Training camps across the National Football League are in full swing, and as teams across the league prepare for the upcoming season many are already dealing with injuries to prominent players.
Here's an update on the status of some of those stars, from one of the NFL's top wide receivers to a supremely talented, but snake-bitten running back and one of the cornerstones of a defensive squad that needs all the help they can get.
Andre Johnson, WR, Houston Texans
After missing more than half of last season with a hamstring injury, the Houston Texans were hopeful that they would have star wide receiver Andre Johnson back in the fold when they began the defense of their first-ever AFC South championship this season.
However, not only did Johnson undergo arthroscopic knee surgery in the offseason, but no sooner had camp gotten underway then the 10th-year pro found himself back on the shelf. According to the Associated Press via USA Today Johnson was forced from practice Sunday with a groin injury.
An MRI exam showed a "mild strain" that has to be of considerable concern to the Texans after Johnson missed 12 games over the past two seasons. The 31-year-old is clearly frustrated by this latest setback, but he relayed that both he and the team will take the safe and steady approach in regards to getting him back on the field.
"Nothing that I'm not used to, doing rehab." Johnson said. "It's very frustrating, but it happens, man. I wish I had some control over it. Unfortunately, I don't."
"Everybody's just saying, 'Just be smart about it,'" Johnson said. "You don't want to rush in, come back out here and have something happen again. We'll be smart about it, and see what happens."
Jahvid Best, RB, Detroit Lions
When he's on the field, Detroit Lions running back Jahvid Best is one of the most electrifying young ballcarriers in the National Football League. Unfortunately for both the Lions and the third-year pro, Best just can't seem to stay out there.
The former Cal star, who has been dogged by concussion problems dating back to the horrific one he suffered in college, saw his season end after six games last year after yet another concussion against the San Francisco 49ers.
Best and the Lions were hopeful that when training camp opened he would be cleared for contact. However, to this point that has yet to happen, leading some to question not only Best's availability for the team's season opener, but whether his entire NFL career could be in jeopardy.
Best dismissed that notion according to the Associated Press via ESPN, stating that "That has not crossed my mind yet", and both Best and head coach Jim Schwartz remain cautiously optimistic that he'll receive clearance soon.
"He has made tremendous strides in a lot of areas, including being able to work out with the rest of the team and lift hard and do all those things. But there's still some areas that he's got some ground to cover," coach Jim Schwartz said. "We're very optimistic we'll get him back, but his progress is really not judged day to day. It's going to be judged week to week."
Desmond Bishop, ILB, Green Bay Packers
Green Bay Packers inside linebacker Desmond Bishop paced the team with 115 tackles last season even though he was hampered by calf injuries down the stretch, and unfortunately for both Bishop and the Pack, the sixth-year pro's calves have become an issue once again.
The 28-year-old injured his calf while running on his own prior to the start of training camp, and with Bishop now sidelined indefinitely, frustration is beginning to set in on his part according to a report by ESPN Milwaukee.
“I wanted to run out there and hit somebody,” Bishop said after Saturday’s practice, the first of camp in pads. "But I had to tone it down and be smart about it, and when my time comes and it’s fully healed, then I’ll get out there and play. It’s not as bad as it was last year,” Bishop said. “So that’s a positive.”
Second-year pro D.J. Smith, who filled in admirably for Bishop when called upon last year, will receive the lion's share of practice reps while Bishop is sidelined, but a Green Bay defense that ranked dead last in the NFL last year badly needs their best linebacker on the field when they meet the San Francisco 49ers to open the 2012 NFL regular season.