ESPN Wisconsin Blogs - Jason Wilde
GREEN BAY – Mike McCarthy didn’t call Eddie Lacy fat. But the Green Bay Packers head coach didn’t exactly dispel the notion that his third-year running back’s weight is an issue.
Making sure that he also said that it’s not unusual for a veteran player to gain weight as his career goes on, McCarthy said Wednesday that Lacy has gained weight as compared to where he was as a rookie two years ago.
“I’m not going to get into guys’ weights,” McCarthy said as the Packers prepped for Sunday night’s game at Denver. “But I think players do get bigger in their career. [And] he’s bigger than he was as a rookie.”
Lacy is listed on the Packers’ official roster as 5-foot-11 and 234 pounds. He has played through an early-season ankle injury that McCarthy referred to as making him “beat up” entering the bye week, but Lacy was not listed on the injury report before the team’s Oct. 18 game against San Diego – a game in which he carried only four times while No. 2 back James Starks had 10 carries for 112 yards – and he wasn’t on the injury report Wednesday, either.
On Oct. 19, McCarthy was asked about Lacy’s conditioning and whether that might be an issue, and McCarthy said it was not.
Asked if Lacy’s weight might have slowed his recovery from the ankle injury, McCarthy replied Wednesday, “Well, he looks good, just watching him work out and watching his work Monday. Particularly in the individual stuff, that’s where you try to really stress each position, so I don’t think the injury is affecting him anymore.”
Lacy did not speak with reporters during the media access period Wednesday, politely declining and saying he would speak after Thursday’s practice instead.
GREEN BAY – Based on what happened the last time the Green Bay Packers played a game, if there was going to be a running back on the team’s injury report Wednesday, you’d have guessed it’d be Eddie Lacy, not James Starks.
Nevertheless, it was Starks, who rushed for 112 yards (including a 65-yard touchdown) against San Diego on Oct. 18, and not Lacy, who carried the ball just four times and was said to be “beat up” when the bye started, on the injury report. Starks was listed with a hip injury.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy would not say what the injury was during his pre-practice press briefing but did confirm that Starks suffered the injury in the game, although he kept playing. McCarthy said Starks stayed in Green Bay during the bye week after revealing the injury as the players’ vacations were set to start.
“The level of the injury [was a surprise],” McCarthy said. “A lot of guys come out of the game with things. It's not James in particular. When you have a bye week, on Monday with the schedule is what theirs was, I think they were all feeling pretty good. But you do have things that show up a day or two later.
“Frankly, I was here every day during the bye week and so was James. He's been working on this all week.”
Despite that work, Starks was unable to practice Wednesday. Neither did rookie wide receiver Ty Montgomery, who sprained his ankle against the Chargers.
Everyone else on the 53-man roster took part in at least part of Wednesday’s practice, meaning the Packers should have a mostly healthy team for Sunday night’s showdown with the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field.
Here’s a look at the full, official injury report for Wednesday:
Lacy was not on the injury report, and wide receivers Randall Cobb (shoulder) and James Jones (hamstring) were off the report as well after several weeks being listed.
Although Adams was listed as having participated on a limited basis, he made it clear that he expects to play after having sat out the last three games and played only three snaps in the Sept. 28 game against Kansas City after reinjuring his ankle.
“I’ve never been a guy to miss games, so it’s long overdue,” Adams said of his return. “I’m ready to get back out there and definitely excited.”
GREEN BAY – Ty Montgomery can’t say for certain that he’ll be ready for the Green Bay Packers’ post-bye game at Denver on Nov. 1, but the Green Bay Packers rookie wide receiver isn’t ruling it out after getting relatively good news about the ankle injury he suffered during Sunday’s victory over San Diego.
Appearing on the Appleton Post-Crescent’s Clubhouse Live show with left tackle David Bakhtiari, Montgomery said x-rays did not show any broken bones in his left ankle and instead just a simple sprain.
“It's just a sprain. X-rays were negative,” Montgomery said on the show. “[I’m] not ruling anything out. Staying prayerful and positive and just praying for the best. ... No promises, but not ruling anything out.”
With Jordy Nelson already out for the year with the right knee injury he suffered in preseason, and Davante Adams missing his third straight game with a sprained left ankle of his own, the Packers were down to Randall Cobb, James Jones and Jeff Janis as their top three receivers after Montgomery departed during the first half Sunday.
“[I] talked to him [Sunday] night,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “I think he's feeling a little better than obviously he was when they took him off the field.”
Montgomery enters the bye week with 15 receptions for 136 yards and two touchdowns.
GREEN BAY – Davante Adams’ designation Friday was no different than it had been the previous two Fridays.
But the Green Bay Packers second-year wide receiver’s inclusion under the questionable category of the team’s injury report felt considerably different – it was an optimistic listing instead of an unrealistic one.
Each of the past two weeks, Adams, who initially sprained his ankle Sept. 20 against Seattle, Adams has been listed as questionable on the Friday injury report, then did not take part in the Saturday practice, was downgraded to doubtful after practice and then was inactive on game day.
But this Friday, Adams was smiling and brimming with hope. He also had news: He will practice on Saturday morning, an excellent sign that he has a better chance of playing Sunday against the San Diego Chargers.
“It’s all of the same information as before, except I will be going [in practice] tomorrow,” Adams said Friday afternoon. “It doesn’t guarantee [playing on Sunday], but we’re getting there. At the very least, I’ll be set to go after the bye. But I’m not sure about this week.”
The Packers have a bye next week, then return to action Nov. 1 at Denver.
Here’s a look at the full, official injury report from Friday:
Meanwhile Lang, who injured his right knee against the St. Louis Rams last Sunday, is good to go barring a setback during Saturday’s light workout.
“I feel good,” Lang said. “Wednesday was a solid day. [Thursday] I felt pretty good in pads. One more step to get through tomorrow with the practice, but so far everything’s better than I expected. I’m ready to go out there and get on the field Sunday.”
Lang is wearing a protective brace on his right knee, in which he said he suffered damage to his medial collateral ligament.
“It’s still a little uncomfortable but obviously it’s something that I’m probably going to need for a little while until I get back to 100 percent,” Lang said. “It feels like a foreign object on your body. You play seven years taping the same way without having braces, you put something new on and it’s going to take a while to get used to. It’s probably just the feel of it.”
GREEN BAY – The Green Bay Packers never wanted to lose Mitchell Henry, and Mitchell Henry never really wanted to leave, either. So when he became available earlier this week, it was no surprise that they were interested in reuniting.
The undrafted rookie tight end had impressed coaches throughout camp with his run blocking and special-teams work, and he’d even given it the ol’ college try at receiving even though he spent most of camp wearing a large cast on his left hand because of a broken middle finger suffered at the start of the summer.
When the Packers cut him on the final roster reduction at the end of camp, they did so hoping he’d clear waivers so he could re-join them on the practice squad. Only the Denver Broncos ruined that plan by claiming him.
When the Broncos cut Henry this week and he cleared waivers, his return to Green Bay seemed inevitable.
On Friday, it became official.
After losing veteran tight end Andrew Quarless to a knee injury and placing him on injured reserve with the designation to return, the Packers played with just two tight ends on the 53-man roster before they promoted Justin Perillo from the practice squad earlier this week. Now, with Henry back in the fold, he could move up to the 53 himself at some point.
For now, though, he’s on the practice squad, having taken the place of fellow tight end Tom Annen, who was released.
“You know what? The report that I wrote on him, I really liked his run-blocking in college, and for a guy that wasn’t pubbed as a great receiver type, he really did some good things [catching the ball],” tight ends coach Jerry Fontenot said Thursday when asked about Henry and the possibility he might return. “He’s got some really good football knowledge and sense. You can tell, just by the way he runs his routes. And we always look at hands, and I thought that he was a pretty good fit as well.”
GREEN BAY – T.J. Lang delivered on his promise, Davante Adams and Morgan Burnett got back to work and even one of the two players who couldn’t practice – nose tackle B.J. Raji – was feeling good enough to do a little shimmy-shimmy-shake on the sideline.
Yes, the Green Bay Packers may have 11 players on their official injury report for Sunday’s game against the San Diego Chargers at Lambeau Field, but most of those players are trending in a very positive direction.
Here’s a look at the full, official injury report from Wednesday:
Lang, who injured his right knee against the St. Louis Rams last Sunday, went through the entire practice wearing a protective brace, something he hadn’t done since college.
“I guess it’s just routine for me now,” said Lang, who’d said he had “just some MCL damage” in an iMessage earlier this week. “I tend to play through some small things. Major injuries, to me, require surgery. Anything else is, in my mind, not too major. So I always do my best to try to be available as long as I can play through those minor injuries. The knee is feeling better than it did yesterday, so that’s a good sign – didn’t have any setbacks in practice. I feel like I’m on a pretty good pace to get out there Sunday.”
Adams, who has been dealing with the ankle injury since Sept. 20 and has missed the past two games, admitted he’s not 100 percent yet but that he’s improving steadily.
“It feels better. It feels a lot better. We’re getting there. It’s a process, but like I said before I just want to be smart with it,” Adams said. “I was glad to put a jersey back on. I’m excited. I’m not quite there yet but we’re getting there.”
One thing Packers coach Mike McCarthy insisted Wednesday: He will not sit any of his players if they are deemed healthy enough to play against the Chargers, even with the bye week and an additional week of rest on the horizon.
“I know I've used the term ‘the high side of caution” but that's more of a medical philosophy,” McCarthy said. “My philosophy is that if they're healthy, they play. If they're not healthy, then they shouldn't play. How do you define health? I'm not going to get into that.”
GREEN BAY – Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Casey Hayward don’t know if Sean Richardson will ever play football for the Green Bay Packers again, and at the moment, neither one of them cares.
All that matters to them right now is making sure their brother is doing OK.
“Sean has been like a big brother to me – personally,” said Clinton-Dix, the team’s first-round pick a year ago. “When I first came in, he helped me. He’s from [the state of] Alabama, so we spend a lot of time together in the offseason hanging out, working out. So to see him go down like that, it hurts a lot. I pray God is with him and he overcomes everything.”
Richardson, who came back from a career-threatening 2012 neck injury to play in all 18 of the Packers’ games (including playoffs) last season, suffered another herniated disc in his neck recently and did not play in last Sunday’s game against St. Louis. He is expected to miss the rest of the season and his career is in jeopardy again.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy refused to speak about Richardson’s situation, despite the news of Richardson’s injury coming out last Friday, as first reported by Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
“This is really not the time to talk about that,” McCarthy replied curtly on Monday when asked how difficult it is to see Richardson going through this again. “There's still things that need to be looked at, and he needs to go through the whole process until the final judgment comes in.”
Asked if Richardson’s season is over, McCarthy replied, “This is not the time to talk about it. I just answered the question.”
Richardson’s two closest friends, though, did want to talk about it – especially Hayward, who was Richardson’s teammate in college at Vanderbilt and was in contact with his friend throughout his comeback and now again with his latest injury. Hayward said the defensive backs are dedicating their season to their fallen teammate.
“It’s tough. I’ve been playing with him for eight years now in a row. I’m going to play for him, we’re all going to play for him,” Hayward said. “Hopefully we can win the Super Bowl and he’ll be a part of that.”
Richardson’s neck injury dates back to Nov. 25, 2012, suffered in a loss to the New York Giants in East Rutherford, N.J. Because the first symptoms he felt actually pointed to a back injury, he initially didn’t realize the severity of his injury and even practiced the following week in advance of the Packers’ next game. Only after an MRI revealed a ruptured disc in his neck between the C5 and C6 vertebrae was the diagnosis made.
Richardson then underwent single-spinal fusion surgery in January 2013. His doctor was Dr. Robert Watkins, who had performed a similar procedure on Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, who came back to have a phenomenal year in 2012 after missing the entire 2011 season because of his neck injury.
Unlike safety Nick Collins and tight end Jermichael Finley, whose spinal fusion surgeries were of the C3-C4 vertebrae, Richardson had a better chance of playing again because the herniation was lower. But the Packers still required him to get medical clearance from five different doctors before signing off him returning to the field during the 2013 season. He wound up seeing some action during the second half of that season before playing in every game last year, primarily on special teams.
During the offseason, the Packers matched the one-year, $2.55 million offer sheet he signed with the Oakland Raiders, even though Richardson was behind Clinton-Dix, Morgan Burnett and Micah Hyde on the safety depth chart. That spoke to how vital the team believed he was on special teams and as a unique situational defender.
Last season, the 6-foot-2, 216-pound Richardson saw more playing time on defense as the year wore on – he might have won a starting job in 2013, amid the Packers’ problems at safety, had he been cleared to play in training camp – and wound up playing 121 snaps on defense.
Last year, Richardson served as the Packers’ the third safety in the team’s “Big Okie” base package, as defensive coordinator Dom Capers played Richardson in place of cornerback Sam Shields. This season, Capers was again using Richardson in that role.
“That’s like my brother. So I feel for him,” Hayward said. “You feel for any teammate, any brother who goes out with any injury, but especially as severe as his injury. I just try to keep him in high spirits, pray for him and his family. Ultimately, it’s bigger than football.
“I think he’s making the right choice of being out for the season. I don’t know the diagnosis of everything, but the most important thing is just getting him healthy – outside of football. He has a kid, he has a fiancée. It’s bigger than football. And he realizes that.”
GREEN BAY – Davante Adams is not a very good – or patient – spectator.
The Green Bay Packers’ second-year wide receiver has been battling a sprained left ankle since the first half of the team’s Sept. 20 victory over Seattle and has missed the past two games. He played the second half against the Seahawks and tried to give it a go against Kansas City on Sept. 28 but departed after three plays. He did not play in the Packers’ Oct. 4 victory at San Francisco or Sunday’s win over St. Louis.
“It’s just the waiting game. It’s going to piss you off a little bit, but you’ve got to make sure you’re mature enough to take care of yourself and be smart for the team,” Adams said Monday. “Because I’d be hurting the team if I’m out there hobbling around the entire game. So I’m just being smart about it. It’s a long season, and you want to make sure you’re as fresh as you can be for the remainder of the year.”
Adams admitted that he pushed himself too hard after the initial injury and probably wasn’t smart in trying to play against the Chiefs. He thought since the injury is just a run-of-the-mill ankle sprain – not the dreaded high-ankle sprain – he could tough it out.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers lamented Adams’ absence after Sunday’s 24-10 victory over the Rams, in which the offense only generated 17 points for the second straight game. Rodgers called Adams “a Pro Bowl player” who could help the team’s dormant deep passing game.
“I came back a little too quick [the first time]. That’s the thing with ankles, you can kind of test it out and see, but it wasn’t ready,” Adams said. “Obviously you want to think that if you’re a player on the team, you want to think that things would be better if you were out there contributing. I’d love to be out there. It’s just right now, I’m trying to be smart with it.”
GREEN BAY – T.J. Lang doesn’t expect to miss any time with the right knee injury he suffered during Sunday’s win over the St. Louis Rams.
The Green Bay Packers veteran right guard said in an iMessage that an MRI Monday showed only minor damage to his medial collateral ligament and that he expects to play against the San Diego Chargers next Sunday at Lambeau Field.
“It’s just some MCL damage in my knee – nothing serious,” Lang wrote. “I should be able to go this week.”
Packers coach Mike McCarthy refused to update the status of any of the three key contributors – Lang, nose tackle B.J. Raji (groin) and outside linebacker Nick Perry (shoulder) – that the Packers lost to injury in Sunday’s 24-10 win over the Rams.
But Lang’s closest friend on the team, fellow guard Josh Sitton, said he wouldn’t be surprised to see Lang in the lineup.
“He’s a pretty tough son of a bitch,” Sitton said. “I wouldn’t be shocked.”
Meanwhile, Raji got good news on his groin injury, saying that his MRI showed “just inflammation” and that he will take this week “day by day.”
Raji said watching film of the play on which he was injured, it appeared his foot got caught in the turf and caused him to twist awkwardly.
“With these injuries, I was told a couple days could be a big difference,” Raji replied when asked if he thought he’d practice on Wednesday. “I just don’t know at this point.”
But evidence the Green Bay Packers coach had Sunday afternoon – having watched the game in real time, and then seeing Bryan Bulaga in the locker room afterward – led McCarthy to believe that the veteran right tackle’s left knee had emerged from the team’s 24-10 victory over the St. Louis Rams no worse for wear.
“I thought he looked good in the locker room, that’s all I’m really concerned about. He was happy, jumping around,” McCarthy said. “There’s nothing like a big, old, sweaty hug from a 320-pound offensive tackle. I think he looks good.”
And, he felt good. Although he started slowly, allowing an early pressure after missing the past three games with a sprained medial collateral ligament and meniscus damage in his left knee, Bulaga quickly recovered and was solid the rest of the way.
“[The knee] didn’t bother me. I felt a little rusty in some aspects, but from a health standpoint and how it felt, it felt good,” Bulaga said. “[I] didn’t notice any pain or anything in it throughout the game, so we’ll just start out with that.
“I had some bad plays, I’m willing to admit that, but from a health standpoint I felt fine.”
The only drawback for Bulaga, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in August 2013 and underwent surgery shortly thereafter, was that he lost his offensive line next-door neighbor, right guard T.J. Lang, to a knee injury during the second quarter. Preliminary tests showed Lang did not damage his ACL, but he was scheduled for more tests Monday to determine what was damaged.
Josh Walker replaced Lang for most of the rest of the game, although Don Barclay did play one series at right guard, too. It’s unclear what the Packers would do if Lang can’t go next Sunday against the San Diego Chargers.
“Obviously T.J.’s a big part of our line. He’s a veteran. He’s smart. I rely on him a bunch myself,” Bulaga said. “But when something like that happens, it’s next guy [up]. and we’ve got to pick it. Walk and Don, I thought they did a good job. Obviously throughout the week you only get so many reps during the week, but I thought Walk did a good job, stepped in nicely. He battled. Again, I’m not going to talk about guy’s injuries, but we’ll just have to see what goes on next week. No matter who’s out there, we need to be ready to go and play.”