One after the other, the injuries have piled up for the Green Bay Packers this season with an injured-reserve list that’s swelled to 10 players and another six being held out of practice.
With questions swirling around the status of Clay Matthews, Jordy Nelson and T.J. Lang for this Sunday’s game against Detroit, Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy could only shake his head on Wednesday with no further clarity on their prognosis.
“I’m timelined out, frankly,” McCarthy said. “They’re getting better. I don’t know if they’ll be ready this week.”
As the injuries have mounted, so too have the questions of McCarthy about where his team’s health is at, beginning with linebacker Desmond Bishop's season-ending hamstring injury in August to the team’s current condition.
Even when the Packers seemed to escape Sunday’s 23-14 win over Minnesota without much incident outside of Nelson’s hamstring flareup and Lang’s ankle injury, they quickly learned running back James Starks will be out with a “multiple-week” knee injury and defensive lineman Mike Neal has developed another shoulder issue.
As for Lang, his ankle injury suffered in the second quarter on Sunday isn’t progressing as he’d like and Matthews still hasn’t returned to practice after missing his third straight game with his own hamstring problem.
The Packers appear to be on the verge of returning both defensive back Charles Woodson (collarbone) and cornerback Sam Shields (ankle), but doesn’t change the fact they’ve been playing with five former starters on injured reserve and a handful of others sidelined.
“It’s a tough league,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. “Injuries are a part of our league and you have to get a little luck involved and take care of your body. I know James takes really good care of his body and unfortunately he took a shot that set him back a little bit. It’s a next-man-up mentality for us. We have to have the next guy step up. There’s been a lot of that this year with the amount of injuries we’ve had, especially on offense, with the offensive line, with Cedric (Benson), with the receivers, so we expect the next guy to step in.”