The Green Bay Packers (3-2) have been hit extremely hard with the injury bug only six weeks into the 2013 season.
Injuries continue to pile up, as wide receiver Randall Cobb (leg), outside linebacker Clay Matthews (thumb), wide receiver James Jones (knee), inside linebacker Brad Jones (hamstring), outside linebacker Nick Perry (foot), running back James Starks (knee) and cornerback Casey Hayward (hamstring) could all sit out this weekend.
It’s insane how many injuries the Packers currently have right now and it’s amazing that Green Bay actually possesses a winning record. The 2013 season is still young and almost all of the players above could return to the team in the future weeks.
On Wednesday, though, Packers head coach Mike McCarthy delivered some positive injury news for a change, as McCarthy said offensive tackle Derek Sherrod will return to padded practice on Thursday.
Sherrod, the Packers first-round draft pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, hasn’t played in an NFL game or participated in a padded practice since breaking his leg against the Kansas City Chiefs at the end of the 2011 season.
The 6-foot-6, 321-pound behemoth from Mississippi State University sat out the entire 2012 season and the Packers placed him on the Player-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) list during training camp this past August. Sherrod is eligible to return to the team after Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns (3-3).
Sherrod’s injury was incredibly sad and horrific to witness on television and no one knew if the big man was going to return to the football field ever again. Sherrod’s broken leg was career-threatening and it will be refreshing to see him back in action, whenever he is medically cleared to return to live-game action.
As a rookie in 2011, Sherrod provided few flashes and excellent ability in five games to show that he could become a quality NFL offensive tackle. Hopefully, Packers fans will get to witness what Green Bay could’ve had over the past two seasons if it wasn’t for such an excruciating injury.
Sherrod and offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga were expected to be the Packers book-end offensive linemen of the future. With Bulaga on the injured-reserve (IR) list though, the Packers have been surprisingly successful with rookie left tackle David Bakhtiari and second-year right tackle Don Barclay.
If Sherrod can obtain a full recovery and become successful, the Packers’ offensive line would become the strength of their football team. Sherrod’s health, though, is the key to the Packers being able to find consistency in the trenches.
McCarthy said the Packers will ease Sherrod back into practice with caution, but all signs are pointing toward a successful comeback. The Packers placed offensive lineman Greg Van Roten on IR on Tuesday, which could be a positive sign that Sherrod has made significant progress in rehabilitation.
Is it likely Sherrod will actually see any playing time this season? Probably not, but it’s exciting to know that the big man is on the right track to recovery and he has at least inched closer to a return to football.