Sizing Up The Packers’ Injury Report
The Green Bay Packers have 53 players on their active roster. On game days, NFL rules permit a team to suit up 45 players. With the rash of Packers injuries, the team may be hard pressed to find 45 healthy bodies for Sunday’s matchup against the Miami Dolphins.
At the top of the injury list are two players the Packers simply cannot afford to lose: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers and linebacker Clay Matthews. Rodgers suffered a concussion on his final play of the overtime loss to the Redskins. Head coach Mike McCarthy said his quarterback “could miss a game, but will definitely miss practice time.” Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that in order for Rodgers to play next week, the NFL’s new concussion rules require that he “be symptom free and able to test equal to a baseline neuropsychological exam he took before the season.” Rodgers will be need to pass tests given by the Packers medical staff as well as an independent neurologist.
Linebacker Clay Matthews’ hamstring strain is not as severe as the injury he suffered on the opposite hamstring during the preseason, but any injury to the defense’s most explosive player, is bad news for the Packers.
The Packers already took the field on Sunday without several week 1 starters: Linebacker Nick Barnett, tackle Mark Tauscher, safety Morgan Burnett, and running back Ryan Grant. Grant and Burnett have already been placed on season-ending injured-reserve, and a decision on Nick Barnett may be coming soon. The 8-year veteran will undergo wrist surgery on Wednesday. The initial diagnosis is 6-8 weeks, but head coach Mike McCarthy said a timetable for Barnett’s return will not be known until doctors are able to perform the surgery.
The injury woes continued throughout the Redskins game. Only a minute and a half into the game, the Packers saw defensive end Ryan Pickett limp off with an ankle injury and tight end Jermichael Finley leave the game with an injured knee. I don’t think I’ve seen a more ominous start to a game in my lifetime. Pickett has an ankle sprain and the extent of the injury is still being evaluated. Finley will undergo surgery Tuesday morning to repair torn meniscus in his knee. He will miss the next 3-6 weeks.
As the game went on, the injuries continued to pile up. Safety Derrick Martin‘s knee sprain “will likely keep him out more than a couple of weeks,’ and tight end Donald Lee will miss a couple of weeks with a shoulder injury.
If all the aforementioned players (aside from those already placed on injured-reserve) are unable to play on Sunday, the Packers will be without 7 players due to injury. On a 53-man roster, you only have 8 inactive players on game day. Whether the team likes it or not, they may be forced to place another player — Derrick Martin or Nick Barnett — on injured-reserve just to be able to fill the 45-man game day roster.