During and immediately after the lockout, NFL fans and pundits debated this question: Would the lack of OTAs, minicamps and team conditioning sessions lead to more injuries in the preseason?
In a world where no one agrees with anyone about anything, nearly everyone seemed to feel that the answer was yes. So it’s not surprising that we’ve seen a lot of injuries in the two weeks since camps opened.
Of course, there are always injuries during the first several weeks of camp. Perhaps this season we’re paying more attention to them because of the debate. The severity of some of the injuries this year, however, is raising eyebrows.
When Lions rookie running back Mikel Leshoure, a second-round pick, tore his Achilles Monday, he became the 10th player to suffer that injury since training camps opened. Half of those 10 players are rookies. Among the others: Eagles defensive tackle Victor Abiamiri and Giants cornerback Bruce Johnson.
Torn Achilles aren’t the only injuries being suffered, of course, but they are among the most serious. (Just ask LaRon Landry.) The Lions lost another rookie — the 13th overall pick in the draft -- when Nick Fairley suffered a foot injury that required surgery. The Giants top draft pick, Prince Amukamara, broke a bone in his left foot and will be out for up to two months.
Usually, training camp produces a rash of less severe injuries, which these days seem to be referred to as “tweaks.” Most of the Redskins’ current wounded have tweaks (Landry, Ryan Torain and Kareem Moore, of course, have more serious problems.)
But Chris Cooley has tweaked a knee. Oshiomogho Atogwe has tweaked a hamstring. And John Beck has tweaked his groin muscle. (What happened to pulling a groin muscle? Is that just passé now? Because tweaking a groin just sounds wrong.)
The exception to the tweak rule seems to be Malcolm Kelly, who amazingly is sidelined again, this time with what has been called at times an “irritated foot.” (I’ll bet I can think of at least one person who also has an “irritated foot” and would like to apply it to Kelly’s as-yet-unirritated backside.)
(And then there’s Albert Haynesworth, who’s missed three days of practice for the Patriots for “undisclosed reasons.” Stunning! I’ll say it again: Enjoy, Boston!)
But Haynesworth is no longer the Redskins’ problem, nor their fans’ concern. Kelly, I’m guessing, will soon fall into the same category. The only surprise is that he hasn’t fallen into it yet, especially with that bad foot.
More intriguing is the question of whether training camps were harder this year because coaches had less time to prepare and whether rookies were particularly susceptible to injury because they didn’t know how to condition themselves for an NFL season.
The real test begins Thursday night, when preseason games begin. Will there be more serious injuries, tweaks and irritations that in years past? The NFL might want to order some extra golf carts, just in case.