It's been a depressingly impressive month for the Green Bay Packers. Injury upon injury has allowed backup after backup to keep the train rolling. Broken bones, sprained knees, frightening neurological cases have numbed the coaches, players and fans. Yet the team has won three straight because of uplifting performances from youngsters given the chance to play. How about a little good news?
Jermichael Finley is home. Moved from the Intensive Care Unit to a private room on Tuesday, he was discharged from the hospital today and will continue his recovery at home. There's still no idea how long it will take before he's able to play again. Might be sometime in 2014. Don't believe me? Just ask Sean Richardson.
An above average sized NFL safety from Vanderbilt who made the team as an undrafted free agent last year, Richardson showed great range and solid speed on special teams. That speed led to a collision at MetLife Stadium in week 11 and he didn't get up. Richardson suffered a neck sprain that ultimately led to fusion surgery between the C4 and C5 vertebrae. He missed all of the spring organized team activities and training camp practices while rehabilitating on his own or with the training staff. He was placed on the physically unable to perform list to start the season. Now six weeks into the campaign, those players on the PUP list have to either start practicing to hopefully be brought onto the active roster, get moved to the season ending injured reserve list or be placed on waivers. The three week window is now open. But Richardson was still just a spectator at practice. Until today. Sean got the news he has been waiting for, medical clearance to play the game he loves once more. I caught up with him in the locker room today.
Here's hoping both Sean and Jermichael have endured their last serious medical challenge.
Now back to the depressing medical news, the still lengthy injury report heading into Sunday night's game with the Minnesota Vikings at the Metrodome. The only change from Wednesday is linebacker Brad Jones who went from a full participant to limited with his hamstring injury. Mike McCarthy isn't alarmed, it'll take the full week to decide if Jones will return after missing a couple of games. Ruled out for this week are Clay Matthews, Jermichael Finley and James Jones. Nick Perry and Ryan Taylor did not practice while Jarrett Bush, Casey Hayward and James Starks were full participants.
The team kept the pads off, not so much because of the injuries but because McCarthy had it planned that way on his season long practice schedule. Under the collective bargaining agreement of 2011, players were able to convince the owners they can take only just a bit more than a dozen padded practices once the regular season begins. McCarthy had the guys work in pads twice during their early bye week so they won't hit again until they hit the Metrodome.
Aaron Rodgers, Datone Jones, C.J. Wilson and Randall Cobb were among the courtside viewers of the Milwaukee Bucks and the New York Knicks NBA Pre-Season game Wednesday night at the Resch Center, just a block away from Lambeau. Rodgers and Cobb were both introduced by the PA announcer and show on the video scoreboard. After a three point hit by Caron Butler, the new Bucks guard jogged back on defense and flashed the discount double check championship belt gesture toward Aaron. The Bucks were 105-95 winners.