Two weeks Before Week 1 practice
There is always detective work to be done on a new injury or recovery timetable in mid-August. What's really happening with Andrew Luck's left leg? How concerned should we be about Antonio Brown's feet? Can an accurate timetable be provided on A.J. Green's ankle injury?
But the majority of questions I get this time of the preseason are about veterans who have seemingly minor injuries who aren't practicing. Unlike the regular season, where players have less than a week to recover from minor injuries, teams have much more time to rest players and rehab to near full strength. Most of these situations are day-to-day recoveries that become weeks of missed practice because team medical staffs recognize there is no upside in pushing the limits of recovery to allow a return for camp practices a month before the season begins or to participate in a single series of an early preseason game.
(Unless you're the Giants and are seemingly comfortable clearing a player with a thumb splint to catch meaningless camp passes in traffic.)
That doesn't mean every veteran is healthy, however. It's possible that "muscle tightness" is a mid-grade strain. Thankfully, we're getting closer and closer to when teams have to show their cards on their injured players. At some point, players expected to be on the field for 60+ snaps need to show they're in football condition. They need to return to individual and team drills far enough in advance to pass through the all-important 7-14 day window when they're at highest risk of aggravating a prior injury.
That time is now.
We're less than two weeks from teams deciding on their final 53 player roster. We're two weeks from teams officially installing a game plan for Week 1.
So you'll see most of the veterans return to practice over the next ten days. They may not participate in a preseason game -- the days of using the third preseason game as a full "dress rehearsal" where the starters play the entire first half and the first series of the second half are over. If a player believed to be resting with a minor injury isn't participating in practice by next weekend, it's time to get concerned.
Keenan Allen | Ankle injury | Preseason Week 2 | Week-to-Week | Questionable Week 1
At first glance, Allen's injury did not sound any alarms. Adam Schefter reported Allen was likely to miss the team's final three preseason games but was expected back for the Chargers' regular-season opener. Anthony Lynn didn't seem worried about the injury when first questioned, noting Allen was dealing with "soreness" and was cleared to be on the sideline during practice. However, Lynn then told reporters he was "not going to say if he's going to need surgery or not because I think we'll wait and rehab it, then see what happens."