Off-season NFL Injury Update (Page 2)

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Off-season NFL Injury Update

Get up to date on the status of the biggest name offensive players who missed the end of last season due to injury or underwent surgery this off-season. Profiled players include Tom Brady, Tony Romo, Matthew Stafford, Frank Gore, and Maurice Jones-Drew.

The biggest question with Williams at this stage is where will he end up? Williams is a free agent and may not return to Carolina. Williams' foot and ankle injuries have not been great in assisting where he will end up. One thing that seems consistent with commentary is that Williams will split time with another back no matter which team he ends up with. Williams is a solid running back on the right team and can make a difference. I think Williams could be a higher end running back in the right situation, but the likelihood that he will find the perfect fit is not great. Look at Williams as a sleeper in my book. He has the skills, but may not get the opportunities.

On Wednesday morning, Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant spoke on the Ben and Skin Show on 103.3 FM. Bryant announced that he is in good shape, but has not been cleared to play football. Bryant's fractured ankle is healing well and he seems to be participating in other activities, but football practice is still off the table as far as doctors are concerned. However, Bryant has participated in nearly all of the Dallas player-controlled workouts during the lockout. Bryant is a solid receiver and has the eye of Romo, but if he has injury issues, Dallas will remove him from Romo's radar early. Look for Bryant to return in 2011 and take over where he left off, but consider him a safe/solid pick until we see production.

In April T.O. had surgery to repair his torn ACL. T.O.'s agent insists that Owens will be back on the field come pre-season, but I am skeptical (as are most fantasy experts). Rosenhaus, T.O.'s agent, also insists that there are no plans for retirement. To tell the honest truth, I really doubt that Owens will be on the field for pre-season and doubt how productive he can be at this point in his career. A four month recovery from ACL repair is not unheard of, but unlikely at Owens' age. Look for T.O. to end up somewhere and maybe have a role, but in my book, he is not draft worthy.

Finley's knee injury seems to be well on the mend, but team reports state that he is about 60-70 percent during cutting drills. I think the biggest issue with Finley is his contract. Green Bay is entering its last season in contract with Finley and I am not sure he is their long-term option. Watch Finley's status and see how he progresses during training camp, but he might still be limited at the beginning of the season. I do not think his injury will limit him personally, so I rank him as a stud pick. Rodgers likes Finley and if they can connect, Finely will be a stud TE.

Gates should be considered a stud fantasy tight end this season despite the season-ending foot injury he suffered last season. Gates has benefited from the lockout in terms of more time for rehabilitation and recovery. Look for Gates to return in the 2011 campaign ready to go and produce in San Diego. Gates is the number one tight end in my book and will likely be viewed as such by many fantasy owners.

Jeb Gorham
Fort Collins, CO
FFToolbox Fantasy Football Writer since 2007
I have been involved in sports since a youngster, growing up playing nearly every sport imaginable. Short Track Speedskating was my main sport with six years competing at national and international levels. For the past ten years I have worked in the sports, fitness and wellness industry. Since 2011 I have been an Assistant Professor of Management - Sports Management at Southern Vermont College. I have my masters degree in Kinesiology-Exercise Physiology from the University of Maryland, College Park and my Ph.D. in Sport Administration from the University of Northern Colorado. I am an avid cyclist and fantasy sports are one of my many hobbies.