Injuries to key players already worrying NFL coaches
Even though the first week of the regular season is three months away, an injury to a star player on a team can hurt almost as bad now as it does in October or November.
Not every player injured thus far in the off season will miss all of next season, but that does not mean coaches do not have concerns over when their player will return and if his output will be up to the level it was prior to his injury.
The New England Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski is one of the league’s best tight ends. During his first two seasons, he did not miss any action on the field, but in the 2012 AFC Championship, he hurt an ankle that had its affect on him during the Super Bowl.
He would need surgery on that and only played in 11 games during the regular season last year after he broke a forearm. He played in the season finale, but in the playoffs broke the same forearm once again.
An infection following his surgery has caused other surgeries and setback. If that was not enough now back surgery that was deemed preventative will set his recovery back even longer.
Ben Roethlisberger the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback had knee surgery last week. The team said the surgery was minor and it was performed due to discomfort he has suffered through during the off season. However, team officials said the effects would not bother him when the season begins.
Sources said the Steelers quarterback could have played without the surgery, but the team wanted the surgery to make sure he would not have to go through it during the regular season.
Jason Pierre-Paul part of the future pass rush for the New York Giants might not be starting on the field when the regular season rolls around. He needed back surgery after suffering through a difficult season last year as he only had 6 ½ sacks. However, if he is not ready to go in September the Giants defense could take a big hit.
Darrelle Revis one of footballs best cornerbacks injured his ACL last season in the just the second week. Prior to that, he only missed 3 games during his first five seasons in the NFL.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers management, coaching staff and fans all must be on the collective edge of their seats wondering if the $96 million man will fully recover from his injury.
He is expected to shut down his half of the field starting in September for the Bucs and elevate a defensive secondary that allowed the most passing yards of any team in the league last season. Revis says he will be ready to play by the first week of September.
Wide receiver Michael Crabtree had a great second half of the season for the San Francisco 49ers, helping them to the Super Bowl.
However, he tore an Achilles tendon this offseason and will likely be sidelined until late into the regular season. The 49ers picked up veteran Anquan Boldin prior to Crabtree’s injury, but the overall quality of the receiving corps for San Francisco is uncertain at this point.
All these players should return to play for their teams at some point during the upcoming regular season, but how effective they will be when they return, remains to be seen.