NFL Preseason News- Injuries to Bryant, Smith in NFC South
The season hasn’t even started and the injury bug is already at its worst, targeting a lot of the big names in the NFC South. We’re already aware that Reggie Bush’s knee isn’t up to snuff, and that injury alone has people buzzing in New Orleans about Pierre Thomas. But let’s face it, without Bush, the Saints are going to struggle. He is not the playmaker we hoped he would be, but he’s ideal as a slot receiver and completely lethal as a kick-returner. Just ask the Bucs.
Speaking of Tampa Bay…
Antonio Bryant Suffers Serious Knee Injury
This is not what you want when you’re entering another contract year. Antonio Bryant eighth best receiver in the NFL last year, finishing with 1,248 yards and seven touchdowns after an incredible finish. Bryant almost carried Tampa Bay in to the playoffs. He will now sit out the entire pre-season to nurse the injury, but the team remains hopeful that Bryant will be back by Week 1.
What the team will get to see instead is if the guys behind Bryant can serve as legitimate compliments. The team has drafted Michael Clayton, Dexter Jackson and Maurice Stovall over the last five seasons, and none of them have panned out. However, a lot of that had to do with Gruden’s inability to properly groom young players. The word from Tampa Bay is that their new head coach, Raheem Morris, has formed incredible bonds with his players and if anyone can see these three mature in to viable receiving threats, it’s the personable Morris.
The loss of Bryant is gigantic, especially if it’s an injury that plagues him all season. Kellen Winslow Jr., the incumbent tight-end of the Bucs, is also dealing with minor injuries. But that’s Winslow’s life story. What else is new?
Steve Smith Injures Shoulder In Practice
If things couldn’t possibly worse for the Panthers heading in to this season after a debilitating playoff loss to the Arizona Cardinals, Steve Smith has hit the injury list as well. To say the least, the injury to Smith is massive, and it looks as though the injury could be much more serious than believed. Though x-rays came back negative, the idea of Smith carrying an injured shoulder in to the regular season does not bode well.
Compounding the injury is the idea of 36-year-old Mushin Muhammad and Dwayne Jarrett backing up Smith. Neither of those guys has the mustard to be a number-one guy, and Smith’s loss will be Jake Delhomme’s demise. He’s already coming off a five-pick game in the playoffs last year. Losing his best weapon to injury already could finally mean the end of Jake in Carolina.
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