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Seth Wenig/Associated Press

Earlier this year, New York Giants running back David Wilson underwent spinal fusion surgery to repair a herniated disc in his neck. The procedure aimed to fix lingering neurological symptoms that did not improve with rest, which the Giants considered a "long shot" to begin with, according to the New York Post's Paul Schwartz:

The operation—and the Hospital for Special Surgery's Dr. Frank Cammisa, who led the surgical team according to Schwartz—rejuvenated Wilson's career. In fact, the running back himself announced his medical clearance for "everything" earlier this month.

Everything proceeded according to plan until Tuesday, when Schwartz tweeted that a "burner" forced the young back from practice. Newsday's Tom Rock added that Wilson underwent tests at the Hospital for Special Surgery later that night.

It goes without saying that the entire NFL community hopes for nothing but the best.

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AP Images

On a 100-plus-degree day, the sweat is dripping down the face of the football players. The heat and humidity has worked on them through the drills and the runs. Their feet feel hot with the reflections coming up off the turf. The water breaks help, but some still vomit. One takes a knee and in moments shuts down. 

Sometime in the next month, someone will die. As NFL camps open, followed by college, high school and youth practices, the temperatures will often creep above 100 degrees, with humidity and equipment adding to the issue. Despite nearly universal awareness, the problem still exists and the downside isn't a strained muscle or a missed game, but death. 

In the last five years, 18 players around the country have died—the highest level since these statistics were collected. Even one is too many, but the increase is terrible. The problem is much more widespread than most imagine. Over 9,000 athletes were treated for heat illness symptoms in 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and 75 percent of those were football players.

Heat illness is still poorly understood, but the management of conditions like this makes it a fixable issue. For less than $20, a team could have the materials needed to keep an athlete from significant problems due to heat illness, including brain damage and death. While some programs are beginning to use ice baths for competitive and recovery reasons, they could be lifesavers.

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Getty Images

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.

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Getty Images

Brady Aiken will go down as one of the most intriguing draft stories in the history of the MLB, no matter how it goes. Like most draft picks, it will be years before we know whether the Houston Astros missed out on a top talent (or three) or whether they dodged a bullet.

Aiken's physical cost him an agreed-upon $6.5 million as he elected to walk away. That's confidence or folly, and no one knows which.

The reason, however, is known. Aiken was found in the physical to have a smaller-than-normal UCL. That's the ligament that would be replaced in Tommy John surgery.

Many compared Aiken's situation to that of R.A. Dickey, who lost a bonus when he was discovered to have no UCL at all. The situation is different; it's not apples to apples, it's apples to no apples.

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Getty Images

Offseason injury news throughout the NFL often comes in bits and pieces, based more on media reports and press conferences rather than official injury lists. As such, fans might sometimes be left wondering which injuries are troublesome and which aren't.

In other words, a particular player's prognosis might remain a bit of a mystery for quite some time.

Sometimes, though, it's painfully clear—literally. During the early portion of the 2014 offseason, a number of serious or season-ending injuries dotted the NFL landscape.

With training camps opening soon, let's take a look at five of the most damaging injuries that took place this offseason, ranked from least to most concerning based on a rough composite of injury severity and potential impact if the injury on the player's respective NFL squad.

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USA Today

There's seldom good news when a player is ruled out for the rest of the season. For CC Sabathia and the New York Yankees, there's actually very good news in the announcement that he'll miss the remainder of the 2014 season due to impending knee surgery, as noted by Bryan Hoch of MLB.com.

Sabathia has been out since mid-May with knee problems. He made a rehab start and had a setback. Instead of heading back to Dr. James Andrews, Sabathia checked in with several surgeons, leading many to expect Sabathia to have microfracture surgery. Instead, the Yankees announced that Sabathia will have an articular cartilage debridement, which is a cleanup and smoothing. This type of procedure is far less problematic than microfracture

Sabathia saw several surgeons, but when it was announced he was seeing doctors that did not specialize in microfracture, such as Dr. Dick Steadman, who pioneered the procedure, there was some hope. After seeing Yankees team physician Dr. Chris Ahmad and Rangers physician Dr. Keith Meister, Sabathia chose to go with Dr. Neal ElAttrache

All are qualified surgeons, but ElAttrache has a great track record with knees. One of ElAttrache's best known cases is not in baseball, but the return of Tom Brady after an ACL reconstruction is one of the best results we've seen. ElAttrache also put Zack Greinke's collarbone back together aggressively, getting him back on the mound quickly, and repaired Kobe Bryant's ruptured Achilles.

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Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

Last month, New York Giants linebacker Jon Beason went down with a foot injury—specifically, a sesamoid bone fracture and a torn ligament in his foot. NFL Network's Kimberly Jones and New York Daily News' Ralph Vacchiano reported the extent of Beason's injury the day after it occurred.

Both Jones and Vacchiano cited sources who believed the linebacker would need surgery—or likely would, at least. However, Giants writer Michael Eisen later reported that foot and ankle specialist Dr. Robert Anderson—the same surgeon who performed quarterback Eli Manning's arthroscopic ankle surgery—recommended a conservative approach of rest and immobilization.

To make better sense of Beason's diagnosis—and prognosis—it helps to take a closer look at the underlying anatomy of the injury. After all, the last time anyone sang the "hip bone's connected to the leg bone" song, the sesamoid probably didn't come up.

Multiple sesamoid bones—a general term for a bone lying within a muscle tendon—exist in the body. Beason's case involves one in his foot—specifically, under the base of his big toe.

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This is the All-Star team of sports medicine. After consultation with people around the world of baseball and sports medicine, I've compiled a list of 10 "Super Surgeons."

This is my version of this kind of list, and I believe it remains important. The fact is that while these 10 physicians are stars in the sports medicine world, they are largely unknown to sports fans. While we all worry about the epidemic of arm injuries in baseball, it's ironic that we know so little about the men who attempt to heal those same injuries.

While many would recognize the name Dr. James Andrews, few know how he got to where he is. Did you know his athletic background is not in baseball or football, but track and field? (He was a pole vaulter.) Do most super surgeons come from the same background or top medical schools? Not at all. 

Their stories are as individual as the athletes they help. Most played sports and came to love them, but topped out and found a new way to keep their passion for competition alive after medical school. (That's a pretty good plan B, after all.) All are exceptionally qualified and passionate about their profession. They are athletes and most are younger than expected. 

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Jonathan Bachman/Associated Press

The WWE deals with a lot of drama week in and week out, but there is one thing that gets in the way of any storyline: injuries. As reported by Dave Meltzer on F4WOnline.com (h/t MStars News), former heavyweight champ Daniel Bryan is going to be out of the WWE for a significant period of time after two surgeries. One, performed in mid-May, was on his neck, and the other will be on his shoulder.

Say what you will about the WWE, but there's no question that the performers are incredible athletes, combining elements of strength and agility. They take massive risks and "bumps," taking hits and falls that would buckle a normal man. Those do add up, and traumas happen from time to time as well, some with tragic consequences.

Over the years, WWE wrestlers have seen the bulk of those injuries mirror NFL football. Many of their injuries are mild trauma, but there are significant numbers of knee, hamstring and shoulder injuries as well as spinal injuries. When those happen, they tend to go to the same doctors that NFL athletes do, including Dr. James Andrews. 

While neither the WWE nor Bryan has given specifics on Bryan's injuries, they did say that Bryan had a cervical foraminotomy. Instead of working on the disc, Dr. Joseph Maroon, one of the team doctors for the Pittsburgh Steelers, shaved down the edges of a section of the vertebrae in order to free up the nerve. The goal of the surgery is the same as with a microdiscectomy: to free up the nerve impingement, reducing pain and inflammations while increasing function.

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Getty Images

Last October, a terrifying collision left tight end Jermichael Finley briefly paralyzed on the turf of Lambeau Field. Much to everyone's relief, Finley recovered quite well. In fact, the former Green Bay Packer told ESPN Wisconsin's Jason Wilde that this past week is "the best (he's) felt in this entire crazy process."

Wilde added that Finley "very much wants to return" to football as a member of the Packers. He currently remains a free agent.

Almost nine months after the injury, Finley's health remains a topic of discussion throughout the NFL. As expected, the injury—a spinal cord contusion that eventually led to spinal fusion surgery just under one month later—massively complicates his return to the game.

In short: Is it worth the risk?

As one might guess, there is no easy answer, and the discussion involves multiple parties.