Montee Ball, DEN – Appendectomy
Bronco’s RB Montee Ball, who underwent an appendectomy a little over 2 weeks ago, finally made his return to practice on Tuesday and according to team officials he remains on track to play in Week 1. Ball has reportedly lost 5 pounds since the procedure and he continues to work hard on restrengthening his core. He hasn’t been cleared for contact yet and he’ll likely miss the team’s third preseason game. But his workload will continue to increase and he recently told reporters that he expects to get full clearance from the medical staff in the next week or two.
Jamaal Charles, KC – Foot Contusion
Chiefs’ RB Jamaal Charles suffered a foot contusion while moving out of the team’s training camp dorm. The injury is not considered serious, but he will be held out of practices this upcoming week and he may miss the team’s next pre-season game as a precaution. Charles reportedly twisted his foot after slipping on a grassy slope outside the team’s training camp facility. Team officials were initially concerned, but X-rays were negative and an MRI showed that everything was OK. His foot is reportedly sore but head coach Andy Reid said on Monday that Charles was feeling better and that the team was optimistic about his health.
Arian Foster, HOU – Lower Back Surgery / Strained Hamstring
Texans’ RB Arian Foster, who spent a large portion of the off-season recovering and rehabilitating from lower back surgery, has missed practice time and remains limited because of a lingering hamstring injury. But head coach Bill O’Brien said that Foster has looked increasingly better in recent practices and he indicated that Foster could play in their next pre-season game. Foster suffered a herniated disc in his lower back last season and he underwent a minimally invasive procedure called a microscopic lumbar discectomy to repair it. He admitted that he considered retirement in the off-season, but fortunately his recovery went well and he was back to full strength prior to the start of training camp. According to reports Foster strained his hamstring in a workout on July 27 and the team’s medical staff has been extremely cautious and conservative with his treatment and workload ever since. The good news is that he ran with the first team in the joint practice with the Broncos on Tuesday and media members in attendance said that Foster looked comfortable. We’ll continue to keep track of his recovery, but barring a setback he should be ready for the start of the regular season.
Jeremy Hill, CIN – Minor Shoulder Contusion
Bengals’ rookie RB Jeremy Hill left the team’s last preseason game with a shoulder contusion and he did not return, however he tweeted after the game that he was “fine” and he has since returned to practice indicating that the injury was minor. Head coach Marvin Lewis indicated on Sunday morning that Hill would be OK moving forward and team officials expect him to play in their next pre-season game. In related news, Bengals second year RB Rex Burkhead suffered what appeared to be a serious knee injury on Saturday and according to reports his place on the team’s final 53-man roster could be in jeopardy as a result.
Steven Jackson, ATL – Strained Hamstring
Falcons’ veteran RB Steven Jackson, who suffered a left hamstring strain on July 28, did not take part in the remainder of training camp and although he has shown signs of steady improvement he remains limited to individual drills in practice. Jackson missed several games last year because of a right hamstring strain and he does have a history of left leg injuries, so it makes sense that the Falcons are proceeding cautiously. Head coach Mike Smith has told reporters several times that Jackson’s injury is not serious, however Smith has been vague about his timeline for return. Team officials are still expecting him to start in Week 1 so hopefully we will see an increase in his workload soon.
Knowshon Moreno, MIA – Arthroscopic Knee Surgery
Dolphins’ RB Knowshon Moreno continues to make steady progress in his recovery from off-season knee surgery and according to reports there is a good chance that he will play in the team’s pre-season game against the Cowboys. Moreno is coming off a big year with the Broncos, however teams did not reach out to him during free agency because of what has been reported as a degenerative left knee condition. The Dolphins took a chance on him, but he reported to OTAs overweight and his problematic knee required arthroscopic surgery in June. The good news is that Moreno has recovered reasonably well from the procedure and he was finally cleared for contact in practice last week. Team officials have been pleased with his progress and performance in recent practices and they expect him to play in their next preseason game. Moreno’s draft day stock has tumbled because of his injury problems, but he’s the best pass-blocking and receiving RB on the Dolphins’ roster and if he remains relatively healthy he will play a large role in the team’s offense this year.
Marvin Jones, CIN – Fractured Foot
Bengals’ WR Marvin Jones, who is recovering from a fractured left foot, will not be ready for the start of the regular season but team officials are hoping that he will be ready by Week 5. Jones had a screw surgically inserted into his left foot about 2 weeks ago to help repair a broken bone that occurred in practice. According to reports Jones is expected to miss at least 4 more weeks of practice while he recovers, but if he all goes well the team believes he could be ready to play following their Week 4 bye. The broken bone might actually be completely healed by the time the regular season begins, but Jones will need additional time to return to full speed and strength. He’ll also be behind in his conditioning, which is why the team doesn’t expect him back before Week 5.
Allen Robinson, JAC – Strained Hamstring
Jaguars’ rookie WR Allen Robinson suffered a strained hamstring early in training camp and has been sidelined ever since. Robinson was hurt in practice and while the team does not believe that the injury is serious it is the same injury that kept him out this spring and the Jag’s medical staff is concerned that it could linger if he isn’t given enough time to recover. He will likely be held out for at least another week and he may not play until the team’s final pre-season game. We will continue to monitor his progress.
Sammy Watkins, BUF – Rib Contusion
Bills’ rookie WR Sammy Watkins returned to practice on a limited basis on Tuesday after leaving Saturday’s preseason game with a rib contusion and according to team officials he will definitely be ready for the start of the regular season. Watkins missed practice on Monday while he recovered, but X-rays after the game and additional testing on Sunday and Monday confirmed that his injury is just a bruise and he was cleared by the medical staff to take part in light non-contact drills on Tuesday. It isn’t clear if he will play in the team’s next pre-season game and the medical staff might decide to hold him out as a precaution. But it looks like the talented first-year receiver avoided serious injury and he should be at full strength for Week 1.
Rob Gronkowski, NE – Recovery from ACL and MCL Tears
Patriots’ TE Rob Gronkowski, who underwent surgery back in January to repair and reconstruct his torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments, recently told reporters that he plans on playing in all 16 regular season games this year. However despite his steady progress he will not play during the pre-season and he is far from a lock to play Week 1. Gronkowski has already been cleared for contact and he took part in 11-on-11 drills on Monday for the first time since hurting his knee and while the team has not reported any setbacks, media members who have seen him practice have reported that he continues to favor his surgically repaired leg. Even with the advances in sports medicine it still takes an athlete a minimum of 12 months and typically 16 – 18 months after ACL surgery before they return to their pre-injury form. Based on the way the Patriots have done things during the Bill Belichick, we probably won’t know if Gronkowski will play in Week 1 until gameday.
Zach Miller, CHI – Lisfranc Injury
Bears’ TE Zach Miller will miss the entire 2014-2015 season after suffering a Lisfranc injury during the team’s pre-season game last Thursday. According to reports Miller suffered serious ligament damage in his foot and while he avoided a fracture at least one of the bones in his foot displaced (thus the Lisfranc classification). The injury will likely require surgery although it isn’t clear if and when that procedure will take place. The Bears have already placed him on Injured Reserve and there are reports that the team could release him as soon as an injury settlement is reached.