Two days into his return from the physically unable to perform list, tackle Derek Sherrod at minimum looks like a healthy player.
Last year when Sherrod came off PUP less than a year removed from surgery on a broken lower leg, he was noticeably gimpy running from drill to drill and clearly at far less than full strength. In fact, the Packers placed him on injured reserve after two weeks of practice in '12 even though he was eligible to practice for a third week if they’d wanted.
This season, Sherrod practiced for the first time Wednesday, and then in Thursday’s padded practice took part in all drills during the portion of practice open to reporters, including the physical half-line run-game period. He no longer runs with a limp and appeared to be moving OK during drills.
“Big difference (from last year),” said James Campen, the Packers’ offensive line coach. “It’s not even close. The gimpy word is gone.”
The Packers won't know until later this seasor next year if or how much Sherrod has been diminished after his severe injury. But coach Mike McCarthy has said he expects Sherrod to play this season, and the Packers have to take it as an especially good sign that the 2011 first-round draft pick was able to practice in the first week he was eligible return.
Players on PUP can begin practicing any time in the next five weeks, and once they start practicing they then have a three-week window before they have to put on the roster or injured reserve, or released.
The Packers are limiting his reps this week because of his long layoff, though he had been doing some football fundamentals while rehabbing.
“He’s been getting out of his stance as part of his running and all those things that he’s doing,” Campen said. “You just have to look at it, (Wednesday) he had some fundamentals and today with the pads. It’s going to take some time, but I expect him to progress. He’s confident in his leg and the injury is behind him. I think the only way is up from here.”