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2008 Off-Season Injury Report - Wide Receivers
Philip Gentles
July 21, 2008
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Deion Branch, SEA - Torn ACL

Seahawks' WR Deion Branch, who had reconstructive knee surgery in January to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee, is making steady progress in his recovery. However according to reports he's expected to miss all of training camp and the preseason and team officials believe that he will start the regular season on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. Branch injured his knee during last season's playoff loss to the Packers and he underwent surgery to repair the damage soon after. Things have well for Branch since then. The medical staff is reportedly pleased with his recovery and Branch is confident that he will be back on the field at some point this season. He was seen jogging and participating in agility drills under the supervision of trainers during the team's workouts in June and by all accounts he was looking good. That being said, the Seahawks really aren't sure when he will be cleared to play. It usually takes athletes 9 - 12 months to return from ACL surgery. So the best case scenario has him returning at some point after Week 1. So if the team feels he won't be available for several weeks after the regular season there is a good chance they will place him on the PUP list, which will open up a needed roster spot.

Plaxico Burress, NYG - MCL Sprain / Severely Sprained Ankle / Sprained AC Joint

Giants' WR Plaxico Burress hasn't done much during the off-season, but team officials are confident that he will completely healthy when the regular season begins. Burress, who dealt with and played through a severely sprained ankle and a sprain to Acromioclavicular joint in his shoulder last season, was quoted as saying that he suffered a sprain to the medical collateral ligament in his left knee a week before the Super Bowl. According to Burress, he slipped and fell in the shower and he described the immediate swelling that followed as "a golf ball attached to the inner side of my knee." As we already know he took the field against the Patriots despite his various injuries, and while he didn't have a monster game he did catch the game-winning touchdown. Burress did need surgery to repair any of his injuries, but he has spent the last 5 months recovering. According to reports he did not participate in any team activities during the off-season but he was seen working on his own. Burress will likely be limited during training camp and throughout the preseason as a precaution, but the medical staff is confident that he will be completely healthy for the Giants' Week 1 game against the Redskins.

Laveranues Coles, NYJ - High Ankle Sprain

Jets' veteran WR Laveranues Coles, who ended the 2007 season on Injured Reserve because of a high ankle sprain, has completely recovered from the injury and the team expects him to be at full speed for the start of training camp. Coles originally injured his left ankle during a game in late November and aggravated it while tripping in lobby of a hotel a few weeks later. The injury wasn't considered serious, however with the Jets' already eliminated from the playoffs the team felt it was best to keep him out of action for the final weeks of the regular season. The injury did not require surgery and after he few months of rest and rehab he was back running and cutting at full speed. Coles missed the first week of the team's off-season conditioning program because of a contract dispute, however he was an active participant once he received a contract extension and by all accounts his ankle is no longer an issue.

Marques Colston, NO - Arthroscopic Knee and Hand Surgery

According to reports Saints' WR Marques Colston has already made a full recovery from two off-season surgeries and the team expects him to be ready for the start of training camp. Colston, who injured his wrist during the last game of the season and who played the entire year with a sore knee, had bone chips surgically removed from his wrist and he also had arthroscopic surgery on his knee to clean out loose particles. Both procedures went well and he was back on the field in just over a month. He was cleared to take part in all drills during the Saints' workouts in May and he told reporters after the team's final workouts in June that his wrist and knee were non-issues. So it looks like he will be at full-speed when training camp begins.

Braylon Edwards, CLE - Hip Contusion

Browns' WR Braylon Edwards, who was out for two weeks in May because of a hip contusion, returned to the practice field in June and according to team officials he will be healthy for the start of training camp. Edwards told reporters that he was sore and stiff for a week after the injury but he was fine after that and acknowledged that the team's medical staff held him out an additional week as a precaution. He was back on the field for the Browns' final minicamp in June and he was running, jumping and cutting without a problem.

Lee Evans, BUF - Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery

Bills' WR Lee Evans, who dealt with regular bouts of shoulder soreness throughout the 2007 season, had arthroscopic surgery to repair the damage and while he was limited to individual drills during OTA's the team still expects him to participate in training. The exact nature of Evan's surgery was not made public but team officials called the procedure a routine "cleanup." He was apparently held out of team workouts as a precaution and he may be limited to one practice a day when training camp begins, but head coach Dick Jauron told reporters that he expects Evans to be completely healthy for the start of the regular season.

D.J. Hackett, CAR - Knee Inflammation

Panthers' WR DJ Hackett was limited throughout the team's final minicamp after experiencing swelling in his knee after a practice in early June. According to reports Hackett, who has a history of knee inflammation, told reporters that he often has to deal with swollen knees and that he was held out of two workouts as a precaution. When he was cleared to return a few days later he was seen wearing a knee brace. The medical staff says that there is no structural damage to Hackett's knee and the team expects him to be an active participant when training camp begins. Knees don't swell for no reason, so this is something to keep an eye on.

Marvin Harrison, IND - Arthroscopic Right Knee Surgery / Left Knee Bursitis

According to several reports Colts' veteran WR Marvin Harrison could be cleared to resume all football activities as early as the start of training camp. Harrison, who missed as large portion of the 2007 season because left knee bursitis and right knee inflammation, was held out of the team's entire off-season conditioning program while he recovered. Harrison actually had arthroscopic surgery on his right, a procedure done to clean the joint of loose bodies. His left knee did not require surgery, but it's the injury that bothered him the most and the one that required the longest recovery period. The team's medical staff is very happy with his progress and Tony Dungy recently told reporters that Harrison is pain-free and running at full speed. The Colts will likely limit him during training camp and he probably won't see a lot of playing time during the preseason, but if all continues to go well he should be ready for the start of the regular season. Obviously at his age there is a chance that his knees could become a problem again especially after a few games and that is something to consider if you plan on drafting him.

Andre Johnson, HOU - Arthroscopic Knee Surgery

Texans' WR Andre Johnson, who missed seven games last season because of sprains to the posterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament in his left knee, continued to experience discomfort in the same knee during workouts in the off-season and was forced undergo arthroscopic surgery in May. According to reports the surgeons repaired damaged cartilage and removed scar tissue and loose bodies from in and around the joint. The procedure reportedly went well and the medical staff said that he would be out 4 - 6 weeks. He hasn't practiced with the team since the surgery, but if his recovery timetable is accurate he should be available when training camp begins. He'll likely be limited as a precaution so don't expect him to practice more than once a day. However if all goes well he should be completely healthy for the start of the regular season.

Chad Johnson, CIN - Arthroscopic Ankle Surgery

Bengals' WR Chad Johnson continues to recover from arthroscopic ankle surgery and his status for the start of training camp remains questionable. Johnson had bone spurs surgically removed from his ankle back on June 18 and while he hasn't returned to practice yet, he is already running in straight lines and according to reports the team is pleased with his progress. When asked if his ankle is ready to handle cuts and sudden changes in direction Johnson said that his" ankle wouldn't be able to take the pounding yet." Johnson should be available for the start of training camp but the medical staff will likely keep him limited to one practice a day and away from contact for at least the first few weeks. The good news is that the Bengals expect him to be completely healed by the start of the regular season.

Joe Jurevicius, CLE - Multiple Knee Surgeries

According to reports Browns' WR Joe Jurevicius will likely start the 2008 PUP list as he recovers from his third off-season knee surgery. Jurevicius underwent what was described as a routine arthroscopic procedure in January to clear the knee of loose bodies and scar tissue. Unfortunately he continued to complain of discomfort in the same knee and he had a second surgery in what the team hoped would finally help him heal. But not only has the surgery not worked, he contracted a staph infection which required a third surgery to take care of. As if things couldn't get any worse there are reports that the damage to Jurevicius' knee is so severe and irreversible that the only way he can continue his career is if he undergoes microfracture surgery. GM Phil Savage has said that Jurevicius will likely start the regular season on the PUP list and several team officials have indicated that they wouldn't be surprised if he missed the entire season. Needless to say there is no reason to draft him this year.

Brandon Marshall, DEN - Surgery to Repair Severe Forearm Damage

Bronco's WR Brandon Marshall, who had been recovering from severe damage to his right forearm, was cleared to take part in team activities last month and according to reports the team expects him to be ready for the start of training camp. Marshall suffered a number of forearm lacerations and damaged a vein, an artery, a nerve and a number of muscle and tendons when he fell through a glass entertainment center will playing around with family members in March. The damage was surgically repaired and his arm and elbow were immobilized for six weeks before he began rehab. The medical staff originally thought that Marshall would be out until training camp however he recovered quickly and he was back on the field with his teammates in June. Marshall recently told reporters that he has nearly made a complete recovery and that his injury will not be an issue when training camp kicks off in under two weeks. If his word isn't good enough, Marshall made a number of one-handed catches with the arm in question during the team's final minicamp practices. It looks like he is going to be OK.

Jerry Porter, JAC
Surgery to Repair Torn Hamstring

Jaguars' WR Jerry Porter will miss the team's entire training camp preseason as he recovers from hamstring surgery. Porter, who partially tore his hamstring in May, continued to be bothered by stiffness and soreness in his injured leg even after nearly two months of treatment, rehab and limited activity. According to reports an MRI done on Porters' leg last week revealed a partial tear in the hamstring muscle and the medical staff decided that surgery to cleanup the damaged muscle fibres and to clear out scar tissue was necessary. Head coach Jack Del Rio told reporters that Porter would miss 6 - 8 weeks while he recovered, which means that the earliest he could return is in early September. Del Rio said that the team is hoping that he will be back for the team's September 7 season-opener against the Titans, but there is a chance that he could be out until Week 2 or 3.

Antwaan Randle El, WAS - Arthroscopic Knee Surgery

Redskins' WR Antwaan Randle El, who had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, did not recover in time to take part in the team's final off-season workouts. However he has finally been cleared to practice and the team expects him to be a full and active participant for the remainder of training camp. Randle El had loose bodies surgically removed from his knee two months ago and the medical staff initially felt that he would heal in time for minicamps in June. Unfortunately his recovery took longer than expected and he was unable to take the field with his teammates. The good news is that he reportedly began running and cutting at full speed about two weeks ago and he appears ready to battle rookies Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly for the starting job opposite Santana Moss.

Javon Walker, OAK - Fractured Jaw and Orbital Bone / Concussion

The current status of Raiders' WR Javon Walker remains a mystery as he continues to recover from several injuries sustained when he was beaten and robbed last month. Walker suffered a concussion and fractures to his jaw and orbital bone during the assault in June and the team initially reported that he would be ready when training camp began. The medical staff will reevaluate him sometime next week at which point they will know if he will be able to take part in training camp. But even if he is cleared to practice don't be surprised if he is limited. Head coach Lane Kiffin told reporters that he is cautiously optimistic about Walker's availability for the start of training camp and he said that he should be 100% when the regular season begins.

Hines Ward, PIT - Arthroscopic Knee Surgery

Steelers' WR Hines Ward has nearly made a full recovery from off-season arthroscopic knee surgery, but he will likely be limited during early part training camp. Ward played the 2007 season through partial tears of the posterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament in his knee and he had a partial tear in the medial meniscus in the same knee surgically repaired during the off-season. Ward has already begun to run and he has taken part in some of the team's off-season workouts. However the medical staff wants to ease him back and they would prefer to keep him as limited as possible until the start of the regular season.

Demetrius Williams, BAL - Achilles' Tendonitis

It appears that Ravens' WR Demetrius Williams has completely recovered from Achilles' Tendonitis and he is now ready to challenge Mark Clayton for a spot in starting lineup. Williams had been slowed this off-season because of inflammation and soreness in his Achilles' tendon. The team's medical staff was originally concerned but he responded well to treatment and rehab and he was back on the field and practicing with the team at full speed by the end of minicamp in June. Williams told reporters that he is still trying to work his way back into shape but that he was feeling great and that he was ready for training camp.

Roy Williams, DET - Sprained PCL

Lions' WR Roy Williams missed the final two games of the 2007 regular season after spraining the posterior cruciate ligament in his knee but according to reports he is back to full strength and he will be ready for the start of training camp. Williams, who was placed on Injured Reserve after injuring his knee last year, was an active participant in the team's off-season conditioning program. By all accounts he looked good during team workouts and the medical staff is confident that his knee has completely healed.

Roydell Williams, TEN - Fractured Ankle

Titans' WR Roydell Williams, who fractured his ankle during a practice prior to the team's playoff game last season, has been slow to recover and it appears that Justin McCareins has passed him on the depth chart. Williams had several plates and screws surgically inserted into his ankle and leg to help stabilize the injury site back in January (plates and screws will be removed in 2009) and team initially thought that he would be ready to participate in June minicamps and completely healthy for the start of training camp. Unfortunately he hasn't recovered as quickly as the medical staff had anticipated and it looks like he won't be 100% when training camp begins. Head coach Jeff Fisher recently called Williams' situation "frustrating" as Fisher considers him one of the team's most reliable receivers. The Titans aren't sure when he will be pain-free and at full speed so the longer he remains limited is the better chance McCareins will get the starting nod when the regular season begins.

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