It seems like more and more guys get hurt each and every year, and last year was no different in the NFL. 2011 seemed to be the year that more big-name players caught the injury bug.
Today, I'll go over the top five players returning from injury, and what to expect from them this year.
#1 RB Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
Tearing your ACL and MCL can't feel good, and usually takes up to a year to recover from. Peterson is aiming to defy conventional wisdom and be back Week One.
Peterson was on KFAN in Minneapolis on Thursday and had this to say: "They tell me, ‘Hey, we just want you to run in a straight line,' but I'm not gonna do that. When I'm out there I'm gomna make sure that I'm getting good work in and I'm out there playing my game."
Prediction: Sounds like he hasn't resumed all football activities, so I'd assume he won't be back week one. If he isn't put on the PUP list, he should be back in the first few weeks. 13 weeks of Adrian Peterson is better than 16 weeks of most other Running Backs.
#2 WR Andre Johnson, Houston Texans
Johnson has been struggling with injuries since the 2010 season, and it seems like the 2012 season is not off to a great start. He was injured in practice at the beginning of training camp with a minor groin sprain.
He took it easy for a week and returned to practice. Both Johnson and his Quarterback Matt Schaub will be returning from injury this year and will be looking to stay healthy for a return trip to the playoffs.
Prediction: I wouldn't be too worried about Johnson this year. If not for some guy named Megatron in Detroit, Johnson would be the top receiver in football. If he stays healthy 90+ catches and 1,200 yards should be expected.
#3 S Eric Berry, Kansas City Chiefs
Berry was a Pro Bowl Safety as a rookie, but unfortunately had his 2011 season ended before it even really began. In the Chiefs' opening game against Buffalo, Berry tore his ACL.
Berry will be hoping to return to Pro Bowl form along with another one of his teammates featured today.
Prediction: Berry will have a year of rehab before he plays in a meaningful game this year, so I think it would be safe to say he should be back to the form that made him a superstar during his freshman campaign in the pro's.
#4 RB Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs had a bit of bad luck in the injury department, didn't they? Pro Bowl Safety AND Running Back, plus a young talented Tight End in Tony Moeaki all missed extensive time last year.
Charles also tore his ACL in the Chiefs season-opening loss against Buffalo. Like Berry, Charles was able to play in the preseason opener and looked solid.
Prediction: Charles will have some competition from Peyton Hillis, another player coming off an injury, but still should be the leading rusher in KC. Will he be the All-Pro he was in 2010? Probably not, but that has more to do with the addition of Hillis than the injury itself.
#5 MLB Jon Beason, Carolina Panthers
Beason doesn't get as much credit as his counterparts at Middle Linebacker, but he's just as talented. Unfortunately for Beason and the Panthers, an achilles injury prematurely ended Beason's 2011 campaign.
Worse yet, Beason has been injured in camp this year. It appears he'll miss the Panthers preseason game this weekend, but hopes to return later in the preseason. Carolina added Luke Kuechly in the draft, and he can really play anywhere at LB, but ultimately Carolina would probably like to see both of them on the field at the same time.
Prediction: Beason should be healthy for the start of the season, and a return to the Pro Bowl should be in the cards if he starts all 16 games.
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