Week 1 of the NFL preseason is in the books. As teams gear up for the rest of the exhibition season, injuries continue to pile up, affecting plans for the 2022 campaign. On the other hand, several teams received positive news on Monday. Here are the latest NFL injury updates as we enter preseason Week 2.
Monday’s NFL injury update
Now that every team has played at least one preseason game, injuries are at the top of mind for NFL decision-makers. Every club’s goal is to get to the regular season relatively healthy, so teams are becoming more reluctant to play starters during the preseason.
Let’s take a tour around the league, starting with an update from Cleveland.
Browns remove Denzel Ward from PUP
The Cleveland Browns will see the return of their No. 1 cornerback this week, as Denzel Ward has been taken off the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. Ward missed 12 days of practice while dealing with a foot injury, but he’s expected to return for Week 1.
Aside from Myles Garrett, Ward is Cleveland’s most important defensive player. He signed a five-year, $100.5 million extension with the Browns in April, temporarily making him the highest-paid corner in the NFL. He’s especially critical in an AFC North that includes receivers like Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Diontae Johnson, and Rashod Bateman.
The Browns have made a concerted effort to build up the depth around Ward, including by using their 2021 first-round pick on fellow CB Greg Newsome. The second-year defensive back hasn’t practiced since Tuesday due to a hamstring issue, but head coach Kevin Stefanski said Newsome “won’t be out long.”
Randy Gregory, Billy Turner come off PUP for Broncos
The Denver Broncos received good news on Tuesday, as two of their free agent additions — EDGE Randy Gregory and RT Billy Turner — have been removed from the PUP list. Gregory, who is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, is set to replace Von Miller as one of Denver’s primary pass rushers. Now that he’s off the PUP, he should be on track to play in Week 1.
Turner, meanwhile, could also be a starter when the regular season begins, but that’s less of a guarantee. He was expected to compete for the Broncos’ starting right tackle job, but he’s now lost valuable practice time. Calvin Anderson and Cameron Fleming are also candidates for the RT spot, while Tom Compton is on the PUP list following back surgery.
Ravens CB Marcus Peters cleared for practice
Let’s hit one more bit of good news before diving into the negative reports. The Baltimore Ravens announced that corner Marcus Peters has been removed from the PUP list and cleared to practice. Peters tore his ACL right before the start of the 2021 season, so he’s nearly a year removed from his major injury.
Baltimore was absolutely decimated by injuries last year, so they may take things slow with Peters to make sure he’s fully recovered. If healthy, Peters is a critical asset in a Ravens secondary that also includes Marlon Humphrey, Kyle Fuller, Marcus Williams, Kyle Hamilton, and Chuck Clark.
Jimmie Ward uncertain for Week 1
San Francisco 49ers safety Jimmie Ward suffered a hamstring injury on Sunday, and the issue is “pretty bad,” according to head coach Kyle Shanahan. Ward will need roughly a month of recovery time, so he’s in danger of missing Week 1. If Ward isn’t available for the start of the season, George Odum or Tarvarius Moore would likely step into a starting role.
On the other side of the ball, offensive lineman Daniel Brunskill injured his hamstring in San Francisco’s preseason opener on Friday and will be sidelined for multiple weeks. Brunskill had been competing for a starting gig along the interior of the 49ers’ line. Now that he’s out, it looks like San Francisco will start Aaron Banks, Jake Brendel, and fourth-round rookie Spencer Burford from left to right.
Kadarius Toney unlikely to practice this week
New York Giants wide receiver Kadarius Toney probably won’t suit up for practice this week while nursing a foot injury, per head coach Brian Daboll. Toney, a first-round pick in 2021, dealt with a lot of injuries in his rookie season, and it appears health issues have stricken him once again. If Toney is out for an extended period of time, rookie Wan’Dale Robinson or Darius Slayton — who’s been mentioned as a trade candidate — could see more time.
Meanwhile, starting left guard Shane Lemieux has a toe injury and is unlikely to practice this week. When asked if Lemieux’s issue could linger into the regular season, Daboll said, “We’ll see.” If Lemieux is unavailable, third-round rookie Joshua Ezeudu could be the next man up.