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Neal's return no guarantee

Nov. 6, 2013
 
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The Green Bay Packers are still counting on defensive end Mike Neal, but his return is not imminent. Coach Mike McCarthy said on Monday that Neal remains in their plans, but a source told the Press-Gazette that there’s no guarantee that the second-year defensive end will be able to contribute this season. “That’s not what we’re planning,” McCarthy said. “I’m thinking after the bye he should be close. That’s how (team physician Dr.) Pat (McKenzie) feels.” The Packers play at Minnesota on Sunday and then have their bye. They almost certainly won’t practice at all during the bye week, so the next chance for Neal to get on the practice field would be Oct. 31. That would be almost exactly seven weeks after he had surgery to remove loose chunks of cartilage in his left knee. Neal sustained the injury during an Aug. 16 training camp practice but didn’t have the surgery until Sept. 13 after the knee didn’t respond to treatment and rehabilitation “Everybody responds differently to injuries,” McCarthy said. “I would hope he’d be back. We’re counting on him. If we would have felt (he couldn’t return) this far into it, we would have probably done something by now. He had the surgery after Week 1, right? They said it would be about six weeks.”

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