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Training Camp Notes: Two Top Dogs Wounded

  • Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Jamaal Charles hurt his foot on a "grassy slope" while carrying a box out of his training camp dorm room at Missouri Western State University last week, saying he "just kind of rolled his foot over on the curb." The choice of words could lead to some conspiracy theories, but Reid stressed, "It was that simple. That was it." Although the team admitted some initial concern, Charles was said to be feeling better Monday and he was cleared by X-ray and MRI exams of any structural damage. Reid was unsure, however, whether Charles would be able to take the field for Tuesday's practice, and it's too early to tell whether Charles will be able to play in Saturday's exhibition game against Minnesota.
  • LeSean McCoy returned to the field Monday but his subsequent comments did little to ease concerns about his health. Explaining his absence from Sunday's practice, McCoy said he was "really, really hurting pretty bad" after injuring his left big toe in a joint practice with the Patriots earlier in the week. He described the ailment as "a small version of turf toe" and revealed that he too underwent X-ray and MRI exams after suffering the injury. Clearly no fracture or major ligament damage was found, and McCoy was adamant that he's "fine," but he did say that the toe bothers him when he tries to push off. That's not ideal for a player whose dominance is predicated on elite acceleration, and though he does expect to play in Thursday's preseason game, he suggested his reps will likely be limited. If McCoy and/or Charles end up needing additional maintenance in the coming days, it could impact the top of some weekend drafts.
  • A shot to the midsection during Saturday's preseason game left Bills rookie Sammy Watkins with a rib injury. He did not participate in Monday's practice and coach Doug Marrone was unwilling to offer up an estimated recovery timetable for Watkins, saying he won't provide one until he's certain as to the extent of the injury. It's disconcerting, with the team still listing Watkins as having a non-specific "ribs" injury, so it may be wise to discount the 21-year-old a bit until more information comes to light.
  • Now more than seven months removed from surgery to repair a torn ACL and MCL, Rob Gronkowski is still awaiting clearance for full contact. He did take part in 11-on-11 drills Monday and said afterward that he absorbed minor contact and remains intent on playing in all 16 regular season games with the Patriots. That's all well and good, but Gronkowski figures to remain sidelined for the team's final two preseason games and depending on his progress or lack thereof in the next 10 days or so, it's possible he could be tagged with a 'questionable' designation heading into Week 1.
  • Montee Ball met with his doctor Monday, seeking clearance to return to the practice field at some point this week. The 23-year-old underwent an appendectomy just two weeks ago, and while he said he's hoping to play in Thursday's preseason game against the Texans, that seems like a pipe dream at this point. Even if Ball does get the green light to return to practice, the Broncos may opt to hold him out of contract drills in the final days leading up to Thursday's "dress rehearsal." Ronnie Hillman will likely continue to see most of the first-team reps in the interim, with C.J. Anderson possibly seeing some run as well, but it looks like Ball has a chance to play a series or two in the exhibition finale.
  • The Eagles were without Jeremy Maclin (hamstring) and Riley Cooper (foot) in their second preseason game but both players are expected to suit up Thursday against Pittsburgh. Jordan Matthews stepped up in a major way with both out last Friday, hauling in all nine of his targets for 104 yards, but it will be interesting to see how the targets shake out with all three on the field together for the first time this preseason.
  • A quadriceps injury has limited Eric Decker for close to 10 days now, but he cleared a significant hurdle Monday, taking part in 7-on-7 drills. It remains to be seen whether he'll get enough work in during the week to get the OK to play Friday, but it would be nice to see him develop more of a rapport with Geno Smith, after catching just two passes for 12 yards in the exhibition opener.
  • Three-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Darnell Dockett has been ruled out for the year after suffering a torn ACL during Monday's practice. Frostee Rucker, Kareem Martin and Ed Stinson are all candidates to inherit some of the snaps left by Dockett, who missed just two games in his first 10 seasons in the NFL.