Preseason Injury Report: What's the Prognosis for Injured NFL Stars?

Amelia AhlgrenContributor IIIAugust 8, 2012

Preseason Injury Report: What's the Prognosis for Injured NFL Stars?

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    As August ticks away and we creep closer to the September 5 NFL season opener, player injuries are beginning to feel less like bumps and bruises and more like critical emergencies.

    But with injuries shrouded in mystery it's hard for fans to know whether we should sink into full-blown panic mode over these wounds or breathe a sigh of relief.

    Hopefully this guide will help.

    Here's a look at the prognosis for 10 star NFL players battling injuries.

Miles Austin, Wide Receiver, Dallas Cowboys

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    Do hamstring injuries ever actually heal?

    It feels like once a player tweaks a hamstring, it becomes a recurring theme on his injury status.

    It's no different with Dallas wide receiver Miles Austin, who missed six games last season citing hamstring issues.

    Austin aggravated his hammy again on Saturday and will likely miss a week of camp as a result.

    But for now, that looks like it's just a precaution.

    Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said the injury did not look serious, and head coach Jason Garrett said the 'Boys are simply trying to be cautious with their No. 1 receiver.

    So no need to panic quite yet.

Jamaal Charles, Running Back, Kansas City Chiefs

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    Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles had caught fire by the 2011 season, but his dreams of dominance were crushed along with his knee in Week 2 of last season.

    Charles suffered a torn ACL and went down for the count, closing the curtains on what should have been a limitless 2011.

    Almost a full year later, Charles continues to rehab his injury, and it is looking like he is right on track.

    He is reportedly 80 percent healthy, and Sports Illustrated lists him as one of 2011's casualties who is primed for a bounce-back season. Charles is listed as probable on ESPN's injury report, and he will play in the Chiefs' preseason opener.

Santonio Holmes, Wide Receiver, New York Jets

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    If you were worried that off-the-field issues could keep Santonio Holmes and Mark Sanchez out-of-sync, you now have license to stress over on-the-field problems as well.

    On Saturday, ESPN New York columnist Rich Cimini tweeted that:

     

    Santonio Holmes may have broken rib, per Rex Ryan. #Jets

    — Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) August 4, 2012

     

    Lucky for Jets fans, this was not the case. Holmes is suffering from a rib injury, but nothing is broken. He may have some cartilage damage and the area is sore, but the prognosis is not as bad as initially thought.

    Still, when your team is running so thin at receiver, any injury is potentially crippling.

    The situation is looking brighter in New York, however. According to CBSSports.com, Holmes is doubtful for the Jets' preseason opener, but is at least questionable for the start of the regular season.

Greg Jennings, Wide Receiver, Green Bay Packers

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    Greg Jennings is starting the season much the way he ended last year—injured.

    Jennings, was leading the Packers with total receptions when he suffered a knee sprain last December and was knocked out for the remainder of the regular season.

    Now Jennings is dealing with a concussion and will miss Green Bay's preseason opener against the San Diego Chargers.

    This wideout joins a growing number of injured Packers—11 to be exact—who will miss this Thursday's game.

    Concussions are a particularly complicated injury—especially as doctors are learning more about head trauma—but according to Rotoworld, it does not look like Jennings will miss Week 1.

Kevin Kolb, Quarterback, Arizona Cardinals

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    If Kevin Kolb is Arizona's starting quarterback in 2012, it won't be because luck was on his side.

    Kolb has been fighting for his No. 1 spot this offseason against backup John Skelton, and although he started under center in the Cardinals' preseason opener, his dreams of dazzling were quickly derailed.

    Kolb threw an interception to open Arizona's drive and shortly thereafter bowed out of the game with what looked like an excruciating rib contusion.

    So what's the prognosis?

    Besides the bruised ego that comes with going 1-for-4 and throwing for four yards and a pick, it looks like Kolb's bruised ribs are going to be fine.

    Kolb was throwing during the Cardinals' walkthrough on Tuesday morning and although reports have Skelton starting Arizona's next preseason game, it looks like there's a good chance Kolb could take the field in Kansas City this Friday.

Hakeem Nicks, Wide Receiver, New York Giants

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    Hakeem Nicks notched over 100 receiving yards in Super Bowl XLVI and left that game healthy, happy and primed to celebrate.

    But the receiver got tripped up in the offseason, breaking his foot during Organized Team Activities (OTAs) in May.

    The estimated recovery time for the injury was three months, and now, almost three months later, Nicks claims he is, "definitely still on target, no setbacks."

    Nicks ran routes on Tuesday for the first time since his injury, and he is on track to play Week 1.

Adrian Peterson, Running Back, Minnesota Vikings

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    Last season was the first time in Adrian Peterson's NFL career that the star running back did not rush for over 1,000 yards, and a severed ACL was the culprit.

    Peterson continues to rehab his shredded knee and is currently on the Vikings' Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.

    Peterson will not play in Minnesota's preseason opener on Friday.

    Although Peterson assures us that he will both play and score in Week 1, it will be hard not to fret over whether he'll suit up for the season starter as September 5 inches closer and our hero remains on the PUP list.

Trent Richardson, Running Back, Cleveland Browns

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    If you were hoping to scout running back Trent Richardson for your fantasy team this Friday, you may be out of luck.

    The rookie running back did not participate in Tuesday practice and could miss the Browns' preseason opener against the Detroit Lions.

    Richardson underwent minor surgery in the spring to repair a torn meniscus, and he missed practice on Tuesday due to "knee soreness."

    There's no reason for Browns fans to put the bags back over their heads quite yet.

    But if Richardson's soreness is a nagging remnant from his surgery, it could indicate larger problems.

    A lingering injury would dole a devastating blow to the Browns, who traded their fourth overall pick and three later-round selections to slide up one spot and nab the star running back. Richardson is expected to be an instant impact player this season.

    Hang tight, though, Browns fans. This will hopefully blow over soon and the city of Cleveland can breathe a collective sigh of relief.

Ben Roethlisberger, Quarterback, Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Big Ben is all banged up.

    Last season, the star quarterback was hobbling around in the pocket with an ankle injury, and this offseason, Roethlisberger revealed that he is suffering from an itsy-bitsy rotator cuff tear.

    On Saturday, someone stomped on the quarterback's left foot during camp, causing him to sit out Sunday practice.

    But while all this sounds bad, reports from camp claim that Roethlisberger is looking good and that none of this is a big deal. So far, it's looking like all engines are go for Big Ben in the preseason opener.

Brian Urlacher, Linebacker, Chicago Bears

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    The forecast on Brian Urlacher is about as misty as it gets.

    Urlacher suffered MCL and PCL sprains in Week 17 of the 2011 season—but it was supposedly no big deal looking ahead to this year.

    Bears head coach Lovie Smith finally relinquished his poker face on Sunday though, admitting concern over the fact that the eight-time Pro Bowler had missed four straight practices.

    Urlacher has now missed six practices in a row, the last two due to dubious "personal reasons." He will not play in the Bears' preseason opener against the Denver Broncos this Thursday.

    Smith is the best crystal ball we have into Urlacher's condition, but the medical outlook on the middle linebacker remains unclear no matter how much the Chicago press corps shakes him.