report on July 26 indicated that Caldwell is expected to be the team's #3 wide receiver this year.
DEN: The Broncos' Demaryius Thomas had surgery on his left pinkie during March to remove a pin that was put in there when he shattered his finger in September 2011. As of April 17, 2012 Thomas hadn't worked out with new QB Peyton Manning yet - hopefully his injured hand will get better soon. As of June 22, Peyton Manning was saying that he's never worked with a receiver like Thomas, and on June 28 Thomas commented: "You're gonna have to run the whole route tree now," said Thomas. "The comebacks, the slants, the posts, the ins. And I didn't have to do that much when I was my first couple of years in the league." Thomas has a lot of hard work with Manning ahead in training camp - stay tuned. A report from Broncos' camp on July 28 indicated that Thomas has improved his route running and looks simpatico with Manning.
DET: The Lions' rookie wide receiver Ryan Broyles was drafted with the #54 pick this April, but he comes into the 2012 regular season off a torn ACL in his knee, suffered in November of last year. Some speculate that Broyles may begin the 2012 season on the PUP list, but GM Martin Mayhew stated on April 30th that Broyles could be ready sometime during training camp. Broyles has been working hard on his rehab according to head coach Jim Schwartz, and wouldn't rule Broyles out for week one of the regular season. So far, the potential start date of Broyles' NFL career is up in the air. Broyles participated in the individual portion of May OTAs, but hasn't done team drills yet. Head coach Jim Schwartz said that the Lions "are expecting a contribution from him this year." Broyles started camp (July 24) on the Non-Football injury list, but he was activated on July 29, 2012 and medically cleared for practices. The quick activation indicates that Broyles has a good shot to play early on in the regular season.
DET: The Lions' Calvin Johnson tweaked his Achilles' tendon at the end of the 2011 season, but played well in the Lions' wild card playoff game loss. He skipped the 2012 Pro Bowl to rest the sore tendon, and received the largest contract in NFL history (seven years, $132 million, with $60 million guaranteed) on Wednesday, March 14, 2012. It appears that the Achilles' injury is not a concern going forwards.
GB: The Packers' Greg Jennings sustained a rib contusion during the NFL Playoffs, but it wasn't a significant injury and shouldn't hamper him during the OTAs/training camp here in 2012.
HOU: The Texans' Lestar Jean was lost for the 2011 season due to a significant left shoulder injury during training camp - he was placed on IR Tuesday, August 30, 2011. He was medically cleared in April 2012 to resume football activities/the team's voluntary workout program. Head coach Gary Kubiak stated on May 1, 2012: "We've got a couple of kids that we think a lot of, Lestar Jean being number one." Jean was a training camp sensation last year before going down to the shoulder injury, and could push for time in the starting lineup during 2012. In late May, Jean got some first team reps - he may be challenging for playing time during training camp. Coach Gary Kubiak confirmed on July 29 that Jean will fill in as the Texans' first-team X receiver while Andre Johnson nurses a mild groin strain.
HOU: The Texans' Andre Johnson missed time during 2011 (nine games) due to a hamstring injury, but he played well during the playoffs and appears to be past the nagging injury as of mid-May, 2012. However, on May 22, 2012 it was reported that Johnson is expected to miss three to four weeks after having arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. He is expected to be ready for training camp, but Johnson has yet another injury issue for fantasy players to monitor during July. As of late June, Johnson was reportedly working out with Matt Schaub during throwing sessions "every day". However, Johnson suffered a "mild" groin strain early in training camp, and is currently sidelined while youngster Lestar Jean fills in on the first team during training camp. "I'm fine," Johnson insisted on July 29. "Not limping or anything. It's just a strain." Coach Gary Kubiak emphasized being "smart" about the injury, which could worsen if aggravated. Kubiak said the Texans would be "very careful" before letting Johnson retake the practice field.
IND: The Colts' Donnie Avery struggled with hamstring problems during 2011, but Indianapolis added him to their rebuilding squad on Friday, March 23, 2012. It remains to be seen if he can stay healthy after playing zero games in 2010 and just eight games for Tennessee during 2011. During mid-June, local reports indicated that Avery was a "bright spot" for the Colts during OTAs.
IND: The Colts' rookie wide receiver T.Y. Hilton was limited during the latter part of their early-May rookie minicamp due to a sore hamstring. He also pulled his hamstring during his Pro Day during the pre-draft process, so this injury has been nagging Hilton for some time. He was signed to a four-year deal by the Colts on May 31, 2012.
JAX: The Jaguars' rookie wide receiver Justin Blackmon missed the last day of rookie camp due to a sore foot, but returned to OTAs on Tuesday, May 15. Evidently, the problem was due to a pair of new cleats that didn't fit correctly, and isn't a serious injury. As of July 26, Blackmon is a training camp holdout as the team is now insisting on contract clauses protecting the Jaguars from a repeat DUI arrest (he plead guilty to DUI on July 24, 2012 but avoided jail time). It is unclear when Blackmon may be signed as of the end of July.
JAX: The Jaguars' Lee Evans had a miserable, injury-marred (ankle injury) 2011 season with just nine games played for Baltimore - he saw 31 targets but caught just 4/74/0 for the team. He was signed by the Jaguars on Monday, April 16, 2012 to a one-year contract. He reportedly played well in minicamp (April 19, 2012).
JAX: The Jaguars' Mike Thomas suffered a concussion in week 14 of the 2011 season (Sunday, December 11, 2011), and passed his concussion test on Thursday, December 22. Though there are no reports of post-concussion issues for Thomas, players with a history of prior concussions are a larger injury risk due to the league's proactive stance on concussion assessment and treatment. It's common to see several weeks missed in the instance of a repeat brain trauma (for example, Detroit running back Jahvid Best's experience during 2011).
KC: The Chiefs' Jonathan Baldwin (undisclosed) was not at organized team activities Friday, June 1, 2012 because of a medical issue. Head coach Romeo Crennel did not specify the issue but it appears that Baldwin may be struggling with recent migraine problems. Later in the day, coach Crennel said "He had a migraine (Thursday) and he's going to go to the doctor today, so we'll just have to wait and see,". Baldwin participated in organized team activities Monday, June 4, after sitting out Friday, June 1, with migraines. Hopefully, the doctors will be able to find an effective treatment regimen to help Baldwin keep the migraines at bay. A local report on June 15, 2012 indicated that Baldwin "starred" in mid-June OTAs - he seems ready for training camp. Baldwin opened training camp playing with the first team due to Dwayne Bowe's contract holdout - "His weight is down," coach Romeo Crennel observed of Baldwin on July 27. "He's in great shape. He's got a good attitude. I anticipate he will have a good year going forward."
MIA: The Dolphins' Davone Bess revealed on Tuesday, April 24, 2012 that the knee injury he suffered in week 17 of the 2011 season was a torn medial collateral ligament and partially-torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee. He stayed in Florida throughout the offseason to rehab the injury, and Bess did practice during the April 24 voluntary offseason workout. "Luckily, the ligaments were in the right place where they could heal by themselves," said Bess.
MIA: The Dolphins' Brian Hartline revealed on Saturday, June 30, that he is recovering from an appendectomy, but he is expected to be fine for training camp. However, he looked sluggish as of the start of training camp (July 27) and dropped out of Saturday and Sunday drills due to a left calf injury (reported on July 29). It is an inauspicious start to the season for Hartline.
MIN: The Vikings' Michael Jenkins landed on the IR list November 29, 2011 due to a torn meniscus cartilage in his knee. As of April 27, 2012 he wasn't taking part in team workouts - keep an eye on his rehab if you are considering investing picks in the Vikings' wide receiver corps this year. On May 22, 2012 Jenkins said the torn meniscus in his knee has fully healed and he will be with the team for the start of Organized Team Activities that start on May 30, 2012. As of June 20, 2012 Jenkins is expected to start for the Vikings while Jerome Simpson serves his three-game suspension to open regular season. A local report on July 28 indicated that Jenkins is not experiencing any problems with his knee during the first week of training camp.
MIN: The Vikings' Percy Harvin (shoulder injury) played with a sprained acromioclavicular joint last year, and an MRI exam showed damage around the AC joint that will require minor arthroscopic surgery. The procedure was scheduled for April 10, 2012, but Harvin delayed the procedure in order "to support my family through emergency." Harvin said he'd have the surgery 'soon', but he didn't participate in team workouts on April 27 and it was unclear if Harvin has rescheduled the procedure or not. The team is reportedly concerned about 'erratic behavior' on the part of Harvin. As of May 29, 2012 Harvin was not participating in team OTAs due to the shoulder procedure, which had taken place "in the last month". Harvin has indicated that he has different issues with the Vikings that he is unhappy with. "It's hard to try to tell you guys without telling you guys," he said to the Minnesota media Tuesday, June 19. Whether or not the shoulder injury is a factor in the unspecified 'issues' was unclear as of mid-June. He is expected to report and participate fully in training camp as of July 6, 2012. Harvin arrived for the start of training camp on July 26 and is fully participating. On July 27 he commented: "I'm at camp, I'm happy, I'm on board."
NO: The Saints' Lance Moore missed the Divisional round playoff game vs. San Francisco due to a nagging hamstring injury. Hopefully, the offseason rest will set the sore muscle right - Moore owners will want to monitor his participation during OTAs this summer.
NYG: The Giants' Ramses Barden spent the beginning of the season on the PUP list due to an ankle injury, but found a few chances to contribute to the team after being activated from the list on Saturday, November 5, 2011. In all, he had 9/94/0 receiving from weeks 9-16 before being serially inactivated for the team's run through the playoffs. On May 31, 2012 head coach Tom Coughlin commented: "That would be great if he did," said Coughlin about Barden stepping up. "It has been a little bit of inconsistency. Some days are very, very good and others are not as good. Hopefully it will all catch up with Ramses this spring and this fall."
NYG: The Giants' Hakeem Nicks was bothered by a sore shoulder in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, but played very well during the Giants' victory. On Wednesday, March 7, 2012 Nicks indicated that no surgery was necessary to deal with the numerous dings that he had accumulated over the season - he allowed the minor injuries to heal naturally. However, on May 24, 2012, Nicks fractured the fifth metatarsal of his right foot during the team's second organized team activity workout. Conflicting reports about the time frame for Nicks' return have been heard as of early June, with the team leaning towards the 12-week time frame but Nicks asserting he'll be ready in four-to-six weeks/that he has a goal of being ready for the start of training camp. As of July 13, 2012, Giants WR Victor Cruz said Nicks told him Wednesday, July 11, that he expects to be ready for the regular season game Week 1 and not when the team reports to training camp. "He looks good. He's walking again on his own so that's definitely a good sign," Cruz said. "He told me he'll be ready and he told me he'll take training camp to continue rehabbing and continue to get his foot back right, but I definitely expect him to be ready by game one." Nicks opened training camp on the PUP list, and as of July 29 is said to be on track for a mid-August return to the team/practices.
NYJ: The Jets' Santonio Holmes removed himself from a June 7, 2012 practice during organized team activities (OTAs) due to "too many reps." Head coach Rex Ryan later said Holmes suffered a hamstring injury in that final OTA practice. Wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal said on June 20, 2012 that he was in "complete shock" over the attention given to the situation. "Honestly, it was complete shock to me that this was being reported," Lal said. "Every day in practice, I make it a point to tell the receivers - because they run so much - you have to keep them healthy. There's no point in getting hurt in June." Stay tuned to this developing situation - hamstring injuries can sometimes linger and become nagging issues for NFL players. Holmes did eventually show up for the start of training camp on July 27, but was reportedly late to report.
NYJ: The Jets' Jeremy Kerley suffered a hamstring injury on July 28, 2012 and will miss "about a week" of training camp. Head coach Rex Ryan said he's "disappointed" with the second-year wideout's progress in new OC Tony Sparano's system as of July 28.
NYJ: The Jets' Chaz Schilens suffered foot and hip injuries during December, 2011 that limited him at the end of the season. He has struggled to stay healthy during his pro career, but was awarded a one-year, $765,000 tryout contract by the Jets on March 16, 2012. On July 28 he was singled out for praise by head coach Rex Ryan - Schilens is evidently playing well early in training camp.
NYJ: The Jets' Jordan White (broken foot) will be out until training camp because a fractured bone in his left foot. The injury occurred on the first day of OTAs and he had surgery on the injury two days later - his recovery time frame was made public on June 1, 2012. He was not wearing a walking boot, and he was no longer using crutches as of Monday, June 25.
OAK: The Raiders' Jacoby Ford, who missed six games during 2011 due to a mid-foot sprain before appearing in the season finale, is near 100% healed as of April 5, 2012, according to head coach Dennis Allen.
OAK: The Raiders' Denarius Moore suffered a hamstring injury during OTAs on June 12th, 2012. On June 13, Raiders head coach Dennis Allen said Moore will be fine and ready to roll by the start of training camp. As of July 29, Moore has been medically cleared to begin practices on Monday, July 30 when the Raiders' training camp opens.
PHI: The Eagles' Riley Cooper will undergo surgery Monday, July 30, 2012 to repair his fractured left collarbone and is expected to miss six weeks. He may miss the season opener with a six week rehab time frame (it is six weeks until the season opens as of July 30).
STL: The Rams' Danny Amendola was placed on IR October 6, 2011 due to a dislocated elbow that required surgical repair. He signed a one-year, $1.8 million tender on April 26, 2012 - he looks like a lock to be among the top three receivers on the depth chart as of mid-May, probably playing in the slot.
SD: The Chargers' Roscoe Parrish saw his 2011 season end on September 20, due to a serious ankle injury. A report on December 14, 2011 indicated that Parrish was healthy by mid-December, but the Bills declined to retain his services after two injury-shortened campaigns (eight games in 2010, two games in 2011). He signed a one-year deal with San Diego on April 3, 2012 - financial terms were undisclosed. He is penciled in as the team's fifth wide receiver as of the start of training camp.
SEA: Newly-signed Seahawk Antonio Bryant is out of practices due to a hamstring injury, according to local reports on July 28.
SEA: The Seahawks' Sidney Rice had surgery on both of his shoulders on January 3, 2012. Rice also suffered a concussion last year, which led to his placement on IR November 30, 2011. Players with a history of prior concussions are a larger injury risk due to the league's proactive stance on concussion assessment and treatment. It's common to see several weeks missed in the instance of a repeat brain trauma, so there are several injury factors to weigh in Rice's case before adding him to a fantasy roster. Seahawks general manager John Schneider said on April 20, 2012 that Rice isn't expected to take part in preseason offensive workouts but should be ready for the start of training camp. On June 14, it was reported that Rice asserted he is on pace to be ready for the opening of the regular season after undergoing two offseason shoulder surgeries. "A lot of slipping out and popping out of place," Rice said. "Right now, they're supposed to be brand new shoulders, and we'll take it from here. Right now I've got to regain my strength in my shoulders and get ready for the season." Rice wasn't cleared for contact as of June 13 - he had both labrums in his shoulders repaired (full, 360 degree tears in each shoulder). Rice has concentrated on adding muscle during offseason - reportedly putting on 11 pounds as of June 21, with a goal of 18 total pounds of muscle by regular season. As of July 28, Rice was medically cleared to join practices.
SEA: The Seahawks' Golden Tate has been running routes during team drills at minicamp as of June 13, 2012, but is not catching any passes because of his broken hand. He believes he will be ready when training camp starts.
SEA: Ex-Seahawk Mike Williams landed on IR December 20, 2011 due to a fractured left ankle and fractured fibula. He resumed running on April 25, 2012, but was not able to participate in OTAs that began on May 5. He was released by the team on July 13, and may not catch on with another team due to the ongoing rehabilitation of his ankle/fibula injury.
SF: San Francisco's Ted Ginn Jr. did not participate in any offseason workouts, as he was nursing a right knee injury. However, toward the end of the offseason program, he appeared to be running near 100-percent speed during workouts. He is expected to be ready for training camp and the preseason, according to a July 11 report out of the Bay area. As of July 29 Ginn was handling kick returns in training camp - he's full go as of late July.
TB: The Buccaneers' Arrelious Benn didn't play in the 2011 season finale due to a neck injury. He was practicing with the team as of May 22, 2012, but he was running with the third-team offense during the workouts. It looks like Benn will be buried on the depth chart this year unless he impresses the new coaching staff during training camp. Benn sprained his MCL on July 27, 2012 during practice and is out for four weeks - he won't be impressing the coaching staff from the sidelines.
TB: The Buccaneers' Preston Parker sustained a concussion in week 16 of the 2011 season. He did play in the season finale - he shook off the injury rapidly. However, players with a history of prior concussions are a larger injury risk due to the league's proactive stance on concussion assessment and treatment. It's common to see several weeks missed in the instance of a repeat brain trauma (for example, Detroit running back Jahvid Best's experience during 2011).
TEN: The Titans' Kenny Britt suffered a torn ACL in his right knee after the week three game during 2011. He was placed on IR September 28, 2011 and underwent reconstructive knee surgery. On May 10, 2012 Britt indicated that the rehabilitation has been a struggle at times, saying: "I'm out there running, mostly at full speed, cutting, running around. The knee's still swollen, but that comes with the territory and we've got three months before I get back on the field." Then, on May 16, Britt underwent another surgery, an arthroscopic knee surgery, to reduce swelling in the previously-operated-on right knee. As of June 1, 2012 Titans head coach Mike Munchak said that Britt is making good progress in his rehab from arthroscopic knee surgery and should start running again soon. As of June 4, 2012 Titans head coach Munchak said that Britt is expected to be limited at the start of training camp and could sit out the first two or three preseason games to protect his knee. On June 6, 2012, comments from Britt about his recovery were published - he stated: "I lost some strength in my leg a little bit (after the arthroscopic procedure to clean out his surgically repaired knee) and that set me back a little bit," Britt said. "But I start running on the field (Thursday) to see how I feel. They thought it would be next week, so I feel good about that...seeing how I can cut... I am hoping I'll be back for opening day. Hoping and praying." As of June 15, 2012, Britt is back to cutting for the first time on his surgically repaired knee. Britt didn't expect to start cutting so soon, but commented. "They surprised the heck out of me today," Britt said. "And I did it without the brace, too... On my first one I was a little hesitant, but it felt good and after that, it was all out." On June 21 Britt commented: "We don't even know what the real Kenny Britt could be like because we've never had a Kenny Britt the whole season except for my rookie year," Britt said. "Hopefully, God-willing, I will go through the whole season healthy and try and get on the same page I was on last year." On July 25, Britt opened camp on the active/PUP list - he clouded his 2012 prospects with a recent DUI arrest that is an issue at the league disciplinary level - there are multiple clouds hanging over Britt as of the end of July.
TEN: The Titans' Lavelle Hawkins struggled with an ankle injury during December 2011, but was re-signed to a three-year contract worth $7.2 million including a $2 million signing bonus, on February 13, 2012. It appears that the ankle is not a concern for 2012.
TEN: The Titans' Nate Washington had surgery around mid-April for a chipped bone in his knee, but he said Friday, April 13, 2012, that he plans to be back for organized team workouts. As of May 20, 2012, Washington has been able to participate in the first organized team activities of the preseason. "I've been practicing every day this week," Washington said. It appears that the surgical procedure is not a worry entering the summer months.
TEN: The Titans' Kendall Wright injured his shoulder during OTAs on June 14th, 2012. "His shoulder is sore from falling on it," head coach Mike Munchak said. "He went for a ball, trying to make a play -- that is sort of in his DNA, to try and catch every ball. That is one he probably should've just let go." As of July 29 (the third day of training camp) Wright is still unsigned and absent from the team practices, so we don't know how his shoulder has progressed/whether he is 100% healthy for preseason.
WAS: The Redskins' Leonard Hankerson underwent hip surgery on February 21, 2012. As of May 7, he was reportedly walking without a limp - Hankerson said "I'm feeling good, getting better every day. Not quite there yet, but hopefully I will be in a couple of weeks." As of May 9, 2012 reports indicated that Hankerson was targeting the June 11 minicamp to return to practices - he is expected to be ready for training camp if he can't make the June minicamp. On June 21, reports out of the camp indicated that Hankerson was getting reps in the slot - he seems to be on track for full participation in training camp. Hankerson got some first team reps during training camp on July 27.
WAS: The Redskins' Josh Morgan suffered a broken lower right leg right above his ankle on Sunday, October 9, 2011. He underwent corrective surgery on October 10, and was placed on IR October 12, 2011. He began running on the leg in late January, 2012, and was signed by the Redskins to a two-year, $6 million contract on March 13, 2012. He partially participated in June OTAs, and was quoted as saying he's lost five inches off his vertical leap since the injury - "I used to have a 41-inch vertical. Now I only got a 36," Morgan said June 21. "I gotta get that 40 back." On July 26 Morgan was medically cleared for the start of training camp and he is playing with the first team.
ARI: The Cardinals' Todd Heap struggled with a hamstring injury until late in the 2011 season - he did score one TD in the season finale, but was limited in practices and during game day for much of the year due to the injury. Heap commented on December 8, 2011: "I don't feel like this is something that happened, or that the healing process has been (long), because of age. It was just a different injury. I have a lot of good football in me," Heap said. On June 2, 2012 he commented: "Coming into a new offense, new terminology, last year was an adjustment," Heap said as he explained his disappointing 2011. "Having time to get into it, digest it now, it's going to be huge for a lot of us who weren't here until the beginning of last year."
ARI: The Cardinals' Jeff King suffered a partially torn quadriceps tendon during May and underwent surgery to repair the injury, it was reported on May 23, 2012. King is expected to be able to participate in training camp, though it is unclear if he'll be 100% healthy. As of July 17, King is expected to miss the start of training camp.
BUF: The Bills' Scott Chandler suffered a knee injury in the team's season finale, but Bills head coach Chan Gailey said TE Scott Chandler (knee) did not need surgery on the knee injury he suffered. Chandler was expected to be fully healed in a few weeks, and he was signed to a contract extension March 8, 2011 - he seems to be past the knee problem for 2012. According to the Bill's website (June 25, 2012) Chandler "was a daily fixture on the highlight reel for the offense, especially in the red zone." during June OTAs.
BUF: The Bills' Lee Smith was placed on IR Tuesday, December 20, 2011 due to an ankle injury suffered on Sunday, December 18, 2011. So far during his time in the NFL, Smith has done more blocking than receiving, with 4/11/0 receiving for the Bills over 10 games (three starts).
CAR: The Panthers' Greg Olsen suffered some back issues during December 2011, but they aren't a serious concern entering the 2012 campaign.
CAR: The Panthers' Gary Barnidge suffered a broken ankle on Friday, August 19, 2011 and was placed on IR Tuesday, August 30. Even though he didn't play a down last year, the team signed him to a one-year extension on Thursday, December 8, 2011 - reports at that time indicated that the team wants to give him another chance to compete as a receiver from the TE position. On March 21, 2012 it was reported that the team was excited about Barnidge's potential as a downfield threat prior to his ankle injury. He is seen as a player who could be the #2 TE behind Greg Olsen as of July 24, according to local reports.
CLE: The Browns' Benjamin Watson was placed on IR Friday, December 16, 2011 due to a concussion. As of Sunday, February 12, 2012 he was reported to be fully recovered from the injury and wasn't experiencing any lingering effects. However, from a fantasy perspective, a history of concussions is worrisome as the league is being very careful with treating concussions, holding players out for weeks at a time.
DEN: The Broncos' Julius Thomas had surgery on April 8, 2012 to repair ligaments in his ankle. The team expects him to recover in time for training camp, but he'll miss valuable reps with new QB Peyton Manning during OTAs as a result of the surgery. He enters training camp fourth on the depth chart behind Joel Dreessen, Jacob Tamme, and Virgil Green. Thomas passed his physical on July 26 and is participating in training camp.
GB: The Packers' Andrew Quarless (ACL injury on December 4, 2011) is likely to start the season on the PUP list, according to a May 13 comment by Packers' head coach Mike McCarthy. McCarthy indicated that the tight end probably won't be seeing the field anytime soon. "Andrew, just from a timetable standpoint, is a question mark [for the start of regular season]." McCarthy stated. He is expected to start regular season on the PUP list.
JAX: The Jaguars' Zach Miller was placed on IR Tuesday, October 18, 2011 due to a shoulder injury that required surgical repair. He also struggled with knee and foot issues that limited him to four games during 2011. On April 13 2012 it was reported that Miller was medically cleared to practice again at the beginning of April, 2012.
KC: The Chiefs' Tony Moeaki suffered a torn ACL on Thursday, September 1, 2011 and was placed on IR Saturday, September 3. Reconstructive knee surgery was performed. Chiefs' general manager Scott Pioli said he expected Moeaki to play in regular season (February 24, 2012). As of Tuesday, April 24, Moeaki said that he expected to be back in action in time for training camp. As of June 12, 2012 Moeaki was reported to be still working his way back from the significant knee injury. Moeaki was officially cleared for full participation in training camp on July 27, 2012.
MIA: The Dolphins' Anthony Fasano suffered a concussion in week 15 of the 2011 season, missed the game week 16, but then returned for practices leading into the season finale. It doesn't appear that there are lingering after-effects from the brain trauma. However, a history of concussions is worrisome for fantasy owners as the league is being very careful with treating concussions, holding players out for weeks at a time, especially players who have previously suffered a concussion (as Fasano has).
MIN: The Vikings' John Carlson suffered a torn labrum in his shoulder during August 2011 and was placed on IR Saturday, September 3. Carlson said on January fifth, 2012 he was not completely recovered from the shoulder injury he had the past season but has been able to run and do some weight lifting recently. He said he was doing around 90 percent of what he does normally. Carlson was signed to a five year, $25 million deal on Wednesday, March 14, 2012. "In the red zone, he has a sense for zone and an ability to slide into an opening and then make a tough, contested catch," OC Bill Musgrave said on July 17, 2012.
NE: The now-Patriots'/ex-Giants' Jake Ballard (torn ACL in Super Bowl, February 6, 2011) conceded on April 19th that he would likely not return to action before mid-season, if then. He also required microfracture surgery on his injured knee to try and regenerate cartilage. Ballard is widely expected to start the season on the PUP list, which means he wouldn't be available until after week six of the season, if then. He's now buried on the depth chart behind Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, and thus is unlikely to make a fantasy impact even if he does return to action this year.
NE: The Patriots' Daniel Fells missed some of OTAs due to an ankle/leg injury, but he's expected to be ready for training camp as of July 6, 2012.
NE: The Patriots' Rob Gronkowski underwent ankle surgery after the Super Bowl and was still in a walking boot as of March 21, 2012. On April 15, Gronkowski said that he expected his injured ankle to be 100% healed by May - it appears that he'll be in good shape for training camp, barring any setbacks with the injury. On June 3, 2012 he commented that the ankle is feeling better every day. On June 18, 2012 Gronkowski said that his ankle is feeling 'great.' Gronkowski also touched on his new six-year, $54 million deal. "I'm just happy. Both sides are really happy," Gronkowski said. "I love all my fans out there. It's a great community, a great team. It's awesome going out there every single Sunday in front of that crowd. I'm happy to be here long-term, definitely. It all worked out well." He was running routes very well on the first day of training camp (July 27), and appears to be 100% recovered from the ankle problem.
NE: The Patriots' Aaron Hernandez suffered a concussion during the Divisional Round playoff game vs. Denver on Saturday, January 14. He did receive clearance to play in the AFC Championship game and the Super Bowl - it doesn't appear that the concussion caused lasting after-effects. However, a history of concussions is worrisome for fantasy owners as the league is being very careful with treating concussions, holding players out for weeks at a time if they suffer a subsequent brain trauma.
NO: The Saints' David Thomas was placed on IR Tuesday, November 22, 2011 due to after-effects from a concussion. As of Sunday, March 11th he was reported to be ready to play in 2012 despite the brain trauma that limited him to five games last season. However, a history of concussions is worrisome for fantasy owners as the league is being very careful with treating concussions, holding players out for weeks at a time if they suffer a subsequent brain trauma. As of mid-June Thomas was reported to be back practicing vigorously.
NYG: The Giants' Travis Beckum had his torn ACL reconstructed on Tuesday, February 21st, 2012. Though the buzz during April has been that Beckum is further along in his rehab than ex-teammate Jake Ballard, it appears that Beckum is a candidate to start the 2012 season on the PUP list. On June 12 it was reported that Beckum has begun straight-line running - a significant step in his rehab, but not one that would put him ready for the start of training camp. Bear Pascoe was reported to be the leader for starting tight end as of July 12, 2012.
NYG: The Giants' Martellus Bennett has not been participating in organized team activities as of May 31, 2012, because of a hamstring injury. Tight ends coach Mike Pope said Bennett weighed 291 pounds last week and does not think Bennett's legs can support that weight while doing the things the team has asked him to during workouts. On July 12, it was reported that Bear Pascoe is ahead of Bennett on the depth chart as of the start of training camp.
PHI: The Eagles' Brent Celek underwent two surgeries on January 4, 2012, to repair a sports hernia in his groin and a torn labrum in his hip. As of May 14, 2012, head coach Andy Reid stated that Celek will be limited in the team's minicamp/OTAs, but that Celek should be "fine" for training camp. Stay tuned to monitor if Celek suffers a setback in his recovery during the summer months. As of July 7, 2012, reports out of Philadelphia indicated that Celek looked good in spring OTAs and that he appears to be fully recovered from his injuries. However, Celek suffered a sprained MCL on July 27, 2012 at the start of training camp - he is categorized as "day to day" with the injury.
STL: The Rams' Michael Hoomanawanui suffered a torn right ACL on Sunday, November 13, 2011. He resumed running on March 20, 2012, and may be close to 100% when the regular season opens - if he doesn't suffer any setbacks in his rehabilitation. Stay tuned to monitor his level of participation in training camp before investing a fantasy pick in Hoomanawanui. As of May 17, 2012 Hoomanawanui was limited in offseason workouts as he is still rehabbing the knee injury. He was cleared to practice as of July 24, 2012.
SD: The Chargers' Antonio Gates declared on May 1, 2012 that he was (finally) near 100% healthy, after two back-to-back injury-shortened campaigns (10 games in 2010, 13 games during 2011, with parts of games started lost due to his nagging foot injury). On May 17, head coach Norv Turner enthused about Gates, saying: "Gates looks great - he's back. Physically, he's back to where we want him to be. I think, like anybody, going through this offseason program helps you get better. (It's) the combination of conditioning, the combination of getting better in the areas you can improve, and being out there with your teammates."
SEA: The Seahawks' new tight end Kellen Winslow II struggled with knee problems during the 2011 season. It was usual for him to miss mid-week practices to rest his surgically-repaired knee (he played all 16 games in each of his three seasons with the Buccaneers, however).
TB: The Buccaneers' new starting tight end Dallas Clark struggled with a neck injury at the end of the season, missing weeks 10-13, and 15-16 before playing in the season finale. He was released by the rebuilding Colts, but signed a contract (terms undisclosed) with Tampa Bay on May 21, 2012. As the Buccaneers traded away Kellen Winslow II to make room for Clark, it appears that Clark is penciled in as the starter for new head coach Greg Schiano.
WAS: The Redskins' Chris Cooley went on IR October 25th after suffering a finger/hand injury that required surgery, and repeated problems with swelling in his left knee, which was drained at least a dozen times during 2011 before he was placed on IR. The knee was operated on in January, 2011 and wasn't fully rehabilitated in time for the 2011 season. "I feel 100 percent that I'm a casualty for the season of the lockout," Cooley said on October 28, 2011. "I think it was a shame that they didn't let players who had surgery spend time with the doctors and trainers they trust on daily basis, I wish I could have." As of April 25, 2012, coach Mike Shanahan indicated that Cooley "feels as good as he's felt for the last couple of years", and that he has not suffered from swelling in the left knee this year. Shanahan reiterated on May 6 that Cooley is not having swelling this year after early May team workouts that Cooley attended.Stay tuned to this developing situation during training camp, as Cooley's knee will have to stand up to the grind of camp before he's proven that his rehabilitation is complete. On May 31, 2012 Cooley (knee) said he is slower than he was in the past but believes he can gain some of his speed back by strengthening and rehabbing his surgically repaired knee - it remains to be seen if he'll make it back to a NFL level. As of June 14, reports out of Washington indicated that Cooley made it through OTAs without swelling in his troublesome knee. On July 26, Cooley declared his knee 100% at the open of training camp - "I feel so much better with the way my bodies working, better than the last couple of years. I have no issues right now. I spend no time in the training room."
BUF: The Bills' Rian Lindell hurt his shoulder making a tackle mid-way thru the season, and was placed on IR Thursday, December 8, 2011. He was re-signed on February third, 2012, but there will be another kicker in camp. John Potter is the new kicker, who was said to be signed as a kickoff specialist after the team drafted Potter at pick #251 (seventh round) during the 2012 NFL draft.
NO: The Saints' Garrett Hartley will have to stave off a training camp challenge from veteran John Kasay - Kasay filled in for Hartley last year after Hartley missed all of last season due to a hip injury, and the team has indicated that the contest is an "open competition" between the two kickers. On June 15 a local report indicated that Hartley was the favorite to win the starting job in training camp, but time will tell this tale.
SD: The Chargers' Nate Kaeding tore his non-kicking leg ACL last September. He reportedly resumed kicking in mid-January, 2012, but he faces a stiff training camp competition with Nick Novak, who performed fairly well in relief of Kaeding during 2011. As of July 26, reports out of Chargers camp was that the camp battle with Novak is for real and Kaeding faces a challenge during preseason.
WAS: The Redskins' Graham Gano suffered two fractured bones in his back in the regular season finale (January 11, 3011) - recovery time after his injury was estimated to be six-to-eight weeks. On March 2, 2012 the Redskins gave Gano an exclusive rights tender worth $540,000. The Redskins did sign Neil Rackers to a one-year contract on April 24, 2012 - there may be a camp competition here or the two could split kicking duties with Gano handling kickoffs/long field goals and Rackers dealing with routine field goals. This is a developing situation that bears watching as back injuries can flare up and become chronic issues. As of June 13, head coach Mike Shanahan indicated he expects the battle for place kicker to go through all the preseason games before it is decided.