I’ve talked about my concern with the current high number of Redskins starters recovering from major injuries, and how it is likely that some will suffer setbacks or a decreased level of play this season. I decided to go back and look at last year’s players, to see how they recovered from surgeries and if we saw a recurrence of injuries.
-Orakpo had torn his pectoral muscle in the final game of the 2011 season. Though declaring himself 100% in early May, Orakpo was unable to fully participate in OTA’s and mini-camp (not surprising for that type of injury). He was declared ready for the start of training camp, but suffered a setback in the 2nd preseason game. Orakpo was back on the field by the start of the season, but tore his pectoral muscle again in Week 2, which kept him out for the season. Though the injury still could have occurred even without the previous pectoral injury, the fact that his muscle was already weakened from surgery nine months prior and a set back in preseason, has to be taken into account.
-Bowen had a minor offseason knee surgery, which kept him out of OTA’s and mini-camp, but he was fully back on the field by training camp. Bowen never missed any time during the season, though his production did drop this past year. Whether that was due to the injury or just a fluke year is unclear, but since he didn’t miss time or really show up on the injury report with knee issues, it likely didn’t affect him.
-Brown has had issues with his hips for years now, and despite all the reports how he conquered the injury with Yoga, Brown was in pain during the first day of Training Camp. Initially he tried to rest his hip and receive cortisone shots, with the hope that he could be ready around the start of the season. After that failed he underwent surgery at the end of August and was put on the PUP list, not eligible to come back until mid Nov. Despite the fact that the surgery should have only sidelined him 4-6 weeks, Brown was unable to come back in November suffering yet another setback.
-After suffering a mid-season ACL injury, Hightower missed all of OTA’s and mini-camp, being limited to just some individual drills. Though he was medically cleared for camp and widely considered fully healthy, by his second practice Hightower was running with a limp, and Mike Shanahan was quoted saying that Hightower’s left knee “is not close to 100 percent”. Hightower was unable to make his preseason debut until the third game, and then suffered a setback in the game. He was released from the team and he eventually needed a knee scope which kept him out of the league last year.
-Hankerson suffered a mid-season hip injury in 2011 and missed OTA’s and minicamp. He was ready by the time training camp rolled around, and according to most reports looked pretty well. He didn’t win the starting job, but due in part to Pierre Garcon‘s injury he got a fair amount of playing time. Overall Hankerson was productive last season, though didn’t meet fans expectations. Hankerson did struggle to get consistent separation, and could possibly attribute the injury and the loss of development time as the reason he didn’t play even better.
-Morgan suffered a broken leg and ankle with the 49ers in 2011. He signed with the Redskins in the offseason, but was unable to fully participate until training camp. Reports throughout training camp and from Morgan himself talked about the loss of explosiveness and speed. While Morgan played all of 2012 (actually led the team in WR targets and snaps), he was really just a possession receiver. For shorter routes he was effective, but intermediate and down the field he didn’t offer much. It is clear the injury had a noticeable impact on Morgan’s abilities last season.
-Lichtensteiger suffered an early season ACL/MCL injury and while initial reports had him ahead of schedule and he was even able to do some limited positional work in OTA’s and mini-camp, he suffered a setback early in training camp. He needed a clean up procedure that kept him out all of the preseason. Though he was ready for week one medically, Lichtensteiger struggled throughout the season. If not for Tyler Polumbus he would have been the Redskins worst offensive lineman. Lichtensteiger himself said his knee “never felt 100%” last season.