Jermichael Finley made his first visit to Lambeau Field on Friday since being stretchered off the field in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 31-13 win over the Cleveland Browns.
The full scale of Finley’s diagnosed spinal contusion might not be known for some time, but the Green Bay Packers’ sixth-year tight end was in good spirits during his Friday morning visit to the locker room.
“I saw Jermichael this morning. He looks good,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “Looked like a dang movie star walking in there with sunglasses. It was good to see him. (He had a) big smile on his face. It’s great to have him back in the building.
“My understanding is the tests that have been done … they will continue to do more tests. That information is being sent to the specialist and then we’ll have to make a decision.”
Finley has already been ruled out for Sunday’s game in Minnesota after spending four days in a Green Bay hospital. According to a report from CBS Sports, he likely will be placed on season-ending injured reserve as he continues his recovery.
Many teammates and coaches were shaken by the incident, leading to many emotional visits to his hospital room after the game.
As the tests remain ongoing to determine whether or not he’ll be able to continue playing, seeing Finley walk on his own power was therapeutic for all involved.
“I know a lot of people were able to get over to the hospital to see him,” McCarthy said. “Just seeing him walk in here today I think is what everybody needed to see.”
A league spokesperson confirmed on Friday Cleveland defensive Tashaun Gipson, who delivered the hit on Finley, wasn't fined for the play. Initially, he was given an unnecessary roughness penalty for a helmet-to-helmet hit, but McCarthy, tight ends coach Jerry Fontenot and many others all spoke this week on it being a clean hit.
Although not everyone in the locker room was able to meet with Finley on Friday, the fact he’s moving and out of the hospital has done a lot for the Packers' psyche.
“We’re excited,” wide receiver Jordy Nelson said. “Everyone is keeping tolls on him – either talking to him, going to see him, talking to the trainers, keeping track of him. You want to see the progression. If he stayed in the hospital day after day after day, then you really start to worry. There’s a progression that they’re going to take, and it’s good to see that obviously he’s continued to improve.”