Injuries strike all the time in the NFL, but there are some teams that have been getting devastated already just one week into training camp.
Thankfully there haven’t been many season-ending injuries to report thus far. But every injury that holds key players out of action during this critical time of development is a potential stumbling block to the success of the entire season.
These are the teams that have been bit worse than the rest by the nasty old injury bug.
The Cowboys entered camp with already thin ranks at the running back position.
Then, to add insult to injury, Dez Bryant suffered a minor hamstring issue on Thursday evening, though he assured everyone afterward that he is fine going forward.
Dallas has the talent to win it all this year. However, injuries could derail the team’s chances before the train leaves the station. Hopefully for Cowboys fans, this early salvo isn’t a foreshadowing of greater doom to come.
Arian Foster is the offensive catalyst for the Texans. When he doesn’t play, Houston doesn’t win very often, as FOX Sports 1 illustrated nicely here.
— FS1 (@FS1) August 5, 2015
Unfortunately, Houston will start the season without Foster as he recovers from groin surgery. Making matters worse, his replacement Alfred Blue had to be carted off the field in a recent practice due to cramping, while Chris Polk is out right now with a hamstring injury.
Like Dallas, Houston has a problem at the running back position already, just one week into camp.
Kansas City Chiefs
Dontari Poe suffered a back injury in the spring and then re-injured himself at home before camp, prompting surgery to repair a herniated disk. He’s a cornerstone defender for the Chiefs and a player who is still learning how to best utilize his immense potential.
This injury has the potential to stunt his development, which is frustrating for all parties involved.
Kansas City is currently mulling the decision to place Poe on the PUP list to open the season with the designation to return, meaning he’d miss at least the first six games of the 2015 season. The Chiefs will be hard pressed to find a replacement who can fill the giant shoes of the mammoth nose tackle in the meantime.
Additionally, though not quite so difficult to overcome for the Chiefs, rookie receiver Chris Conley is still rehabbing a knee injury suffered right at the start of camp.
On the plus side, safety Eric Berry has returned to action after missing most of last season while battling Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He’s already made an impact on the practice field, too, registering his first interception.
New York Jets
Nothing is coming easy so far for rookie head coach Todd Bowles.
Safety Antonio Allen suffered an injury to his Achilles tendon that has yet to be fully diagnosed, but reports coming out of practice indicate it seemed pretty bad when he went down. Manish Mehta reports the team believes he may have torn the tendon. Allen is a backup but was still considered a core player for the Jets.
Rookie speedster Devin Smith suffered a nasty spill, breaking ribs and puncturing his lung. He’s due to come back anywhere between 4-6 weeks.
Jets WR Devin Smith says he fractured three ribs in that collision in Friday's practice. Timetable still 4-6 weeks.
— Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) August 2, 2015
This is a frustrating injury for Smith and the Jets. The rookie wideout has a chance to make a huge impact this year, but it’s tough to jump right back in as a first-year player after missing significant time in camp. Chemistry is difficult to build, and reps are needed.
Finally, stud defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson is also dealing with an injury that is keeping him from hitting the practice field. It’s a non-serious hamstring issue, but the team isn’t taking any chances with the veteran.
Pro-Bowl receiver DeSean Jackson busted his shoulder on a blocking sled on Thursday, knocking himself out of practices for the next couple of weeks or so.
Maybe leave the heavy lifting to the big guys next time, DeSean?
On a more serious note, Washington lost a couple of defensive backs this past week in Tevin Mitchel and Breshaud Breeland.
Mitchel tore the labrum in his shoulder and will miss the entire year after being drafted in Round 6 by Washington, which then released him. Thankfully the rookie landed on his feet, as Indianapolis claimed him off waivers. He’ll try it again next year with the Colts.
Breeland was supposed to challenge for a starting role this year but, he had to be carted off the field with a knee injury that will keep him sidelined for the next 4-6 weeks.
Team source says bashaud breeland will miss 4-6 weeks with an mcl injury. #redskins
— John Keim (@john_keim) July 31, 2015
The big news coming out of Arizona was the injury to receiver Michael Floyd, but the Cardinals have a lot of other injuries to work through as well. Floyd is likely out for the next 6-8 weeks after undergoing surgery on his three dislocated fingers.
— David J. Chao – ProFootballDoc (@ProFootballDoc) August 6, 2015
Additionally, Arizona has seen a vicious rash of injuries to players all over the roster. During Wednesday’s practice, Darren Urban with the team’s official website noted 13 players had to sit out due to various injuries, meaning the team had just 75 players to participate in a camp practice—which is brutal.
Head coach Bruce Arians—ever chilled out, even under the harshest circumstances—isn’t worried and told reporters he didn’t expect any of the injuries to be long-term issues for the team. That said, working with such a skeleton crew could present issues in the here and now.
Photo Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports