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ProFootballDoc: Top 5 OL Injury Questions Heading Into NFL Season

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Although we’ve already gone through the quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers and tight ends, let’s not forget about the blockers up front who will be key to their success. At www.profootballdoc.com, we focus on all players, not just fantasy stars. After all, their offense production depends on the blocking.

OL Top 5 Injury Questions

OL Ronnie Stanley

The Ravens’ left tackle signed a massive five-year, $98 million contract extension last season, just before he suffered a severe left ankle fracture/dislocation with additional ligament damage. This is why players want to get deals done — they are always at risk of injury. This injury required surgery and is similar to the one Dak Prescott suffered. Stanley recently came off PUP and has worked his way back into practice. He even saw playing time in the final preseason game. We expect Stanley to be ready for Week 1, but he will need to work himself back into full form over the first quarter of the season.

OL David Bakhtiari

The Packers’ stud left tackle tore his ACL in practice before Week 17 last year. He was sorely missed in the playoffs when the Packers lost to the Buccaneers in the NFC Championship. He did not pass his physical to start camp and remains on PUP. While he has looked good in offseason workout videos, the late-season injury shortened his recovery timeline. The team has been coy about his progress, and there is no way Bakhtiari will be 100% and ready to go for Week 1. He can stay on PUP for the first six weeks of the season. Even when he is cleared though, Bakhtiari will have to work his way back to full form as the season goes on.

OL Quenton Nelson

Nelson is in similar predicament as his quarterback, Carson Wentz. Both players elected to have surgery to remove a small piece of bone. Both also have a similar recovery timeline, but based on position and style of play, Nelson should return before Wentz. He is now on the COVID list but has time to return before Week 1. Given that he is key to the Colts’ line, we do see him being ready for the start of the season and working his way back to full health.

OL Eric Fisher

The Colts’ new left tackle is really a stash signing, after he ruptured his Achilles tendon in the AFC Championship Game while still a member of the Chiefs. Fisher missed the Super Bowl before being released. He then joined the Colts on a one-year, $8.38 million deal. It would be quick for Fisher to be ready for the start of the season, and it is medically impossible for him to be anywhere near 100%. His status on the COVID list will delay a final decision on likely extending his PUP status to the regular season, which would mean missing a minimum of six additional games. In the meantime, the Colts will have a tough time filling the void left by longtime left tackle Anthony Castonzo, who retired after last season, and Sam Tevi, who tore his ACL recently and is done for the season.

OL Taylor Lewan

The three-time Pro Bowler tore his ACL in Week 6 of the 2020 season and missed the rest of the year. Lewan had reconstruction surgery and is off the PUP list to start camp. He saw snaps in the final preseason game and looks to start the season at left tackle, but he has a ways to go to get back to his dominant form. That might not even happen until midway through the season.

For info on Christian Darrisaw and his second core surgery, as well as other cluster O-line injuries on the Jets and Cowboys, go to www.profootballdoc.com to download the free 80+ page Preseason Injury Preview for analysis of all 32 teams health.

Written by Pro Football Doc

David Chao, MD -- known digitally as Pro Football Doc -- is an expert contributor for Outkick. Chao spent 17 seasons as the team doctor for the San Diego Chargers (1997-2013) and is part of the medical team at OASIS in San Diego where he treats and specializes in orthopedic sports injuries, working with high-profile professional athletes from the NFL, NBA, and MLB.

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