The NFL monitors injuries, and usually there are eight Achilles injuries each season, said Dr. Elliott Hershman, chairman of the NFL's Injury and Safety Committee. The NFL did not disclose injury statistics for the first five weeks of this season.
To more accurately track and analyze injuries, the NFL and NFL Players Association have teamed with Outcome, an organization tasked with enhancing the league's Injury Surveillance System. The ISS provides scientific review and research support aimed at better understanding football-related injuries.
The project began at the start of training camp with five pilot teams -- the Steelers, New York Giants, New York Jets, San Francisco and Baltimore. Following completion of the pilot phase, the project is expected to be expanded to the remaining teams.
According to figures compiled by Football Outsiders, a website that tracks all games, nine players were on injured reserve with Achilles tendon injuries in the first week of the 2010 season. The website notes there were nearly that many during the first two weeks this preseason.
But Guy suggested the increase in Achilles tendon and hamstring injuries also reflects expansive rosters of 90 players during training camp. Coincidentally, more players were susceptible to injuries.
"If you cut (offseason) time down before you get into two-a-days in August, you're probably going to see more injuries," said Guy, who repaired the stress fracture in the left foot of Steelers rookie tight end Weslye Saunders prior to the NFL Draft.
The six-month lockout prevented players from seeking offseason medical evaluations by team physicians. They were unable to train at NFL facilities, thus leaving them to pursue an alternative workout and training regimen.
"You live with injuries, and you move on," said Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor. "Regardless if you're here or not, you have to stay in shape. It's just an excuse to use a lack of training camp as a reason for injuries."
Guy said the effect of canceling supervised offseason training sessions should not be overlooked.
"The Achilles tendon injuries are the result of overloading the tendon during limited practice and conditioning," Guy said. "It's not like it involves one team, and you can blame certain conditioning or dieting plans. The fact that it's happening throughout the NFL definitely gives you more concern, considering the length of conditioning time in the preseason."
There were expectations that hamstring and abdominal strains and quadriceps pulls would result from a shortened training camp. The Steelers were besieged with a rash of nagging injuries days after reporting to camp following the lockout.
Then they lost rookie running back Baron Batch to a knee injury prior to the first preseason game. Offensive tackle Willie Colon suffered a season-ending triceps injury in the regular-season opener at Baltimore.
McFadden, despite his frustrations, insisted his injury isn't the result of missed offseason organized team activities.
"I think even with the OTAs and minicamp, injuries occur," McFadden said. "I wish it was that easy, but you have to realize there some things you can't control when you're running full speed.
"I think it just comes with the territory. What has set me back is that I wake up without soreness, then it flares back up again when I'm running in practice."
But veteran linebacker James Farrior differs with Taylor and McFadden. Farrior, 36, is convinced the lockout is a significant factor in many of the injuries.
"I definitely think it's a factor not being here during the lockout," said Farrior, in his 15th season. "It seems like there are a lot more guys hurt now. I think it's not being used to the pace of the game and not getting that extra work in the offseason with the OTAs."
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had been canon fodder during the first four games, mostly because an injury-riddled offensive line had a different starting lineup every game day. So far, center Maurkice Pouncey is the Steelers' only offensive lineman not to have missed a game. It's not, however, because he's managed to elude injury. He has played with a banged-up shoulder and sprained ankle.
"It's just something you have to deal with," said Pouncey, who had shoulder surgery while at the University of Florida. "I don't think the OTAs have nothing to do with it."
Yet, there are varying opinions inside the Steelers locker room.
Kemoeatu, who has missed two starts at left guard because of a knee injury, insisted last week as he did during the preseason that the lockout may have hampered his progress.
"It was frustrating not having the chance to work out at the facility," said Kemoeatu, who has missed nine games since starting all 16 regular-season games in 2008. "I worked with trainers at my school (Utah), but it wasn't the same as having the (team) doctor work with you."