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Green Bay Packers monitor players with neck injuries

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By Tom Silverstein
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
March 26, 2014

ORLANDO--The Packers have a pair of players with neck injuries they would love to have back, but the varying degree of injury to defensive end Johnny Jolly and tight end Jermichael Finley makes each decision vastly different than the other.

In Jolly’s case, the herniated disk he suffered was at the C-5, C-6 level, which is the same type of injury safety Sean Richardson had. The Packers cleared Richardson to play after surgery and a nine-month rehab.

In Finley’s case, the herniated disk he suffered was at the C-3, C-4 level, which is the same type of injury safety Nick Collins had. The Packers refused to clear Collins to play.

Jolly is on the rehab trail and recently was cleared for more extensive workouts. He is three months removed from surgery and could be ready in time for training camp if the surgery mends well and X-rays show that there is no unusual risk of his spinal cord being damaged.

“We’re monitoring that,” McCarthy said of Jolly’s recovery. “I think Johnny did a nice job last year. You have to be very pleased for where he started and where he finished. I think he gave us every inch of what he had and then some. I was very pleased with Johnny’s contribution last year.”

Jolly’s status might depend on what the Packers do in the draft. If they wind up taking a couple of defensive linemen, chances are they wouldn’t need Jolly. The already have B.J. Raji, Mike Daniels, Letroy Guion, Jerel Worthy, Datone Jones and Jerel Worthy on the roster.

McCarthy said they have the option of bringing back veteran free agent Ryan Pickett if they want also. So, if they wind up taking a defensive end in the first couple of rounds, there’s always the chance they won’t wait around for Jolly.

In Finley’s case, McCarthy made it clear that no matter how encouraged he is to see Finley working out in full and receiving reports that he looks in tip-top shape, it’s still going to come down to how the team doctors feel about the risk of re-injury.

“It’s great to hear he’s training and feels great and that’s a big part of the rehab,” McCarthy said. “You feel good and everything, but you have to trust the information that’s available to the doctors. I think you have to really be smart with those type of injuries.

“I know people think we may be cautious with those type of injuries, but if there’s one type of injury you better be cautious with, that better be one of them. So, yeah, I’m optimistic everything works out with Jermichael.

“Just knowing him, being around him now and watching him grow as a player and a person, I guarantee he’s doing everything he can. The guy loves to workout. He loves the whole process of football. The guy is all football. But you have to listen to your medical staff.”

In other injury news, McCarthy said that rookie Johnathan Franklin is still recovering from a neck injury that landed him on injured reserve late in the year. However, he said Franklin did not undergo surgery and he only knows a limited amount about his rehab because he hasn’t met with the doctors lately.

McCarthy said that the surgery to repair LB Clay Matthews’ broken thumb went well and that he doesn’t expect him to have issues with it. Matthews suffered a Bennett’s fracture in October, underwent surgery to repair it and then broke it again in December.

 



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