Sigh. This is getting old.
The Green Bay Packers will reportedly finish the season without rookie linebacker Nick Perry. Perry has missed the last three games with a knee injury, but appeared to be close to returning until a report surfaced that Perry had surgery on his wrist this week and would be put on the injury reserve list. Perry injured his wrist in Week 1, but played with a cast in subsequent games. Coach Mike McCarthy said earlier this week that Perry was seeking a second opinion on his injury, but it was assumed to be his knee, not the wrist.
The report is still unconfirmed. Perry’s agent has declined to issue any information and, because the Packers are on their bye week, McCarthy will not be speaking with reporters until next week, so we’ll just have to wait until Monday to hear any confirmation of this.
The Packers have suffered a spate of injuries of injuries in recent weeks, particularly on defense. The injury report, going back to the start of the season, has at different times included Desmond Bishop (hamstring – out for the season), Cedric Benson (foot), Charles Woodson (broken collarbone), Greg Jennings (groin), D.J. Smith (knee – out for the season), Sam Shields (ankle/shin), BJ. Raji (ankle), Jordy Nelson (hamstring/ankle), John Kuhn (hamstring), Brandon Saine (knee – out for the season), James Starks (toe), Mike Neal (ankle), Bryan Bulaga (hip), Jerel Worthy (concussion), and Clay Matthews (hamstring). Yikes.
The loss of Perry is particularly significant when coupled with Matthews’ injury, which is expected to make the Pro Bowl linebacker miss some time. Perry, though he has only two sacks on the season, has been a huge relief in providing pressure opposite of Matthews. His play has drawn defenders’ attention and prevented teams from quintuple-teaming Matthews, who has racked up nine sacks on the season already. The Packers currently lead the NFL with 28 sacks, but it’s doubtful that they’ll be able to maintain that sort of pressure without Matthews and Perry.
The Packers face a tough road after their bye, with five of their remaining seven games coming against divisional opponents. With the exceptions of Bishop, Smith, Saine, and Perry, all the other injured Packers have a good chance at coming back later in the year. The question is whether Green Bay can win enough games without several starters to stay in the playoff hunt and make the returns from injury relevant. The Packers will need more than just a bye week to get healthy, and it’ll be up to the younger players to hold the fort until the cavalry arrives.