Projecting Recovery Timetable for Injured NFL Stars

Marques Eversoll@MJEversollAnalyst IFebruary 12, 2013

Projecting Recovery Timetable for Injured NFL Stars

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    Injuries are as much of a part of football as touchdowns and turnovers.

    Each and every year, some of the game's top stars are bitten by the injury bug, putting an early end to their season.

    Most recently, Robert Griffin III suffered a horrific knee injury in the playoffs against the Seattle Seahawks. He has a long road ahead of him if he wants to be ready for the season opener.

    With some help from Bleacher Report injury expert Will Carroll, let's take a look at the recovery timetables for 10 injured NFL stars.

10. Heath Miller

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    Miller suffered a significant knee injury in week 16 of the 2012 season, tearing his ACL, MCL and PCL.

    Typically, a player who tears his ACL late in the season is not ready for next season's opener. Adrian Peterson is the exception. Although Rashard Mendenhall, Miller's teammate with the Steelers, shredded his knee in week 17 of the 2011 season and was able to avoid the PUP to start 2012.

    Still, at age 30, Miller faces a long road to recovery. It would be a surprise if he's back in the lineup for the Steelers' season opener.

    According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Steelers do not have a recovery timetable for Miller at this time. It could be a while before the team knows if he'll be ready to start 2013.

9. Adrian Clayborn

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    Adrian Clayborn tore his ACL in Week 3 against the Dallas Cowboys. He was placed on injured reserve and missed the team's final 13 games.

    As a pass-rusher, Clayborn's knee injury may be cause for concern for the Buccaneers. Edge rushers rely heavily on their first step to get around offensive tackles and pressure the quarterback.

    On the bright side for Clayborn, Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs successfully bounced back from a torn Achilles last season. No two players heal the same, but given the way Suggs was able to bounce back from a severe injury, Clayborn certainly has a realistic possibility to be a difference-maker to start the 2013 season.

    The former first-round pick will be expected to start for the Buccaneers next season.

8. Ike Taylor

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    Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor suffered a hairline fracture in his leg late in the 2012 season. He was placed on injured reserve December 26 after Pittsburgh was eliminated from playoff contention.

    Taylor turns 33 in May, but he's still Pittsburgh's clear-cut top cover man.

    And while no fracture is a good fracture, bones heal. Bleacher Report injury expert Will Carroll says Taylor should be back in plenty of time for the season, although he has concerns about whether he can plant, cut and accelerate.

    It would be a surprise if Taylor wasn't on the field to start 2013.

7. Brian Cushing

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    Cushing tore his ACL and was placed on injured reserve on October 10.

    Prior to Cushing's injury, the Houston Texans ranked first in the NFL in points allowed. After Cushing was injured, the Texans fell to 18th in the league in that category.

    And while an ACL tear ends a player's season, the recovery period is getting shorter. Cushing will have nearly a full year to recover before the Texans kick off the 2013 season.

    There may be some obstacles Cushing will have to overcome to return to form, but there's no reason to think he won't be ready for the season opener.

6. Desmond Bishop

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    Packers linebacker Desmond Bishop was lost for the 2012 season in the team's preseason opener against the San Diego Chargers.

    Bishop was the Packers' top inside linebacker and a key playmaker in their 3-4 defense. But after tearing his hamstring, Bishop's season was over before it even got started.

    A torn hamstring is a tough injury to bounce back from. Bleacher Report injury expert Will Carroll says the injury will always be a bit of a concern, as a torn hamstring tends to go chronic.

    Whether he can return to form remains to be seen, but Bishop should be back in time for offseason workouts to prepare for the 2013 season.

5. Brian Orakpo

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    Orakpo suffered a nasty injury in 2012. He tore his pectoral and missed 14 of the Redskins' 16 games.

    Had the Redskins had a healthy Orakpo in the lineup, the NFC East Champions would have been a dangerous team in the NFC Playoffs.

    The 2013 season is a contract year for Orakpo, so he'll surely be looking to put together a solid season individually. But this is not the first time he's torn his pectoral.

    Orakpo originally tore his pec in Week 17 of the 2011 season, before re-tearing it in Week 2 this year. He'll have to hope this doesn't continue to be an issue; otherwise it will certainly prevent him from maximizing his potential.

4. Brent Grimes

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    Grimes was placed on the injured reserve on September 10 after tearing his Achilles' tendon.

    Coming into the season, the Atlanta Falcons were perhaps the deepest team in the league at cornerback with Grimes, Asante Samuel and Dunta Robinson. And now, Grimes is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

    Grimes could look at signing a one-year deal with Atlanta, as suggested by ESPN's Adam Schefter.

    He faces a tough battle returning to form after such a severe injury, but Terrell Suggs bounced back from a similar injury this season. Whether it's in Atlanta or elsewhere, Grimes should be ready for the season opener.

3. Lardarius Webb

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    Webb has already bounced back from a torn ACL and returned to top form once. Now, he'll try to do it again for the Super Bowl XLVII champions.

    He'll have more than enough time to return from the injury, but whether or not he'll be the same, athletic cornerback post-injury remains to be seen.

    The Ravens signed Webb to a six-year, $52.7 million extension last offseason. Webb, 27, told the Baltimore Sun that he hasn't suffered any setbacks and will be ready for the start of the season.

    Again, Webb should be able to bounce back from the injury. It's just a question whether or not he'll be able to return to elite level.

2. Robert Griffin III

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    The last time Robert Griffin III was on the field, he was on his back after tearing both his ACL and LCL in his right knee.

    Dr. James Andrews performed surgery on Griffin's knee immediately in January, and the initial timetable for his return was 6-8 months. But the Washington Post suggests that Griffin should be at 100 percent for the season opener.

    Griffin is walking now and could get some looks during minicamp.

    As a world-class athlete, Griffin certainly has a chance to be ready well before opening weekend.

1. Darrelle Revis

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    Revis suffered a torn ACL on September 23 against the Miami Dolphins.

    There has been some speculation in regards to Revis being moved before the start of the 2013 season. Denver and San Francisco have been mentioned as potential landing spots for Revis.

    But regardless of where he's playing, Revis faces a tough battle back from a torn ACL. Unlike some other positions, defensive backs seem to struggle returning to form following severe knee injuries.

    Bleacher Report injury expert Will Carroll has some concerns about Revis.

    Cover corners like Revis engage in stressful physical action—even more so than running backs like Adrian Peterson or Jamaal Charles—with the demands of their position forcing them to backpedal and rotate while on the run.

    Revis faces a long road to recovery. Prior to his injury, he tilted the playing field more than any defensive player in football. Whether or not he can return to that elite level remains to be seen.