GREEN BAY - Corey Linsley was training last month in his home state of Ohio, unaware his torn hamstring had not yet healed, when he aggravated the same injury that threatens to ruin his third NFL season.
Linsley first tore his hamstring during organized team activities in May. He thought it healed enough to work out in the weeks leading up to the Green Bay Packers' training camp.
He was “running,” Linsley said, when his hamstring tore again in July.
“I wasn’t going to stop training like I do just because of something,” Linsley said. “I was training like I needed to train, and it just wasn’t healed yet, and I didn’t know that. So then after that, I had that setback, and then now it’s become something obviously more serious.”
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Linsley said both hamstring tears were severe, but the second was worse than the first. He has not needed surgery.
“Which is even more frustrating,” Linsley said, “because (surgery) would be an easier fix. So it’s just in between that stage. So just got to keep going.”
Linsley said he does not know when he’ll return — another sign of the injury’s severity — but still expects to play at some point this fall.
Because he has yet to take part in training camp, Linsley is eligible to start the regular season on the physically unable to perform list where he can remain for up to nine weeks and not count against the 53-man roster.
A player on PUP is eligible to return to practice at any time between Weeks 6 and 9. Once he steps on the field, the team has 21 days in which to activate him. If he is not activated during that window, he remains on PUP for the rest of the season.
Linsley started the first 20 games of his career but has been plagued with injuries since. It's the aggravation of his injuries that has been most problematic.
He missed the Packers' game against the Chicago Bears last season after spraining his ankle the previous week at the Minnesota Vikings. Linsley returned a week later against the Detroit Lions, but missed games against the Dallas Cowboys and Oakland Raiders after reinjuring the sprained ankle.
Linsley has been unable to participate in the Packers' offseason program. His starting job was handed to JC Tretter on Monday.
“There’s nothing I could do about it,” Linsley said. “I’m not out there practicing. They’ve got to go with who’s practicing, and JC’s a great player, and I think everybody knows that. Nothing I could do about it, obviously. I’m not out there competing with the guys, and just like Mike (McCarthy) said, availability’s important.
“But I’m confident in what I can do, and I’ve shown what I can do. So you’ve just got to rest back on your confidence and then get healthy.”
Linsley has tried to accept his situation.
Speaking at his locker room Tuesday, he described his health status as "it is what it is" three times. Four times, he uttered "control what you can control." But the frustration clearly has mounted.
“I guess I underestimated (the first hamstring tear),” Linsley said, “because I had never dealt with anything like that. So just moving on from there, you look back thinking what you could’ve done different, but I don’t think I should’ve done anything different. I was training like I needed to train, and it just wasn’t healed yet.
"It’s unfortunate that it happened for me, I guess, but like I said, control what you can control and rest back on the confidence of the player I’ve shown when I’ve been on the field. So it’s just getting back for the team now."