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NFL meetings day 3: Collins exam just the first step toward return

Nov. 6, 2013
 
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PALM BEACH, Fla. — Those expecting Nick Collins to announce his return to football after he meets with his surgeon, which he’s expected to do by the end of this week, might be getting ahead of themselves. In reality, that’s probably just the first step toward determining whether the Pro Bowl safety will play for the Packers — or anyone else — again. Packers coach Mike McCarthy expects Collins to get good news when he meets with the surgeon who performed his cervical neck fusion surgery in September. But to declare him cleared to return at that point probably would be premature. “I think that’s a starting point,” McCarthy said this morning during the NFC coaches breakfast at the annual league meetings. “I anticipate that (the surgeon) is going to say it’s a very positive report because I know they felt good about the surgery. To me, that’s really the first step. Then our doctors have to get involved, and we’ll all sit down and talk to Nick and see where Nick is, so it will be a process that we’ll go through.” McCarthy has expressed his reservations before about putting Collins back on the field. On Sunday, he said if Collins were his son, he wouldn’t let him play football again. “It’s an injury that hopefully that surgery has worked, and everything’s back in place,” McCarthy said. “You’re talking about a risk assessment. That makes me a little nervous.” When asked whether he’s prepared to tell Collins he won’t play him, McCarthy said: “It will be based on the information, but he’ll be part of that.” “To have Nick Collins back on the practice field and playing games would be huge,” McCarthy said. “But this is more than football. Nick’s a family man. He’s a father. That’s no fun standing over someone (injured on the field) like that. I don’t think any coach wants to see one of their players go through that.” Collins sustained an herniated disc in his neck during an innocuous-looking collision with Carolina Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart in Week 2 of the regular season.

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