Injury Rounds: Post Mini-Camp Updates - Footballguys

Examining the pressing questions leading into training camp: How soon will we know whether Carson Wentz and Andrew Luck are ready for Week 1? Should we be worried about Dalvin Cook, Odell Beckham, Jordan Reed, or Tyler Eifert?

We're entering one of the few quiet periods on the NFL schedule.

All off-season training activities and mini-camps are over and players have their last period away from team facilities until training camps begin in late July. Thankfully, there's been only one critical injury to an offensive skill position player -- Hunter Henry's ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tear. And the three most high profile injury concerns have made reassuring progress throughout the off-season, with Andrew Luck (labrum), Carson Wentz (knee), and Odell Beckham Jr (ankle) all expected to start training camp on the active roster and participate in practice.

Luck and Wentz still have some hurdles to manage before they can be declared opening week starters, however, and a number of other players will need to avoid reconditioning injuries as they return to practice for the first time.

Here are the latest offensive injury updates as training camp approaches.


Quarterbacks (listed alphabetically)
Players
Team
Injury
Date
Player/Team Says
FBG Expects
Notes
Jac
Right wrist surgery
Late January 2018
Participating in OTAs
Ready for Training Camp
Ari
Left knee arthroscopic surgery
November 2017
Limited in OTAs
Ready for Training Camp
Degenerative knee changes
NYJ
Left knee dislocation / Multi-ligament reconstruction
August 2016
Participating in OTAs
Ready for Training Camp
Den
Right wrist ligament repair
April 2017
Participating in OTAs
Ready for Training Camp
2016 Hernia surgery / ACL reconstruction
Ind
Right shoulder labrum repair
Mid-January 2017
Individual drills in OTAs
Limited Early in Training Camp
NYJ
Left hand fracture fixation
Mid-December 2017
Participating in OTAs
Ready for Training Camp
GB
Right clavicle fixation
October 2017
Participating in OTAs
Ready for Training Camp
Min
Left shoulder posterior capsule repair
Early January 2018
Participating in OTAs
Ready for Training Camp
Mia
Left ACL reconstruction
August 2017
Participating in OTAs
Ready for Training Camp
Hou
Right ACL reconstruction
Early November 2017
Individual drills in OTAs
Ready in Training Camp
Phi
Left ACL reconstruction / LCL repair
Mid-December 2017
Individual drills in OTAs
Limited Early in Traning Camp

ANDREW LUCK | RIGHT SHOULDER LABRUM REPAIR | MID-JANUARY 2017 | limited in OTAs

It's been nearly 18 months since Luck had surgery to repair the labrum in his right shoulder. After initial optimism for Luck and the Colts, the first seeds of concern sprouted around this time last year as the Colts tried to control an ever-more-worrisome narrative as training camp approached. Misleading team statements, complete silence from Luck, and rumors of a possible additional surgery dogged news cycles for months.

While it's way too soon to assume Luck's full recovery is imminent, there are finally reasons for optimism.

Luck calmly strolled to the practice field in a red non-contact jersey during last week's mandatory mini-camp and sent writers scrambling to Twitter to share videos of him throwing a football in front of cameras for the first time in over a year. During post-practice interviews, Luck told reporters the pain he experienced late in his rehab last year -- since attributed to inflammation of his biceps tendon -- hasn't recurred. He's confident it won't, saying, "The pain is gone, and it's going to stay that way."

Colts' owner Jim Irsay told reporters Luck would have no limitations in training camp. Easily the least reliable source on Luck's rehab from the beginning, Irsay shouldn't be trusted here. While Luck has six weeks for further strengthening and conditioning before camp begins, expect the Colts to remain deliberate with his rehab. The goal will be to have Luck exposed to live team drills and the possibility of contact prior to Week 1.

There's plenty of time for that to happen. Luck's next -- and most important -- hurdle to clear will be to throw on multiple consecutive days without a recurrence of pain while maintaining velocity and accuracy. Only then will he be exposed to the possibility of contact.

Were Luck at this point in his rehab last year, it would be fair to assume his availability for Week 1. Given the difficulties of last year, it's great to see Luck's progress. However, it's still too soon to expect Luck to be ready in Week 1, much less return to pre-injury form.

CARSON WENTZ | LEFT ACL RECONSTRUCTION / LCL REPAIR | MID-DECEMBER 2017 | Limited in OTAs

In April, Wentz was not expected to participate in off-season training activities (OTAs). I presumed the Eagles' caution would extend through their June mini-camp. But Wentz participated in Philadelphia's June workouts, gradually progressing to more strenuous individual drills before earning clearance for 7-on-7 work at the end of the three-day camp.

Wentz's appearances were extensively documented on videos posted to Twitter. At times, Wentz looked game-ready, moving quickly in multiple directions and releasing the ball without difficulty. Other videos showed Wentz struggling to climb the pocket or move backward toward his blind side without stunted movements. Eagles' receivers were unanimous in their praise for Wentz, noting his velocity and accuracy were not limited.

While those notes may read as contradictions, they are not. Wentz had a complicated multiple-ligament injury. His rehab was complicated by a period of immobilization to protect his lateral cruciate ligament (LCL) repair. His limited mobility during those weeks led to stiffness and a delay in the start of his ACL rehab. Wentz's rehab is likely ahead of schedule. But he should not be expected to be fully comfortable and mobile yet.

And that remains the primary issue facing Wentz in the coming months. Wentz's surgery was performed in mid-December. He's unlikely to be fully recovered for 9-12 months. The individual work he was able to do in June is promising. But it does not guarantee Wentz will be ready to move fluidly in the pocket or return to his pre-injury scrambling ability in September.

Having Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Nick Foles in the huddle should ensure the Eagles won't feel pressure to start Wentz before he can fully protect himself in the pocket. However, while starting training camp on the PUP list seemed a strong possibility in March and April, Wentz now looks likely to continue his individual work early in camp. The Eagles will continue to evaluate in July.

DeShaun Watson | Right ACL Reconstruction | Early November 2017 | Limited in OTAs

Watson continues to make progress in his rehab. The Texans allowed him to participate in 7-on-7 sessions in OTAs and mini-camp after Watson showed no limitations in individual drills. He's expected to be cleared to participate in training camp and could be allowed to take reps in full team drills sooner than later.


Running Backs (listed alphabetically)
Players
Team
Injury
Date
Player/Team Says
FBG Expects
Notes
Sea
Left high ankle sprain/fibula fixation
Early October 2017
Participating in OTAs
Ready for Training Camp
Pit
Left MCL reconstruction
Mid-December 2017
Participating in OTAs
Ready for Training Camp
Min
Left ACL reconstruction
Early October 2017
Individual drills in OTAs
Ready for Training Camp
Bal
Left knee meniscus repair
July 2017
Participating in OTAs
Ready for Training Camp
D'Onta Foreman
Hou
Left Achilles repair
Late November 2017
Chance to be Ready for Camp
Likely start Training Camp on PUP
Atl
Right MCL / PCL sprain
Late December 2017
Individual drills in OTAs
Ready for Training Camp
NE
Ankle surgery
Early November 2017
Participating in OTAs
Ready for Training Camp
KC
Hamstring strain
May 2018
Limited in OTAs
Ready for Training Camp
Ari
Left wrist fixation
Mid-September 2017
Participating in OTAs
Ready for Training Camp
GB
Right MCL sprain
Late December 2017
Participating in OTAs
Ready for Training Camp
Was
Left MCL sprain / high ankle sprain
Mid-November 2017
Participating in OTAs
Ready for Training Camp
Marlon Mack
Ind
Left shoulder labrum repair
Early offseason
Did not participate in OTAs
Ready for Training Camp
GB
Wrist surgery
Early December 2017
Participating in OTAs
Ready for Training Camp
FA
Right MCL sprain
Late December 2017
Would participate if signed
FA
Neck injury
Late November 2017
Cleared to Return
Would participate if signed
Sea
Ankle sprain
Mid-November 2017
Participating in OTAs
Ready for Training Camp
Phi
Hamstring strain
Mid-September 2017
Participating in OTAs
Ready for Training Camp
Phi
Left ACL reconstruction / Fractured forearm
Late September 2017
Skipped voluntary OTAs
Ready for Training Camp
Was
Right fibula fixation
Early December 2017
Did not participate in OTAs
Ready for Training Camp
KC
Right PCL / LCL repair
Early September 2017
Did not participate in OTAs
Questionable for Training Camp

DAVID JOHNSON | LEFT WRIST FIXATION / LIGAMENT REPAIR | MID-SEPTEMBER 2017 | Mini-camp Holdout

Johnson missed the end of OTAs with an undisclosed -- but reportedly not serious -- injury. He then held out and did not participate in Arizona's team mini-camp in early June. Players who miss spring workouts with soft tissue injuries can struggle with conditioning and risk additional injury early in camp. Without more specifics on Johnson's injury, there's not much reason for concern. Still, watch Johnson's first camp practices for any indication of limitation.

Kareem Hunt | Hamstring Strain | May 2018 | Limited in OTAs

Hunt missed reps in OTAs and didn't participate in Kansas City's mini-camp. Andy Reid was reassuring in post-practice press conferences, telling reporters Hunt would be "fine for training camp." The Chiefs rarely provide details but are generally straightforward with injury information. And they have every reason to be cautious with Hunt while they wait to see if Spencer Ware or any of their off-season additions can provide more than what last season's backup corps did. If Hunt starts camp on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list or has an early camp setback, it's time for concern.

DALVIN COOK | LEFT ACL RECONSTRUCTION | EARLY OCTOBER 2017 | Full Participant in OTAs

Cook's rehab continues to progress well. After advancing through OTAs without difficulty, Cook was cleared for team drills -- and presumably, contact -- by the end of Minnesota's June mini-camp. The Vikings may ease him into full training camp work slowly, but expect Cook to participate without limitation well in advance of Week 1.

D'Onta Foreman | Left Achilles repair | Late November 2017 | Likely Start Camp on PUP

An Achilles tear should not be considered a career-ending injury. Many players, including those at positions requiring explosion from a standing position and quick lateral change of direction, have returned to full form. Multiple edge rushers have recovered to produce double-digit sack seasons. Numerous wide receivers have returned to former ability levels. Interior linebackers and safeties have also found success.

But the list of reassuring comps at running back is exceedingly small. Arian Foster did well -- briefly -- before another soft tissue injury finally ended his frustrating final years. The sample size of running backs who suffered an Achilles tear is very small. It predominantly includes players who were not elite talents or at the top of the depth chart when injured. However, until we see a change in trend, it's correct to be skeptical about running back recoveries from Achilles' injuries.

Foreman will be an important case study.

Recovery from an Achilles injury often requires 9-12 months of rehab. Foreman has yet to be cleared for any football-related activity and did not participate in Houston's most recent workouts in early June. While all reports suggest Foreman's rehab is progressing without any setbacks, there remains concern about whether Foreman will be ready for Week 1.

Expect the Texans to place Foreman on the PUP list when camp begins.

DEVONTA FREEMAN | RIGHT MCL / PCL SPRAIN | LATE DECEMBER 2017 | Full participant in OTAs

Freeman told reporters his knee wasn't fully recovered in May. Reassuringly, he was cleared to participate in Atlanta's mini-camp this month. There were no reports of setbacks and Freeman should be a full training camp participant.

SPENCER WARE | RIGHT LCL / PCL REPAIR | EARLY SEPTEMBER 2017 | AWAITING INFORMATION

The LCL-PCL combination is a difficult injury for an athlete. Neither ligament is an easy fix and there are other structures in that area of the knee that complicate recovery. There have been reports that Ware's rehab and recovery are progressing well but the Chiefs have yet to discuss his off-season availability. Don't be surprised if Ware remains limited until training camp.


Wide Receivers (listed alphabetically)
Players
Team
Injury
Date
Player/Team Says
FBG Expects
Notes
NYG
Left high ankle/fibula fracture w/ surgery
Early October 2017
Individual drills in OTAs
Ready for Training Camp
Buf
Right knee meniscectomy
? January 2018
Participating in OTAs
Ready for Training Camp
GB
Right ankle injury
June 2018
Participated in OTAs
Limited Early in Training Camp
Details unknown
KC
Left Achilles reconstruction
Mid-October 2017
Participating in OTAs
Ready for Training Camp
NE
Right ACL reconstruction
Late September 2017
Individual drills in OTAs
Ready for Training Camp
Four game PED suspension under appeal
NYJ
Cervical discectomy and fusion
Late August 2017
Individual drills in OTAs
Ready for Training Camp
Hou
Arthroscopic knee surgery
Early January 2018
Participating in OTAs
Ready for Training Camp
SF
Cervical pedicle vertebral fracture
Late October 2017
Participating in OTAs
Ready for Training Camp
Den
Thumb ligament repair
Mid-August 2017
Participating in OTAs
Ready for Training Camp
Phi
Right rotator cuff repair
Mid-February 2018
Did not participate in OTAs
Limited Early in Training Camp
Buf
Shoulder labrum repair / Knee surgery
Mid-January 2018 / Mid-May 2018
Did not participate in OTAs
Ready for Training Camp
Sea
Ankle ligament repair / Toe surgery
Mid-October 2017
Individual drills in OTAs
Ready for Training Camp
NE
Left knee / right ankle surgeries
Late December 2017
Participating in OTAs
Ready for Training Camp
NO
Left ACL reconstruction / MCL tear
Early September 2017
Individual drills in OTAs
Likely for Training Camp
NE
Knee injury
Chronic
Limited in OTAs
Questionable for Training Camp
Terrelle Pryor
NYJ
Foot/ankle injury
Before May 2018
Did not participate in OTAs
Questionable for Training Camp
Chi
Left ACL reconstruction
Mid-September 2017
Individual drills in OTAs
Ready for Training Camp
Cin
Shoulder labrum repair
Early December 2017
Individual drills in OTAs
Ready for Training Camp
Car
Left high ankle/fibula fracture w/ surgery
Late November 2017
Individual drills in OTAs
Ready for Training Camp
JuJu Smith-Schuster
Pit
Left knee injury
Offseason 2018
Did not participate in OTAs
Ready for Training Camp
Den
Right toe injury
Mid-June 2018
Left OTAs and did not return
Ready for Training Camp
Chi
Fractured scapula
Early September 2017
Participating in OTAs
Ready for Training Camp
Dal
Right foot fracture fixation
Late February 2018
Unavailable for OTAs
Ready for Training Camp

ODELL BECKHAM, JR | LEFT HIGH ANKLE / FIBULA FRACTURE W/ SURGERY | EARLY OCTOBER 2017 | PROBABLE FOR TRAINING CAMP

Beckham skipped early off-season voluntary workouts, prompting speculation about his recovery from ankle surgery and a potential holdout while negotiating a contract extension. He would return for individual drills during the Giants' mandatory June mini-camp after being cleared for practice and has told reporters he'll attend training camp. Expected to be fully cleared for all drills early in camp, the possibility of a holdout will likely be the primary camp narrative for Beckham. Clearance for camp practice suggests Beckham has fully recovered, but a high-dollar extension would remove all doubt.

Randall Cobb | Right ankle injury | June 2018 | Limited Early in Training Camp

Cobb participated in every team-mandated workout this spring. A local writer spotted him wearing a walking boot on his right foot/ankle in late June and later confirmed the injury as an ankle injury. Sources told the reporter the boot was temporary but wouldn't divulge whether Cobb had surgery. Cobb is expected to be limited early in camp but there are no indications of a longer-term injury.

ALSHON JEFFERY | ROTATOR CUFF REPAIR | MID-FEBRUARY 2018 | QUESTIONABLE FOR TRAINING CAMP / PUP CANDIDATE

Jeffery was no longer seen wearing a sling while he attended and observed mini-camp workouts. He remains a possible PUP candidate as the Eagles continue to evaluate his recovery. For now, tentatively expect him to be limited early in camp while the Philadelphia medical and training staff aim to have him ready for Week 1.

JuJu Smith-Schuster | Left knee injury | Offseason 2018 | Probable for Training Camp

Details are sparse on the knee injury that prevented Smith-Schuster from participating in off-season workouts. Neither the wide receiver nor Mike Tomlin would say whether the condition required surgery, but Smith-Schuster confirmed the condition had worsened over time. Expected to be ready for the start of training camp, further limitation or an unexpected decrease in practice time should he start camp fully cleared for practice would warrant more concern.


Tight Ends (listed alphabetically)
Players
Team
Injury
Date
Player/Team Says
FBG Expects
Notes
Den
Right ACL reconstruction
December 2016
Participating in OTAs
Ready for Training Camp
Cin
Microdiscectomy
Late October 2017
Individual drills in OTAs
Questionable for Training Camp
Ari
Right Achilles repair
Late December 2017
Did not participate in OTAs
Likely Start Training Camp on PUP
LAC
Right ACL reconstruction
Late May 2018
Likely Injured Reserve
Injured Reserve
Chi
Right knee dislocation w/ popliteal artery rupture
Late October 2017
Injured Reserve
Injured Reserve
Surgery spared leg, career likely over
Was
Sesamoidectomy?
? January 2018
Individual drills in OTAs
Ready for Training Camp
Ten
MCL sprain
Mid-January 2018
Participating in OTAs
Ready for Training Camp

JORDAN REED | SESAMOIDECTOMY | ? JANUARY 2018 | PROBABLE FOR TRAINING CAMP

Last off-season, Reed struggled through OTAs while trying to find the right combination of shoe and orthotic to allow him to play through a painful and chronic foot condition. Only intermittently productive in the early weeks of 2017, Reed later suffered a high-grade hamstring injury and eventually was placed on injured reserve.

Reed was again limited in OTAs this spring but there's more reason for optimism than last year. Reed had a surgical procedure -- likely a sesamoidectomy -- to address his 2016 injury. There have been no concerning reports this off-season and was observed to be moving well during individual agility drills in May. If Reed is cleared to practice after a training camp physical, it's the best case scenario for a tight end plagued by soft tissue injury over the past two seasons.

TYLER EIFERT | MICRODISCECTOMY | LATE OCTOBER 2017 | PROBABLE FOR OTAS

Eifert participated in May off-season workouts in Cincinnati. However, Eifert saw reps in individual sessions only and was observed to be moving at "half speed." Eifert told reporters he was following rehab protocols and methodically moving forward. That was seven months after his second discectomy procedure in three years.

Already arguably late in his recovery process, Eifert's condition drew further speculation when he did not participate in any mini-camp practices in June. Marvin Lewis, per usual, seemed exasperated with questions regarding injured players, essentially telling reporters Eifert wasn't released to practice yet and wouldn't say whether Eifert would be ready for camp.

Players often need 6-9 months before a full-strength return after a discectomy. While a player may be fully healed within 3-4 months, nearly every player has said recovering core strength and returning to pre-injury form takes longer. However, Eifert didn't recover well from his first procedure, found little interest on the free agent market, and now may have had a setback after his second procedure. If he starts training camp on the PUP list, it turns an already-concerning injury red flag to bright crimson.

Follow me on Twitter @JeneBramel for breaking injury news and analysis throughout the off-season.