Mid-June Injury Report
By Mark Wimer
June 17th, 2010

After the NFL regular season is concluded each year, many of the players have surgeries and/or enter rehabilitation for a range of injuries (from nagging injuries that need arthroscopic 'clean up' to knee reconstructions). Now that June has arrived, most team's organized team activities/minicamps are in full swing, and players are starting to test their rehabilitated injuries or continuing the process of rehabilitation. Late May/early June is when fantasy owners start to get a handle on each player's condition heading into training camp. The below is a report detailing the significant injury issues still affecting NFL players at the offensive skill positions from across the league. Some players have reportedly completed their rehabilitations (like QB Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons) while others are still in the process of battling back to health (RB Kevin Smith of the Detroit Lions is an example of a player fighting to overcome his injuries from 2009).

Quarterbacks

ATL QB Matt Ryan spent the early months of 2010 rehabbing a turf toe injury to his right big toe. As of Wednesday, March 24 he was reported by head coach Mike Smith to be "fine".

BUF QB Trent Edwards struggled to stay healthy during 2009, and was inactive to close the season due to an ankle injury. Edwards addressed his injury woes during 2009 on March 30, 2010, saying "I think first and foremost I needed to stay healthy. I think I took some hits I probably should have tried to avoid. Looking back on it injuries were something I needed to change and hopefully I can physically maintain myself next year." During late May workouts, Edwards and Fitzpatrick have been splitting first-team reps as their QB competition heats up. Brian Brohm has also seen some snaps with the first team.

BUF QB Ryan Fitzpatrick played through an ankle injury to end the 2009 season - he and Trent Edwards were in-and-out of the lineup for the Bills throughout 2009 due to a variety of injury issues. During late May workouts, Edwards and Fitzpatrick have been splitting first-team reps as their QB competition heats up. Brian Brohm has also seen some snaps with the first team.

CIN QB Carson Palmer said on March 14 that he is four-to-six weeks away from throwing after having surgery on his left thumb to repair ligament damage earlier during the offseason (mid-January). Head coach Marvin Lewis expects Palmer to take part in offseason workouts and minicamps as of March 22.

CLE QB Jake Delhomme has been working out with the Browns' receivers extensively since March 15th, according to reports out of Cleveland on May 23rd. He seems to be past the nagging injuries that hampered him in Carolina during 2009. On June fifth, Browns head coach Eric Mangini said "He's had a really good week. Jake just picks things up and some of it is him picking up and some of it is just him knowing, him understanding, and you don't have to go too in depth with why you're doing it because he gets it. ... It's nice too from a defensive perspective because he's challenging those guys. If your disguise isn't right, he's going to get you."

DET QB Matthew Stafford (shoulder and knee injuries suffered during 2009 - the shoulder injury cost him the final four games of the season) is not running full-speed to start the team's offseason conditioning program (began Monday, March 15), but he says he is fine otherwise and expects to be able to participate fully in team workouts. Stafford said, "The shoulder feels good. The knee's coming along. I threw today full speed, felt pretty good. Obviously, it's just going to keep getting better. I'm excited to be back and ready to go." Head coach Jim Schwartz said on Tuesday, April 20 that QB Matthew Stafford has been able to do things during offseason workouts but is not 100 percent healthy at this point. Schwartz said Stafford is on schedule in his rehab. 'I feel a lot better. My shoulder feels good. My knee's feeling a lot better. As far as throwing the ball, I can step into it and let it go as good as I ever have,' Stafford said on May 16th, while asserting that his recovery is complete.

IND QB Peyton Manning had a surgical procedure on his neck Wednesday, March 3 to relieve pain caused by a pinched nerve. The issue is believed to have been relieved by the procedure and Manning is expected to fully participate in offseason team activities. On June fourth, Manning said the neck surgery he had in March has alleviated symptoms that made him get three treatments a day on his neck before the surgery. "I feel good out there throwing, I feel good in my lifting, I feel like everything went according to plan. I'm very relieved of that and I no longer have to get the treatment that I was having to get for the past four years," he said in early June.

KC QB Brodie Croyle left the team's offseason workout Thursday, May 27, after hitting his finger off a helmet - he may have split open a finger, although the report didn't specify the extent of his finger injury. On June 12th, it was reported that Croyle has been limited during workouts because of the right index finger injury, but that he is still throwing in seven-on-seven drills.

MIN QB Brett Favre did undergo the ankle surgery necessary for him to be healthy by training camp, according to reports on May 21st. While Favre hasn't definitively stated that he is going to play with the Vikings again this year, the ankle surgery was an essential part of his possible return to the field. Favre will need four-to-six weeks of rehabilitation before he begins running on the ankle (to get in shape for training camp, presumably). Stay tuned...

NE QB Tom Brady exited 2009 with a variety of injuries (shoulder, finger, and rib injuries) that forced him out of the Pro Bowl. However, Brady publicly stated on Monday, January 25 that none of the injuries were serious enough to require surgery. Brady joined his teammates at voluntary organized team activities Tuesday, June first - the injuries do not appear to be a concern going forwards.

NYG QB Eli Manning spent the first months of 2010 rehabbing nagging right foot and ankle injuries that plagued him for most of the 2009 season. He underwent testing and a MRI in early February to make sure that the healing process was on track/going as expected.

NYJ QB Mark Sanchez is reportedly - as of Friday, April 16 - on schedule for recovery from a left knee surgery (surgery to repair the patella ligament in his left knee, performed on Wednesday, February 17). Sanchez is not ruling out the chance of taking part in a June minicamp. He hopes to be running around mid-May, but said it could be a couple weeks earlier or a couple of weeks later. He previously said he would definitely be ready for the start of training camp. Sanchez said on May 12th that he has begun jogging on turf and hopes to be able to participate in the team's minicamp in June. On June third, he said he believes he will be able to participate in the team's upcoming minicamp if he continues to make progress in his rehab. Sanchez did not participate in team drills during afternoon practice Monday, June 14, because the team wants to limit Sanchez to morning practice only during their minicamp - he is participating in the morning practices, which is a good sign regarding his recovery.

OAK QB Bruce Gradkowski tore his left pectoral muscle while bench pressing 250 pounds Wednesday, April 14, at team headquarters and had surgery Friday, April 16, to repair the damage, according to his agent, Ralph Cindrich. Cindrich added, "Bruce will be fine by training camp. It was a clean tear and the prognosis is good. The weight isn't an unusual amount for an NFL player, even for a quarterback. It just happened." Gradkowski is expected to make a full recovery in time for training camp.

PIT QB Charlie Batch underwent surgery on Wednesday, November 25, 2009, to repair a broken wrist. He was inactive for the rest of the season, but was re-signed this spring to compete for the #2 QB job for Pittsburgh. The recent news about the 4-6 week suspension of Ben Roethlisberger and the signing of Byron Leftwich (who has played in Pittsburgh before and knows the offense) has led to a situation where Leftwich is considered as of early June to be the favorite to start in Pittsburgh during Roethlisberger's suspension.

STL QB Keith Null left the team's final game with concussion-like symptoms, according to head coach Steve Spagnuolo on Tuesday, January 5. Unfortunately, once a player suffers a concussion they are more prone to future concussions. Given the NFL's emphasis on handling concussions with great care, a predisposition to future concussions for a player is a concern for fantasy owners.

SEA QB Matt Hasselbeck struggled with a shoulder injury in the closing weeks of the 2009 season, and the team moved to add QB Charlie Whitehurst to the roster earlier this offseason via a high-profile trade with the Chargers. It is clear that the two will be in a duel for the starting QB job during training camp this year.

WAS QB Colt Brennan suffered a torn left labrum in his hip during 2009, which is why he was placed on Injured Reserve in September, 2009. Corrective surgery was performed on the injury - the arrival of Donovan McNabb in Washington this year means that Brennan is going to have time to fully recover and develop as an NFL starter behind the other QBs on the roster.

Running Backs

ATL RB Michael Turner struggled with an ankle injury late during the 2009 season. The team reported him as recovered from the injury on March 24, 2010, but the team is planning to monitor his touches. Said head coach Mike Smith on March 24: "It's important for us to do a good job of monitoring his carries for the game. We have to make sure we don't overwork Michael throughout the season. We designed our game plan to get others involved." Turner participated fully in the team's May eighth minicamp, and appears past the ankle issue - Turner reportedly has focused on staying conditioned throughout the offseason. He said on May eighth "I've been here doing a little extra cardio. I changed my eating habits a little bit. ... I've just really been staying on top of it this offseason because that's when you tend to eat more junk food and things like that. I'm just trying to get in the habit of eating healthy and get that conditioning part out of the way so I don't have to worry about it later on." On June fifth, Turner said he didn't feel better until about two months ago. "When I first came back in March I still wasn't feeling the same," Turner said. "I kept working on it and got all the soreness out and feel fine right now."

ATL RB Jerious Norwood suffered from a sore hip flexor during the waning weeks of the 2009 season. He has been tendered a first-round offer by the Falcons (Norwood is a restricted free agent entering 2010). As of May 8th, he was still working on rehabbing his hip problem (during the first Falcon's mini-camp, he was doing rehabilitation workouts with Jeff Fish, the Falcons' Director of Performance). Norwood did practice with the team in the early session of minicamp, but was then pulled for later workouts as he experienced soreness in his hip. Norwood is reportedly still working through soreness in his hip as of early June.

BUF RB Marshawn Lynch struggled with a late-season shoulder injury during 2009 - he is rumored to be on the trading block for the Bills.

CAR RB DeAngelo Williams is reportedly doing well after having an offseason procedure to clean up his ankle. He is expected to make a full recovery, according to GM Marty Hurney on Friday, March 5.

CAR RB Jonathan Stewart had surgery in January to remove a bone spur from pressing into his Achilles tendon to relieve bursitis and tendonitis that had been an ongoing issue for Stewart throughout 2009. Stewart said on Monday, April 5 that he expects to be released to run in June and should be ready for the start of training camp. Stewart did begin running after practice on June 14th - he appears to be right on schedule in his rehabilitation.

CLE RB James Davis should be ready for the start of training camp, according to coach Eric Mangini on March 27. Davis was placed on IR in early October after a shoulder injury. He commented on March 25: "The rehab process went really (well). Right now, I made this my hardest offseason that I ever had because I'm making a comeback. I'm trying to get as strong as possible, stronger than I've ever been before. I know it's going to take a lot of work this offseason to get there and that's what I'm doing right now, working as hard as I can. Right now, I'm 100 percent, but I'm only getting stronger."

CHI RB Matt Forte (knee) underwent arthroscopic knee surgery early in the month of January. As of March 24, Bears head coach Lovie Smith said RB Matt Forte will be the starting running back initially but that he will be in competition with RB Chester Taylor. Forte has been doing well during OTAs - OC Mike Martz commented on Forte May 23rd, saying "Sure, it matters to everybody who starts, and I think Matt is confident is his ability. When you have a really good player who is confident and playing at the highest level, you don't worry about who else is there. You just go." On June 14th, Forte commented that he is completely healthy after suffering hamstring and knee injuries last season - 'I know I have more burst,' Forte said. 'I look different on tape. I was missing burst last year, and a second gear. It really wasn't there.'

CHI RB Garrett Wolfe had shoulder surgery on January 8, 2010. Wolfe said on April second that he expects his shoulder to be fully healed in about four weeks. Wolfe has been limited during offseason workouts so far this year.

DAL RB Marion Barber III may face a reduced role during 2010, according to comments from GM Jerry Jones on Tuesday, January 26: "We have had an injury issue there at the end of each of the last two seasons. That may have something to do with the amount of time we can give the other backs. That could impact that decision." Barber struggled with a sore knee at the end of 2009. On Tuesday, June eighth it was revealed that Barber played the final 13 games of 2009 with a torn left quadriceps muscle, though he only missed one game due to the injury. On June 14th, offensive coordinator Jason Garrett remarked on Barber's struggles during 2009: "The biggest factor with Marion has been his health. You could see that he was fighting through it [the quadriceps injury - MW]. We have no reason to think otherwise that when he's healthy and ready to go, he'll be the same Marion Barber we've seen in the past."

DAL RB Tashard Choice suffered a concussion during December of 2009 - concussions/treating concussions properly are a point of emphasis for the NFL these days, and unfortunately a player is more prone to suffer future concussions once they've been concussed in the past.

DEN RB J.J. Arrington, who is trying to recover from knee surgery last year, is getting close to "the feeling that I'm 100 percent." He proclaimed on June 11th that he is now "about 80, 85 percent. I get better every week. Last week I could only run a straight line, this week I can make turns. By training camp, I'll be ready to go."

DET RB Kevin Smith (knee surgery and shoulder injury) said on his blog Thursday, March 25 that the rehab from his reconstructive knee surgery is on schedule but that he does not have a timetable on his return. He said he can do almost everything except running in the post. Smith will almost certainly not be ready for training camp due to the late date of his initial injury (torn ACL in his left knee, placed on IR December 15, 2009), and he may miss the beginning of regular season while on the Physically Unable to Perform list. He is also trying to rehab a shoulder injury. The first round selection of rookie RB Jahvid Best by the Lions speaks volumes about Smith's prognosis for 2010. Smith partially participated in individual drills on May27th, 2010, but didn't work in the team portion of practice. On June fourth, coach Schwartz said that Smith may be ready for training camp - his rehab appears to be progressing well.

GB RB DeShawn Wynn went on IR October 21, 2009 due to a knee injury. He was not tendered an offer, but reportedly hopes to re-sign with Green Bay as of Wednesday, March 17.

HOU RB Steve Slaton underwent surgery for a nerve problem in his spine on Thursday, February 11. On February 18 coach Gary Kubiak said RB Steve Slaton is doing well after undergoing surgery. Kubiak added, "I wish I could describe exactly what they did, but he will be in OTAs, he'll be in all the offseason work. He will not be able to be a part of any contact and should be cleared for training camp, so all systems are go. There shouldn't be anything holding him back as long as he recovers correctly." This is an ongoing rehabilitation that fantasy owners will want to watch carefully. On June fifth, head coach Gary Kubiak said "I think he's regaining his confidence every day that he's out here. I just think you see a guy that struggled last year that's saying, 'I'm not going to struggle again. I'm going to get back to playing the way I'm capable of playing.' That's what's I'm seeing right now."

HOU RB Ben Tate is not taking part in the Texans' late May organized team activities because of a hamstring injury, according to reports on Monday, May 24th. Head coach Gary Kubiak said he hopes Tate can practice during the week after Memorial Day. As of May 27th, Tate was considered day-to-day and Kubiak was not sure if Tate would be able to participate in offseason workouts the week following the Memorial Day weekend.

JAX RB Maurice Jones-Drew had Lasik surgery during the offseason and now he's seeing things more clearly, at work and away from the field. "It was 70-40 before and now it's [cornerback] Scotty Starks vision: 15-20," Jones-Drew said recently. "I didn't wear contacts. I was just out there playing off instincts. Blurry. You get used to it. I was nearsighted. So I could see up close, I just couldn't see on those long passes...It's a huge difference. Now, I can see the laces. You can see them coming at you from 20, 30, 40 feet away."

JAX FB/RB Greg Jones went on IR Thursday, December 17, 2009 due to a high ankle sprain. He's struggled with injuries throughout his career and will likely be in a fight for a roster spot entering the 2010 training camp.

KC RB Jackie Battle was placed on IR October 15, 2009 due to a shoulder injury. He was re-signed by the team on Friday, March 5, which is a strong indication that the shoulder injury is no longer a concern.

KC RB Jamaal Charles did not participate in the team's offseason workout Monday, May 17, because he underwent shoulder surgery this offseason. The team plans to ease Charles back into the action so as to not aggravate the shoulder unnecessarily.

KC RB Kolby Smith was placed on IR December 5, 2009 due to an ankle injury. However, he was re-signed by the team on Wednesday, February 24 so presumably his ankle isn't a worrisome issue entering 2010.

MIA RB Ronnie Brown said on Sunday, May 23rd that he is still battling soreness in his foot (Brown was placed on injured reserve in November 2009 with a Lisfranc fracture in his right foot.) He asserted on May 23rd that the healing process is going well. ``It's good,'' Brown said. ``The last couple of days, I've been out there, and I've been in the offseason program, so I'm steadily making progress. If I continue to make this kind of progress, it will be pretty good for the season.'' Brown doesn't rule out being completely healthy by the time training camp begins in late July. ``Definitely not,'' he said. ``I've been getting better on a weekly and daily basis. I've come a long way. In the offseason program, I started running. And how long has it been, eight, nine weeks into the offseason, and now we've started the OTAs, and I'm out here. There are positives. And I look forward to making progress every time we have something as a team, I'm trying to do something. I'm optimistic.'' However, be aware Brown was arrested for DUI in Georgia on March 21, reportedly with a blood alcohol content of over .15 (the legal limit in GA is .08). It remains to be seen what the impact of his DUI arrest will have on Brown's availability for the 2010 season. Brown has not signed his tender offer as of April 21, 2010. Brown is not expected to sign his tender offer, allowing he and the team to restructure his contract. "We will see. He's doing pretty well," coach Tony Sparano said regarding Brown's rehabilitation on May eighth. On June ninth, Brown revealed he was told by doctors not to run for two weeks after a screw was taken out his surgically repaired week sometime during the first week of June. Brown is expected to be ready to practice once training camp begins according to the most recent reports.

MIA RB Patrick Cobbs was placed on IR on October 14, 2009 due to a torn ACL in his knee. He's in the process of rehabilitating the injury as of April 2010.

MIA RB Ricky Williams ended the 2009 season hampered by a shoulder injury. On Tuesday, April 20, 2010 Williams was reportedly excited about playing football and is looking to play beyond the 2010 season. "Obviously this season is going to have a lot to do with that," Williams said, "but right now I feel I could do it."

NE RB Fred Taylor suffered from an ongoing ankle injury during 2009, and was in and out of the lineup for most of the season. On February 5, 2010, Taylor said he expected to return for the 2010 season, and that he had something to prove this year due to his injury woes during 2009.

NO RB/FB Heath Evans underwent season-ending surgery on his knee Thursday, October 29, 2009. It remains to be seen how he'll bounce back from the procedure.

NYG RB Ahmad Bradshaw reported on April 15, 2010 that he has started running on his surgically-repaired feet (broken bones in both feet) and ankle - the surgeries were done in early January, and his rehabilitation appears to be right on schedule (and perhaps a bit ahead of schedule). All four of the Giants' running backs are rehabbing injuries this offseason - we'll see if they can all get back to 100% (see below for details on Brown, Jacobs, and Ware).

NYG RB Andre Brown reported on March 26 that he is not feeling any pain from the ruptured Achilles tendon he suffered last season (he was placed on IR September 1, 2009 due to the injury) and that he has been able to run at full speed. He said it will probably take him a while before he will be able to run without thinking about the injury. Brown said he should be ready for organized team activities. However, on May 27th coach Tom Coughlin acknowledged that Brown was limited in practice sessions: "He has had a couple of setbacks this winter," Coughlin said. "But by and large he is doing OK." - "It feels good," Brown said on May 27th. "They had to pull me out a little bit. I did a couple of running plays out there and made a few cuts. I feel like I'm getting there - I'm about 95 percent. I shouldn't be limited by training camp. By the end of next week I should pretty much be doing everything. My Achilles is fine."

NYG RB Brandon Jacobs underwent knee surgery on Friday, January 22 to correct a torn meniscus cartilage in his knee. Jacobs stated on Friday, February 5 that he should have had surgery on his knee after he injured it in Week 1 instead of allowing it to affect his play for the rest of the season. Jacobs said he probably would have missed four or five weeks but would have been fully healthy when he returned. Jacobs is expected to be ready for minicamps and training camp later this year.

NYG RB Danny Ware ended the 2009 season on a sour note due to a concussion that limited his effectiveness in Week 17. "Of course he had the unfortunate incident at the very beginning of the season. Then he came back and got nicked again. So he really hasn't had the time or the extended - to be honest with you, in special teams when he was back, he didn't do much. He didn't provide us with a lot. And Gartrell (Johnson), when given the chance, flies around. So Danny is - we are trying to make him understand a lot of things about consistency and about what our expectation levels are, no matter what spot we are in. And hopefully he is going to learn that," coach Tom Coughlin said regarding Ware on December 30, 2009.

PHI RB Mike Bell suffered a tweaked hamstring on Tuesday, May 25th and may sit out of practices for a few days. Hopefully, this is a minor concern that doesn't become a nagging injury situation. Stay tuned...

PIT RB/FB Frank Summers was placed on IR Tuesday, September 29 due to a back injury. His rookie season was curtailed due to the injury - we'll see if he can bounce back during 2010.

SEA RB Leon Washington said on Thursday, April 15 that head coach Rex Ryan told him his role could increase when he shows he is completely healthy from his broken leg. Thomas Jones has moved on to Kansas City, leaving the top spot in New York wide open entering 2010. However, Washington was traded to Seattle during the 2010 NFL Draft. Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum praised Washington's "unbelievable work ethic" and maintained that he would "never bet against Leon Washington," but Tannenbaum also suggested that there was a question whether he'd be ready for the start of this season. In mid-April, Washington still was only allowed to participate in straight-line running and could not cut nor could he move laterally. Reports on May second indicated that everything is on schedule in Washington's return from a broken leg. He has been running for over a month. If everything remains on schedule as he hopes, he will be able to take part in training camp and be ready for Week 1 of the regular season. However, on May 27th Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider said RB Leon Washington could start training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list - his status for 2010 is still up in the air as of late May.

STL RB Steven Jackson said in an interview with CBSSports.com on Tuesday, February 9, 2010, that the back injury that caused him problems toward the end of the season (originally inflicted on November 22nd, 2009) - he missed a game in Week 16 against Arizona and also missed the Pro Bowl - was still bothering him in February. "My back is still giving me problems," Jackson said at that time. The Rams announced on May fifth, 2010, that Jackson had back surgery to repair the herniated disks in early April of this year. "It was a minor procedure," coach Steve Spagnuolo told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Tuesday evening, May fifth. "He feels great. It's really not a big deal." Spagnuolo did add Jackson probably would be held out of at least the start of organized team activities — the full-squad practice sessions that begin May 18 at Rams Park. "Just to be sure," Spagnuolo said. There's also a chance Jackson could be held out of practices until the start of training camp at the end of July, according to the May fifth report. This is a situation that fantasy owners will want to monitor closely once July/August rolls around - we'll want to see how Jackson's back responds to the rigors of training camp and preseason. Jackson spoke with St. Louis-area reporters Tuesday, May 18th, saying he's about four weeks into an eight-week rehab process. Jackson, who said he got immediate relief from nerve pain following the surgery, is currently working out in a pool as he makes his way back to running and cutting on the field. "The surgery, really, was up to me," Jackson said. "I decided to have the surgery, because I was still in the gray area of needing the surgery or not going with the surgery. I met with three specialists around the country. No one definitely said ‘Get the surgery,' but looking at the season and being able to fully recover from the injury and being able to go to training camp, April was kind of the deadline."

TB FB B.J. Askew went on the Non-Football Injury list on Tuesday, October 20, ending his 2009 season. Askew was involved in a car accident that injured his neck and back. He was working to rehabilitate those injuries as of April 2010.

TB RB Clifton Smith was reportedly feeling good after being placed on Injured Reserve with a concussion on Wednesday, December 16. "I'm feeling great. I'm perfectly fine. There's nothing wrong," Smith said at the time. "I feel like I can play, but they shut me down just to be cautious." Unfortunately, once a player suffers a concussion they are more prone to future concussions. Given the NFL's emphasis on handling concussions with great care, a predisposition to future concussions for a player is a concern for fantasy owners.

TB RB Derrick Ward struggled with knee and thigh injuries during the closing weeks of 2009, but appears to be healthy entering 2010 minicamps and OTAs - head coach Raheem Morris said on Friday, April 9, "We've got to find ways to make Derrick a more productive player this year. We have to do a better job all around of getting him more opportunities." Morris added, "We talked about the running game before and some of the games getting out of whack because you put too much on your quarterback. We can't let that happen."

TEN RB Javon Ringer missed OTAs on Tuesday, May 25th due to a hamstring injury. Titans head coach Jeff Fisher commented on the injury, stating it was nothing serious and it shouldn't keep Ringer from participating in June workouts. Ringer is the main backup behind Chris Johnson and will be getting a majority of the first-team reps while Johnson holds out - if Ringer can stay healthy.

WAS RB Willie Parker was hampered by a shoulder injury to close the 2009 season in Pittsburgh, but has moved on Washington and is in the mix for the starting RB job there. There was evidently a lot of bad blood between Parker and coach Mike Tomlin in Pittsburgh (to the point that Parker preferred sitting out the 2010 season to playing in Pittsburgh again this year), and the player is hoping for a new start in Washington. According to reports out of the early June minicamp (June third), Parker is lacking the "burst" that marked his game during his productive seasons in Pittsburgh. He may be on the roster bubble unless he can regain his top speed.

WAS RB Clinton Portis was cleared by a concussion specialist to participate in offseason workouts on Thursday, March 11, 2010. On March 24, head coach Shanahan addressed Portis' position entering 2010 - "He was 205 or 210 pounds and averaged (nearly) six yards a carry for two years (with the Denver Broncos). That's what I expect him to be - in great shape and doing the things he's always done with me. He knows he's got to be lighter, sure. I think we'll know as time goes on (what Portis's playing weight should be). ... I haven't talked to him about it, but I would say that he'll probably be shooting at 210, 212, 214 range. I think Clinton knows what's best for him and his body, what type of offense we run with the zone blocking scheme that gives him the best chance to be successful." Portis is locked in a battle with Larry Johnson and Willie Parker for the top job during the new Shanahan regime in Washington.

Wide Receivers

ATL WR Roddy White had some knee woes during December of 2009 and was limited in practices at that time. The injury didn't require surgery, but it is worth paying attention to how much participation White manages during the offseason workouts.

ATL WR Harry Douglas, who tore up his knee in training camp last year, is progressing and should be ready for training camp, according to head coach Mike Smith on Wednesday, March 24. As of May 8th, he was still working on rehabbing his knee problem (during the first Falcon's mini-camp, he was doing rehabilitation workouts with Jeff Fish, the Falcons' Director of Performance). Douglas was not cleared for full practices as of May 8th. He did not participate in OTAs on May 25th, although a local report on May 26th indicated that Douglas is expected to be back in practices "at some point" during training camp. Stay tuned...

ATL WR Brian Finneran (knee) did not need surgery to repair the knee injury he suffered during the 2009 season (he landed on IR in December). Head coach Mike Smith said on February ninth that Finneran is resting the injury so he will be ready for the team's minicamp. The team signed Finneran to a one-year contract on February 11. Finneran has a history of knee injuries, which is something to keep in mind when evaluating his 2010 prospects.

BAL WR Mark Clayton said his shoulder is nearly 100 percent after participating in OTAs on Tuesday, May 25th. Clayton has battled a wide variety of injuries during his stint in Baltimore and is considered to be on the roster "bubble" as of late May.

BUF WR James Hardy started 2009 on the PUP list due to a January 2009 surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left knee. He did practice and play with the team late in 2010, and the team indicated on March 23, 2010 that he'll have an opportunity to compete for a starting WR job this year. We'll see if his repaired knee will hold up to the rigors of a full training camp later this summer. As of May 25th, Hardy was taking the majority of first-team snaps across from Lee Evans during Bills' practices - so far, so good for his comeback.

CAR WR Steve Smith was placed on season-ending Injured Reserve Friday, January 1, due to a broken left forearm. He is expected to recover fully (broken bones are usually actually stronger when a break is fully healed).

CHI WR Earl Bennett had knee surgery during the month of February and could miss a portion of the team's offseason workouts due to his rehab of the surgery. His absence from the workouts may put him behind the curve learning Mike Martz's offense. Bennett, who had 15 starts in his second NFL season, hasn't been cleared for a full return to team drills as of May 23rd, coming off the arthroscopic knee surgery. The Bears have not set timetable for Bennett's return, according to coach Lovie Smith on Friday, May 21st. As of May 23rd, Bennett was not yet cleared for practices.

CHI WR Devin Hester battled a variety of injuries during the 2009 season - shoulder, calf, and ankle injuries - and he commented on Friday, February 5 that the injuries slowed him down and affected his playing ability. He said he suffered the shoulder injury during a preseason game but played with it during the season. He said the calf and ankle injuries took away his speed. Hester will not need surgery on his shoulder injury but said he is not able to lift weights because he needs to get his shoulder stronger. As of May 23rd, local reports indicated that Hester was lining up in a variety of positions on the field during workouts with new OC Mike Martz - evidently, he's getting back up to speed.

CIN WR Chad Ochocinco suffered a minor, undisclosed injury on May 26th, but is expected to be ready for the team's June minicamp.

CLE WR Brian Robiskie was inactive during Week 17 of the 2009 season due to an ankle injury. However, he's been singled out for praise during the May/June workouts by the Cleveland coaching staff - he appears to be past any issues with the ankle.

CLE WR Syndric Steptoe missed the 2009 season due to a torn labrum in his shoulder. We'll see if he can avoid further injury during offseason workouts and minicamps.

DAL rookie WR Dez Bryant suffered a twisted left ankle Sunday, May second, during the team's rookie minicamp practice. Bryant walked gingerly to the team's bus with his left shoe off. The injury does not appear serious, as head coach Wade Phillips later said Bryant was fine. As of June first, Bryant was working extensively with the first team and stated "It's crazy - just a lot of weapons at one time on the field," Bryant said. "It's going to be hard to stop. ... It's exciting to be able to be out there with those guys. I felt like coach put me out there for a reason. They're trying to get me to learn everything as soon as possible. I'm doing a good job and it's just great." However, Bryant did not participate in the team's offseason workout Wednesday, June ninth, because he was rehabbing a sore hamstring. His status for practice Thursday, June 10, and the team's upcoming minicamp was uncertain as of June ninth. On June 14th, a story was published that indicated the Cowboys are concerned about Bryant's level of conditioning - his sore hamstring may be due to Bryant not keeping himself in top condition during the offseason.

DEN WRs Brandon Stokley and Eric Decker are both working to overcome serious left foot injuries this offseason - Decker was diagnosed with a Lisfranc injury, a tear of the ligament that holds his first two toes in place, back in October of 2009 during his senior season at Minnesota. It remains to be seen if either player will stick with the Broncos this year. Decker was running and catching passes on the side during practice Monday, June seventh.

DEN WR Demaryius Thomas was taken for x-rays on an unspecified injury on 5/24 and according to his twitter feed is now "Sad". This is a developing story as of 5/25/2010. He was already nursing a broken foot that was surgically repaired during the offseason - it isn't clear if the latest x-ray is related to the foot injury or is due to another problem. Thomas participated in the team's offseason workout Friday, June 4, which is an encouraging sign. Hopefully the foot in question is holding up to the stress of workouts. On June 13th, it was reported that Thomas has participated in only five practices this offseason after recovering from February foot surgery, but he is impressing coaches with his steady improvement, enough so that he has earned playing time alongside the starters: Jabar Gaffney and Eddie Royal. "He's dropped a couple of balls, but look, everyone has seen this guy make tremendous catches and then there are some that he's dropped, but I think that comes with playing and knocking off some of the rust," coach Josh McDaniels said. "I think he'll only get better, every day, and today was better than yesterday."

DET WR Calvin Johnson struggled with a knee injury during the final weeks of 2009. He acknowledged on Friday, March 19 that "The big thing for me this year is to stay healthy so I can be out there every Sunday so I can help."

GB WR Donald Driver had arthroscopic surgery on both knees in January, according to reports on June 12th. He feels great and wishes he had underwent the procedure years ago. Last season, he played with limited range, pain and flexibility. Driver, 35, has not been practicing during OTAs, but has been cleared to do so by the team trainers. "I wanted to extend my career another five years," Driver said. "I played like this for two, three years, with pain. I can jump now. I can squat."

GB WR James Jones ended the 2009 season with two torn ligaments in his right ring finger. Jones played through the injury, claiming that it didn't affect his catching ability. He's working on rehabilitating the injury as of 2010.

Ex-GB WR Brett Swain went on IR on October 27 due to a serious knee sprain suffered in Week 7 of the 2009 season.

IND WR Anthony Gonzalez should be ready for the start of training camp, according to Colts owner Jim Irsay, on Thursday, March 25. Gonzalez missed the 2009 season due to an ongoing knee injury issue - he tried to practice for a regular season game in Week 16, but ended up going on IR Thursday, December 24. Gonzalez was reportedly involved in offseason workouts/practice on Thursday, May 20th. However, on June ninth reports out of Indianapolis indicated that Gonzalez suffered a "setback" on the first Tuesday in June, which caused him to miss the team's early-June, mandatory minicamp. On June 11th, head coach Jim Caldwell asserted "I can tell you this: He'll be fine." It has been reported Gonzalez missed practice with a hamstring injury, and not a "setback" with the knee. As of June 15th, the exact nature of Gonzalez's latest injury woes are unclear.

JAX WR Jarrett Dillard broke his ankle during Week 10 of the 2009 season, but is expected to contribute more to the team during the 2010 season after showing some flashes of ability prior to his injury.

Ex-KC WR Devard Darling was placed on IR September 1, 2009 due to an undisclosed injury (rumored to be a knee injury) - he was released by the team on Wednesday, March 3, 2010.

MIA WR Brandon Marshall will be sidelined until at least the start of Miami Dolphins training camp while he recovers from an undisclosed surgery. Marshall has been rehabbing, Dolphins coach Tony Sparano said on Wednesday May 19th. Sparano would not disclose the nature of the surgery, saying only that it was something the team did not expect when it acquired the wide receiver from the Denver Broncos. Marshall didn't participate in an offseason practice with his new team Wednesday, May 19th, instead working out on an exercise bike before watching his new teammates participate in on-field drills. Marshall would not disclose the nature of the injury, deferring that question to Sparano. As of June fifth, Marshall is not able to practice and has spent time just riding a stationary bike. Stay tuned...

MIN WR Percy Harvin reported on Sunday, April 11th that he is still struggling with migraine headaches from time to time. "It's off and on," he noted. "Still working them out. Hopefully we'll keep working at it... it's just something that hopefully I can contain." Harvin was the rookie of the year during 2009 despite his migraine headaches.

NE WR Brandon Tate underwent minor knee surgery after he was placed on injured reserve before the Week 10 (mid-November) loss to the Colts. He is expected to fully participate in the offseason conditioning program with the team. A report from Boston on May 27th indicated that Tate is now the healthiest he's ever been since landing in the NFL.

NE WR Wes Welker was reportedly doing well in his recovery from a torn ACL as of Thursday, February 25, but he was not expected to be ready for the start of the 2010 season (his surgical repair was performed on February 2, 2010, and the time frame on recovering from a knee reconstruction is usually 12 months, though some players manage to return to the field sooner). On Friday, March 12 it was revealed that Welker is also recovering from a torn rotator cuff in his shoulder - but the knee/ACL injury remains the primary obstacle regarding his return to the field. On May 11th, it was reported that Welker's rehab is progressing well, but no date was set for a hypothetical return to the field. 'We just have to wait for it (the MCL) to heal,' Welker said regarding his knee injury on May 16th. 'We didn't have to do surgery on it [the MCL - the ACL was surgically repaired - MW].' Welker reiterated he will return to the field when he can, and noted it is hard to put a timetable on his recovery.

NO WR Robert Meachem (toe) will miss the rest of the team's offseason workouts after undergoing surgery to repair torn cartilage on the second toe of his left foot. Head coach Sean Payton said Meachem initially sustained the injury late last season. Meachem continued to experience pain during the early weeks of the team's offseason program, which led to the decision to operate last week. Payton said the goal is to get him back in time for the start of training camp (July 29), the first week or so.

NYG WR Hakeem Nicks had a "clean-up" surgical procedure on his right wrist in January, 2010. He is expected to be fully recovered by training camp. Nicks is not participating in the Giants' organized team activities because he is still recovering from the surgery as of May 21st, 2010. He is also recovering from a broken toe that he played through during 2009. Nicks is expected to return to practice within the two weeks following May 21st. Nicks participated in individual drills during practice Monday, June seventh, and Nicks said he has been cleared to practice fully during the team's upcoming minicamp. Nicks said Friday, June 11th that his toe is not 100 percent but it's "all healed up." Nicks was able to take part in some team drills Thursday, June 10th.

NYG WR Domenik Hixon caught his foot in the brand new FieldTurf during the Giants' first practice in the New Meadowlands Stadium on Tuesday, June 15. The incident caused him to tear his right ACL, and he will miss the entire 2010 season.

OAK WR Darrius Heyward-Bey said on Monday, March 15 that his formerly-injured foot is healthy. Heyward-Bey missed the last month of his rookie season with foot problems, and was generally a disappointment in his rookie season (nine catches for 124 yards and one TD during 2009). Early June reports out of Oakland OTAs indicate that Heyward-Bey is flashing phenomenal ability so far during 2010 - he appears to be over the foot issue as of this writing.

OAK WR Chaz Schilens took part in most of the individual drills and some of the team drills during practice Wednesday, June ninth - he's been rehabbing a foot injury during the offseason.

PIT WR Limas Sweed (Achilles) left practice Sunday, May second, with a major Achilles tendon injury, according to coach Mike Tomlin on SIRIUS NFL radio. On Monday, May third, Sweed underwent surgery to repair the injury (unspecified, but a serious Achilles' tendon injury). Sweed was placed on IR on Tuesday, May 11th. His 2010 season is over.

STL WR Donnie Avery suffered a concussion during the season finale, according to head coach Steve Spagnuolo. Spagnuolo said Monday, January 4, that Avery's symptoms had cleared. Unfortunately, once a player suffers a concussion they are more prone to future concussions. Given the NFL's emphasis on handling concussions with great care, a predisposition to future concussions for a player is a concern for fantasy owners.

STL WR Keenan Burton suffered a knee injury on Sunday, November 15, 2009, that required surgical repair. He is in the process of rehabilitating his injury as of April 2010.

STL WR Brandon Gibson did not participate in practice Wednesday, June 2, because of a tweaked hamstring. He'll be treated and evaluated further before returning to action - the team doesn't want to risk aggravating the injury this early during the preseason.

STL WR Laurent Robinson is trying to return from the high ankle sprain and a fractured fibula that cut short his 2009 season (suffered in Week 3 of the 2009 campaign). However, reports on Saturday, April 3rd indicated that while Robinson has been jogging and catching passes during offseason workouts, he is still not able to run at full speed or make cuts. On May 27th, Robinson said he is fully healthy from the ankle and leg injury he suffered last season - he's been participating in OTAs throughout the spring as of early June.

SD WR Buster Davis and safety Eric Weddle collided midair and Davis' head hit the ground toward the end of yesterday's (May 27th) first practice. Davis did not work in the afternoon. Turner said he could return before the end of minicamp. On May 28th, the team reported that Davis had suffered a concussion and that he wouldn't return to practices until June eighth, at the earliest.

SD WR Legedu Naanee struggled with a foot injury during the closing weeks of the 2009 season - he was inactive for the season finale as a result of the injury. As of May 23rd, he is still involved in rehabbing from foot surgery that repaired the problem earlier during the offseason.

SEA WR Mike Hass, signed to the active roster from the practice squad on Saturday, December 26, 2009, was scheduled to undergo offseason shoulder surgery in January 2010.

TB WR Sammie Stroughter was placed on Injured Reserve on Monday, December 21, ending his 2009 season. Stroughter suffered a broken foot during Week 15. On Monday, March 22, 2010 Stroughter spoke about his ambitions for the coming season: "That's my focus, to be there as much as possible to help the team on first and second down, when I can play outside," Stroughter said. "Then I can move to the slot on third down ... I'm going into the voluntary workouts like I'm the man - period, point blank. Whatever role I have, I'm going to be the best, being the team's No. 1."

WAS WR Devin Thomas was hampered by an ankle injury to end the 2009 season, but appears to be recovered entering the 2010 OTAs and minicamps. However, he suffered a hamstring injury in the team's first minicamp (weekend of May eighth-ninth) - and did not participate in team drills.

WAS WR Santana Moss underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee sometime in the weeks before the Redskin's first minicamp (May eighth and ninth) - he did not participate in the OTA due to rehabbing the knee.

Tight Ends

BAL TE Todd Heap struggled with a bad back for most of the Ravens' January playoff run. He did play in the games, but has had an increasing number of nagging injuries over the past few years. He was reportedly limited in the Ravens' OTAs on Tuesday, May 25th due to undisclosed reasons. He'll compete with rookies Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta for playing time this year - stay tuned to see if Heap can stay on the field to compete...

BUF TE Derek Schouman landed on IR September 22, 2009 due to a knee injury suffered during week two of the regular season. He was tendered an offer and signed it on April 8, 2010, so presumably his knee is healing properly - Schouman is likely to be the backup to Shawn Nelson entering 2010's training camp.

CHI TE Brandon Manumaleuna is recovering from knee surgery, and there is no timetable set for his return as of May 21st, 2010.

CIN TE Jermaine Gresham joined the Bengals in the first round of the NFL draft. He is currently rehabbing a torn right ACL (September 2009) and has also torn his left ACL previously (high school injury).

DAL TE Martellus Bennett suffered a concussion in mid-December of 2009 and was inactive in Week 15 as a result. Concussions/treating concussions properly are a point of emphasis for the NFL these days, and unfortunately a player is more prone to suffer future concussions once they've been concussed in the past.

DET TE Brandon Pettigrew is rehabbing from knee surgery he underwent near the end of the 2009 season (December 22 surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left knee). Pettigrew said on Tuesday, February 16 that he plans to do what he can during offseason workouts without risking his health. If Pettigrew isn't up to speed by training camp, Will Heller or the newly acquired Tony Scheffler (via 3-way trade with Den/Phi) are likely to start in his place while Pettigrew continues his rehab. The time frame for rehabbing a torn ACL fully is usually around one year (some players manage it in eight months, though). Stay tuned on this one, folks. As of May 27th, Pettigrew was taking part in individual drills at the Lions' minicamp. but not participating in team practices. Reports out of Detroit on June eighth indicated that Pettigrew will likely start training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list so the Lions can monitor his rehab before letting him practice fully.

DET TE Tony Scheffler was wearing a walking boot and did not participate in the Lions' organized team activity Thursday, May 13. Scheffler was said to have "irritated" his foot by coach Jim Schwartz, who expected Scheffler back to workouts "soon". On June fourth, reports out of Detroit indicated that Scheffler participated in practice this week, and head coach Jim Schwartz said Scheffler has looked "very sharp" during drills.

HOU TE Owen Daniels, during an interview on Sirius NFL Radio on April 13th, said he is coming along very well in his rehab from a torn ACL. Daniels said this was the third torn ACL he has suffered, and this was also the smoothest recovery. His goal is to be running at full speed by June 1. While he said he will be held out of OTAs during the summer, he plans to be ready for the start of training camp. Daniels Tweeted on 5/7/10 that "knee feels great guys. Running routes at full speed...will pick up where I left off last year wk 1." However, he is being held out of the team's late May OTAs as he continues his rehabilitation. On May 28th, Jason LaCanfora, from NFL.com, reported that Owen Daniels will likely be limited for the start of training camp due to his recovery from the major knee surgery.

HOU TE Joel Dreessen was scheduled for offseason shoulder surgery according to head coach Gary Kubiak on Monday, January 4. Owen Daniels is rehabbing his torn ACL currently, as well - the Texans' TE position is banged up but healing as of April 2010.

HOU TE Anthony Hill had offseason surgery to correct a torn ACL in his knee in mid-December of 2009. "He's got a long road ahead of him," head coach Gary Kubiak said shortly after the surgery. Hill is expected to be back in the mix at some point in the future, but the time-frame for his return isn't certain as of late April, 2010. Hill was held out of the team's late-May OTAs as he continues his rehabilitation.

KC TE Brad Cottam underwent surgery on his cracked vertebrae Wednesday, December 23. His rehabilitation is ongoing as of April 2010.

NE TE Rob Gronkowski was added to New England in the second round of the draft on Friday, April 23. He missed the 2009 season due to a back injury/surgery but has been cleared to play and is reportedly fully recovered from the back issue. With Ben Watson now in Cleveland, Gronkowski will be expected to contribute sooner rather than later.

NO TE Jeremy Shockey struggled with a knee injury throughout the playoffs, but he did participate in the Super Bowl victory (and scored a TD during the game). However, on May 27th Shockey exhibited seizure-like symptoms and was hospitalized. Shockey will undergo a battery of tests to determine what caused the seizures - stay tuned. Shockey was out of the hospital on the 27th and planned to participate in OTAs as usual - the root cause of the seizure remains undisclosed, however. He is expected to take part in the early June minicamp as of June third, and appears to be past the seizure issue. Stay tuned...

OAK TE Zach Miller was concussed at the end of the 2009 season (and also had a concussion earlier in the season), and he missed Week 15 on the inactive list as a result (Sunday, December 20). Unfortunately, once a player suffers a concussion they are more prone to future concussions. Given the NFL's emphasis on handling concussions with great care, a player with a predisposition for future concussions is a concern for fantasy owners.

PHI TE Cornelius Ingram is recovering on schedule from his torn ACL (left knee, torn August 8, 2009 - the second ACL tear in his left knee, each injury separated by 12 months). Ingram said on Monday, April 12 that his recovery is going well and that he should be healthy for Week 1.

PIT TE Sean McHugh underwent arthroscopic knee surgery Wednesday, August 26, 2009. It was described as a cleanup procedure at first, but then the team placed McHugh on IR Saturday, September 5, terminating his 2009 season. It remains to be seen if he can retain his roster spot entering 2010 minicamps.

SD TE Antonio Gates suffered from foot pains during recent OTAs. According to reports, he is expected to return to the team and be present for mini-camp, but not to participate. The team is being cautious with Gates even though the pain was diagnosed as "not a serious injury" after doctors treated the problem. He spoke about the latest foot trouble on May 29th, saying: 'Just taking precautionary action because of the struggles in the past and all the things I have been through,' Gates said. 'It never was a major problem; it was something I wanted to make sure wasn't any worse.' Gates was diagnosed with a slight case of plantar fasciitis, but it's his right, not left foot which has troubled him in the past. 'That was the one that compensated through everything the last couple of years," Gates said. 'The right foot has been more than special for me if I must say so.' On June 12th, Gates said his foot is feeling much better but he is not sure if he will be able to go at full speed during training camp until he tests the foot.

TB TE Kellen Winslow Jr. underwent an offseason knee surgery (date unspecified), a minor arthroscopic procedure that presumably cleaned out some excess scar tissue from previous surgeries stemming from a motorcycle crash in 2005 when he was a member of the Cleveland Browns. The latest surgery would be the fifth performed on his knee since the wreck. On June 14th, Winslow returned to the team's facility to observe practice, but is not yet participating in workouts/practices.

TEN TE Jared Cook suffered a concussion in early December 2009. The team envisions him becoming more prominent in the offense during 2010, but it is worth noting that A) Bo Scaife received a $4.9 million tender offer and B) Cook has a history of concussions, which is something to be aware of given the heightened concern/treatment regimen the NFL has mandated for players who have concussions.

WAS TE Chris Cooley's 2009 season was ruined by a broken ankle. He had surgery to place three pins in the ankle on Wednesday, October 28th, and wasn't able to get back in the game during 2009, ending the year on Injured Reserve (Monday, November 30 the team made his IR move official). Fred Davis played very well in Cooley's absence last year, so there may be a positional battle brewing in training camp at TE. As of May 25th, reports from Washington indicated that Cooley has been moving well during practice and appears to be fully recovered from the ankle injury he suffered last season. However, it remains to be seen which TE Donovan McNabb will favor between Cooley and Davis, or if the two will split the work at TE this year. Stay tuned...

Place Kickers

ATL PK Matt Bryant suffered a hamstring injury late in the 2009 season (Week 16) - Atlanta also has Steven Hauschka on the roster at PK entering 2010. There may be a training camp battle for the PK roster spot.

IND PK Adam Vinatieri underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on October 14, 2009, and wasn't able to play in the Super Bowl in February (Matt Stover handled the kicking duties for the Colts in the Super Bowl). We'll see if Vinatieri can bounce back from his sub-par 2009 - if his knee is finally healed properly.

SF PK Joe Nedney suffered a left hamstring injury on Sunday, December 20. The injury doesn't seem to be a concern heading into 2010.

Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to wimer@footballguys.com.