In general, the NFL preseason means three things: positional battles, fans dissecting every move of every player and coach to get a better forecast of the season, and injuries.
Here, we're going to focus on the latter.
Nothing is more unfortunate or disappointing than a player being injured in an exhibition game and losing time during the regular season. Let's round up some of the latest news on several prominent players dealing with injuries and their current status.
Bad news, Miami Dolphins fans—Dustin Keller is done for the year, reports Alex Marvez of Fox Sports:
Keller, who left the preseason contest against the Houston Texans after being hit low by D.J. Swearinger with a right knee injury, was to feature prominently in the team's revamped offense alongside fellow free-agent acquisition Mike Wallace.
Now, he won't see the field this season. It's truly a shame for Keller and an optimistic Dolphins team looking to challenge for the AFC East crown in 2013.
Here's a bit of news that will make the Denver Broncos and their fans nervous—veteran cornerback Champ Bailey left Saturday night's preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks on crutches.
He left CenturyLink Field on crutches, his left foot in a boot.
X-rays were negative but an MRI exam on Bailey’s foot Sunday will show the extent. Bailey left late in the first half with the Seahawks driving near the Broncos’ end zone.
Obviously, Bailey is a huge part of the Broncos' plans this season. While he isn't the elite shutdown cornerback of his younger years, he is still a savvy veteran and an effective player.
Even though this injury doesn't seem overly serious at this time, it is certainly worth monitoring.
Sorry, Broncos' fans, there's more bad news. Wes Welker was also injured in Saturday night's game, as Chris Wesseling of NFL.com writes, "Coach John Fox revealed that Welker suffered a right ankle sprain after hauling in the Broncos' lone touchdown. There was no word on the severity of Welker's injury."
Jeff Legwold of ESPN reports Welker will be further examined on Sunday:
#Broncos WR Wes Welker will also have right ankle examined Sunday.— Jeff Legwold (@Jeff_Legwold) August 18, 2013
A rough evening for the Broncos, indeed.
Ed Reed isn't the dominant safety of his youth, but he was still a huge addition for the Houston Texans this offseason and a player expected to make an impact for the Super Bowl contenders.
But he may have to make that impact later in the season, as John McClain of the Houston Chronicle tweets about Reed's readiness for Week 1 against the San Diego Chargers:
I'll be stunned if Ed Reed is playing against the Chargers. I've thought all along he'd answer the opening bell but now I don't think so.— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) August 17, 2013
I think a fair over/under on Ed Reed is 13. If he plays the last 13 and in the playoffs, fans will forget he missed to much time rehabbing.— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) August 17, 2013
Reed is currently rehabbing from a hip injury that required surgery this offseason. While it remains unlikely he'll miss a major chunk of the season, the Texans are surely wondering now whether they signed damaged goods.
In an article full of bad news—or at least disappointing news—here is something positive: Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News believes Santonio Holmes will be ready for the season opener:
From what I'm seeing... don't be surprised if Santonio Holmes plays in Jets season opener vs Bucs on Sept. 8. #nyj— Manish Mehta (@MMehtaNYDN) August 17, 2013
Another injured player, rookie quarterback Geno Smith, was seen throwing passes to Holmes in a surprise Saturday workout, according to Alex Raskin of USA Today. It looks as though Holmes' recovery from offseason surgery on his foot is coming along more quickly than expected.
Several key players are dealing with slight knocks but would probably be good to go if the regular season started today.
Roddy White will probably not feature again this offseason as he is dealing with a sprained ankle, writes Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk, while Jamaal Charles didn't feature for the Kansas City Chief's on Friday night but is practicing on Sunday, reports Adam Teicher of The Kansas City Star.
Neither veteran really needs to play in the preseason at this point, but both seem certain to be in the starting lineup Week 1.