Injuries hit hard in Houston and Los Angeles

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After spending the first week of camp seemingly smiting the Baltimore Ravens, the football gods struck the Houston Texans and both Los Angeles clubs on Wednesday.

Second-year speedster Will Fuller broke his collarbone during practice, a major blow to a Texans offense with designs on bouncing back from a 2016 season spent in retrograde. Fuller will undergo surgery, per the Houston Chronicle, and is expected to miss two to three months.

Already missing one defensive end thanks to Aaron Donald's holdout, the Rams have now lost bookend starter Dominique Easley to a torn ACL.

The former Florida star turned his career around in Southern California last season after his surprising release from the Patriots. Now he'll attempt to join the short list of players to overcome three separate ACL reconstructions.

When Chargers top draft pick Mike Williams went down with a back injury, the Around The NFL Podcast made the salient point that wideout was the one position deep enough to withstand the loss.

If either of early-round guards Forrest Lamp or Dan Feeney were to suffer a serious injury, on the other hand, the Bolts' revamped offensive line might once again make life miserable for Philip Rivers. That lamentable scenario played out late Wednesday afternoon when Lamp was diagnosed with a torn ACL of his own.

The Chargers' unfortunate reign as the NFL's most snakebitten franchise threatens to undermine an otherwise loaded roster set for a run at the AFC West title.

Here's what else we learned on Wednesday:

1. The Giants had an injury scare of their own when Sterling Shepard was carted off the practice field with a lower-leg injury. As it turns out, though, Shepard simply rolled his ankle, coach Ben McAdoo announced. The initial diagnosis is a low-ankle sprain, which should allow the second-year wideout plenty of time to recover before Week 1.

2. Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi missed Wednesday's practice with a confirmed concussion. Don't expect to see the workhorse back on the field within the next week, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport explained, as the team is taking every precaution with so much time remaining before the season.

3. In other Dolphins news, seventh-round wide receiver Isaiah Ford is a candidate for injured reserve after undergoing surgery to repair meniscus damage in his knee, NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported.

4. The Steelers are pressing pause on rookie James Conner's impressive start to training camp. The third-round running back has been sidelined with a sprained AC joint in his shoulder. On a positive note, coach Mike Tomlin expects Conner to return in a matter of days, not weeks.

Kaepernick Watch


Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome categorically denied an ESPN report that owner Steve Bisciotti has overruled the football brass' desire to sign free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

"We are going through a process, and we have not made a decision," Newsome explained. "Steve Bisciotti has not told us we cannot sign Colin Kaepernick, nor has he blocked the move. Whoever is making those claims is wrong."

Coach John Harbaugh clarified Wednesday that signs are "very positive" as Joe Flacco recovers from a back issue. That being the case, Rapoport suggested the Ravens are in no rush to make a decision and might wait until after the preseason opener to seriously reconsider Kaepernick.

Depth Chart Drama


1. The draft's No. 1 overall pick, Myles Garrett, has forced his way into the Browns' starting lineup at defensive end. "It's time," coach Hue Jackson said. "You can only keep a guy down so long. He's earned it."

2. For all of the offseason handwringing in fantasy football circles, Carlos Hyde remains the No. 1 back in San Francisco. General manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan have raved about Hyde's conditioning this week, while rookie Joe Williams has yet to make an impression, per CSN Bay Area. We expect Hyde to open the season as the primary ball carrier with veteran Tim Hightower handling passing downs.

3. Speaking of fantasy football, drafters should look to the past to decipher the running-back workload in New Orleans. The best offenses of the Sean Payton era have featured triumvirate backfields, with a power runner (Deuce McAllister, Mike Bell), jack-of-all-trades (Pierre Thomas) and satellite back excelling in space (Reggie Bush, Darren Sproles).

A clearly rejuvenated Adrian Peterson is headed for the McAllister role, leaving Ingram to round out his game with an increased role in the passing attack. If rookie Alvin Kamara isn't ready to handle Bush/Sproles duties, Ingram could siphon a portion of those snaps in addition to channeling Thomas as the backfield glue.

4. After essentially redshirting during a one-catch rookie season, LaQuon Treadwell is bidding for the No. 3 receiver role alongside Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen in Minnesota. Last year's first-round pick has been working with the first-team offense since camp opened.

"I think he's come a long way," quarterback Sam Bradford said, "just from what I've seen from when I got here to this point this year."

5. Treadwell isn't the only enigmatic wideout resurrecting a stalled career. Nelson Agholor has been "outstanding and 180 degrees different" from last season's drop-plagued disaster, according to the Eagles' team site. One of the NFL's weakest position units in 2016 might just be a competitive advantage this year.

6. The news isn't so rosy for Phillip Dorsett, who is threatening to flame out in Indianapolis. Chester Rogers, undrafted last offseason, continues to run ahead of Dorsett and veteran Kamar Aiken as the No. 3 receiver, per the daily PR notes emailed by the Colts. "Early returns indicate that Rogers is a virtual 12th starter for the Colts," beat writer Kevin Bowen added.

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