Mike Neal has been injured for most of his 1½ NFL seasons, having appeared in only two regular-season games since being drafted in the second round in 2010. But in those two games last year, Neal forced a fumble against Detroit and made five tackles and a sack against Washington before he sustained a season-ending shoulder injury.
Mike Neal has cleared a major hurdle in his attempt to return from knee surgery and play this season, but the Green Bay Packers still aren't sure when the second-year defensive end will be available for game duty.
However, Neal has been given the OK to start practicing this week. He's expected to be a limited participant on Thursday, when the Packers begin on-field preparations for Monday's game against Minnesota. He would appear to have little chance of being cleared to play against the Vikings. At the earliest, perhaps he could play the following week against Tampa Bay on Nov. 20.