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DE Neal was close to spending second season on IR

Nov. 6, 2013
 
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Packers defensive end Mike Neal was closer to spending the season on injured reserve than most realized, he admitted Thursday. Neal went down, untouched, during training camp and was first believed to have suffered a sublexed kneecap. Doctors later found he had knocked cartilage off his trochlear groove – the concave surface where the kneecap makes contact with the femur. He underwent arthroscopic surgery Week 2 with a three tiered prognosis – out 6-8 weeks, 8-12 or injured reserve. A trip to the IR would be the second consecutive NFL year Neal suffered a season-ending injury. A shoulder injury ended 2010. “Some people end up missing a whole entire year,” Neal said. “Some have to have further surgeries with the type of injury I have. They just felt my body was going to respond differently from what they saw when they went in. “It just depends on how your body responds. We pushed it and we pushed and we pushed it and I was able to get it better to play and I’m playing now.” Neal returned to game action two weeks ago with 15 snaps in the nickel package and 30 , mostly nickel, against the Lions on Thanksgiving. He has yet to record a tackle or sack. “It was hard being positive,” Neal said. “I went through a lot of downswings. When you get hurt one year and then you come back the next year, the only thing you can think about is, man, it’s happening again. Then it’s like 8-12 weeks, I don’t want to miss that. Well, that’s what you’re looking at. It makes it difficult to have a positive aspect. But came through. “The bye week was the best week I had of my life. It brought me back to where I’m at now. I feel good.”

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