2013 injury outlook: Quarterbacks
A preseason injury outlook on fantasy-noteworthy quarterbacks. This column will be updated throughout the summer, and the latest information will appear toward the top of the column:
Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins: It's no secret that Griffin has been recovering from an ACL reconstruction in his right knee (technically a revision since this was his second ACL tear, the first having occurred while he was at Baylor) and an LCL repair. What no one really knows -- but every fantasy owner would like to accurately project -- is whether Griffin will be under center Week 1. He has been omnipresent at organized team activities and minicamps, participating in various activities and not shying away from the media. He has been described as "superhuman" in his recovery by his surgeon, Dr. James Andrews, and Griffin has indicated that he expects "without a doubt" to be ready by the start of training camp in late July. In June, Griffin told reporters, "I feel confident in my body and the way it's been responding. Training camp's a month and a half away. That's why I say without a doubt. I think it's the right target if I'm healthy." Of course, ready to participate in camp drills and ready to engage in contact against an opponent are not the same. And some wonder whether Griffin will deliver on his feet as well as through the air to the same degree he did before the injury. It's difficult to imagine him changing his style of play to an overwhelming degree; the last thing you want an athlete returning from injury to do is try to play to avoid getting hurt. Based on his age, athleticism, work ethic and out-and-out skill set, the future looks bright for Griffin. Barring a setback, it appears his original goal of being ready to play in games when the season starts is one he will meet, although the Redskins may take a chapter from the 2012 Vikings and delay confirmation until hours before kickoff.
Addendum (Aug. 12): RG III is expected to increase his involvement in practice starting Aug. 13. It remains to be seen just how his activity will be ramped up. Griffin told the media he expects to begin 11-on-11 drills although a source told ESPN he will be working with the scout team, at least initially. Of note, Griffin told reporters that he has "no doubt" he will be playing Week 1. For more information, you can read the entire recovery update by clicking here.
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers: It's always something with Roethlisberger in the time leading up to the start of the season. Last year, there was the announcement of the presence of a rotator cuff tear in his throwing shoulder. A few years back, there was a motorcycle crash. This year, it's somewhat less dramatic. Roethlisberger underwent arthroscopic surgery in June to address a torn meniscus in his knee. By the team's account, this was not serious, and Roethlisberger is expected to be ready for training camp, which will mark seven weeks post-surgery. If the surgery had been necessary in-season, the time frame would probably have been listed as two to four weeks. Sure, any surgical procedure is worth taking seriously and Big Ben isn't getting any younger. But considering the types of injuries he has sustained, much less the ones he has played through (broken bones, significant sprains and more), this hardly raises the red flag. And he's not a running back. He will still be mobile enough to make his signature plays on the fly. Barring an unusual setback, Roethlisberger will be fully ready when the season starts.
Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys: Romo has had his injury scares during the course of his career, including a punctured lung in 2010, but manages to stay on the field most of the time. In 2012, he didn't miss a game. During the offseason, however, he underwent a minor procedure to remove a cyst from his back. The timing allowed him the opportunity to recover gradually, and while he did miss May OTAs, he told The Dallas Morning News at the time, "If this was the regular season and I had to play next week, I could." The team opted to hold him out of June minicamp as a precaution, according to ESPN's Ed Werder, but he is expected to be fully ready to go when training camp begins.
Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles: You have to go back to 2006 to find the last time Vick played in all 16 games of a season. Granted, he was out of the league for the next two seasons, but since returning in 2009, the most he has played in a season was 13 games in 2011. Last year, he suited up for only 10 games due to a concussion suffered in Week 10, returning for the Eagles' season finale against the Giants. Banged and bruised, partly due to his style of play, Vick has not held up particularly well against all the contact. No one knows exactly what to expect with new coach Chip Kelly's offense, but at age 32, Vick retains his injury risk.
Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears: With how much abuse he takes from opponents, it's amazing Cutler is on the field as much as he is. Despite appearing on the Bears' injury report most of last season, he played in all but one game (concussion). Cutler battled a neck injury and a mild MCL sprain but played through those. If anything is worrisome, beyond the lack of protection, it's his overall concussion history. The best thing for Cutler's longevity would be to avoid the big hits altogether.
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