Probably the most negative aspect of the lockout that was this summer was the lack of mini-camps and other conditioning regiments that prepare players for the rigors of a NFL season. Sure, these guys work out on their own but as I've often heard from former players, there's being in shape and there's being in football shape.
Usually, poor conditioning leads to injuries, and with week three of the NFL preseason behind us, that fact fast became prevalent. Week 3 of the preseason is considered the most important from a coaches standpoint because traditionally, it's when you get your longest look at the starters. Typically, they play around a half to 3 quarters, so when you factor in extended gameday play with a limited practice and conditioning time, well, injuries are to be expected.
This weekend didn't fail to disappoint on that regard. Here is a list of key guys that suffered some sort of injury in preseason week 3.
Wes Welker, New England Patriots: Welker, perhaps the best slot receiver in the game and the number 1 target for Tom Brady, went out with an undisclosed neck injury. He suffered the injury making a tackle after a Brady interception. The injury isn't thought to be serious but you never know with a neck injury.
Byron Leftwich, Pittsburgh Steelers: Leftwich suffered a broken left arm in the Steelers win over the Falcons. The number 2 QB, Leftwich might miss the entire season though new reports have him possibly returning at some point.
Adrian Foster, Houston Texans: Foster, the surprise player of 2010 and the key to the Texans making a playoff run this season, left the game this weekend noticeably limping. It is being reported that he tweaked him hamstring and that it isn't serious.
Maurkice Pouncey, Pittsburgh Steelers: The talented second year center suffered a left ankle injury and hobbled off the field Saturday. No report has been made on the seriousness of the injury.
Greg Toler, Arizona Cardinals: Starting cornerback Greg Toler suffered a left knee sprain Saturday night and has him questionable for the season opener. His injury opened the door for Patrick Peterson, the fifth-overall pick in the draft. Peterson returned an interception 34 yards for a touchdown late in the first quarter.
D.J. Williams, Brodrick Bunkley, Denver Broncos: The Broncos lost two key pieces to their defense Saturday night when Williams and Bunkley both went down to injuries. Williams suffered a dislocated right elbow and will be out three to four weeks while Bunkley suffered what the Broncos described as a knee sprain.