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Injury may signal end for Green Bay Packers' Justin Harrell

Sep. 13, 2010
 
Green Bay Packers-Philadelphia Eagles postgame ana...
Green Bay Packers-Philadelphia Eagles postgame ana...: Green Bay Press-Gazette reporter Kareem Copeland goes over the key points from Sunday's game, including several signifcant injuries for the Packers.
Green Bay Packers defensive end Justin Harrell was injured in the second quarter of Sunday's game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. / Evan Siegle/Press-Gazette

Update: Harrell's season is over

Packers defensive end Justin Harrell has a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and will go on injured reserve, ending his season, coach Mike McCarthy said Monday morning.

More

PHILADELPHIA — Justin Harrell’s season — and possibly his career with the Green Bay Packers — appears to be over.

The oft-injured defensive end told teammates he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in Sunday’s season-opening victory at Philadelphia.

On his way out of the locker room, he would say only that he won’t know for sure until he has an MRI Monday.

“I’m disappointed to say the least,” Harrell said as he hobbled out on crutches.

The injury occurred while blocking on Mason Crosby’s 49-yard field goal in the second quarter. Before that, he had played a couple of plays from scrimmage on defense but did not record a tackle.

It’s another in a long line of injuries for the former first-round draft pick. Sunday was just his 14th regular-season game in four NFL seasons. He missed all of last season and most of the 2008 season because of a lower back problem, an injury that required two surgeries. He had to fight to win a roster spot this summer in training camp.

“I feel bad for him,” Packers defensive end Ryan Pickett said. “He’s really tried hard, and he came back to camp and battled and made it through healthy. He’d been playing good ball, and something like this happens on field goal protection, it almost isn’t fair. I just feel bad for him, and I know it’s hard on him.”

Jenkins cut down

Defensive end Cullen Jenkins broke the fourth metacarpal on his left hand when Eagles left guard Todd Herremans took him out with a cut block in the first half.

Jenkins returned with a club cast and finished the game, but he wasn’t happy about Herremans’ block.

Four times in one answer, Jenkins uttered the phrase “cut blocks are still legal in the NFL,” but added “it’s strange because they take a lot of different rule changes to protect players, but it seems like cut blocks put you at (risk).”

Jenkins said the cast limited his effectiveness. He did not know how long he would have to wear it, but it’s likely something he’ll need for several weeks.

Grant's status in doubt

Running back Ryan Grant left Philadelphia with a boot on his right foot after he severely sprained his ankle in the second quarter.

He did not return and said the ankle had significant swelling.

Grant has not missed a game because of injury since he joined the Packers in 2007 but couldn’t say for sure whether he’d be available for the home opener against Buffalo on Sunday.

“I don’t expect this to be something that’s too major,” Grant said. “We’ll see how it goes. Look at my track record, I don’t miss too many games.”

Woodson banged up

It was a rough week for cornerback Charles Woodson, but it didn’t show in his play. He had five tackles, a forced fumble and pass breakup that was initially ruled an interception but overturned on replay.

Not only was he under the weather all week with flu-like symptoms, but in practice on Friday he jammed the big toe on his left foot. He said it was painful during the game. He has had toe injuries before (in 2008 and 2000) but wouldn’t say if this was the same toe that has bothered him in the past.

“I always have problems with my toes, so you can take your pick,” Woodson said. “I’ve been battling (the flu) all week and then I hurt my toe on Friday. Tough couple of days.”

Shields makes debut

Rookie Sam Shields played the entire game in his debut as the Packers’ No. 3 cornerback and gave up a 17-yard touchdown pass in what otherwise was a surprisingly uneventful day.

Shields played every defensive snap because the Packers played their nickel or dime personnel the entire game against a Philadelphia offense that often features three-receiver sets and includes one of the NFL’s better receiving tight ends in Brent Celek.

Defensive coordinator Dom Capers did his best to protect Shields with help over the top, mostly from rookie safety Morgan Burnett. Shields allowed two completions, both in the fourth quarter: the 17-yard touchdown to receiver Jeremy Maclin, and a 12-yard out pattern to receiver DeSean Jackson.

“I think it was a good start for (Shields and Burnett), two rookies coming into a hostile environment like this playing against a good football team,” Capers said. “I don’t think there will be many people that will have more skill than (the Eagles) have. Their two young receivers (i.e., Jackson and Maclin) are both first-round picks. Jackson is a guy you certainly don’t want to be catching the ball over the top and getting those 50-yard touchdowns. There will be a lot of corrections to make, but we’re off and running, and it’s a good start.”

On the touchdown, Shields was matched one-on-one with Maclin on the backside, got turned around on a double move and gave up his position on the inside, allowing an easy throw for Michael Vick. The play came on a third-and-17.

“He did a double move, and that’s a route you have to be disciplined on and stay inside,” Shields said.

The Packers gave deep help to both Shields, who plays left cornerback in the nickel, and Tramon Williams, who’s the right cornerback, in order to limit Jackson’s chances for big plays. Last season, Jackson averaged 18.5 yards a catch and caught nine touchdown passes.

He finished with four catches for only 30 yards.

“We tried to help out on both sides some, because all you have to do is watch a little bit of tape and you can tell that guy is special,” Capers said. “We put together a big-play tape of him, you look at that, it gets your attention.”

Extra points

Aside from Harrell, Jenkins and Grant, the Packers’ other injury reported after the game was to safety Nick Collins, who sustained bruised ribs while knocking down a pass in the end zone in the fourth quarter. He returned to the game.

♦ Right tackle Mark Tauscher had a tough start Sunday against defensive end Juqua Parker, who beat him for two sacks in the first quarter. On the first, Parker knocked Tauscher back and then went around him for a nine-yard sack of Aaron Rodgers. On the second, Parker pushed back Tauscher, who was knocked further off balance when he bumped halfback Ryan Grant.

“The (first) sack I gave up he just beat me,” Tauscher said. “I got off on the ball and he beat me, there’s no — it kinda just happened. I didn’t play as well I’d like, and I know as a unit we didn’t play as well. I need to play better than I did.”

♦ Inside linebacker A.J. Hawk didn’t play a snap on defense because the Packers were in their nickel or dime personnel on every play. Hawk is a starter in the Packers’ base defense but is replaced by Brandon Chillar in the nickel.

♦ The Packers’ inactives were defensive end Mike Neal, who didn’t suit up because of an abdominal strain; cornerback Brandon Underwood because of a shoulder injury; fullback Quinn Johnson, offensive linemen Nick McDonald, T.J. Lang and Marshall Newhouse, tight end Andrew Quarless and defensive end C.J. Wilson.

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