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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Cory Bonini

Fantasy football injury round-up: July edition

Keeping up with injuries during the fantasy football draft season is tremendously important. While it may be early yet for casual drafters, all gamers should follow along to avoid any potential mishaps. At a minimum, it never hurts to stay in the know, even if you don’t typically draft until August or September.

Since the last release in late May, here’s what we have learned following a quiet month of June on the news front. The most notable names from the traditional pool of skill players are in focus below. We’ll continue to monitor their statuses leading up to the opening of late-July training camps and throughout the remainder of the summer.


Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals: Murray underwent knee reconstruction in around the start of the year and still doesn’t have a timetable for his expected return. Owner Michael Bidwill thinks it will be before midseason, and ACL recovery tends to be less than nine months for physical stability but can be a full year or more before the player is trusting of the knee. The ever-dangerous quarterback has been doing squats as well as running in a straight line for the last few weeks and hasn’t suffered any known setbacks. Murray’s rushing skills set him apart in fantasy football, so erring on the side of caution suggests he won’t be a reliable QB1 in 2023.

Aaron Rodgers, New York Jets: Rodgers tweaked his calf in OTAs and was back on the field doing select drills during June’s minicamp. Given his age, importance, familiarity with the offense, and contract, expect the team to be overly careful. Rodgers should be at full speed for camp.

Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams: A bruised spinal cord suffered in late November sidelined him the rest of the year. Despite swirling retirement rumors, Stafford will have no limitations and is ready to roll, according to head coach Sean McVay.

Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans: An ankle injury landed him on the Reserve/Injured list late last season, but Tannehill reported to the offseason workout program and is ready to go.

Jimmy Garoppolo, Las Vegas Raiders: Jimmy G. underwent a procedure this offseason after fracturing a bone in his foot during Week 13 action. He remains on schedule for the start of training camp as of June 19 reporting.

Brock Purdy, San Francisco 49ers: The second-year passer underwent surgery in March to repair damage to the ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing elbow. Head coach Kyle Shanahan said Purdy has been throwing multiple times per week in June and remains on pace to be fully ready for Week 1.

Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers: Lance’s shot at being the starter in 2022 lasted until he was placed on the Reserve/Injured list on Sept. 21. He was cleared in February and will get to showcase his reported improvement as a passer while Brock Purdy (elbow) remains sidelined. While the door hasn’t closed on Lance returning to the starting lineup, San Fran putting him on the trading block this offseason doesn’t bode well for his chances if Purdy can return to form.

Colt McCoy, Arizona Cardinals: McCoy is expected to start for the injured Kyler Murray (knee) entering the year, but it’s unclear how long he’ll be under center. Murray could return before midseason. McCoy has recovered from an undisclosed procedure that is has been deemed “minor” by ESPN report Josh Weinfuss. May reports suggested it was a neck issue, but he was back on the field for June minicamps.

Hendon Hooker, Detroit Lions: The rookie continues to work his way back from a torn ACL and is expected to redshirt the 2023 season behind Jared Goff. While he is expected to be cleared medically by Sept. 1, Hooker remains on track to observe during his rookie season.

Running backs

(Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports)

Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts: The standout back underwent arthroscopic surgery in January to clean up the ankle that sidelined him in 2022. No further damage was found, and he while he was sidelined during OTAs, Taylor has been cleared to return, per the team.

Breece Hall, New York Jets: Hall was having a strong rookie campaign before tearing an ACL, an injury that tends to take six to nine months to heal but around a year or so before the player returns to form. Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles are the only running backs in recent memory to bounce back with an RB1 season after tearing up a knee. The odds of Hall being himself in 2023, at least in the first half of the year, are not in his favor.

Tony Pollard, Dallas Cowboys: Pollard fractured his left fibula, which didn’t require surgery, but a Jan. 24 procedure was done to repair the severe high-ankle sprain he suffered in the NFC Divisional Round. As of June 1, Pollard was doing light work and is on schedule to return in training camp.

J.K. Dobbins, Baltimore Ravens: He missed time during minicamp but attributed his absence to a contract dispute, despite reports saying it was an undisclosed soft-tissue injury.

Dalvin Cook, free agent: Prior to his release, Cook opted for surgery in February to repair a shoulder injury suffered way back in 2019. He is 100 percent recovered as the veteran mulls offers from potential suitors.

Javonte Williams, Denver Broncos: Williams was a limited participant in OTAs on May 25 as he works his way back from last year’s ACL tear, torn lateral collateral ligament, and posterolateral corner. He’s expected to be ready for training camp after the Week 4 injury, noting on July 9 that the team will incorporate him in “some capacity” during practices. That said, expect it to be a slow go until midseason, but Williams suffered the injury early enough in the ’22 season to return to form in the upcoming campaign.

Dameon Pierce, Houston Texans: Pierce’s promising rookie season was cut short after an ankle injury cost him the final four contests. He was on pace for 1,443 total yards and six offensive scores. Pierce was on the field for late-May practices and showed no ill-effects from the high-ankle sprain.

David Montgomery, Chicago Bears: Montgomery (undisclosed) left practice early Thursday, May 25, and as of June 1 no injury update was available. Head coach Dan Campbell said at the time the injury was not serious.

Jahmyr Gibbs, Detroit Lions: A minor ankle injury suffered in rookie minicamp is behind him; the No. 12 overall pick is on the field for OTAs and looks healthy.

Isiah Pacheco, Kansas City Chiefs: Pacheco found himself under the knife twice since the Super Bowl, requiring medical intervention for a broken hand bone and a torn shoulder labrum. No official timetable for his return has been established, per Andy Reid back in May, but The Athletic’s Nate Taylor reported July 11 that Pacheco may not start training camp on time.

Antonio Gibson, Washington Commanders: A Jan. 5 surgery to fix his broken foot has Gibson, which he played through before a sprained knee cut his season short. The versatile back was attending OTAs and is good to go.

Kendre Miller, New Orleans Saints: The rookie is recovering from what has been called both a torn meniscus and sprained medial collateral ligament in different reports. With a potential suspension looming over Alvin Kamara, Miller’s speedy return is imperative, but the last update on his status was June 14 when he remained out of mandatory minicamp.

Wide receivers

Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams: Kupp underwent “tightrope” surgery to repair a high-ankle sprain. He missed the start of OTAs due to the birth of his child, but it’s unclear if he has been officially cleared to practice. The prolific wideout said in January that he felt good about the status of his rehab, and he was doing light work in June. The team has no incentive to rush Kupp back, though he appears on track for training camp.

Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints: A rash of injuries in recent years have completely derailed the one-time best receiver in fantasy. Thomas (toe) is nearly 100 percent healthy and is expected to be ready for the start of training camp, per head coach Dennis Allen, after he was present during mandatory June minicamp.

Amari Cooper, Cleveland Browns: Cooper played through a core injury last year and opted for surgery in the offseason. The recovery process isn’t expected to impede his availability for training camp.

Odell Beckham Jr., Baltimore Ravens: Beckham’s second ACL reconstruction was performed Feb. 22, 2022, so the health of his knee is no longer a concern.

DJ Chark Jr., Carolina Panthers: The oft-injured vertical threat had cleanup surgery in March on his nagging ankle and was spotted at practice May 23 but didn’t participate on the field. No updates have been available since, though he should be A-OK for training camp.

Allen Robinson, Pittsburgh Steelers: A stress fracture in his foot led to surgery the insertion of a screw for stability. He passed his physical after being traded to the Steelers and is expected to work out of the slot. Robinson was back on the field for early-June 11-on-11 drills.

Darnell Mooney, Chicago Bears: After finishing the 2022 season on IR in late November, Mooney (foot, ankle) said on July 9 that he’ll be ready for training camp. He had screws put into his foot and also had tightrope surgery to stabilize a fractured fibula.

Nico Collins, Houston Texans: Collins has been participating in organized team activities/minicamp after suffering a Week 13 foot injury that cost him the remainder of the 2022 season.

Rondale Moore, Arizona Cardinals: Moore ended 2022 on IR and recently said he had both sides of his groin surgically repaired for sports hernia and had his pinkie finger operated on. He’s already been back on the field for OTAs.

Rashod Bateman, Baltimore Ravens: A Lisfranc injury required surgery that ended Bateman’s season, but the good news is his midfoot sprain is healed, and he is ready to roll.

Michael Pittman Jr., Indianapolis Colts: A hip injury prevented him from participating in mandatory minicamp over the past three weeks, and no timetable has been given for his return.

Josh Downs, Indianapolis Colts: A minor knee injury in June cost him time during minicamp, though the rookie should be unencumbered for training camp later this month.

Ben Skowronek, Los Angeles Rams: Head coach Sean McVay said Skowronek missed time in minicamp with a foot issue. No further update was provided.

Jordan Addison, Minnesota Vikings: An undisclosed injury knocked him out of mandatory minicamp, but the rookie first-rounder is expected to be back for the start of training camp, according to The Athletic’s Alec Lewis.

JuJu Smith-Schuster, New England Patriots: A June 14 report said he missed minicamp practice due to an undisclosed injury. NFL Network later reported the absence stems from a lingering knee injury suffered in 2022…. Not ideal.

Chris Olave, New Orleans Saints: A tweaked Achilles tendon had him missing some time as of mid-June, but the issue isn’t believed to be serious. Expect the team to be cautious with their prized wideout.

Rashid Shaheed, New Orleans Saints: The unheralded receiver missed minicamp time with a groin strain and hasn’t received an official update since the June 13 report.

Russell Gage Jr., Tampa Bay Buccaneers: An undisclosed injury forced him out of action in mid-June.

John Metchie, Houston Texans: After missing his rookie season while battling leukemia, Metchie was cleared and returned for minicamp but suffered a hamstring strain that will keep him out until the start of training camp.

Tim Patrick, Denver Broncos: A torn ACL suffered last August robbed him of the entire 2022 season. Patrick has confirmed he’s fully recovered and cleared to do all football activities.

Wan’Dale Robinson, New York Giants: Yet another ACL tear on the list … Robinson is a candidate to begin the season on the Reserve/Injured list, according to the New York Post’s Paul Schwartz.

Mecole Hardman, New York Jets: Hardman (pelvis) hoped to be ready for OTAs in a March update, and he said on Twitter on May 23 that he is, “Just ready to be healthy and be able to play football again!” Expect a full return for training camp.

Kyle Philips, Tennessee Titans: The slot receiver’s 2022 season was cut short thanks to a hamstring injury, and he’s ready after bulking up.

KJ Hamler, Denver Broncos: The constantly injured receiver underwent surgery in March to repair a torn pectoral muscle and has a chance to be ready for Week 1.

Sterling Shepard, New York Giants: Yet another major injury — this time a torn ACL — has Shepard once again on the mend entering the offseason. He was running routes during the May 25 practice and noted in early June that he’s on track to be a full-go before Week 1.

Justyn Ross, Kansas City Chiefs: A 2020 spine injury derailed Ross’ FBS career. He returned in ’21 for a 10-game slate at Clemson and missed his entire 2022 rookie season with a foot issue. As of mid-April, he was working on routes with Patrick Mahomes, and Ross was praised during early OTA action.

Tight ends

Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons: Following a Nov. 29 surgery for a Grade 2 torn medial collateral ligament, Pitts’ knee still has him on the sidelines as of June 13. The timeline for such a procedure has come and gone, however, suggesting he is being rested for precautionary purposes. Should his absence linger into training camp, Pitts then becomes a much riskier fantasy option.

Pat Freiermuth, Pittsburgh Steelers: A minor MCL sprain suffered vs. Cleveland on Jan. 8 didn’t result in surgery, and Freiermuth was already back on the field for OTAs. He’s good to go.

Greg Dulcich, Denver Broncos: A hamstring injury saw Dulcich end his rookie year on IR. Denver added veteran blocker Chris Manhertz and former New Orleans Saints tight end Adam Trautman to be reunited with Sean Payton. While Dulcich is now healthy, he may be on a short leash following an inconsistently productive yet abbreviated first season.

Dawson Knox, Buffalo Bills: He missed time in June’s minicamp with a lower-leg injury. Knox called the injury “very minor.”

Luke Schoonmaker, Dallas Cowboys: He’s expected to be ready for training camp as he recovers from a foot injury, Michael Gehlken reported on June 6 for The Dallas Morning News.

Zach Ertz, Arizona Cardinals: A torn ACL has the 32-year-old pro on the mend with a target date of a Week 1 return, yet head coach Jonathan Gannon declined to elaborate on a specific date as of June 12. In the meantime, Arizona will have to navigate two injured quarterbacks and regime change that brings a new system. As Ertz works his way back, the Cardinals’ coaching staff will get a close look at 2022 second-rounder Trey McBride.

Hayden Hurst, Carolina Panthers: The oft-injured Hurst is coming off a respectable season with the Cincinnati Bengals and returned June 2 following hernia surgery to participate in individual drills. This is another favorable situation for the journeyman, provided he can return in a timely manner and build chemistry with the No. 1 overall pick, Bryce Young.

Will Dissly, Seattle Seahawks: Dissly is no stranger to missing time, and his knee/leg injury that has been termed “unique” didn’t require surgery. He is expected to enter training camp as the starter.

Jelani Woods, Indianapolis Colts: Woods missed practice May 25 with a hamstring injury, though the severity is unknown with no updates since then. Should he sit an extended period of time in camp, Woods could fall behind in the Colts’ extremely deep tight end battle.

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