Carroll Injury Report: Smith, Owens

I'll admit to being spoiled. As I type this, I'm sitting at the gate at Washington Dulles airport, typing away on my laptop despite the inexplicable lack of Wi-Fi here. The great thing about this job and modern technology is that I can still do it. My PDA is bringing me texts and e-mails while my cell phone is pinging me with alerts and news. Sure, my pockets might be full, but the time spent waiting on airplanes is no longer wasted because I can still do my job.

Steve Smith was, by many measures, the best fantasy WR in 2005. It's hard to repeat as champion in any way, even just repeating this feat. Smith is already behind a bit as his strained hamstring has kept him off the field through most of training camp. Smith is a speed receiver who runs short routes and gets big YAC. If Smith loses just a half-step, that means more DBs and LBs will be able to run him down or, worse, get him before he gets separation. Speed receivers seldom recover in-season from leg injuries, and the chronic ones can be career changers if not career enders. Smith has shown the ability to come back from injury without a significant effect on his game. Realistic expectations for this season combined with the injury should drop him back on your draft board, but keep him in the elite tier of WRs.

Continuing the theme of WRs with leg problems -- among other things -- Terrell Owens is reporting a setback in his long rehab from a strained hamstring. Missing more reps and keeping the national media on Tunawatch won't help Owens' standing. A recurrent hamstring strain is even worse. Although he's not a speed receiver, Owens is missing reps while the Cowboys go through an interesting training camp. Owens isn't getting time on the field with Drew Bledsoe or Tony Romo, which leaves whoever wins the QB job plenty of time to develop a connection with Terry Glenn, Patrick Crayton and Jason Witten. Owens, even if he gets back soon, is fast becoming the third or fourth receiving option in Dallas.