Return of the Injured: Comeback Updates on Peterson, McFadden, Charles and more
By: The Football Girl | Posted: July 26, 2012
Every NFL season is beset with devastating injuries, but last season the league was a non-stop infirmary.
There are a lot of big name (and average name) players returning from a cocktail of injuries. But just how recovered are they? Here is a select list, with the most up-to-date information on their respective returns and possible impacts.
I am largely avoiding the fantasy element here because I dream of a utopian world where we care about players as people than pawns in our obsessive hobby. (But don’t worry, I’m a little evil too and will soon be dissecting the biceps and hamstrings of many a player, strictly in the realm of waiver wire advice.)
Unless I wanted to type straight through November I could not include every guy that went down in 2011. But alas, this list is still pretty robust and most importantly, in good health. (The list, not necessarily the players.)
Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders Running Back
“McFadden’s health” is always a scary way to start a sentence. Since entering the league in 2008, he hasn’t played in more than thirteen games any season, and missed the final nine games last year due to a foot injury. By all accounts, McFadden’s foot is healed and he’s 100 percent, but ESPN’s Bill Williamson still expects the Raiders to take a more cautious approach with the back this season.
Matt Schaub, Houston Texans Quarterback
Schaub was placed on injured reservse after suffering a Lisfranc injury to his right foot during Week 10’s game against the Bucs. Gary Kubiak held him out of OTAs as a precaution, but Schaub insists he’s “100 percent healthy with no restrictions” heading into this important contract year.
Gabe Carimi, Chicago Bears Tackle
The Bears’ 2011 first-round pick doesn’t exactly have a lengthy NFL resume. He was knocked out Week 2 with a dislocated knee injury against the Saints (bounty?). After arthroscopic surgery, Carimi underwent a more comprehensive proceduce to rebuild knee strength, with recovery time was estimated at four months. He has already been through an offseason training program and, by all accounts, is ready for full contact. Watch his pushoff speed.
Jahvid Best, Detroit Lions Running Back
Best has a history of consussions, including one biggie which knocked him out for most of last season. He participated in OTAs and other non-contact activies, but has not been cleared to partake in training camp. That ok may come as early as today, as reported by Paula Pasche of the Oakland Press. But since the short and long-term effects of concussions are not as widely known as other injuries, the Lions would be smart to be extra-careful with their young running back.
Mario Williams, Buffalo Bills Defensive End
The former Texan tore his pectoral muscle during Week 5 against the Raiders and was placed on injured reserve. The new $100 million Bill is 100 percent healthy.
Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs Running Back
Back in May, Jamaal Charles deemed himself at “80 percent” in his return from the horrible ACL injury he suffered nearly ten months ago. However, two weeks ago in an ESPN.com chat, Charles said he’s the “strongest he’s ever been” and “lifting stuff at the gym he couldn’t handle before.” (Go to 3:04). Remember the Chiefs signed Peyton Hills over the offseason, a back worthy of a significant number of carries, probably even more than the traditional Thomas Jones number. Charles is still the guy, but it may be slow going at first, especially with Hillis as a safety net.
(Let's not even mention that terrible fantasy ad. Oops.)
Matt Cassel, Kansas City Chiefs Quarterback
Cassel missed most of the 2011 season after breaking his right hand. He says his hand, which required surgery, is fully healed and that he’s “ready to roll.”
Eric Berry, Kansas City Chiefs Safety
Add Berry’s ACL tear last September to the Chiefs’ astonishing number of ‘11 injuries. Chiefs GM Scott Pioli indicated that Berry, along with Charles and tight end Tony Moeaki will all be ready for practice when training camp opens tomorrow.
Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears Quarterback
Talk about an essential guy. Before Cutler went on IR with a broken thumb, the Bears were 7-3. Under Caleb Hanie and Josh McCown, they went 1-1. The Bears added Jason Campbell in the offseason, but Cutler’s health critical to the Bears success. Considering how adeptly Cutler threw out the first pitch at a recent Cubs game, I’m going to give him the healthy label.
Johnny Knox, Chicago Bears Wide Receiver
Unlike most players on this list, Knox played the majority of 2011. His season was cut short after a devastating hit against the Seahawks on Decemeber 18th which required spinal fusion surgery. Knox was placed on the active -PUP (physically unable to perform) list today, meaning he failed his physical and cannot practice until his status is elevated. If he starts the season on the PUP list, he would not be eligible to play until after Week 6.
LaRon Landry, New York Jets Safety
The former Redskin was placed on IR for the second consecutive year after dealing wih a nagging Achilles’ heel strain. The current Jet has been rehabbing for months and seems ready for action after being removed from the PUP list today. Landry is a beast when healthy, but he is ceratinly one of the more injury prone players out there. Perhaps it’s because he has more muscles to injure.
Rashard Mendenhall, Pittsburgh Steelers Running Back
Mendenhall was among the marquee players who tore their ACL. Unfortunately for Mendenhall, his injury occurred in Week 17, and torn ACLs take longer than almost any other injury to rehab. The Steelers have placed Mendenhall on the PUP list, where he is likely to remain once the season starts. It is also possible he misses all of 2012.
Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings Running Back
Peterson tore both his ACL and MCL the second to the last game of 2011 against the Redskins. But by all accounts he has been well ahead of schedule in recovery time. He participated in mini-camp back in June and impressed with his strength and cutting ability. Expectations are that Peterson will start Vikings camp on the PUP list, but he said he’s going “to lobby [Coach Frazier] to try and get out there and get the ball back rolling.” Even if on the PUP list, AP is one to watch closely throughout camp. He could very well be ready for Week 1, which would be miraculous given the extent of his injury.
Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants Wide Receiver
Nicks suffered the most recent blow when he fractured the fifth metatarsal of his right foot during OTAs in May. Following a May 25th surgery, Hicks’s original timetable for recovery was twelve weeks. While he is starting camp on the PUP list, there have been no setbacks, and the Giants expect him to be ready for Week 1.
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