Each year, there are a variety of skill position players who exit the previous season injured, and fantasy owners anxiously track the ongoing recovery of these players during the following offseason/preseason. 2016 is no different, with key running backs like Jamaal Charles (torn right ACL) and Dion Lewis (torn left ACL) recovering from their injuries heading into training camp. This article will summarize the known status of currently injured/rehabbing NFL players at the skill positions who are likely to make their team's final 53-man roster - but don't expect to find sixth-string tight ends among those listed below. This is a summary of the ongoing injury rehabilitations for fantasy-relevant NFL players at quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tight end and place kicker as we hang on the cusp of the 2016 training camps. For more detailed information on the injury situations for many of the players below, please go check out Dr. Jene Bramel's articles on this topic written from his perspective as a medical professional.
Joe Flacco, BAL: Flacco tore both the ACL and MCL in his left knee on November 22. As of June 16 all indications from the Ravens are that Flacco will be ready to play when regular season starts.
Colin Kaepernick, SF: As of June 2, 2016, 49ers offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins admitted he had 'no idea' when Kaepernick (shoulder, thumb, knee surgeries after going on IR last season) will be cleared for football activities. Kaepernick was not cleared for team drills during minicamp, though he did do some individual work - he is emphasizing flexibility in his rehabilitation/personal training, but stated on June 10 that he intends to continue with his usual style of play once he gets back on the field: 'My style of play is my style of play,' Kaepernick said on June 11. 'I have to be able to continue with that and be able to do those things and do what this offense requires of me.'. The team hopes Kaepernick will be able to practice fully once training camp rolls around.
Mark Sanchez, DEN: As of mid-May 2016, Sanchez had surgery on his left (non-throwing) thumb to correct ligament damage. Though he was initially expected to miss OTAs, by May 31 he was fully cleared to participate in OTAs, and by June 7 Sanchez was working exclusively with the first team in Denver. As of July 2 he is locked in a battle for the starting job with Trevor Siemian that will be decided in training camp.
Tony Romo, DAL: Romo had surgery on his troublesome collarbone back in March, 2016, but he has participated in all OTAs and minicamp without a hint of an issue - he is set to return as the team's starting quarterback once training camp opens.
Ameer Abdullah, DET: Abdullah tore the labrum in his shoulder during December, 2015, but played through the injury. It was surgically repaired in January, 2016, and Abdullah has been rehabbing the shoulder since. On May 28, Lions' head coach Jim Caldwell said Abdullah is 'recovering nicely' but declined to cite a timetable for Abdullah's return to practices. On June 6, Lions GM Bob Quinn said Abdullah will be ready for training camp.
Le'Veon Bell, PIT: Bell asserted on July 9 that his knee (torn MCL, PCL) is fully healed and that he will be ready for regular season. 'I'm going to be ready,' Bell promised. 'I don't think I'll really get tackled until a preseason game or maybe in the regular season. But cutting, running routes, everything is back to normal.' Bell has not suffered a setback since he was cleared for individual drills at OTAs - all lights look green on Bell on the eve of training camp.
Jamaal Charles, KC: Charles tore his right ACL on October 11, 2015, and has since been grinding through rehab from reconstructive knee surgery. He did partially participate in practice at mid-June mini-camp, doing individual drills with the coaching staff. On June 18, head coach Andy Reid indicated that 'We'll have to see with Jamaal. You don't want to take any steps back.' Charles may be held out of preseason while continuing his rehab, but as of early July he is expected to be back for Week One of regular season.
Lance Dunbar, DAL: Dunbar was limited to rehab sessions during spring OTAs as he continues to recover from his devastating knee injury suffered last October - Dunbar tore his patellar tendon (which was surgically repaired in October) and also had his ACL surgically reconstructed (in December of last year). Dunbar is expected to miss all of training camp and may be on PUP to begin the 2016 season. Patellar tendon tears are often career-ending for NFL players - Dunbar has a long road back to active status, and there is no timeline for his return as of mid-July 2016.
Kenyan Drake, MIA: Drake missed the final day of minicamp with a hamstring injury, but will be ready for training camp, according to reports on June 16.
Justin Forsett, BAL: Forsett is fully recovered from the broken arm that ended his 2015 season prematurely. He is seen as the starting running back for the Ravens again this season.
Melvin Gordon III, SD: Gordon had knee surgery to clean up torn cartilage back in January 2016, and he also had a microfracture procedure performed to stimulate the growth of new cartilage. As of May 9, Gordon was participating without limitations at voluntary sessions, and he was said to have enjoyed a successful rehab of the surgery as of May 23. Head coach Mike McCoy said on June 16 that Gordon looked fully healthy at minicamp. 'Melvin has worked extremely hard this offseason. If you had seen him do the conditioning part of the program, you would have never known he was injured. Very pleased with where he's at. I'm really looking forward to him having an outstanding year.'
Roy Helu, OAK: Helu should be ready for the start of training camp according to a June 25 report, after having successful offseason hip surgery.
Carlos Hyde, SF: Hyde suffered a stress fracture in his foot in October 2015, but didn't go on IR until Week 14. He had foot surgery after going on IR, and as of April was fully cleared to return to football activities. He impressed new head coach Chip Kelly during OTAs/minicamp, and is set to open training camp as the clear-cut #1 running back for the 49ers.
Mark Ingram II, NO: Ingram tore a rotator cuff in his shoulder last December, and had surgery to repair the injury on December 10. He enters 2016 as the lead back for the Saints - he is expected to be ready for training camp.
Dion Lewis, NE: Lewis tore his left ACL during the first week of November last season, and wound up on IR. He is recovering well, according to Dr. James Andrews (February 21, 2016), and as of late May he is expected to be ready for Week One of the regular season. Lewis returned to practice sessions on June 13, and appears to be on track for a return to the starting lineup by Week One.
Darren McFadden, DAL: McFadden had a mid-June surgery on his elbow this year, and the Cowboys have stated his return to action will take about two months. This means that McFadden likely will sit out of training camp and may miss time at the beginning of the regular season, depending on how his rehab from the elbow surgery progresses.
Branden Oliver, SD: Oliver expects to be fully healthy for training camp, according to reports out of San Diego on July 2, 2016. Oliver missed the final eight weeks of the 2015 season on I.R. due to turf toe. He's been cleared to practice since OTAs and hasn't had setbacks.
C.J. Prosise, SEA: Prosise missed 'most' of the offseason program with an unspecified hip issue, according to head coach Pete Carroll on June 28. 'We are really excited about it, but we are going to need to have to have a really good camp for him.' Stay tuned to see if Prosise is able to practice with the team from the open of training camp.
Thomas Rawls, SEA: On July 10, Rawls made a series of claims to ESPN about his rehab from last years' season-ending ankle injury: 'Running, cutting, working hard, getting back out there. I'm looking forward to being out there the first week (of training camp). Rehab has been going phenomenal this whole offseason.' Rawls answered 'most definitely' when asked whether he'll be ready for training camp. Head coach Pete Carroll had previously (June 16) stated that he 'absolutely' expected Rawls to play in Week One of regular season. It appears that Rawls is on track to practice in training camp - stay tuned to see if his declarations actually play out when the Seahawks open their training camp.
Trent Richardson, BAL: Richardson was due to have arthroscopic knee surgery as of mid-June. He may miss all of training camp and the time off likely will prevent Richardson from playing for the Ravens.
Stevan Ridley, DET: Ridley (undisclosed injury) missed most of the Lions' offseason program. Following a 2014 ACL tear, Ridley struggled to regain full health with the Jets last season and had just 36 carries during 2015. He may be on the roster bubble due to his inability to practice with his new team.
C.J. Spiller, NO: Spiller said on June 11, 2016 that the knee surgery he had last August 'played a big role' in his disappointing 2015 season. 'I didn't have that explosion that I'm known for,' Spiller said. 'But the good thing is, it's behind me now. The road to recovery is looking very bright.' The early word out of New Orleans is that Spiller is third on the depth chart behind Mark Ingram II and Tim Hightower.
Jonathan Stewart, CAR: Stewart was still feeling pain in his left foot as of June 7, according to the Charlotte Observer. Stewart missed the final three regular-season games due to a sprained left foot and then reinjured the foot in the Super Bowl. 'That foot just kind of lingered after he got bent over backwards in the Super Bowl,' coach Ron Rivera said. 'We're really trying to be smart with that and I wouldn't say it's 100 percent, but it's almost there.'
Danny Woodhead, SD: Woodhead suffered an ankle injury of unspecified severity during minicamp, but will be ready for training camp according to the San Diego Union-Tribune on June 30.
Zach Zenner, DET: On June 30, 2016 Zenner said he is '100 percent' recovered from the chest injury which sent him to IR last season. Zenner suffered multiple broken ribs and a partially collapsed lung during Week Six of the 2015 season. He was cleared to return to football activities in January, 2016 and was a full participant in the offseason program.
Keenan Allen, SD: Allen suffered a kidney laceration during the 2015 that truncated his season. However, he is well outside the envelope for a full recovery from the severe injury, and he is a cornerstone for the San Diego offense as they scramble towards the opening of training camp.
Danny Amendola, NE: Amendola had his left knee and ankle operated on during the offseason, according to reports on May 16, 2016. Amendola is set for regular season now, though, as he was reported to feel 'really good' as of June 28 - Amendola may sit out the bulk of preseason but appears to be on track to play in regular season games.
Kelvin Benjamin, CAR: Benjamin tore his ACL during training camp last preseason, and was limited to individual drills at the June minicamp. However, he is expected to be ready to return to practices when training camp opens. He is on track to resume his position as the lead wide receiver for the Panthers.
Corey Brown, CAR: Corey Brown underwent offseason shoulder surgery at an unspecified date - he missed two games in November 2015 due to a shoulder issue so this procedure was likely done to address that injury. Brown is expected to be ready to go in training camp.
Dez Bryant, DAL: Bryant addressed his struggles during 2015 in an interview on July 7, 2016, stating that he felt his issues were both mental and physical - he also stated that he 'feels good' now. The nagging foot injury and ankle injury that dogged his 2016 campaign, ultimately ending it prematurely after he missed most of the first half, caused him to 'not trust' his surgically repaired foot and put him 'off his game'. Bryant is expected to be ready for the start of training camp this season - he did have another surgery on his foot this past January and has been rehabbing from the second foot surgery this offseason. Bryant has been cleared to participate in football activities, but he was limited during OTAs and minicamp.
Michael Campanaro, BAL: Campanaro is rehabbing a calf injury as of early July - he is expected to be ready for the start of training camp practices.
Victor Cruz, NYG: Cruz suffered multiple setbacks in his recovery from a 2014 knee injury (patellar tendon tear) during 2015, and never was on the field for the Giants due to calf and knee woes. He did practice on June 14, 2016 and may have a backup role with the team during 2016 - but he'll have to stay healthy during training camp to accomplish a return to the field.
Josh Doctson, WAS: Doctson missed most of OTAs and all of minicamp, but the Redskins aren’t concerned about him falling behind. 'Doctson will be fine,' WRs coach Ike Hilliard said on June 16. 'I’m not worried about him.' Doctson is expected back in the lineup for training camp/preseason.
Julian Edelman, NE: Edelman suffered a foot injury during mid-November 2015 (a broken fifth metatarsal in his left foot) and the injury required an additional surgery on it in early May, 2016. Reports on June 2 indicated that Edelman should be ready to practice as soon as training camps open.
Corey Fuller, DET: Fuller had surgery to correct a foot injury on Wednesday, June 8, 2016. He does not have a timetable to return to the field as of mid-July - his participation in training camp may be impaired if the rehab of this surgery doesn't go well.
Marquise Goodwin, BUF: Goodwin said on July 4, 2016 that he is "banged up" following his attempt to qualify for the Rio Olympics. 'I'm going to rest first,' Goodwin said of his plans. 'I haven't had any rest in a long time, so my body is banged up — I feel like I played eight or nine games and I'm in week 10 already.' Goodwin is said to have tweaked his hamstring during the Olympic trials, an injury that requires rest to recover from - we'll see if the problem lingers into training camp.
Devin Hester, ATL: Hester said on June 1 that he is about 75% healthy (two broken bones in his right big toe - Hester had a surgical repair in January, 2016) - he was not cleared to run as of May 2 and there is concern that he might miss some/all of training camp due to this ongoing injury/rehab. The injury has been stubbornly resisting rehab this past spring. Head coach Dan Quinn said on May 14: "He's able to do certain things, but he can't do it all. I don’t know that I have a timeline, but we're hopeful it's prior to camp."
Stephen Hill, CAR: Hill suffered a torn ACL in training camp last summer - but prior to the injury he was pushing for playing time, according to Carolina's wide receivers' coach Ricky Proehl: ' he was ready to make me famous as a coach...Unbelievable. That's how well he was performing in camp last year.' Hill was limited in the spring OTAs as he continues his rehab from the ACL injury - he is expected to be ready for training camp.
Allen Hurns, JAX: Hurns had thigh/sports hernia surgery in late January 2016. He has since recovered nicely, and the Jaguars signed him to a four year, $40 million extension in early June - presumably they wouldn't have awarded him that much money unless they agreed that he was fully healthy.
Donte Moncrief, IND: Moncrief had surgery to correct a nagging turf toe in mid-March, 2016, and wore a protective boot around during OTAs/preseason. The team hopes that Moncrief will be available for training camp.
Jordy Nelson, GB: Nelson lost the 2015 season to a torn right ACL suffered last August. His rehab from reconstructive knee surgery has gone well, though, and as of early June OTAs Nelson declared himself game ready. He is expected to be ready to participate in training camp and regular season is not in doubt as of mid-July.
DeVante Parker, MIA: Parker is said to enter the 2016 season 100% healthy after missing parts of OTAs due to an undisclosed reason. The team has insisted his feet (a problem for Parker the last two years) were not part of the problem during spring workouts.
Breshad Perriman, BAL: Perriman suffered a partial tear of his ACL during OTAs - he was determined to not require a knee reconstruction by Dr. James Andrews, who performed an arthroscopic procedure on the knee June 13 to evaluate the severity of the injury. Perriman received a stem-cell injection to help speed the healing of his knee - the latest news on Perriman came on June 14 when Ravens' coach John Harbaugh said he expects Perriman to return at 'some point in (training) camp', and to be ready for Week 1.
Rueben Randle, PHI: Randle (gallbladder surgery May 23, 2016) was cleared for limited work on June 7. Randle sat out OTAs after having his gallbladder removed late in May. He was limited in minicamp, but Randle should be at full-go for training camp.
DeAndre Smelter, SF: Smelter (knee) said on July 14 that he 'feels great.' A fourth-round pick last year, Smelter spent his rookie season on the sidelines rehabbing a torn ACL. A 'nagging' injury kept him from participating in full for the entire offseason program, but he should be good to go for the start of training camp.
Steve Smith, BAL: Smith is rehabbing a torn Achille's tendon - as of June 16 he is expected to miss the entire preseason while continuing to rehab his Achilles tendon.
Sammy Watkins, BUF: - Watkins suffered a stress fracture in his foot during April, and underwent a surgical repair - 'Nobody knows what timetable, what or when I’ll be back,' Watkins said on June 1, also admitting he doesn't know 'how or when' the stress fractures happened. The team hopes that Watkins will be ready for regular season, but nothing is certain at this stage of Watkins' recovery. Reports on June 20 indicated that Watkins was staying in Buffalo all summer to work with the team trainers as he attempts to recover from the foot injury/surgery.
Kevin White, CHI: White participated in OTAs and mini-camp after missing all of last season due to his injured shin (stress fracture). However, the writers covering those activities indicated that White is struggling to get up to speed in the offense - his lost season of reps is showing in the early going this year.
Marquess Wilson, CHI: Wilson broke his left foot on June 14 (it's the same foot he broke Week 13 during the 2015 season). Wilson had offseason surgery to repair the initial break - it looks like he'll miss training camp and will likely start the season on the PUP list. Wilson may not see the field until deep in the 2016 season, if then.
Robert Woods, BUF: Woods reportedly played through a torn groin for approximately half of last season - he had an offseason surgery to correct the tears and did very well in OTAs/mini-camps according to comments on July 7. 'The best I’ve seen him,' receivers coach Sanjay Lal said. 'I'm proud of him because he had the surgery, and I said, 'Promise me you’ll go run with a track coach. Go on the track and run.' And he did, and it’s showing here."
Derek Carrier, WAS: Carrier (knee) isn't expected to be ready for the start of training camp. Carrier tore his ACL and MCL in Week 14 last season and remains in question for the start of the 2016 season. He's a candidate to start the year on PUP.
Jared Cook, GB: Cook had foot surgery early in June 2016 (the team called it a 'preventative' measure), and missed the rest of the Packers' OTAs and minicamp as a result. Packers' head coach Mike McCarthy said on June 6 that Cook's foot injury isn't a long-term issue. McCarthy said doctors feel good about his return, though no timetable had been established at that time. As of mid-July, Cook is expected to participate in training camp and is projected to be the team's starting tight end come Week One of regular season. On July 9, Cook stated that he was fully healthy.
Larry Donnell, NYG: Donnell was cleared to resume football activities on March 9, 2016 after recovering from a broken bone in his neck that ended his 2015 campaign. The team subsequently re-signed him on April 19 - Donnell is fully recovered from the scary neck injury heading into training camp.
Tyler Eifert, CIN: Eifert had ankle surgery on May 25, 2016 and it is likely that he will miss several games as a result. On July 10 Cincinnati's director of player personnel Duke Tobin indicated that the team's young wide receivers would need to step up 'early in the year' while Eifert is out.
Crockett Gillmore, BAL: Gillmore had a shoulder (labrum) surgery in March. On June 4 he was cleared for individual workouts during OTAs, and he is expected to be ready to practice fully once training camp rolls around.
Jimmy Graham, SEA: Speaking Thursday, May 26, 2016, Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson said Graham is 'healing really fast,' and will be 'back sooner than people think.' On June 16 head coach Pete Carroll asserted that he 'absolutely' expected Graham back in the lineup come Week One of regular season, and even suggested that Graham was ahead of Thomas Rawls in his rehab. Stay tuned to see if/when Graham starts practicing with the team during training camp.
Ladarius Green, PIT: Green was signed by Pittsburgh to a four-year, $20 million contract on March 9, while rehabbing his troublesome ankle after a January surgery to repair the issue in his joint. Green missed OTAs entirely but is expected to be on the field when training camp opens up late in July.
Dennis Pitta, BAL: Pitta is attempting to return to the 53-man roster after missing two seasons of play due to a troublesome hip injury that required surgeries. On May 24, 2016 Coach John Harbaugh said Pitta (hip) 'looks like the same player we’ve seen in the past.'
Jordan Reed, WAS: As of June 14, Reed was sitting out minicamp after suffering an ankle injury the previous week. He is expected back in the lineup as training camp opens up.
Travis Coons, CLE: Coons didn't participate in minicamp due to an undisclosed injury. We'll see if he can take the field in training camp - he may be unable to compete for his job in August.