More than 19 months after he broke both bones in his lower right leg, Green Bay Packers tackle Derek Sherrod still hasn’t been cleared to practice.
Even so, he’s not too far behind schedule, according to sources who said the Packers expected at least an 18-month rehabilitation.
When training camp opened today, Sherrod was once against a spectator. He failed his physical on Thursday and was placed on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. But in a workout following today’s practice, Sherrod appeared to be close to being cleared for at least a limited return.
“Actually, I had a chance to watch his post-practice workout, and he’s definitely much further along than he was when he was able to go through some of the drill work in the OTAs,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “So unfortunately with the procedures in place as far as pass or no pass on the physicals, you can’t really get him out there to do drill work with the other offensive linemen. He looks much better. I’m interested to get feedback from the trainers and really see how he feels tomorrow.”
The Packers remain optimistic about their 2011 first-round draft pick despite the horrific nature of his injury, which he sustained on Dec. 18, 2011 at Kansas City. But whether he can return in time to make a run at the starting right tackle job this season remains unclear.
Sherrod required immediate emergency surgery to place a rod in his leg on the night of his injury. Then, after missing the entire 2012 season, he underwent a second surgery this past offseason on his ankle. That procedure was performed by noted foot specialist Dr. Robert Anderson of Charlotte, N.C.
Sherrod’s injury was similar to the one sustained by former Packers center Mike Flanagan, who needed more than a year to return but eventually became a solid starter. One thing working in Sherrod’s favor is that he didn’t sustain any of the nerve damage that complicated Flanagan’s comeback.
“Everything’s been getting better,” Sherrod said. “I feel a heck of a lot better than at this point last year, that’s for sure. I’m just doing everything I can to get faster and stronger and everything else that I need to get back out there.”