Injury Rounds: Early Training Camp Update

Full review of injuries around the league with expanded thoughts on Andrew Luck, Joe Flacco, Mike Williams, Max Unger, and many others

There's no game schedule in the early weeks of camp and injuries could occur at any time. I wrote daily updates as players reported to camp for entrance physicals and conditioning tests -- you can find those here. For the rest of the preseason, I'll have a Monday article updating the injury status of players around the league with quick-hitting articles during the week on any major injury stories that occur.


Joe Flacco | Disc Herniation | Early July | Week-to-Week

Here's what I wrote about Flacco last Wednesday night:

Early Wednesday evening, Baltimore beat writer Jeff Zrebiec reported Flacco was dealing with "back soreness that could limit him early in camp." At the time, Zrebiec was told Flacco could be limited early in camp but there didn't appear to be significant concern. That quickly changed later in the evening, with reports from Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero that Flacco was "preparing to miss 3-6 weeks with a disc issue in his back" but was without a clear timetable yet. Adam Schefter reported Flacco hurt his back lifting and had an MRI.

Reading between the lines of Wednesday's Twitter storm -- which included "back soreness" and "disc issue" and a suggestion Flacco could miss as much as six weeks but is without a clear timetable -- it's reasonable to speculate that Flacco has a symptomatic disc herniation (pain, weakness) and is hopeful medical and physical therapy will calm the inflammation enough to allow him to return without surgery. Rapoport reported "at least a week or two" which would be consistent with the time needed to assess whether steroid injections and rehab would be successful. Zrebiec responded to questions about the 3-6 week timetable by saying he's heard multiple possibilities and the Ravens are "committing to a week of rest...hoping that will calm symptoms down."

If Flacco is dealing with a disc herniation and it doesn't respond to therapy, the worst case scenario is surgery and a 2-3 month absence. However, that's another level of speculation entirely and there's no current indication the Ravens are concerned. For now, it's best to consider Flacco week to week.

Last weekend, Flacco described his symptoms as "stiffness rather than a disc problem." That doesn't fit with the need for an MRI and multiple reports shortly after of a period of rest without throwing. However, the team isn't moving quickly to sign another quarterback capable of competing with Ryan Mallett to play in the event Flacco misses regular season time. On Monday, they recycled throwing arms for camp after floating the possibility of adding Colin Kaepernick all weekend. 

Expect the Ravens to re-evaluate Flacco over the next 7-10 days, then make a decision. And you can tie the fate of Flacco to the Ravens' decision on Kaepernick. I don't believe Baltimore will add Kaepernick unless they know Flacco won't be ready Week 1.

Jordan Reed | Toe Sprain | Early July | Active - PUP | Week-to-Week

Reed continues to generate lots of attention in Washington. He hasn't been cleared to talk to the media -- always a sign a team has enough concern about an injury that they'd prefer the player not say anything the team would have to address themselves -- so reporters and cameras are surrounding Reed does anything at all. That includes circling him like a hungry shark when he's doing pushups

For now, there's nothing new. Reed is said to have a big toe sprain and a compensatory ankle injury of some kind. He remains on the PUP list doing light individual workouts. There doesn't seem to be much concern in Washington. Your keys to concerns would be a visit to a specialist or the inability to come off PUP within another 7-10 days.

Jay Ajayi | Concussion Evaluation | July 31 | Day-to-Day

Ajayi left practice on Monday with trainers and was later said to be undergoing a concussion evaluation. 

Monitor Ajayi's recovery closely but recognize that teams do not feel the same pressure to advance players through the return to play protocol during the preseason. That's not to say the medical staff isn't careful during the regular season but it's been generally unlikely to see a player moved through multiple stages of the return to play protocol on the same day during the preseason. If Ajayi takes 7-10 days to return to practice -- assuming he's diagnosed with a concussion -- it should not necessarily be seen as a multi-week recovery as it would during the regular season.

Others of note: Eric Ebron "tweaked a hamstring" on July 30 and is considered day-to-day. John Brown has a quad injury and is considered day-to-day. Devontae Booker fractured a bone in his wrist, had surgery, and will reportedly miss 6-8 weeks. Curtis Samuel strained a hamstring on July 28 and is considered day-to-day. Crockett Gillmore has a meniscus tear and his recovery will depend on his surgical decisions but will be a minimum of 3-6 weeks. Shane Ray will have surgery to repair a torn ligament in his wrist and could miss 6-8 weeks. Keith Marshall suffered a patellar tendon tear last week and will miss the 2017 season.



Luck still won't commit to a return date. He's not being coy. The Colts and Luck have a target date in mind -- Week 1 -- but the quarterback still has to successfully complete the throwing phase of his rehab. Luck's rehab hasn't been rushed through seven months and it won't be now. 

As of last weekend, Luck wouldn't say whether he's been cleared to throw a football yet. He told reporters he started throwing a tennis ball. I wouldn't be discouraged about the Colts' caution here and it's a good sign the team has cleared Luck to throw. There's still time for him to build arm strength and eventually work on stamina and accuracy. But this is a rehab that will continue very late into the preseason and possibly beyond. Don't expect Luck to be removed from the PUP list soon.

Mike Williams | Disc Herniation | May | Active - PUP | Week-to-Week

The Chargers put Williams on their PUP list last weekend. That was expected. But after Williams strongly denied reports that he was struggling to respond to a second steroid injection and may need surgery, the team released a statement saying Williams continues to rehab as planned and is not expected to practice during training camp. The only positive to be taken from the Chargers' statement is that Williams is still rehabbing without surgery. But the team has essentially ruled Williams out for another 3-4 weeks and arguably longer on top of the multiple weeks since his second steroid injection. There's still time for Williams to recover and play this season but there's now been no reason for optimism since May.


Bridgewater starts camp on the Active-PUP list as expected. I don't think the Vikings are likely to push him to recover in time to start the season as Sam Bradford's backup. I'll continue to watch for evidence Bridgewater is getting closer to clearance for padded practices and contact.

Max Unger | Lisfranc repair | Early May | Active - PUP | Month-to-Month

The Saints continue to say Unger is on track for a late preseason - Week 1 return. I continue to believe that's extremely optimistic. Protocols after Lisfranc surgical repair prescribe 12 weeks of non-weight bearing rehab -- which would be around the end of July. There have been no details in local camp reports about Unger's rehab other than he believes himself on schedule and Sean Payton things his center can return by the third preseason game. Something doesn't add up here.


Most players require 4-5 months of recovery and rehab after ankle surgery. Murray has said he expects a mid-training camp return, which is in line with rehab goals, but won't commit to an official timetable. We'll see if he meets his goal -- and how many snaps are available if Dalvin Cook continues to play well in camp.


Dixon injured his knee training this week and had his medial meniscus repaired today. Though some players choose to have the injured meniscus trimmed or removed, repairing the meniscus is better for the long term health of the knee. Unfortunately, repairing the meniscus requires extensive rest to increase the chances of proper healing. Rehabilitation requires a minimum of 3-4 months and often stretches to 5-6 months. Ian Rapoport reported a timetable of 4-5 months and the expectation that Dixon's season is over.

It's not known which knee Dixon injured. Last preseason, Dixon sprained his left MCL, then aggravated the injury shortly before the preseason started. There were no reports of a meniscus injury last season, but it's something worth tracking. If Dixon's recovery goes smoothly, he should be ready well in advance of training camp next summer.

Tyler Lockett | Tibia / Fibula fixation | Late December | Active - PUP | Week-to-Week

Lockett was cleared for individual drills in June and Pete Carroll doesn't expect him to remain on the PUP list for long.

Injured Players On Active Roster

Quarterbacks Injured But on the Active Roster
Player Injury Date Player/Team Says FBGs Expects Notes
Andrew Luck Right shoulder labrum repair Mid January Active - PUP Week-to-Week | Week 1 Return Throwing phase of rehab
Joe Flacco Disc herniation Offseason Week-to-Week Week-to-Week Evaluation continuing
Teddy Bridgewater Left knee dislocation / Multi-ligament repair August 2016 Active - PUP Month-to-Month Week 1 return tough ask
Running Backs Injured But on the Active Roster
Player Injury Date Player/Team Says FBGs Expects Notes
Jay Ajayi Concussion evaluation Late July Awaiting information Awaiting information   
Latavius Murray Right ankle surgery Late March Active - PUP Week-to-Week Late preseason return possible
Kenneth Dixon Meniscus repair Late July Out for season 4-6 Months | 2017 return Likely IR soon
Devontae Booker Wrist fracture fixation Late July 6-8 Weeks 6-8 Weeks | Early season return  
Jeremy Langford Ankle sprain Late July Day-to-Day Awaiting information  
Lance Dunbar Complications Oct 2015 knee injury   Active - PUP Awaiting information  
James Conner Shoulder injury Late July Undergoing evaluation  Awaiting information  
Keith Marshall Right patellar tendon tear Late July   Out of season IR soon
Wide Receivers Injured But on the Active Roster
Player Injury Date Player/Team Says FBGs Expects Notes
Mike Williams Disc herniation | Multiple steroid injections May | July Active - PUP Week-to-Week Surgery still possible
John Brown Quad strain Late July  Week-to-Week Week-to-Week  
Sammie Coates Arthroscopic knee surgery  Late July 3-4 Weeks 3-6 Weeks  
Tyler Lockett Tibia / fibula fixation Late December Active - PUP 5-6 Months Should return during camp
Curtis Samuel Hamstring strain Late July Awaiting information Awaiting Information  
Tight Ends Injured But on the Active Roster
Player Injury Date Player/Team Says FBGs Expects Notes
Jordan Reed Toe sprain | Ankle injury July Active - PUP Week-to-Week  
Eric Ebron Hamstring strain Late July Day-to-Day Day-to-Day  
Crockett Gillmore Meniscus tear Late July Awaiting information Awaiting information Recovery depends on surgery
Offensive Line Injured But on the Active Roster
Player Injury Date Player/Team Says FBGs Expects Notes
Taylor Decker Shoulder labrum repair Early June Active - PUP 5-6 Months  
Terron Armstead Shoulder labrum repair June Active - PUP 5-6 Months  
Max Unger Lisfranc repair Early May Active - PUP | Week 1 Return 6-9 Months Something doesn't add up here
Defensive Players Injured But on the Active Roster
Player Injury Date Player/Team Says FBGs Expects Notes
Deone Bucannon Ankle surgery Mid May Active - PUP | Early season return 4-5 Months Early season return
Reshad Jones  Calf strain   Active - NFI Day-to-Day  
Jalen Ramsey Core abdominal muscle repair Mid June Active - PUP Day-to-Day  
Marcell Dareus Hamstring strain Late July Awaiting information Awaiting information  
Jason Verrett ACL reconstruction Mid October Active - PUP | Week-to-Week Week-to-Week  
Ezekiel Ansah Undisclosed   Expected to be precautionary Awaiting information  
Dont'a Hightower Undisclosed   Active - PUP Awaiting information  
Clayton Geathers Cervical discectomy / fusion Mid May Active - PUP 4-6 Months Expected inseason PUP
Pernell McPhee Undisclosed knee   Active - PUP Awaiting information  
Tamba Hali Undisclosed   Active - PUP Awaiting information Expected per Hali
Shane Ray Wrist ligament repair Late July 6-8 Weeks 6-8 Weeks  
Mario Edwards Undisclosed   Active - PUP Awaiting information Expected off PUP soon
Bruce Irvin Undisclosed   Active - PUP Awaiting information  
Malik McDowell Concussion / Facial injuries Late July Reserve - Did Not Report Awaiting information Expected rejoin team soon

Injured Players Not on Active Roster

Notable Quarterbacks on PUP/NFI/IR
Player Injury Date Player/Team Says FBGs Expects Notes
Notable Running Backs on PUP/NFI/IR
Player Injury Date Player/Team Says FBGs Expects Notes
Notable Wide Receivers on PUP/NFI/IR
Player Injury Date Player/Team Says FBGs Expects Notes
Notable Tight Ends on PUP/NFI/IR
Player Injury Date Player/Team Says FBGs Expects Notes
Notable Offensive Line on PUP/NFI/IR
Player Injury Date Player/Team Says FBGs Expects Notes
Notable Defensive Players on PUP/NFI/IR
Player Injury Date Player/Team Says FBGs Expects Notes

Check back for more injury analysis throughout training camp and follow on Twitter @JeneBramel for breaking injury news, commentary, and analysis of injury news around the NFL