GREEN BAY - Sidelined by a back injury, Green Bay Packers first-round pick Kenny Clark was watching his teammates practice Tuesday, an experience that was completely new to him.
“I’ve never missed a practice,” Clark said. “Not in college, not in high school. I’ve been playing since the seventh grade and I haven’t missed a practice.”
Clark said he dropped out of practice Monday and was held out Tuesday because his back was bothering him. He said he wasn’t sure exactly what was wrong, but he didn’t think it was too serious.
Still, he said a full examination hadn’t been done and it was too early for him to know if he would be able to play against San Francisco on Friday night.
“It’s just been bothering me a little bit,” Clark said. “I don’t have the specifics on everything yet.”
The Packers cannot afford not to have Clark for the season opener against Jacksonville. They’re already going to be without defensive lineman Mike Pennel, who will be serving a four-game suspension, and their backup option at nose tackle might wind up being Christian Ringo or Brian Price, two players without NFL experience.
It could mean that Datone Jones and Julius Peppers will have to play a lot as defensive linemen to account for a lack of depth. Rookie Dean Lowry is another option, but the Packers drafted Clark to play the nose and are expecting him to log a lot of snaps.
Clark said that if he’s healthy, he’ll be able to contribute.
“I’ll be ready,” he said. “I’ll definitely be ready. The only thing I can control is to go out there and work (hard). That’s just what I’m going to do. We’ve got three, four weeks until that time, so I’m not worried about it.”