Injuries, unfortunately, are a part of the game of football, and that is certainly no exception in training camp.
During Sunday's practice, wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey limped off the practice field after suffering a sprained left knee. The extent of the injury, or how much time DHB will miss, is unknown at this point, but with the team's first preseason game just a week away, it is certainly fair to question whether he will be ready then. Hopefully that's the only game in question, but again, there's not much info yet as to the extent of the injury.
It does provide concern, however, as now it's a little more real as to just how thin this wide receiver depth truly is. There's Reggie Wayne (who reportedly didn't have the best practice today - not cause for worry just something to note), DHB, and T.Y. Hilton... and then, who else? If the team is without the services of one of those three, the depth is even more thin. We'll get to see that in the next few days at least as DHB recovers.
Perhaps this is the time for Griff Whalen to step up and get even more playing time with the starters, as he has been having a great camp so far and could benefit from extra work with the first team. Perhaps this is the time for LaVon Brazill to step up and prove that he indeed deserves to be on the team, despite his 4-game suspension (Brazill also missed time during the first week of camp due to injury but was on the field today). Perhaps this is a time for one of the other receivers to step up instead.
What it does reveal for sure, however, is that this wide receiver core isn't exactly great. Sure, the offense is going to heavily rely on tight ends Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener (both of whom have looked good during camp so far) and of course, Reggie Wayne is going to be a major player. There are high hopes for T.Y. Hilton in his second season, and Darrius Heyward-Bey was signed to provide another threat to the offense.
If he's hurt and if he misses any significant time, unfortunately we'll see just how thin this wide receiver depth chart is.
OTHER INJURY NOTES: Fullback Dan Moore also was injured in Sunday's practice, suffering a sprained AC joint in his right shoulder. Like Heyward-Bey, the extent of Moore's injury is unknown at this point. If he misses any significant time, it wouldn't be good for him, as he's battling Stanley Havili for the starting (and likely only) fullback spot.
Guard Hugh Thornton (ankle), center Khaled Holmes (ankle), safety Sergio Brown (hamstring), linebacker Mario Harvey (hamstring), linebacker Daniel Adongo (biceps), guard Joe Reitz (burner) and cornerback Greg Toler (concussion) missed practice today with injuries as well.
Running back Ahmad Bradshaw, who is currently on the PUP list, was taking "mental reps" with the offense this morning in the walkthrough, according to coach Chuck Pagano. Great - except, as Pro Football Talk pointed out, if he's actually on the practice field taking reps, that's technically not allowed. It doesn't seem like that big of a deal, but the rules are pretty clear. Either way, Pagano did state that Bradshaw isn't ready to come off of the PUP this week. The wait to see him on the field continues... but apparently, the team already has seen him on the field in training camp, albeit for "mental reps."
For more on Sunday's practice, read Andrew Mishler's practice recap here.