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Montee Ball returns to practice, Brett Keisel visits Cardinals and more

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Montee Ball returned to practice on Tuesday following an appendectomy, D.J. Hayden could wind up starting the season on the PUP list and more.


Denver Broncos running back Montee Ball returned to practice on Tuesday, according to Jeff Legwold of ESPN. Ball has been out of practice due to an appendectomy, though he was adamant shortly after the procedure that he'd be ready for the team's regular-season opener against the Indianapolis Colts.

The Broncos are just doing light workouts and individual drills as it's a non-contact practice. Ball is not yet cleared for full contact, but this appearance in practice is a great first step. He's not expected to take part in Denver's third preseason game against the Houston Texans, however.

Miami Dolphins tight end Charles Clay returned to practice on Monday, and apparently did not suffer any setbacks in his recovery from a knee injury. Clay was in action Tuesday, practicing for the second consecutive day:

Clay told the media that he planned on being ready for the regular-season opener against the New England Patriots, and his appearance in these two practices seems to indicate that's likely, provided there's no setbacks.

New York Giants rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham was sidelined for most of training camp with a hamstring injury, but returned to action last week. There was some optimism that he'd be able to make his preseason debut when the Giants take on the New York Jets in their next game, but then Beckham found himself rehabbing on the side with the other injured players during Tuesday's practice.

Prior to Tom Coughlin addressing the media, the team said that Beckham's injury is nothing serious:

"Resting" seems awfully convenient for a player that missed all of training camp until a few days ago. Beckham was then confirmed out for the upcoming preseason game:

In other news, it sounds like we're out of the woods when it comes to the injury sustained by Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy. The prolific back is dealing with a painful case of turf toe, but managed to practice in full on Monday. Head coach Chip Kelly considers it such a non-issue that he joked about it on Tuesday, saying he didn't think McCoy would "ever play again."

Kelly followed up by saying that McCoy has been practicing in full and is "fine," and that it's "not as big an issue as I think anybody's made it out to be."

Position Battles

Obviously, the big one is the ongoing quarterback battle between Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel of the Cleveland Browns. The two quarterbacks got playing time with the starters on Monday night against Washington, and both struggled. Manziel completed 7 of 16 passes with a touchdown, while Hoyer completed just 2 of 6 passes for 16 yards.

Head coach Mike Pettine said he wanted to name a starter by the third preseason game, though it's unclear if he meant by the time that game ended. Whatever the case, he's not sure who the starter will be in Week 1 just yet, as he said that "neither guy really distinguished himself" in Monday's game, according to Peter King of Sports Illustrated.

It looks like this battle isn't ending any time soon.

Hayden could be headed for PUP to start season

Oakland Raiders cornerback D.J. Hayden appears to be headed to the physically unable to perform list to start the season, according to Ian Rapoport of It's not known for sure at this point, but the Raiders will know "this week," according to the report. Hayden had surgery for a stress fracture in July and has been on the PUP list ever since, but there was hope that they'd be able to bring him off the list to start the season.

If he starts the season on the list, he'll be forced to miss the first six games. Generally, a player can miss the PUP list even if he missed the season opener, but a team is willing to carry him on the roster and allow him to take up that spot while not playing. Hayden was a first-round pick in 2013 and played in just eight games as a rookie, and struggled in those games.

Keisel visiting Arizona

The Arizona Cardinals are hosting defensive end Brett Keisel on Tuesday, according to Kent Somers of Keisel is visiting to take a physical, and most believe he'll sign a free-agent contract if the visit goes well. Keisel would be coming in to help a defensive line that's been hit hard with injuries. Most recently, Darnell Dockett sustained a season-ending knee injury.

Dockett was a team leader and obviously a starter, but Keisel is insurance more than anything. The Cardinals like both Calais Campbell and Frostee Rucker, the latter of whom has been impressing in training camp. Keisel, at 36 years old, isn't going to start, but he could definitely see some playing time in rotation. That's provided all goes well with the physical and the Cardinals sign him, of course.

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