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NFL REPORT

Rash of Achilles' injuries raises red flags

More than 10 players have suffered season-ending Achilles' tendon tears during training camps, more than are typically seen in an entire season. The lockout may be a factor.

August 26, 2011|Staff and wire reports
  • Chiefs linebacker Brandon Siler between drills at a practice earlier this month in St Joseph, Mo..
Chiefs linebacker Brandon Siler between drills at a practice earlier this… (Orlin Wagner / Associated…)

Football is back, but not all the snaps in NFL training camps are welcome ones.

With two weeks to go before the start of the regular season, more than 10 players league-wide have suffered season-ending Achilles' tendon tears. The most recent victim was Kansas City linebacker Brandon Siler, who sustained the rupture Wednesday and promptly underwent surgery.

Earlier in camps, Detroit rookie running back Mikel Leshoure, Cleveland punter Reggie Hodges and Cincinnati linebacker Roddrick Muckelroy, among others, were lost to similar injuries.

The spike in Achilles' tears has been so pronounced, Browns linebacker Scott Fujita, a member of the players' executive committee, told reporters he's personally monitoring the number of those injuries. He has asked trainers to keep him apprised on missed practices to determine what effect, if any, the lockout has had.

Dr. Elliott Hershman, chairman of the league's Injury and Safety Committee, told the New York Times that, on average, there are eight Achilles' tears in a full season but that it's far too early to draw any firm conclusions about the recent rash of such injuries.

Another medical expert said he believes the 4½-month lockout, during which most players worked out but had no interaction with teams, probably plays a role in these injuries.

"It's not surprising that if you come into camp in August without an off-season conditioning program and minicamps, you're going to have a lot of guys that haven't been doing the things they normally would have been doing in the off-season," said surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache of the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles.

"If they had gone through the conditioning program in the spring and then minicamp in June, the muscles and tendons would be a little more prepared. They'd be more elastic and more in condition."

ElAttrache said a sudden tug on a tendon that had not been properly conditioned and stretched over time can cause it to tear. He said the most common injuries to expect in camps, in light of their abrupt start, are tears to the Achilles', calf muscles and hamstrings.

—Sam Farmer

Manning could miss six weeks

Indianapolis Colts Coach Jim Caldwell said Peyton Manning could be activated soon from the physically-unable-to-perform list. If he's not, he could miss the first six weeks of the season.

General Manager Chris Polian said the Colts are continuing to evaluate Manning's condition before they have to make a decision Sept. 3. If the team doesn't activate Manning before the final cutdown, he wouldn't be eligible to play for six more weeks.

Lawsuit dismissed

The legal fight between the NFL and its players officially ended when U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson in St. Paul, Minn., issued an order that formally dismissed the antitrust lawsuit brought against the league on March 11 by a group of players headlined by New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. The lockout began the next day. The new collective bargaining agreement was signed on Aug. 5.

Exhibitions

Graham Harrell led Green Bay to 11 points in the final 35 seconds, rallying the defending Super Bowl champs to a 24-21 victory over the Colts in Indianapolis. Harrell threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Taylor with 35 seconds left, then found Taylor again on the two-point conversion to make it 21-21. After the Packers recovered an onside kick, Harrell set up Mason Crosby for a 50-yard field goal as time expired.

Sam Bradford led St. Louis to two touchdowns, and the Rams' defense made life miserable for Kansas City quarterback Matt Cassel in a 14-10 victory over the Chiefs in Kansas City, Mo. Bradford was eight for eight for 76 yards on his first two series, with scoring passes to Mike Sims-Walker and rookie tight end Lance Kendricks.

Etc.

A judge in Denver granted Broncos cornerback Perrish Cox more time to review a statement he gave to police investigating sex assault allegations against him. . . . Kyle Williams and the Buffalo Bills agreed to a six-year contract extension potentially worth $39 million that will make him one of the league's highest-paid defensive linemen. . . . The Washington Redskins declared rookie defensive end Jarvis Jenkins out for the year because of a torn ligament in his right knee. . . . The Minnesota Vikings signed linebacker David Herron to try to add depth at an injury-depleted position. . . . The Tennessee Titans agreed to a contract with receiver Kevin Curtis. . . . The New York Giants and Jets postponed their preseason game from Saturday to Monday due to the threat of Hurricane Irene.

—Associated Press

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