Green Bay Packers: 2013 NFL injury wire

An inside look at Finley’s concussion

September, 27, 2013
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- NFL rules prohibit players who sustain concussions during a game from talking to reporters after the game.

So the first anyone has heard from Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley, who was knocked out of Sunday’s game at Cincinnati with a concussion, came on Friday when he posted a video on his personal website.

In the short video, he explained what he remembered about the play and what he felt like afterward.

“Aaron Rodgers threw the ball,” Finley said. “I dove and after that I felt the hit at my shoulder and after all that happened, I was unconscious by then.”

Finley was hit by Bengals safety George Iloka, who was fined $15,000 for the play.

When he came to, his vision was impaired.

“I looked at the sideline and all I saw was jerseys,” Finley said. “I saw the yellow pants we wore, and I didn’t see no head or legs. Everybody was decapitated and my body was on fire.”

The Packers are in the midst of their bye week and it's not known when the video was taken, but Finley said he is still going through the NFL’s concussion protocol in order to be cleared.

Perhaps the scariest part for Finley was the reaction of his 5-year-old son, Kayden.

“He said, ‘Daddy, I don’t want you to play football anymore,’” Finley said. “That was a little hard to take just hearing that [from] a 5-year-old, just knowing the violence and the intensity of the game and seeing his dad walk off the field like he did is, I would think, pretty hard for a family to see.”

Packers could have running back options

September, 23, 2013
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Depending on the health of their running backs, the Green Bay Packers might come back from their bye week with a strong rushing attack.

But at this point, there are significant questions about the health of all four of their backs.

For the sake of their running game, it’s probably a good thing the Packers don’t play again until Oct. 6 against the Detroit Lions.

Even rookie Johnathan Franklin, who rushed for 103 yards in Sunday’s loss at Cincinnati and finished the game as the only available running back, has an injury. He hurt his foot on the final drive, although he returned after missing only three snaps.

Franklin came on in relief of James Starks, who left in the second quarter because of a knee injury. Starks started in place of Eddie Lacy, who missed the game because of the concussion he sustained the previous week against Washington. Fullback John Kuhn (hamstring) also was inactive.

The Packers offered no details about their injuries on Monday, but Lacy expressed optimism he would be back for the Lions’ game even though he has to get medical clearance.

Lacy went through a pregame workout at Paul Brown Stadium on Sunday that he said was “just to see if I ran and got my heart rate up, what I would have.”

“Since I wasn’t cleared, I had no intention of playing,” Lacy said Monday, “but I have a bye week to still get right.”

Starks said he was waiting for test results but believes he avoided a serious injury.

“A little sore,” he said Monday, “but I’m going to be fine.”

If all three halfbacks are healthy, the Packers could have their deepest backfield combination in Mike McCarthy’s eight years as coach. Starks rushed for 132 yards in Week 2 and had 55 yards on 14 carries in the first half against the Bengals. Franklin gave them their first game with consecutive 100-yard backs since Weeks 16 and 17 of the 2007 season. Lacy, who began the season as the starter, was off to a good start before his concussion.

“We hope all three of them are healthy and that will give us some good options, whichever way we decide to go,” Packers offensive coordinator Tom Clements said.

The right time for a bye after all

September, 22, 2013
CINCINNATI -- When the NFL schedule was released in April, the Green Bay Packers were surprised to see that their bye came in Week 4 -- the earliest possible date.

It meant a long, 13-game run without much of a break to finish the season.

That bye week doesn’t look so bad now.

The Packers might need it in order to get some of their injured players back on the field before their next game on Oct. 6 against the Detroit Lions.

The Packers lost three starters -- tight end Jermichael Finley (concussion), running back James Starks (knee) and linebacker Clay Matthews (hamstring) -- in Sunday’s 34-30 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Combine that with the fact that four other starters and/or key players -- safety Morgan Burnett (hamstring), cornerback Casey Hayward (hamstring), running back Eddie Lacy (concussion) and fullback John Kuhn (hamstring) -- all were inactive against the Bengals, and it’s easy to see why the Packers weren’t complaining about their early bye now.

Even quarterback Aaron Rodgers got knocked around on Sunday, taking a shot to the back of his leg on a low hit (that wasn’t penalized) by Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson in the third quarter.

“We’ve got a week off; we’ve got to get healthy,” Rodgers said. “We’ve got to get some guys back, got to get Morgan back, got to get John back if we can. Jermichael, hopefully he’ll be back, James, Eddie. We’ve got some injuries. We’ve got to get some guys back and see what we can do at full strength.”

For Matthews, who missed the entire second half after forcing two fumbles in the first half, it’s the same problem that has hampered him in the past. He missed four games last season and one in 2010 because of a hamstring injury.

“I felt like I could go back out there but we had to be smart with this, especially going into a bye week,” Matthews said. “I don’t see myself missing any time. We’ve got Detroit coming back, and I’ll be out there.”

Starks said he did not know the severity of his injury, while Finley was not available to reporters, as is the league rule when a player sustains a concussion.

Players will be off Tuesday through Sunday this week. That’s the same schedule coach Mike McCarthy used last season, when the Packers had their bye after nine games.

“I’ve never had a bye week after the third week, ever,” McCarthy said. “I can’t even recall a bye week close to this early. I think we’d all like to play this week. The schedule is set, you can’t change it. We have a process we’ll stick to. We’re 1-2, that’s where we are.”

Hamstring injury knocks Matthews out

September, 22, 2013
CINCINNATI -- Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews has another hamstring injury.

It’s the same injury that has been a problem for Matthews throughout his career.

He was listed as questionable but has not played in the second half.

He was having a monster game with a sack and two forced fumbles. Matthews has missed games in 2010 and 2012 because of hamstring injuries and also had one during training camp in his rookie season of 2009.

Packers down to just one running back

September, 22, 2013
CINCINNATI -- The Green Bay Packers may be down to one running back after James Starks sustained a knee injury late in the second quarter.

Starks’ return is questionable, but he appeared to be walking with a significant limp when he came out of the locker room after halftime.

That left rookie Johnathan Franklin as the Packers’ lone running back.

Franklin, a fourth-round pick from UCLA, previously had played only on special teams but capped the Packers’ first drive of the third quarter with a 2-yard touchdown run. He carried four times for 20 yards and had one catch for 7 yards on the drive that put the Packers ahead 23-14 with 11:40 left in the third quarter.

The Packers started the game with only two available running backs because Eddie Lacy (concussion) and John Kuhn (hamstring) both were inactive.
CINCINNATI -- Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley has left Sunday’s game at Cincinnati.

He was taken to the locker room for evaluation after an apparent blow to the head in the first quarter. Finley ran a seam route on a third-and-11 play and got drilled by Bengals safety George Iloka, who appeared to lead with his shoulder.

There was no penalty called for a hit on a defenseless receiver.

Finley initially tried to get up after the hit but then went down to one knee, which brought out the Packers’ medical staff.
CINCINNATI -- The Green Bay Packers will have only two running backs available on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.

And one of them, rookie Johnathan Franklin, has not played a snap on offense in an NFL regular-season game. James Starks, who rushed for 132 yards in Week 2 against the Washington Redskins, will start.

Running back Eddie Lacy (concussion) and fullback John Kuhn (hamstring) both worked out on the field at Paul Brown Stadium before the game but won’t play.

Lacy, who was knocked out of last week’s game against the Redskins after taking a helmet hit from safety Brandon Meriweather, was listed as questionable on Friday’s injury report, while Kuhn was doubtful.

The Packers chose not to promote rookie running back Michael Hill from the practice squad.

“If we have two [running backs], then nobody’s allowed to get hurt,” Packers running backs coach Alex Van Pelt said Thursday. “I’m sure we’ll have a contingency plan if something were to happen.”

Here’s the Packers’ full inactive list:
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Despite not practicing all week, Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy still has a chance to play Sunday at Cincinnati.

Lacy, who sustained a concussion in last Sunday’s win over the Washington Redskins, was listed as questionable on Friday’s official injury report.

On Thursday, coach Mike McCarthy said Lacy would need to practice on Friday in order to play against the Bengals.

“We still have time,” McCarthy said Friday. “The doctors are in charge of evaluating, going through the protocol. I know that Eddie Lacy wants to play, so we’ll see what happens.”

Either way, James Starks, who rushed for 132 yards against the Redskins after Lacy was knocked out of the game, is expected to start. But McCarthy would be willing to play Lacy without any practice time if Lacy is cleared.

“It’s not ideal for a rookie to go through the week without any preparation and then play in the game, no question about it,” McCarthy said. “I’m not excited about it. We want 46 players that we feel give us the best chance to beat the Cincinnati Bengals. When the plan was put together on Monday and Tuesday, Eddie Lacy was part of that plan based on the information given by the medical staff. If that’s not the case, it’s always a medical decision first, you have secondary plans, and we’ve done that. But the primary plan, Eddie was part of the thinking.”

It looks even less likely that fullback John Kuhn (hamstring) will play. He was listed as doubtful.

Without Kuhn and Lacy, the Packers would be down to just two running backs unless they promote rookie Michael Hill from the practice squad. Hill, who spent part of training camp with the San Diego Chargers, said he had not been informed if he will travel to Cincinnati. The Packers don't typically travel with their practice squad players. They would have to make any roster moves on Saturday.

Cornerback Tramon Williams was added to the injury report on Friday because of a groin injury but is expected to play.

Here’s the full injury report:
  • S Morgan Burnett (hamstring, out)
  • CB Jarrett Bush (hamstring, out)
  • TE Jermichael Finley (toe, limited participation, probable)
  • CB Casey Hayward (hamstring, out)
  • DT Johnny Jolly (neck, full participation, probable)
  • FB John Kuhn (hamstring, did not practice, doubtful)
  • RB Eddie Lacy (concussion, did not practice, questionable)
  • G T.J. Lang (back, full participation, probable)
  • CB Tramon Williams (groin, limited participation, probable)

Practice report: Eddie Lacy remains out

September, 20, 2013
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- A day after Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy said running back Eddie Lacy needed to practice on Friday in order to play in Sunday’s game at Cincinnati, Lacy was not suited up for the workout.

It’s unclear whether Lacy did not pass all the necessary steps to return from the concussion he sustained last Sunday against the Washington Redskins or if the Packers are holding the rookie out for precautionary reasons.

Either way, it appears he won’t play against the Bengals.

That will likely be the same for the other players who didn’t practice on Friday. They were: cornerback Jarrett Bush, cornerback Casey Hayward, fullback John Kuhn and safety Morgan Burnett. All four have hamstring injuries.

The full injury report will be released after practice.

Injury report: Running short on backs

September, 19, 2013
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Unless Eddie Lacy practices on Friday, the Green Bay Packers running back will not play on Sunday at Cincinnati.

Although Lacy progressed through another stage of the concussion protocol on Thursday, according to coach Mike McCarthy, the rookie running back did not practice.

“The medical staff still feels like he has a good opportunity (to play),” McCarthy said Thursday. “So he has to practice tomorrow for us to be able to gauge him.”

If Lacy does not play against the Bengals, the Packers may be down to only two available backs -- James Starks and Johnathan Franklin -- because fullback John Kuhn (hamstring) also did not practice on Thursday. It’s a potentially dangerous position, because essentially Starks would be their only proven back. Franklin, a rookie fourth-round pick, has not played a snap on offense in the first two games.

The Packers could promote rookie Michael Hill from the practice squad, but would have to find a roster spot for him, and he has even less experience in their offense because he wasn’t signed until after training camp.

“If we have two, then nobody’s allowed to get hurt,” running backs coach Alex Van Pelt said Thursday. “I’m sure we’ll have a contingency plan if something were to happen.”

The last time the Packers went into a game with only two running backs, it was a borderline disaster. On Dec. 18, 2011 at Kansas City, the Packers had only Kuhn and Ryan Grant available. Grant had been effective (12 carries for 66 yards) but was nursing bruised ribs. Although he was able to finish the game, McCarthy basically abandoned the running game in a 19-14 loss.

“The preference is not go into the game with two running backs,” McCarthy said. “I did that one time in Kansas City, learned a hard lesson, especially when one of them was nicked going into that game. It hurt us in the second half. We’ll be much better prepared than we were two years ago in Kansas City.”

In other injury news, safety Morgan Burnett likely will miss his third straight game because of a hamstring injury.

“He’s coming along; it’s not the progress that I’m sure Morgan wants,” McCarthy said. “I think he’s going to be a long shot this week.”

The Packers have their bye next week.

Here’s the full injury report:
  • S Morgan Burnett (hamstring, did not practice)
  • CB Jarrett Bush (hamstring, did not practice)
  • TE Jermichael Finley (toe, limited participation)
  • CB Casey Hayward (hamstring, out)
  • DT Johnny Jolly (neck, limited participation)
  • FB John Kuhn (hamstring, did not practice)
  • RB Eddie Lacy (concussion, did not practice)
  • G T.J. Lang (back, limited participation)
GREEN BAY, Wis. – Green Bay Packers cornerback Casey Hayward missed nearly a month the first time he pulled his hamstring. He will miss at least that much time the second time around.

Hayward on Wednesday was ruled out for Sunday’s game at Cincinnati and will miss his third straight game. The earliest he will play is the Oct. 6 game against Detroit, which follows the Packers’ bye next week.

The injury first occurred while Hayward was working out on the eve of training camp. Hayward missed the first two preseason games but returned for the Aug. 23 game against Seattle only to aggravate his injury against the Seahawks.

“He just tells me he’s making progress,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Wednesday. “He had a similar injury. This one wasn’t supposed to be as bad as when he hurt it the first time, the day before when he came back for training camp. So he’s making progress.”

Hayward led all NFL rookies last season with six interceptions.

The Packers also might wait until after the bye to bring back starting safety Morgan Burnett, who also has missed the first two games because of a hamstring injury. He practiced on Wednesday but appeared to be significantly limited.

Here’s the full injury report:
  • S Morgan Burnett (hamstring, limited participation)
  • CB Jarrett Bush (hamstring, did not practice)
  • TE Jermichael Finley (toe, did not practice)
  • CB Casey Hayward (hamstring, out)
  • DT Johnny Jolly (neck, full participation)
  • FB John Kuhn (hamstring, did not practice)
  • RB Eddie Lacy (concussion, did not practice)

Practice report: Eddie Lacy watches

September, 18, 2013
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy, who was knocked out of Sunday’s game against the Washington Redskins due to a concussion, was a spectator at practice Wednesday.

The fact that Lacy was even present suggests he has made some progress through the concussion recovery process, but his status for Sunday’s game at Cincinnati remains up in the air.

Safety Morgan Burnett, who has missed the first two games of the season due to a hamstring injury, appeared to be very limited in practice.

The Packers will release their injury report after practice Wednesday.

Others who did not practice were:

Eddie Lacy's status remains uncertain

September, 16, 2013
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy’s status for Sunday’s game at Cincinnati remains uncertain.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy did not provide an update Monday on Lacy, who was knocked out of Sunday’s game against the Washington Redskins with a concussion he suffered after taking a hit from safety Brandon Meriweather.

It was unclear how far along in the concussion protocol Lacy was on Monday, however. He was not at the team meeting.

Teams do not have to provide injury reports until Wednesday.

“I stand up here on Mondays and a lot of the times there’s more testing going on,” McCarthy said. “And based on the protocol of the league, we’re going to follow it, so we’ll have an update for you on Wednesday.”

Meriweather wasn’t penalized for the hit on Lacy.

“The Washington safety definitely led with his helmet, so I know that’s not what we’re looking for,” McCarthy said.

Meriweather delivered another questionable helmet hit -- the second one on running back James Starks actually caused Meriweather to leave with a concussion.

“Same thing, different result,” McCarthy said.

Redskins coach Mike Shanahan had a different opinion of the plays during his news conference on Monday.

“To be honest with you, on the first one it looked like the running back was kind of going downhill and when Brandon went for the tackle it looked to me like it was perfect. And then all of a sudden when [Lacy] ducked his head, I couldn’t tell -- I didn't see the TV copy, I just saw the video -- and that’s exactly where the contact was,” Shanahan said. “The second one on the sidelines, that’s what you’re supposed to do. That’s a legal hit.”

Update: ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported that the NFL is reviewing Meriweather’s hit on Lacy.

Inactives: Packers thin in the secondary

September, 15, 2013
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Without safety Morgan Burnett (hamstring) in last Sunday’s opener at San Francisco, the Green Bay Packers' defense was vulnerable up the middle.

Colin Kaepernick picked apart the Packers to the tune of 412 yards passing.

Burnett was ruled out again Sunday against the Washington Redskins despite practicing on a limited basis most of last week.

In addition, the Packers also will be without Jarrett Bush, their dime defensive back last week against the 49ers. Bush dropped out of practice on Thursday because of an ankle injury. That likely means rookie safety Chris Banjo or cornerback Davon House will play in the dime, if defensive coordinator Dom Capers uses that package. He may elect just to play base and nickel defense.

Here’s the full list of the Packers' inactives:

Injury report: No setback for Burnett

September, 13, 2013
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Unlike last week, Green Bay Packers safety Morgan Burnett made it through the entire week of practice without aggravating his hamstring injury.

But the Packers still could not be certain that Burnett will make his 2013 debut Sunday against the Washington Redskins. Burnett, who first sustained the injury Aug. 23, was limited in practice Friday and was officially designated as questionable.

“Morgan’s further ahead than he was last week, I think for obvious reasons,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said after Friday’s practice. “He has practiced more than the medical report [indicated he would] in the morning. You feel good about that. How he comes in here tomorrow and what goes on in the next 48 hours will be the key if he plays.”

Last week, Burnett experienced a setback late in the week after practicing on Wednesday and Thursday and did not play in the season-opening loss at San Francisco. His absence was noticeable when the Packers allowed 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick to throw for 412 yards.

“He’s like your quarterback back there,” McCarthy said of Burnett. “He’s got the most experience. I thought he’s had an excellent training camp. He’s really taken the leadership role to another level compared to past years. He’s a very good football player. He makes a difference when he’s in there.”

McCarthy said starting left guard Josh Sitton's lower back injury has made significant improvement, although Sitton was limited in Friday's practice and was listed as questionable. So was cornerback/special-teams ace Jarrett Bush, who did not practice Friday because of a hamstring injury he sustained in Thursday's practice.

Tight end Jermichael Finley (toe) was listed as probable.

“It hurts slightly,” said Finley, who caught five passes for 56 yards and a touchdown after he injured his toe against the 49ers. “But other than that, I’m ready to go.”

Here’s the full injury report:
  • S Morgan Burnett (hamstring, limited participation in practice, questionable)
  • CB Jarrett Bush (hamstring, did not participate, questionable)
  • TE Jermichael Finley (toe, limited participation, probable)
  • CB Casey Hayward, (hamstring, out)
  • LB Nick Perry (neck, full participation, probable)
  • G Josh Sitton (back, limited participation, questionable)