Injury update as camp nears

July, 22, 2012
7/22/12
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With training camp right around the corner, it’s a natural time to take care of some housekeeping business and re-examine the Patriots' injuries throughout the roster.

Keeping in mind that the team is not responsible for making injury-related information available during the offseason, this list is not an official update on the status of the following players, but an overview of what is known about each player's status.

LOGAN MANKINS
Mankins continues to recover from ACL surgery conducted after the 2011 season. As passed along by colleague Mike Reiss, Mankins previously expressed a desire to return for training camp. He was spotted during offseason workouts on the sidelines, working with Patriots trainers. Even if Mankins is 100 percent by Thursday (an expedient recovery), the team could opt to pace his workload throughout training camp.

ROB GRONKOWSKI
Gronkowski’s ankle injury suffered in the AFC Championship game against Baltimore led to offseason surgery, and he too was on the sidelines for OTAs and minicamp. Gronkowski has not been spotted on the football field this offseason, but he has been seen in various other public venues and is walking without a limp. That isn’t necessarily a hard-line indication that he’s ready for action, but participation in training camp has seemed realistic for Gronkowski throughout the recovery process.

BRANDON SPIKES
Spikes dealt with a right knee injury during the latter portion of the 2011 season and had surgery to address the issue earlier this offseason. Lump this one into the same category as Gronkowski, as Spikes appears to be a safe bet to be on the field for training camp, but the team may choose to curtail his workload as a precautionary measure.

[+] EnlargeVollmer
AP Photo/Paul JasienskiBack and ankle issues don't figure to be enough to keep Sebastian Vollmer out of training camp.
SEBASTIAN VOLLMER
Vollmer dealt with a number of ailments during 2011, including a back injury that seemed to particularly hamper him. He was not spotted on the field for offseason workouts, and the Boston Globe reported he underwent a minor back procedure prior to the team’s minicamp. Beyond his back situation, Vollmer also dealt with an ankle situation that limited him this offseason as well. Neither the back nor ankle seem to be major concerns at this point, and it would come as little surprise to see Vollmer on the field this week.

DANIEL FELLS
Fells was not present for the media-accessible OTAs or minicamp, and the Boston Herald reported it’s for a minor injury issue. It’s possible that it involves the ankle problem that limited him in the week of practice leading to the Patriots-Broncos (Fells played in Denver last season) divisional round playoff matchup. Although he hasn’t been seen this offseason on the field, we expect Fells to be ready to roll within the first few weeks of camp (which means he might start camp on PUP).

JONATHAN FANENE
After going down during the first day of minicamp with what appeared to be a left leg/knee injury, Fanene missed the final day of the team’s minicamp. It is not known how severe the injury is, and whether it will be prevent him from being on the field at the start of camp, although no word about anything major has emerged since the injury occurred.

JERMAINE CUNNINGHAM
After earning praise for his offseason from coach Bill Belichick, Cunningham missed both days of minicamp. The reason and severity of whatever Cunningham is dealing with remains unknown.

MATTHEW SLATER
Slater was working on the sidelines with members of the Patriots training staff during OTAs, an obvious indication that he was dealing with some sort of ailment. The nature of the injury is not known, although he appeared healthy at the end of the 2011 season. Without knowing much, it’s difficult to gauge the severity of this one.

MYRON PRYOR
Pryor missed some of the offseason on-field workouts, and spent much of the 2011 season on injured reserve after suffering a shoulder injury. There was no official word on his absence, although it seems possible that Pryor was still recovering or could have missed the sessions in order to rehab.

TRACY WHITE
White reportedly underwent sports hernia surgery this offseason, although he is expected back on the field for training camp, the Boston Herald reported. White didn’t show any effects of the injury during the 2011 season, when he was an effective special teamer for the Patriots.

MARCUS ZUSEVICS
Zusevics, an undrafted rookie from Iowa, made headlines during the NFL combine when he suffered a torn pectoral muscle on the bench press. It hurt his stock, but he now has a chance to pave his way into the NFL from the undrafted rookie platform. He recently was placed on the active/non-injury football list after failing his physical. This most likely stems from the pectoral issue.

JAKE BALLARD
Ballard, who was claimed off waivers in a move that made substantial headlines, suffered a major knee injury in Super Bowl XLVI as a member of the Giants. He was waived/injured by the Giants, who were hopeful to re-sign him and presumably place him on the injured reserved list. The Patriots claimed the burly tight end, although he seems to be a piece slated to make an impact in 2013 at the earliest. As Mike Reiss noted this morning, Ballard hasn’t even been issued a number yet.

JEREMY EBERT
The seventh-round pick continues to deal with a leg injury and was among the Patriots rookies to fail his physical last week. Mike Reiss mentioned in his quick-hit thoughts this morning that should Ebert be unable to participate at the start of training camp (he was placed on the active/physically unable to perform list), it could be wise to slowly recover and enter the fold during the regular season (rather than return to action during training camp and be exposed to final roster cutdowns).

JEREMIAH WARREN
Warren was placed on the active/NFI list after failing his physical last week. The reason is not known, although it could have been for a failed conditioning test.

JUSTIN FRANCIS
Francis was briefly placed on the active/NFI list last week, but colleague Mike Rodak reports he subsequently passed his physical and is now back in action.

BRANDON BOLDEN
Bolden was a non-participant on the team’s final day of minicamp, but the fact that he did not fail his recent physical suggests that his injury is not major. Expect him to be on the field come Thursday.
Field Yates has previous experience interning with the New England Patriots on both their coaching and scouting staffs. A graduate of Wesleyan University (CT), he is a regular contributor to ESPN Boston's Patriots coverage and ESPN Insider.

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