Teams already losing key players

Any time a player puts on pads and takes the field, for a practice or a game, he risks injury. It's just the nature of football. If anyone understands this more than the players themselves, it's head coaches. Getting players in good playing shape and comfortable with any changes in scheme is important, but the risk isn't worth the reward in many cases. That's why so many starters see just one or two series in the first two preseason games.

Despite those precautions, players who are expected to be significant contributors to their teams still sustain injuries during the preseason. Here is a list of five players who are expected to miss substantial time because of a preseason injury, and how each injury will affect that player's team.

Philadelphia WR Todd Pinkston
Pinkston will miss the entire 2005 season after rupturing an Achilles tendon during a practice in early August. While he caught just 36 passes last year, his absence limits the ability of the Eagles to spread the field and create favorable single-coverage matchups for QB Donovan McNabb to exploit. Even though offensive coordinator Brad Childress can take advantage of RB Brian Westbrook's versatility by moving him to the slot at times, there still isn't a great amount of depth at receiver.