insideinjuries.com has the latest on top WRs who continue to recover from season-ending injuries and offseason surgeries.
Odell Beckham Jr. NYG: ankle surgery
The Giants’ crumbled when OBJ went down with a season-ending ankle injury in Week 5 last year. Now 10 months removed from surgery to address a fracture with ligament damage, he is fully cleared for training camp. Beckham originally injured his ankle during the preseason, causing his ligaments to stretch and leaving him more susceptible to a more serious ankle injury. Unfortunately it took just a few weeks for the injury to occur.
His ankle should be in much better shape now, but his Injury Risk remains Elevated. The good news is with a Peak HPF, he should be ready to perform as an elite WR. He could miss some practice time early in the year as he works his way back, but he should be ready to go Week 1.
Alshon Jeffery PHI: torn rotator cuff
Alshon Jeffery has by far the worst outlook on this list. He underwent shoulder surgery after the Eagles’ Super Bowl win. Recovery time from a rotator cuff tear is a minimum of 6 months, but it can take 9-12 months to get back to 100%. That means Jeffery is pushing it to be ready for Week 1, and even then he won’t be anywhere near full strength. His Injury Risk, of course, remains very High.
Right now Jeffery is hovering around a Top 20 WR, making him a WR2, but he can’t be trusted that early in drafts. There’s no guarantee he will be ready Week 1, and playing in all 16 games seems like a long-shot. The Eagles need to look out for his long-term health and not rush his recovery just to have him out there in September. He is starting training camp on the PUP list, and there is no timeline for him to be fully cleared. He appears to be a ways away.
Allen Robinson CHI: torn ACL
After missing all of 2017 due to a preseason ACL tear, Robinson is fully cleared and ready to go at the start of training camp. Robinson is already back at a Low Injury Risk, and we are even showing a Peak HPF. His ADP is right around Jeffery, hovering around the Top 20, and that seems realistic. Robinson could be a steal in the WR2 spot, and he could even be a Top 10 guy by the end of the season if the Bears’ offense can improve.
Recovery from ACL tears has improved drastically in recent years, and 12 months is more than enough time to get back into football shape. Because Robinson is a young wide receiver and his knee injury was an isolated tear (no additional ligament or cartilage damage), he should be right back where he was before the injury.
Julian Edelman NE: torn ACL
Edelman tore his ACL during the 2017 preseason but didn’t cause any additional damage to his knee. Like Robinson, Edelman should be close to 100% already, but he is sliding down draft boards due to his four-game suspension. When he returns, he can be locked in as a WR2. His Injury Risk just moved from Elevated to Low, currently sitting at 13%. His HPF is also Peak, so his knee won’t limit his ability to perform on the field. Sometimes returning from an ACL tear is more mental than physical at this point, but with training camp and preseason games to work his way back, he should be prepared by week 5.
There are two important things to keep in mind: Edelman’s age and his injury history. At 32, he is much older than guys like Robinson and Meredith. Younger players tend to have much more success on the field following an ACL tear. Edelman has also missed a lot of time due to a 2015 foot fracture and lingering problems that carried over into the 2016 season. He shouldn’t be removed from draft boards, but make sure you don’t get too excited about his potential and reach to get him in the earlier rounds.
Quincy Enunwa NYJ: neck surgery
Enunwa missed all of last season after undergoing surgery on his neck to repair a bulging disc. He was limited during OTAs and said he felt like he was close to 100%. He has now passed his Optimal Recovery Time and returned to a 13% (Low/Elevated) Injury Risk. It’s always concerning when a player suffered such a serious neck or back injury, so he needs to be watched closely throughout training camp, especially when participating in contact drills. This week he fully participated in the no-pads practice on Day 2 and only wore the no-contact jersey during team drills on Day 3. It’s slow and steady progress- exactly what we want to see at this point in his recovery.
Enunwa can’t be relied on as a starting option each and every week, but he is a high-upside guy to have on your bench. If his neck is fully healed, he could become the Jets’ #1 option in the passing game, giving him WR3/flex value many weeks. He hasn’t cracked the Top 200 in ADP yet, but it could start to climb as he increases his participation at training camp and proves he is healthy enough to contribute.
Others to Watch
Randall Cobb GB: right ankle surgery
Cobb finally admitted that he underwent surgery on his foot over the summer to remove a small piece of cartilage that was causing discomfort. It isn’t a serious long-term concern, but this will affect him early in the season. We are showing an August 18 Healthy to Return Date. Until then, he shouldn’t be involved in 11v11 and full contact drills. His Injury Risk is currently very High. Cobb also has a concerning injury history that include ankle and hamstring issues, so there may be better WR options out there unless he slips outside the top 100 picks.
Brandon Marshall SEA: ankle surgery
As Brandon Marshall continues to recover from season-ending ankle surgery, his injury numbers are very interesting. We don’t see this often- his Injury Risk is High, but his HPF is Peak. So that means his risk of a future injury or aggravation of a previous injury is very high (28%), but he should be able to play fairly well when he is cleared. It’s unlikely Marshall sees time in all 16 games this year, so he’s nothing more than a late-round flier. Marshall also underwent toe surgery to address a lingering injury from 2015, so he is recovering from multiple serious injuries. He may not even make the Seahawks final roster – watch him closely throughout camp.
Cameron Meredith NO: torn ACL & MCL
Meredith’s devastating knee injury last season looked like it could be career-threatening. Now almost a year removed from surgery, Meredith is practicing without limitations. Because this was a multi-ligament injury, recovery is typically longer and more complicated. He may not get back to 100%, but at the 12-month mark he should be close. At 9% Injury Risk (Low), he should be viewed as a late-round option that could have huge upside after joining Drew Brees in New Orleans.
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