Rounding Up Latest Injury Reports from Training Camp
NFL training camps are underway, and as the season inches closer, injury reports are becoming clearer with the help of the physically unable to perform (PUP) lists.
While the regular season does not kick off for well over a month, some players already face extended absences from the playing field in 2014. Others, though, are speeding down the road to recovery and should take the field Week 1.
Let's take a look around the league at the latest updates as of early Saturday morning. Please note that due to the sheer volume of injuries throughout the NFL, this list is not comprehensive.
Tyrann Mathieu, DB (ACL, LCL)
Defensive back Tyrann Mathieu suffered a torn ACL and LCL late last year. Such an injury combination requires surgery to construct the knee. Arizona Cardinals writer Darren Urban noted this week the team placed Mathieu on the PUP list, suggesting his recovery still has a ways to go.
Alameda Ta'amu, DT, (ACL)
Alameda Ta'amu tore his ACL shortly after Mathieu. As Urban wrote, Ta'amu also finds himself on the PUP list at the beginning of training camp. Count on, very roughly, another two months or so of rehab.
Julio Jones, WR (Foot)
Star wide receiver Julio Jones continues to recover from a broken bone in his foot—specifically a fracture of the fifth metatarsal, or the bone that connects the little toe to the midfoot. According to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Jones suffered the injury last October, but he received medical clearance to practice just this week.
Sean Weatherspoon, LB (Achilles)
Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon suffered a torn Achilles tendon in June. The Achilles tendon is the strongest tendon in the body, and as such, it takes several months or more to return to form after surgery. Weatherspoon must, unfortunately, set his sites on the 2015 season.
Bernard Pierce, RB (Rotator cuff)
Bernard Pierce underwent surgery on his rotator cuff—the group of four muscles responsible for most of the complex movements of the shoulder—in January. Recovery times following rotator cuff surgery depend on the nature of work done within the joint, but according to The Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson, Pierce recently received full medical clearance. With Ray Rice facing a two-game suspension, that medical clearance looms even larger.
Aaron Ross, CB, (Achilles)
Fox Sports 1 insider Mike Garafolo reported this week that cornerback Aaron Ross went down with a torn Achilles tendon while conditioning—devastating news by any stretch of the imagination. He is out for the season.
Kiko Alonso, LB (ACL)
Earlier this month, star young linebacker Kiko Alonso tore his ACL while working out in Oregon. He will miss the 2014 season—an absolutely dreadful turn of events for the Buffalo Bills, who are looking to become more and more competitive in the AFC East.
Fred Jackson, RB (Leg)
Mike Rodak of ESPN.com reported Friday that running back Fred Jackson left the practice field "under his own power" with a leg injury. The nature of the injury remains unclear. Leaving the field under his own power probably rules out a serious ankle or tibia fracture, but further details are scarce.
- Rodak also wrote tight end Tony Moeaki and safety Kenny Ladler "both left practice with hamstring injuries and did not return."
- According to Rodak, tight end Chris Cragg recently received hospital treatment for a heat-related condition but returned to the sidelines Friday.
Edmund Kugbila, OG (Back)
Offensive lineman Edmund Kugbila moved to injured reserve this week, according to Pro Football Talk's Josh Alper. He is dealing with back issues and will undergo surgery in August.
Cam Newton, QB (Ankle)
Superstar quarterback Cam Newton underwent ligament-tightening ankle surgery in March. Such an operation aims to address ligaments that no longer stabilize the joint as they once did—often a result of multiple ankle sprains. Rehab proceeds slowly, allowing the revised ligaments to return to form over a period of months—not weeks. Fortunately—via The Charlotte Observer's Joe Person—Newton received full medical clearance to participate in training camp this week.
Jonathan Stewart, RB (Hamstring)
The injury troubles continue for running back Jonathan Stewart. Alper wrote Stewart "will miss a week or two of camp while he recovers" from a hamstring injury. It sounds as if the strain is low-grade, but it adds to Stewart's already-long injury history.
Chris Conte, S (Shoulder)
CBS Chicago's Chris Emma wrote that safety Chris Conte's recovery from shoulder surgery "is taking longer than expected." Conte underwent the operation in March, originally receiving a recovery time projection of four to five months. The precise details of the injury and operation remain unclear, but as Emma noted, a prolonged recovery will not help him retain his starting job.
Kyle Long, OG, (Viral infection)
Emma also reported this week that offensive lineman Kyle Long will sit out for the near future due to a viral infection. According to Emma, "it's not a serious illness." One possibility is that of mononucleosis, an infection that can enlarge the spleen and make it more prone to injury during contact sports, but details are not available.
- Emma also noted tackle Jordan Mills, guard Matt Slauson and safety Craig Steltz are ready to go.
Geno Atkins, DT (ACL)
Defensive lineman Geno Atkins's 2013 season ended in November via an ACL tear, and the Cincinnati Bengals certainly felt the loss for the remainder of the year. ACL recoveries can range from seven to 12 months or more. As such, it comes as no surprise that, according to ESPN.com's Coley Harvey, Atkins landed on the PUP list this week. However, per Harvey, defensive coordinator Paul Guenther believes Atkins will "be back Week 1 for sure."
Leon Hall, CB (Achilles)
The Associated Press—via Fox Sports—offered some reassurance to Bengals fans in regards to cornerback Leon Hall's 2013 Achilles tear. He is progressing well, it seems, and he received medical clearance to return to practice as training camp gets underway.
- Tight end Jermaine Gresham continues to deal with back issues and is currently on the PUP list, according to Paul Dehner Jr. of The Cincinnati Inquirer.
- Harvey also noted this week that a number of players sat out on Thursday, including big names such as AJ McCarron (shoulder), Marvin Jones (ankle) and Andrew Whitworth (calf).
Despite significant offseason storylines surrounding wide receiver Josh Gordon and rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel, the Cleveland Browns lack major injuries to big names heading into camp. That said, Cleveland.com's Mary Kay Cabot tweeted this week that several players, including running back Terrance West, are on the non-football injury list due to conditioning issues.
Sean Lee, LB (ACL)
A perfect storm of awkward positioning and momentum shifts ended linebacker Sean Lee's 2014 season before it began. When his knee over-twisted inward relative to his toes and thigh, his ACL gave way. The injury represents just the latest setback in an already-lengthy injury history.
Tony Romo, QB (Back)
According to The Dallas Morning News' Rainier Sabin, quarterback Tony Romo is beaming with confidence several months after undergoing surgery to address a disc issue in his back:
I feel personally like I’ve just started to come into the player that wanted to be six, seven years ago, Romo said Thursday. "I think and I’ve said it before but I think over the course of the next four or five years, you’ll see the best version of me that I’ve had throughout my career. That’s for a lot of different reasons. But I really believe that.
It appears the procedure—one that relieves pressure on nerves in the back from a bulging intervertebral disc—did the trick.
On Thursday, Clarence E. Hill, Jr. of the Star-Telegram reported offensive lineman Ron Leary moved to the PUP list due to a hamstring strain.
Von Miller, LB (ACL)
According to The Denver Post's Mike Klis, linebacker and defensive standout Von Miller—who suffered a torn ACL late last season—will not receive clearance for contact until at least the third week of the preseason. Contact can place a different type of stress on a recovering ACL—though many ACL tears occur without contact at all. A return by Week 1 is not yet definite, it seems.
- The Denver Broncos released tight end Joel Dreessen following a failed physical due to a left knee injury, according to The Denver Post's Troy Renck.
- New defensive end DeMarcus Ware underwent surgery in February due to a recurring nerve issue in his elbow—an operation where surgeon's quite literally relocated his ulnar nerve deeper into his elbow. According to a column by Klis, Ware now feels "better than he did the last two years going into the season."
Ziggy Ansah, DE (Shoulder)
According to Detroit Lions writer Tim Twentyman, the Lions placed defensive end Ziggy Ansah on the PUP list as he continues to recover from shoulder surgery. Twentyman added Ansah also suffered from a biceps injury. The exact diagnosis is not clear, but the lengthy rehab suggests the operation addressed a relatively complicated issue.
Joique Bell, RB (Knee)
Running back Joique Bell told Mlive.com's Justin Rogers that he is back to 100 percent following a knee injury that held him out of minicamp earlier this year. The nature of his injury is unclear, but it looks like all systems are go.
- Wide receiver Golden Tate also opened up training camp on the PUP list with a shoulder issue, according to Twentyman. Details are somewhat lacking.
Green Bay Packers
Casey Hayward, CB (Hamstring)
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Tyler Dunne noted earlier this year that cornerback Casey Hayward is doing well in his recovery from last year's recurrent hamstring issues. Hamstring injuries can be quite a nuisance—just ask Cleveland Browns wide receiver Miles Austin—and while the risk of re-injury always exists, it looks as if Hayward is over the hump.
Clay Matthews, LB (Thumb)
Clay Matthews continues to recover from a broken thumb, but ESPN.com's Rob Demovsky noted the linebacker did not appear on roster injury reports. In other words, his Bennett's fracture saga—a break in the base of the thumb where it meets the wrist—may be finally over.
- Other players of note appearing on the Packers PUP and non-football injury lists include, according to Demovsky, linebackers Nick Perry and Mike Neal, among others.
Jadeveon Clowney, DE (Sports hernia)
ESPN.com's Tania Ganguli recently reported that the Houston Texans did not place defensive end and No. 1 draft pick Jadeveon Clowney—who underwent surgery to repair a sports hernia earlier this year—on the PUP list. Sports hernias—a misnomer in a sense, as there is actually no true protrusion of tissue through the abdominal wall—can cause lingering issues, even after surgery. Clowney's lack of PUP status is at least somewhat encouraging.
Brian Cushing, LB (LCL, fibula)
In 2014, linebacker Brian Cushing went down with his second serious knee injury is as many seasons. Specifically, he suffered a torn LCL and fractured fibula. Now, he finds himself on the Houston Texans PUP list—via the Houston Press' Sean Pendergast.
Cushing's recovery continues to drag on a bit, raising a few eyebrows. That said, a healthy LCL—a ligament that runs on the outside of the knee and plays a pivotal role in stability—is extremely important for an NFL athlete. The Texans may merely be exercising extreme caution during the less-meaningful, early stages of the preseason. Cushing himself told the Houston Chronicle's John McClain that he "knows" he will be ready for Week 1—for whatever that's worth.
Vick Ballard, RB (Achilles)
Indianapolis Colts running back Vick Ballard needed a cart to leave the field on Friday after going down with a torn Achilles tendon. ESPN's Chris Mortensen broke the news, which is an extremely awful break for the young back. He will likely undergo surgery to reattach the ends of the ruptured tendon, and at this time of the year, returning from an Achilles injury in time to meaningfully contribute in 2014 is all but impossible.
Ahmad Bradshaw, RB (Neck)
Running back Ahmad Bradshaw suffered a bit of a surprise neck injury midway through the 2013 season, and he underwent surgery to address the issue shortly thereafter. Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star confirmed in April that doctors performed a spinal fusion—presumably to address ongoing neurological symptoms such as pain, numbness or weakness. Fortunately, ESPN.com's Mike Wells reported the running back recently received medical clearance to return to the field.
Reggie Wayne, WR (ACL)
According to the Associated Press—via USA Today—wide receiver Reggie Wayne returned to action this week. His recovery from a mid-season ACL tear continues to be very impressive, especially at his age.
- Last month, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported defensive end Fili Moala partially tore his ACL and ended up on injured reserve. If a partial ACL tear leads to knee instability, it may require constructive surgery—just like a full ACL tear.
ESPN.com's Michael DiRocco noted this week that the Jacksonville Jaguars boast one of the healthier rosters in the NFL—until Saturday, at least. Only two players—linebacker Dekoda Watson and cornerback Aaron Ball—find themselves on the Jaguars PUP list.
Then, wide receiver Cecil Shorts pulled a hammy.
DiRocco reported Shorts suffered a grade-two strain—or a partial tear of one or more of the three hamstring muscles. Grade-two strains often require two to four weeks of rehab. Indeed, the wideout's projection rests at "at least two weeks" on the sidelines.
DiRocco adds that safety Josh Evans continues to recover from surgery to remove a bone spur in his foot. Bone spurs—or extra pieces of bone that form as a result of repetitive use—can impinge a joint and lead to persistent pain in the area.
Kansas City Chiefs
Big-name injuries are lacking for the Kansas City Chiefs, though one major offensive weapon—wide receiver Dwayne Bowe—likely had his coaches holding their breath for a few brief moments. According to The Kansas City Star's Randy Covitz, Bowe came up hobbling for a few plays after a run in with cornerback Chris Owens. Thankfully, he returned to action shortly thereafter.
- Covits also wrote on Friday that a few players, including defensive back Sanders Commings, missed practice. Commings is nursing a foot strain—or a muscle injury. Details remain scarce at this time.
Brandon Gibson, WR (Knee)
Wide receiver Brandon Gibson tore his patellar tendon last season, bring his year to a close. The patellar tendon allows the quadriceps muscles to extend and straighten the lower leg via the patella—or kneecap. If the knee sharply bends while the quadriceps contracts, the tendon can tear. Often—as in Gibson's case—treatment consists of surgical repair and a long recovery.
At this point, though, he is getting close. According to Armando Salguero of The Miami Herald, head coach Joe Philbin is encouraged by Gibson's progress, saying it "won't be too long" until he is 100 percent.
Knowshon Moreno, RB (Knee)
Running back Knowshon Moreno underwent a knee scope last month. As Salguero tweeted, coach Philbin lumped Moreno in with Gibson as someone nearing a full return. Presumably, doctors operated on Moreno's knee to visualize and treat the cause of persistent knee pain and swelling. Common causes include loose bodies of cartilage, bone spurs or meniscus damage.
Mike Pouncey, C (Hip)
Salguero wrote this week that center Mike Pouncey's recovery from hip labrum surgery may extend further into the season than originally expected—perhaps into October. Though now often performed arthroscopically—instead of open operations in years past—hip surgeries frequently constitute one of the more major surgeries and recoveries in football.
Chase Ford, TE (Foot)
Master Tesfatsion of the Star Tribune tweeted this week that tight end Chase Ford required surgery to address a stress fracture in his left foot. Surgeons likely used metal hardware to pin the bone—possibly his fifth metatarsal, a common location for a stress fracture—in place while it heals. Recovery times usually stretch to six weeks or more.
Matt Kalil, LT (Knee)
Lineman Matt Kalil underwent a knee scope in May, presumably to address ongoing pain and swelling. Scopes carry variable recovery times depending on the amount and type of work done but most minor cleanups require four to eight weeks of rehab. Indeed, according to Tesfatsion, Kalil received medical clearance and is participating in camp.
Kyle Rudolph, TE (Foot)
Tight end Kyle Rudolph suffered a broken foot last season, but it seems the injury is becoming a distant memory. Last month Tesfatsion wrote that Rudolph's foot "is fully healed, and he hasn't missed time up (to) this point."
New England Patriots
Dominique Easley, DL (ACL)
ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss expressed optimism earlier this month when it comes to rookie lineman Dominique Easley's recovery from a 2013 ACL tear. He remains on the non-football injury list, according to Boston.com, but if his rehab continues to go well, he might return to the field very soon.
Rob Gronkowski, TE (ACL, MCL)
Oft-injured superstar tight end Rob Gronkowski is apparently recovering very quickly from knee surgery to address his late-season ACL tear. The Boston.com articles noted Gronkowski did not appear on the Patriots PUP list.
It seems Gronk will rise again.
Vince Wilfork, DL (Achilles)
After Vince Wilfork went down with a torn Achilles last season, the big lineman started his long road to recovery. He made excellent progress, and Reiss noted this week that he is practicing without restriction. To do so, he needed to receive full medical clearance—and therefore a strong vote of confidence for his tough tendon. After all, linemen must be able to push off the ground while going up against opposing linemen—a movement that places tremendous amounts of stress on a stretching Achilles.
- The Boston.com article mentioned several other players who moved to the Patriots PUP list, including cornerback Alfonzo Dennard and Aaron Dobson.
New Orleans Saints
Jairus Byrd, S (Back)
One of the biggest free-agent acquisitions of the offseason, safety Jairus Byrd, underwent surgery in May to relieve a minor disc issue in his back. According to ESPN.com's Mike Triplett, his recovery is going well. However, microdiscectomies can carry recovery times of a few months, and according to The Times-Picayune's Evan Woodberry, Byrd started training camp on the PUP list. Like many others, Byrd's PUP status probably represents ongoing-but-normal rehab rather than a marker of a more serious problem.
Kenny Stills, WR (Quadriceps)
Woodberry also reported wide receiver Kenny Stills "pulled up lame on a pass route" with an apparent quadriceps strain. Strains can occur during full sprints due to the rapid cycles of lengthening and contracting. Minor strains can cost a player only a week or two but severe or recurring strains may lead to much more missed time.
New York Giants
Jon Beason, LB (Foot)
Linebacker Jon Beason broke one of the sesamoid bones in his foot last month. Dr. Robert Anderson later recommended conservative treatment instead of surgery, but a sesamoid fracture may require multiple months to heal. The bone plays a crucial role in allowing an elite athlete to push forward off the ground with his or her big toe, so proper healing is essential.
Nevertheless, Beason sounds optimistic. According to New York Daily News' Mitch Abramson, the linebacker stated he "would love to get into the preseason to get some reps."
Eli Manning, QB (Ankle)
Quarterback Eli Manning underwent an ankle debridement in April, likely to address scar tissue or other minor issues within the joint. In June, Manning told Conor Orr of The Star-Ledger that his ankle is no longer a problem. Expect minimal lingering issues this season—barring another injury, of course.
Jameel McClain, LB (Foot)
Earlier this week, Beason's replacement, linebacker Jameel McClain, left practice with a foot injury. Thankfully, according to New York Daily News' Ralph Vacchiano, X-rays did not show signs of a fracture. However, a persistently sore foot may necessitate an MRI—which gives better pictures of the soft tissues in the foot.
David Wilson, RB (Neck)
Running back David Wilson underwent neck surgery—specifically, a spinal fusion—and doubts about his ability to return to football arose soon after. Thankfully, he rehabbed well and tweeted earlier this week that he received medical clearance for "everything."
New York Jets
Chris Ivory, RB (Hamstring)
According to ESPN.com's Rich Cimini, running back Chris Ivory dealt with a hamstring issue this week. He returned to practice on Friday—via New York Post's Brian Costello—suggesting the injury is quite minor. Still, it bears watching. Hamstring injuries are notorious for lingering.
Chris Johnson, RB (Knee)
The Associated Press noted—via The Tennessean—that running back Chris Johnson practiced in full on Thursday. He is recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery to clean up a meniscus tear. Without a frayed, torn meniscus causing swelling and inflammation within the knee, Johnson can now finally get over the injury that limited him during much of the 2013 season.
Calvin Pryor, S (Possible Concussion)
According to CBS New York, rookie safety Chris Pryor received medical attention after he went down with a possible head injury. Details are scarce.
DJ Hayden, CB (Ankle/Foot)
Cornerback DJ Hayden—one of the 2013 NFL draft's best stories—"watched part of practice (from) a stationary bike," according ESPN.com's Jim Trotter. Hayden is dealing with an ankle injury and "walked with a notable limp, though with no protective boot." That could mean he did not suffer a fracture, but a limp suggests he is dealing with at least a sprain.
On the other hand, NFL.com's Chris Wesseling cited a foot injury, one that required a walking boot earlier in the year. The picture remains somewhat unclear, and Raiders fans should pay close attention in the coming days and weeks.
The Philadelphia Eagles enter training camp relatively healthy without many big-name injuries. Earlier this month, wide receiver Jeremy Maclin stated—via Philly.com's Jimmy Kempski—that he actually may "feel faster" than prior to his ACL reconstruction last year.
Minor bumps and bruises surely do exist within Eagles camp, but it seems as if the second year of head coach Chip Kelly's "sports science" program is working.
Mike Mitchell, S (Groin)
Free safety Mike Mitchell landed on the Steelers PUP list with a groin injury, according to ESPN.com's Scott Brown. A minor pull might hold Mitchell out of action for a week or two, whereas a more serious tear can require a much longer rehab—even surgery in some cases. Hopefully, the injury is on the minor end of the spectrum.
Maurkice Pouncey, C (ACL, MCL)
San Diego Chargers
Malcom Floyd, WR (Neck)
One of the scariest moments of the 2013 season belonged to San Diego Chargers wide receiver Malcom Floyd. He went down with a terrifying neck injury early in the season—one that drew concerns about his ability to return to football at all, not just in 2014.
- ESPN.com's Eric D. Williams noted guard Jeromey Clary hit the PUP list with shoulder and hip issues.
San Francisco 49ers
Kendall Hunter, RB (ACL)
The ACL bug bit another Bay-area player this week, according to the San Francisco Chronicle's Eric Branch. Running back Kendall Hunter went down on Friday and will presumably undergo reconstructive surgery soon. The ACL graft his orthopedic surgeon uses will require several months of rehab before his body cements it into placed within his knee. As such, he will almost assuredly miss the entirety of the 2014 season.
Marcus Lattimore, RB (Knee dislocation)
Branch reported this week that running back Marcus Lattimore—who infamously suffered a gruesome knee dislocation in Oct. 2012—continues to work on his recovery approaching two years later. Luckily, it seems he avoided any catastrophic consequences of his injury—popliteal artery damage or peroneal nerve damage—but rehabbing three ligament tears is not an easy task. The entire NFL community certainly hopes for the best and that he makes his NFL debut soon.
Kam Chancellor, S (Hip)
Safety Kam Chancellor underwent hip surgery earlier in the offseason. According to the Associated Press—via Fox Sports—Chancellor is "close to returning to practice." The safety battled an issue in his hip for much of last season.
Bruce Irvin, LB (Hip)
Linebacker Bruce Irvin is also battling a hip issue—one for which he underwent surgery in June. The AP report noted Irvin made his way to the PUP list.
Details are not available but typical hip surgeries include labral repairs or addressing a condition known as femoroacetabular impingement (FAI). In FAI, the femur—or thigh bone—and the pelvis do not fit together optimally, causing recurrent pain and potentially long-term issues.
Russell Okung, OL (Foot)
Turf toe cut lineman Russell Okung's 2013 season short, and he underwent foot surgery in May. Whether or not the surgery relates to his turf toe is not clear. However, the above AP report mentioned Okung among those still recovering and not yet practicing. Hopefully, Russell Wilson's protector will return soon.
- Todd Dybas of The News Tribune wrote Saturday that linebacker Malcolm Smith is dealing with an ankle injury.
St. Louis Rams
Sam Bradford, QB (ACL)
ESPN.com's Nick Wagoner offered some reassurance to St. Louis Rams fans on Saturday, noticing that quarterback Sam Bradford—coming off a 2013 ACL tear that ended his season—practiced for two days in a row for the first time since his injury. It appears his rehab went extremely well, as is often the case after a non-contact, isolated ACL injury. He should be fully ready for Week 1.
Christian Bryant, S (Ankle)
According to Wagoner, rookie safety Christian Bryant continues to watch from the sidelines. He is recovering from a broken ankle, an injury he suffered while a member of the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Jake Long, OL (ACL)
Lineman Jake Long underwent reconstructive ACL surgery in January. A mid-2014 projection by head coach Jeff Fisher had Long back in action by the middle of training camp. Wagoner noted Saturday that the big lineman continues to sit out of practice.
There is not yet reason for alarm at this point. ACL recoveries often extend beyond the seven-to-eight-month mark. Long's surgery occurred about six months ago.
- Other names Wagoner mentioned who did not practice or left early on Saturday include defensive lineman Sammy Brown, cornerback Trumaine Johnson and others.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Dashon Goldson, S (Foot)
Safety Dashon Goldson underwent ankle surgery earlier this year. According to Greg Auman and Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, he is making progress. However, the Bucs are still slowly increasing his workload during the early stages of the preseason.
Doug Martin, RB (Shoulder)
Running back Doug Martin received medical clearance following surgery for a torn labrum in March, and he looks to return to form this season.
The labrum is a soft cup of cartilage within the shoulder joint that adds to shoulder stability, but tears in the cartilage often refuse to heal on their own, owing to a relatively low blood supply. Once a surgeon directly visualizes and repairs the damage, pain and locking or instability often resolve—as they apparently did in Martin's case.
Carl Nicks, OL (MRSA)
After a long battle with complications from a methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers released offensive lineman Carl Nicks. NFL.com's Dan Hanzus had the sad news on Saturday.
Hanzus added that Nicks received medical clearance to return to practice prior to his release. However, it seems his battle with the nasty bacteria—one that is becoming more and more prevalent in the community and an ever-growing concern among medical professionals—set him back too far to make good on his 2012 contract. The NFL surely sends its best wishes to Nicks and his family.
Shonn Greene, RB (Knee)
Running back Shonn Greene underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in May. Similar to other such operations, the surgery was likely aimed to visualize, diagnose and treat the cause of persistent pain or swelling. The Associated Press—via Fox Sports—reported Saturday that the running back is back on the field.
Jake Locker, QB (Foot)
Quarterback Jake Locker suffered the dreaded Lisfranc injury last year, ending his season. Locker is no stranger to injuries, but according to ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky, he recovered well from his most recent setback—not always a guarantee with Lisfranc injuries.
The Lisfranc joint is a complex structure in the midfoot. It marks the location where the metatarsals—or bases of the toes—meet the bones immediately in front of the ankle. If a force disrupts the joint, the biomechanics of the area can make recoveries require several months or more of careful rehab.
Zach Mettenberger, QB (ACL, MCL)
Former Louisiana State University quarterback Zach Mettenberger's college career ended in December with a torn ACL and MCL. The injury combination—an all-too-common one when the knee buckles inward—often costs players over nine months or more.
The Tennessean's Jim Wyatt noted that the Titans plan to continue to give Mettenberger reps at training camp, suggesting his recovery is proceeding smoothly. That said, he may still not reach full speed for a month or two if he follows an average recovery path.
Washington entered training camp with a trio of knee injuries, according to the Associated Press—via wUSA9.com. Defensive end Jason Hatcher continues to recover from a knee scope.
Defensive end Stephen Bowen and wide receiver Leonard Hankerson, however, may still face longer roads to the field. Bowen underwent microfracture surgery in November, an operation that aims to help repair cartilage in the knee. Hankerson went down with an ACL tear in November.
Dr. Dave Siebert is a resident physician at the University of Washington who plans to pursue fellowship training in Primary Care (non-operative) Sports Medicine.
Questions about players on this list? Not on this list? Send 'em to Dave on Twitter: