ASHBURN, Va. - It's not exactly breaking news that injuries occur every year for nearly every team during their respective training camps. From day to day knicks to season ending injuries, a team's depth charts is usually tested once it's time to get into football shape.
But this year is a much different situation league-wide. The four-month NFL lockout was a huge blow to players getting into real shape and being able to report to camp fully healthy. Players that were nursing injuries from last season couldn't get the proper treatment from team trainers. Healthy players, meanwhile, participated in player-led workouts. But, let's be honest, those weren't as rigorous of offseason activities as team run workouts would have been.
So it was reasonable to expect the Redskins to be extra-dinged up in the early going of camp. And sure enough, there are several players who are going through some injury troubles just a little over a week into camp. Some are more concerning developments than others, so let's count down some of the injury situations and see which one could be the most troublesome for the Redskins. We'll go from least troublesome to most troublesome here.
6. Chris Cooley (Knee): Cooley's had knee issues numerous times over the years, with him getting
multiple surgeries surgery on his left meniscus before and playing through the pain each and every time. As he put it on Saturday, he goes "absolutely bonkers" anytime he loses playing time, even if it's just practice. Cooley is getting older, but he's still just 29; not exactly a dinosaur. Cooley is expected back in practice on Monday according to Mike Shanahan, and given his track record, it would be surprising to see him miss any preseason time.
5. Malcolm Kelly (Foot): This injury doesn't affect the team as much as does Kelly's tenure here in Washington. Shortly after training camp started, he described this season as "put up or shut up." With the way things are going now, Kelly seems content to go quietly. It's been one injury after another for the former second-round pick, which has been frustrating for everything involved. Shanahan put him on injured reserve last season instead of releasing him outright because he believed he had the best hands on the team and he could find a way to finally be healthy and show what he could do in 2011. Instead, he went back to his old ways and injured his foot on Thursday afternoon. It may just be a minor setback, but if Kelly can't get back onto the field and have a stellar preseason, he's a goner.
4. Brandon Banks (Knee): The little guy looks to already have taken a big hit, with his limited participation in practice hurting his chances of making the roster. The thought of Banks' roster spot being in jeopardy is ludicrous to most Redskins fans, as he was far and away the most explosive player on the team last season with the ball in his hand. So he can't lose his job to injury, right? Well, not exactly. His injury issues compound a growing case for releasing him, as he hasn't shown to be a model citizen off the field. It probably wouldn't be a good bet to think that his offseason stabbing incident went over well within the organization. Add that to the fact that Banks has had the bad leg and has yet to make a big step at the receiver position, and he could find himself on the outs, a decision that would probably be very unpopular with the fanbase.
3. Ryan Torain (Hand): Another guy that has issues staying healthy, Torain had four screws put in his hand after injuring it last week in practice. Torain has shown to be a tough runner to stop when he's healthy, but it's not even the first preseason game and we're already using the qualifier ‘if he's healthy.' Not exactly a good way to put a stranglehold on the starting spot. The silver lining for the Redskins is that they will get a good look at who's behind Torain in Tim Hightower in addition to rookies Roy Helu and Evan Royster.
2. Ryan Kerrigan (Knee): It's a real shame that the Redskins top draft pick hasn't been able to fully practice for all but one day. He's expected to be a starter, and with the lockout preventing him from really getting a better grasp of playing linebacker in the 3-4 defense, he's really behind the eight ball by missing practice. Every day he misses practice is another lost opportunity to get comfortable playing his new position. He could be back fully practicing on Monday, but it remains to be seen if he will be available for Friday's preseason opener against the Steelers.
1. Laron Landry (Achilles): To put it bluntly, this could be a killer for the Redskins defense. In 2010, Landry was well on his way to his first Pro Bowl appearance, as he vindicated the coaching staff's decision to play him at strong safety instead of free safety. But Landry's Achilles injury sidelined him for the latter half of the season, and he hasn't been 100 percent since. The team put him on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list at the start of training camp, which was seen at the time as a precautionary move. But the more you hear Landry and Shanahan talk about the injury, the more you get the sense that he should be on the PUP right now, which is incredibly concerning.
Landry is a very key cog in the secondary, even with the additions of free safety OJ Atogwe and cornerback Josh Wilson. The secondary could still be a serviceable unit without him, but they have a chance to be elite with him. What's even more interesting is that this is Landry's last year of his rookie contract. Talk about pressure. Even if he is able to play at the start of this season, he may not be at full strength, and will still have to play well enough to warrant a contract extension.
Time will tell if Landry can make it back in time before the preseason ends. But the longer this drags on, the bigger a story it will become.