OTA Injury Headlines

Don't sweat the minor stuff 3 months before the season begins

Ahhh! The end of May is nearly upon us and training camps open in less than two months. Before you know it, preseason games will be upon us and fantasy football drafts will be happening nearly every day leading up to the first game of the season. But right now, we have OTA's (Organized Team Activities; a fancy term that used to be called mini-camps. I have no idea why they changed it), and as usual, since we are parched for anything to read or talk about NFL and fantasy-wise, we see reports and start to worry about the little injuries preventing players from participating, and those who are not attending these voluntary workouts at all. I'll try to put the headline news into perspective here:
New England TE Rob Gronkowski: The lingering infection from previous arm surgeries finally cleared up and Gronk had a successful 4th surgery on his arm May 20th. While this injury could linger into training camp and preseason, it should be fully healed up before the start of the regular season. Of greater concern is the combination of this and an impending back surgery scheduled for sometime in mid-late June. Conflicting reports have surfaced about whether this back surgery is related to the back surgery Gronk had in college that caused him to miss a season. While the majority of the reports claim the back procedure is "minor", the simple fact is that you have to be concerned any time a player who has a history with a particular injury has to have another surgery. We won't know if Gronk will be able to play at the start of the regular season and that makes him a dicey bet as an early draft pick in fantasy drafts.
Houston RB Arian Foster: Foster suffered a calf muscle strain in OTA's and while he walked off the field on his own, he was carted to the training room and is now sporting crutches. All signs indicate that this is not a major injury. We have to remember that it's likely that if this was the regular season he might not even miss a game. There's no reason for teams to rush players back right now. The real games don't start for 3 months. Foster is very likely to be fine by the time training camp rolls around and be one of the first 4 RB's selected in fantasy drafts.
Cleveland RB Trent Richardson: Richardson has been sitting out practices because of a strained lower leg muscle. It's concerning that Richardson can't seem to stay healthy even in the off-season as his rookie year was marred by various minor injuries. He only missed one game though proving his toughness. The Browns are smart to not push him as they have more to lose than gain by it. But it is something to keep an eye on once training camp starts up. Currently Richardson is still considered a strong RB1 for fantasy purposes and remains locked in as one of the top 10 fantasy RB's in the 2013 fantasy football rankings.
Dallas RB DeMarco Murray: Murray has been held back in OTA's because of a hamstring strain. While it's believed to be minor, Murray has had a host of injuries his first two seasons in the NFL causing him to miss 9 games in that span. Murray is naturally talented but remains a boom or bust type of RB because of his inability to stay healthy and on the field. But this hamstring issue should be fine before training camp starts up and there's currently no reason to be overly concerned about it anymore than you would be with a player boasting Murray's injury history.
These are just some of the NFL player news that has been making some headlines in recent weeks. And with the exception of Rob Gronkowski, there really isn't anything here to be worried about for the regular season. But we're all gluttons for any news we can get this time of year and we have to remember that right now, 3 months before regular season games start, all teams are going to treat every minor injury with extreme caution. Only if these (or future) injuries linger into training camp should they really have you concerned.