There were several NFL players (including key starters) that saw injuries cut their season short last year.
We’ve provided a breakdown of the biggest NFL stars and important players coming back from injury for the 2023 season that will greatly impact their teams’ performance.
NFL Players Coming Back From Injury:
Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens are 15-9 when Lamar Jackson has played over the last two seasons, but he’s failed to finish either campaign, going down with a bone bruise in 2021 and an ankle injury last season.
With a new contract, Jackson is back in Baltimore and healthy once again at the start of training camp. However, the question remains, will he be healthy when December rolls around?
Zach Ertz, Arizona Cardinals
After being traded to the Cardinals in the middle of 2021, Zach Ertz led the team in receptions per game and followed that up by leading Arizona in touchdown catches last year despite playing only 10 games.
Ertz was placed on the PUP list to start training camp, but he still thinks Week 1 is a realistic target date for his return.
With DeAndre Hopkins gone and Kyler Murray still months away from hitting the field, Ertz could be a popular target for Colt McCoy when he gets healthy.
Von Miller, Buffalo Bills
Von Miller was enjoying a resurgent season with the Bills in 2022, but unfortunately, it ended on Thanksgiving when he tore his ACL. The team is currently optimistic Miller can return by Week 1 to rush Aaron Rodgers.
The Bills were 12th in the NFL in sacks before Miller got hurt and fell all the way to 23rd after Week 12.
Getting Miller back soon is obviously Buffalo’s goal, but having him healthy later in the season will be far more important with Joe Burrow, Rodgers, Jalen Hurts, and Patrick Mahomes on the schedule over a five-game stretch.
Javonte Williams, Denver Broncos
When Javonte Williams initially tore his ACL and LCL last year, his recovery was expected to take between 12 and 18 months. However, he is already participating in padded practices, indicating he is well-ahead of schedule.
The Broncos shied away from adding any competition for Williams in the backfield this offseason, adding only veteran backup Samaje Perine in free agency. So even if Williams isn’t healthy to start the season, he could be handling a big workload once he’s back on the field.
Rashan Gary, Green Bay Packers
Rashan Gary looked to be on the way to his first Pro Bowl last year, but he tore his ACL in Week 9. Gary still finished with six sacks and seven tackles for loss, both of which were still good enough to be second on the team behind Preston Smith.
The fifth-year vet started training camp on the PUP list and his status for the beginning of the season remains in question.
The Packers drafted edge rusher Lukas Van Ness in the first round of this year’s draft to help ease the temporary loss of Gary.
Derek Stingley Jr, Houston Texans
Injuries were probably the biggest question regarding Derek Stingley Jr. as he entered the draft last year and unfortunately, the third-overall pick missed the last eight games of the season due to a hamstring injury.
Stingley played well when he was on the field and is raising eyebrows in his second NFL training camp, earning praise from new head coach DeMeco Ryans.
Shaquille Leonard, Indianapolis Colts
2022 was a lost season for the artist formerly known as Darius Leonard.
After starting his career with four straight Pro Bowl nods, Leonard spent much of training camp on the sideline due to a back injury and then managed to suit up for three games and play a total of 74 snaps before shutting it down.
Leonard underwent a second back procedure last November and is back on the field at training camp. He looks to be on track to return by Week 1 after participating in 11-on-11 drills all last week.
Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams
After reaching his career-apex in 2021, Matthew Stafford had a weird 2022 that started with him sitting out in training camp with an elbow injury and ended with him sitting out the last seven games due to a spinal cord contusion.
The veteran quarterback has been a full participant in the Rams offseason program, save for a few rest days, and barring any setback, will be the team’s starting quarterback from the jump.
Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams
Staying in LA, Cooper Kupp is back and healthy after missing the second half of last season due to a high-ankle sprain.
There was some hope he could return before the end of the season, but he was ultimately shut down when the Rams were eliminated from playoff contention.
Even in just nine games last year, Kupp put up big numbers, catching 75 passes for 812 yards. He tallied double-digit catches in three of the Rams’ first four games.
Even with low expectations this season, a healthy tandem of Stafford and Kupp could be very lucrative to the Rams.
Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins
2022 was a tough season for Tua Tagovailoa, who enjoyed his most successful season as a quarterback but also struggled with concussions and openly contemplated retirement following the season.
Entering a contract year, the stakes have never been higher for Tagovailoa, who has been healthy and active at training camp.
The quarterback has taken his health so seriously in fact, he spent the offseason learning jiu-jitsu so he can protect his head better when tackled.
Breece Hall, New York Jets
Breece Hall seemed to finally be hitting his stride as a rookie before a torn ACL ended his season in Week 7.
However, he was tremendous in the previous four games, totaling 468 yards from scrimmage and scoring four touchdowns on 65 touches.
Hall’s only competition in the backfield right now is Michael Carter, who also struggled last year, and fifth-round rookie Israel Abanikanda, but Dalvin Cook is expected to sign any day.
The Jets did move Hall to the PUP list but are cautiously optimistic he could be taking handoffs from Aaron Rodgers as soon as Week 1.
Jamal Adams, Seattle Seahawks
Jamal Adams played just 15 snaps in 2022 before a torn quad ended his season.
The former All-Pro safety had 9.5 sacks in his first year with the Seahawks but has played just 13 games since signing a four-year, $70 million contract prior to the 2021 season.
Adams is starting training camp on the PUP list, so his availability for Week 1 remains in question.
The Seahawks did add former Giant Julian Love in free agency, which shores up their depth and safety and can allow Adams to play more in the box once he’s back on the field.
Harold Landry, Tennessee Titans
Harold Landry earned his first Pro Bowl nod in 2021 thanks to his 12.5 sacks and cashed in with a 5-year, $87.5 million contract in the offseason.
Unfortunately, the edge rusher suffered a torn ACL just days before the start of the 2022 season and has been rehabbing ever since.
With Landry on the sideline, the Titans finished 18th in pressure rate last year and recorded just 39 sacks as a team.
Landry told reporters last week that he is ecstatic to be back on the field and will line up across from Arden Key after Tennessee signed him away from Jacksonville in free agency.