By Rich Tandler
INDIANAPOLIS—The news that wide receiver Leonard Hankerson had surgery to repair the hip he injured in Week 10 last season is discouraging but not disastrous.
The hope was that he would be able to treat his hip subluxation (basically a partial dislocation) with rest and rehab. Towards the end of the season Mike Shanahan indicated that while Hankerson had not yet had surgery, he wasn't totally out of the woods. As we found out, he was still very much in the woods.
Hankerson said that he will be ready for the start of training camp and that certainly is a good sign. However, he will miss the offseason activities, which are invaluable for younger players still trying to learn the game. The conditioning sessions, OTA's and minicamp were cancelled last year, prior to Hankerson's rookie season, due to the NFL lockout.
Hankerson was very raw going into training camp last year and was inactive for the first five games of the season. He was just hitting his stride in the Miami game as he gained 106 yards on eight catches. On his last catch of the game he was injured and he lost seven regular season games of valuable developmental time.
This situation probably will not affect the Redskins' draft or free agency strategy very much. They were likely to try to acquire a playmaking wide receiver before Hankerson's injury and their plans probably won't change.
Although he has potential nobody really knows if Hankerson will become a player who is a threat to take it to the house from anywhere on the field. The Redskins need a player like that. If they get one and Hankerson also turns out to be one, well, the more the merrier.
Assuming that he gets and stays healthy, Hankerson has enough natural ability to contribute in 2012. He may be able to reach his full potential with only a partial season under his belt but the chances are that we will have to wait until 2013 to see what Leonard Hankerson really can do.
Rich Tandler will be covering the NFL Combine from Indianapolis all week. Any questions? Hit him up on Twitter @Rich_Tandler.