INDIANAPOLIS – Mike McCarthy is hoping to get injured offensive tackle Derek Sherrod back for organized team activity practices this spring, but the Green Bay Packers coach can’t say for sure whether the 2011 first-round draft pick will make a full recovery from the broken leg that forced him to miss all of last season.
Sherrod suffered a broken leg on Dec. 18, 2011 in a game at Kansas City that required emergency surgery. He had a setback last spring, then spent the entire year on the physically unable to perform list. McCarthy said Sherrod underwent a second surgery and has been at the team facility at Lambeau Field non-stop since the season ended.
“I see him in the training room every, single day. The surgery he feels is a success and what he needed,” McCarthy said at the NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. “As far as a timetable, I haven’t done very well trying to speculate on what guys are coming back or not. I hope he can work during the OTAs.”
Since veteran left tackle Chad Clifton suffered hamstring and back injuries during the 2011 season, the Packers’ starting left tackle has been Marshall Newhouse, who’s been inconsistent but has played very well at times. Right tackle Bryan Bulaga suffered a season-ending hip injury on Nov. 4, with undrafted rookie free agent Don Barclay taking his place.
Sherrod played just 115 snaps as a rookie in 2011 after injuries to Clifton and Bulaga and was charged with one sack and six quarterback hurries by ProFootballFocus.com. So not only must he show that he’s 100 percent healthy, he must also prove that after such a long layoff, he can play.
“He’s in the injury category. I know it’s magnified because of where Derek was drafted, but the reality is he’s coming through an injury,” McCarthy said. “We’d like to get him on the field, but there are people who are playing (like) Marshall Newhouse. (Sherrod) needs to get back out there and compete, but he can’t do that until he gets healthy.
“It’s unfortunate. I understand once again where he was drafted brings magnitude to the focus, but I still have a lot of confidence that when he does have the opportunity he’ll be a productive player for us.”
Meanwhile, McCarthy was less that optimistic about defensive end Jerel Worthy, who suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee in the Dec. 30 regular-season finale at Minnesota and underwent reconstructive knee surgery on Jan. 15. Given that tight end Andrew Quarless suffered a similar injury on Dec. 4, 2011 and never played a down last season, it’s possible that Worthy won’t see the field in 2013. McCarthy acknowledged that Worthy is unlikely to be back in time for training camp.
“I think training camp is definitely going to be a stretch just because of the timing of his injury,” McCarthy said. “Once again, he has to go through the rehab process and get healthy. I like a lot of the things he did. He brings a lot of energy. There’s a lot of things he can improve on and I definitely think he can be one of those players who makes a jump in Year 2.”
McCarthy said he’s hopeful Quarless, who was activated from the PUP list and practiced but ended up on injured reserve on Dec. 1 without ever playing a snap, will be 100 percent for OTAs.
“Andrew Quarless in a lot of ways, when he played, is probably our most complete tight end (with) his ability to be the on-line tight end, the bigger tight end and do some of those things,” McCarthy said. “I thought he really did a great job of playing in the backfield. You knew coming out of Penn State that he had the athletic ability to be a space player. I was counting on Andrew this past year. It’s unfortunate where he’s at with his injury but he’s in town, he’s in there working out every day, he’s going through the rehab process. We’re all excited to get him back on the field.”
General manager Ted Thompson offered very little injury information but said he anticipates 2012 first-round pick Nick Perry to be back after season-ending wrist surgery as well.
“I expect him to get through this injury bug and come back and play and be a good player for the Packers,” Thompson said. “I don’t really have any injury updates at this point, because the offseason is the offseason. But we expect those guys to be able to come back and play.”
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