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 2022 season that will greatly impact their teams’ performance:
NFL Players Coming Back From Injury:
1. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens had a record of 8-5 when Jackson went down with a bone bruise in mid-December and never won again, despite some impressive performances by backup Tyler Huntley.
The 2019 NFL MVP is 37-12 as a starter in his career and the ankle injury is not a factor as he participates in training camp.
2. David Bakhtiari, Green Bay Packers
Bakhtiari played just 27 snaps last season, all coming in a meaningless Week 18 loss to Detroit. The All Pro left tackle tore his ACL prior to the 2020 postseason and has had issues with his recovery ever since.
Most recently, Bakhtiari underwent another knee procedure and has no timetable for his return to the practice field. With Elton Jenkins now moved to right tackle, Yosh Nijman could be protecting Aaron Rodgers‘ blindside in Week 1.
3. Tre’Davious White, Buffalo Bills
It wasn’t a happy Thanksgiving for White, who tore his ACL that night in a 31-6 win over the Saints. His status for the start of the season remains in question as he has yet to step on the practice field.
The Bills did select Cairo Elam in the first round of this year’s draft, but lost Levi Wallace to the Steelers in free agency. Dane Jackson could line up across from Elam in Week 1 if White isn’t ready to go.
4. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers
It’s been back-to-back lost seasons for McCaffrey who has played a total of 10 games during that span after not missing a game in his first three years in the NFL.
A hamstring strain and a rolled ankle cost him 9 games in 2021 and it remains to be seen if Carolina will lessen his workload to keep him healthy for the whole season.
McCaffrey averaged over 20 touches per game in the weeks he was healthy over the last two years. Chuba Hubbard and D’Onta Foreman could help with that burden.
5. DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona Cardinals
Hopkins suffered a hamstring injury last season and played in just two of Arizona’s final 10 games, shutting it down in Week 14 due to an MCL injury. His 2022 campaign won’t get started until Week 7 due to a PED suspension.
The Cardinals added Marquise Brown this offseason to be their number two wide out, but they did lose 2021 leading receiver Christian Kirk in free agency.
6. Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints
Thomas has not played since Week 14 of the 2020 season. He suffered an ankle injury and waited until late in the offseason to get surgery, costing him the 2021 season as well.
He’s been active in training camp this year, but joins a Saints receiving corps that added Jarvis Landry and first-round pick Chris Olave in the offseason.
7. Chase Young, Washington Commanders
The 2020 Defensive Rookie of the Year struggled in nine games last year, recording just 1.5 sacks and three tackles for loss. A torn ACL cost him the final eight games of the season.
Young’s progress hasn’t been speedy as he’s already been ruled out for Week 1 by head coach Ron Rivera.
8. Odell Beckham Jr., Free Agent
Beckham was enjoying a resurgence with the Rams after a midseason trade from Cleveland, but he tore his ACL in the Super Bowl and remains unsigned as of this writing.
A number of teams have been rumored to be interested in Beckham, including the Colts, Broncos, Rams and Cowboys.
9. Khalil Mack, Los Angeles Chargers
Mack made three Pro Bowls with the Bears, but a foot injury last November cut his 2021 season short after just seven games. He was subsequently traded to the Chargers in March.
Mack has been impressive so far in training camp with the Chargers, but Los Angeles has Kyle Van Noy in reserve should he get injured again.
10. Za’Darius Smith, Minnesota Vikings
Smith’s season was over after playing just 18 snaps in Week 1 last year, missing the rest of the season with a back injury. He was released by the Packers in the offseason and signed with their division rival.
Smith totaled 26 sacks in 2019 and 2020, earning Pro Bowl nods in both seasons. If he and Danielle Hunter (missed nine games last year) can stay healthy, they will be an elite pass-rushing duo that few teams could rival.
11. Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Godwin practiced this week for the first time after tearing his ACL in Week 15 last year. He was not placed on the PUP list to start training camp, indicating the Buccaneers expect him to be ready for the start of the season.
Godwin’s return comes at a good time with Mike Evans now nursing a hamstring injury, although Tampa Bay did add Julio Jones in free agency to bolster their depth.
12. Mekhi Becton, New York Jets
After a promising rookie season, Becton injured his knee in Week 1 of 2021 and never returned, losing his left tackle job to George Fant and forcing himself to move to right tackle for the 2022 season.
The former 11th-overall pick allowed 23 pressures and seven sacks in 14 games as a rookie.
13. Brandon Graham, Philadelphia Eagles
Graham tore his Achilles in Week 2 last year, ending a streak of nine consecutive healthy seasons. The Eagles pass rush struggled in his absence, ranking 31st in sacks and 22nd in pressure percentage.
The 34-year-old rejoins a revamped defensive front that added Jason Reddick on the edge and first-round pick Jordan Davis up the middle. The Eagles are also expected to switch to an odd defensive front this year, scrapping the base 4-3 Graham has played in most of his career.
14. James Robinson/Travis Etienne, Jacksonville Jaguars
It remains to be seen how Doug Pederson will deploy his backfield, but both guys are coming off seasons that ended prematurely due to injury. Etienne suffered a Lisfranc injury in training camp and Robinson was lost to an Achilles tear in Week 17.
While both guys have been active at practice, they sat out the Hall of Fame Game.
15. Mike McGlinchey, San Francisco 49ers
A torn quad cost McGlinchey the final 12 games of 2021 and his return could make a huge impact on a 49ers offensive line that lost two starters in the offseason.
While Trent Williams is still holding down the fort on the other end of the line, McGlinchey’s return to right tackle could be a huge boost for an offense built around first-year starters at quarterback and center.
16. Laremy Tunsil, Houston Texans
There have been no practice restrictions for Tunsil during training camp after his 2021 season was derailed by a thumb injury.
The injury was initially thought to be relatively minor, but with the Texans mired in a lost season, they shut down their left tackle for the rest of the season. Expect Tunsil to be ready to go in Week 1.