Injuries suck. Especially in the offseason.
While it's nice to see veterans and rookies cohabitating on the field for the first time, losing a key player in meaningless June sessions? Total darkness.
The good news is most teams have slipped into their summer naps relatively unscathed.
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback
Big Ben is recovering quickly after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery in early June. He threw to receivers during this week's minicamp and said Tuesday, "It feels great." The quarterback was supposed to be sidelined until training camp, but he said Thursday he could suit up two Sundays from now if need be. Disaster avoided.
Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys quarterback
Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins quarterback
NFL.com's Jeff Darlington reported Tuesday that Griffin was dropping back and throwing passes, but still a "little ginger" on rollouts. The Redskins passer expects "without a doubt" to be ready for training camp. Next stop: RGIII will meet this week with surgeon to the NFL stars, Dr. James Andrews, for a checkup.
Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots tight end
NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reported Friday that Gronk will undergo back surgery Tuesday following multiple operations on his broken forearm. NFL.com's Albert Breer first reported in May that a mid-June surgery likely would keep the tight end sidelined for training camp and possibly even the first week of the season. Gronk's return is a moving target, and we doubt the Patriots rush him back before he's ready.
Victor Butler, New Orleans Saints outside linebacker:
A key pass rusher for the Saints, Butler went down with a torn anterior cruciate ligament this week after a practice collision with running back Mark Ingram. Butler reportedly is scheduled to undergo surgery Tuesday and almost certainly is lost for the year. A rough-and-tumble setback for Rob Ryan's D.
Brian Cushing, Houston Texans inside linebacker
Cushing is coming off season-ending knee surgery, but he told reporters Friday he expects to be cleared by Dr. Andrews on July 17. He didn't participate in organized team activities or minicamp, but Cushing told The Associated Press, "As far as camp goes, the first day, I'll be out there. I'll be in pads."
Melvin Ingram, San Diego Chargers outside linebacker
Ingram suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament during OTAs in May. He went under the knife soon after and his chances for a return in 2013 are slim. The team hasn't ruled that out.
Ed Reed, Houston Texans safety
Coming off hip surgery, Reed has been hazy about his availability for the regular-season opener. "I can't speak about Week 1 because I'm rehabbing right now," Reed told NFL Network's "NFL AM" on June 6, before adding, "I will be there the first game." In other words, ignore this storyline for a month.
Haloti Ngata, Baltimore Ravens defensive lineman
Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears wide receiver:
Marshall was held out of some minicamp drills this week, but said earlier in the month he feels no pain after offseason hip surgery. "I'm 100 percent now. I'm ready to go."
DeMarcus Ware, Dallas Cowboys defensive end
Ware still is recuperating from surgery on a torn labrum that caused his shoulder to pop out repeatedly last season. The pass rusher has yet to be cleared by team doctors and didn't participate in this week's minicamp, but Ware told "NFL AM" on Monday that he could play today, if there was a game. Everyone says that, but Ware has plenty of time until camp starts.
Ahmad Bradshaw, Indianapolis Colts running back:
Bradshaw's right foot still is in a boot and coach Chuck Pagano doesn't plan to press his luck with the Colts' newest addition. "There's no need to rush him," Pagano told The Indianapolis Star. The former New York Giants running back expects to be ready for camp, and we expect him to assume a starting role from Day 1.
Michael Crabtree, San Francisco 49ers wide receiver
Crabtree had stitches removed from his torn right Achilles tendon on June 3 following his surgery on May 22. If he can stay with the aggressive rehab schedule his surgeon, Dr. Dan Solomon, laid out, Crabtree might make it back for the final month of the season.
Mario Manningham, San Francisco 49ers wide receiver
Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers running back
Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars running back
Louis Delmas, Detroit Lions safety
Coach Jim Schwartz expects Delmas to be ready for camp, but his troubled knees aren't 100 percent. Delmas missed the entire offseason program after playing in only eight games last season. "We're prepared for Lou to be our leader on defense and to be out there for 16 games, but we're certainly prepared for him not to be out there," Shwartz recently said. "Hopefully that won't be the case."
Santonio Holmes, New York Jets wide receiver
Still mending from his season-ending Lisfranc injury, Holmes offered a terse "No comment" Wednesday when asked if he'd be ready for the start of the regular season. It's a tough injury to bounce back from, and there are questions if Holmes will be the same when he returns.
Sidenote: Nobody was injured in the typing of this bulletin.