It’s a rare, rare week when Mike McCarthy’s day-after-the-game press conference isn’t filled with questions about a serious injury sustained by a key member of his Green Bay Packers.
Monday, however, was different.
One day after Jordy Nelson and T.J. Lang were injured during a 23-14 victory over the Vikings, McCarthy had relatively good news about those players.
“I would say T.J. Lang and Jordy Nelson’s injuries are not of serious nature,” McCarthy said on Monday. “I don’t know how many weeks Jordy would be out. I think he would be pressed hard to play this week. Once we get past the initial couple days and see what he can do on the practice field, those questions will be answered. And T.J., I feel probably a little bit better about T.J. than I do about Jordy.”
Nelson, who missed the Jacksonville game with an injured hamstring, aggravated the injury during pregame and called it a day after making a first-down catch against the Vikings. Lang injured an ankle in pass protection and gave way to Don Barclay, though there’s a possible silver lining.
Injuries have been perhaps the major story line of this season. Through 12 games, starting players have been sidelined for 57 games. Including the four starters on injured reserve (Desmond Bishop, Cedric Benson, Nick Perry and Bryan Bulaga), that number will increase to no less than 73 by season’s end. When the Packers won the Super Bowl in 2010, starters were sidelined for 86 games.
Still, the Packers are getting by. They’re 8-4 and control their fate in the NFC North and, with a little help, have a chance at a first-round bye.
And the cavalry will be on the way at some point, with Charles Woodson and Clay Matthews getting closer to fortifying the defense.
“Charles is probably, I would think maybe next week would be my guess there,” McCarthy said. “If you ask Charles, he’s probably pushing to play this week. There’s some more testing that you have to do to make sure he’s cleared. He’s not been cleared yet. I know Clay worked out today. I have not got the results of that yet down in the Hutson Center.”
Matthews has missed the last three games with an injured hamstring. The Packers got five sacks against Detroit two weeks ago but had just one sack at New York and none against Minnesota.
Woodson, who tied for the NFL lead with seven interception last season and had 37 in his first six seasons with the team, had one interception in his seven games before breaking his collarbone going for a pick late in a win at St. Louis. The Packers are 17th in takeaways after leading the league with 110 in the previous three seasons.
“Charles is a guy that can make plays. He has consistently,” defensive coordinator Dom Capers said. “You always welcome back guys that you feel can make plays.”
Added Capers: “The first step will be getting him back on the practice field to see where he is. He’s been coming out and running some routes on the service team and doing those types of things. So I don’t think there’s any problems with his movement and that. It’s just when they feel it’s time he can go ahead and take some blows on that shoulder.”
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.