As the NFL Lockout has worn on, one of the concerns when football returns is the potential for injuries and out of shape players when training camp gets going. We've heard about the player workouts but that was a limited amount of time and we haven't exactly been able to track these guys every minute of every day.
In light of those concerns, ESPN's Jeffri Chadiha put together a solid write-up about Patrick Willis and how this offseason has gone for him. His strong work ethic means he won't be coming to camp out of shape but more importantly, Willis says he feels more fresh now than he has in previous offseasons at this point.
In prior years, Willis would have gone through a host of minicamps and "voluntary" OTAs in May and June. Given that the 49ers have a new coaching staff they would have been afforded additionally days of minicamp meaning even more formal workouts in Santa Clara. This year, Willis has done his own thing and feels pain-free and ready to go for the 2011 season.
This will be one story line worth following as we move into the eventual 2011 football season. It will be interesting to see what kind of injury news comes out over the first couple weeks of training camp, and then also the first couple weeks of the regular season as players get used to hitting again. Will we see an increase in smaller injuries (hamstring pulls, cramps, etc) or will the time off be a benefit to the players? Do you expect a significant number of players showing up not quite in game shape?