Kellen Winslow continues to make progress in his rehabilitation from surgery on his right knee, but Cleveland Browns officials acknowledged this week that the often-injured tight end still might be limited in his participation at the outset of training camp.
Winslow, a third-year player who led all NFL tight ends in receptions in 2006, his first healthy season in the league, is recovering from late January microfracture surgery on his right knee. He was on the field and did some running at the Browns' minicamp this week but did not take part in any team drills.
Club officials had indicated earlier in the offseason that Winslow might be prepared to go full-speed at the start of camp, but optimism seems to have given way to realism. Given his past injury problems, the Browns likely will err on the side of caution in how they handle Winslow in camp. In the early stages, he might be limited to one practice per da and could require some days off completely to rest his knee.
"The medical people will let us know," coach Romeo Crennel told the Cleveland Plain Dealer this week. "If they tell us he's a full-go, then he'll do everything. If not, then we'll limit him."
Cleveland opens training camp July 27.
The results for the once-controversial microfracture procedure, in which holes are drilled in the knee to precipitate development of a substance that simulates cartilage, have markedly improved the past few years. Still, the rehabilitation from the surgery remains somewhat unpredictable, varying from case to case.
Despite his production last season, when he registered 89 catches for 875 yards and three touchdowns, Winslow said he was bothered by the balky knee, originally injured in a 2005 motorcycle accident. Surgery to address the problem was performed quickly after the season with the aim of providing Winslow the maximum recovery time.
Winslow, who won't turn 24 until July 21, began to demonstrate his full promise in 2006. In addition to leading the NFL in receptions by a tight end, his receiving yards were third most for a player at the position, and he started all 16 games.
The sixth overall player selected in the 2004 draft, Winslow missed all but two games of his rookie season after fracturing his leg attempting to recover an onside kick. In the spring of 2005, he tore up his knee and suffered several internal injuries when he was involved in a motorcycle accident.
In his first two seasons, he appeared in only two games and had just five receptions.
Senior writer Len Pasquarelli covers the NFL for ESPN.com.