Injuries clouding 53-man roster evaluation

Tom Silverstein
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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August 26, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Green Bay Packers running back John Crockett (38) runs with the football against San Francisco 49ers cornerback Will Redmond (23) during the third quarter at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – It was looking like the Green Bay Packers were going to come out of their game with the San Francisco 49ers without much to worry about, but they returned home with their share of bumps and bruises.

According to one observer, the turf at Levi’s Stadium was loose and coming up and might have been the reason for both teams suffering multiple muscle-pull injuries.

The Packers suffered a variety of those and others, some of which may have an impact on the 53-man roster.

Here is a rundown on the injured:

Running back John Crockett: His 46 yards on 13 carries might not have seemed like a breakout day, but the second-year pro had some productive runs and solid blocks in seeing the most snaps of any back.

But on a third and 7 with 6:53 left in the second quarter, Crockett fell hard on his left elbow at the end of a short reception and appeared to have jammed his shoulder. He was examined on the sideline, did not return and had a bag of ice with him as he left the locker room.

“I’m not sure what happened,” Crockett said. “It’s football. I should be fine. Hopefully, it’s not anything. It’s football, so you never know.”

Crockett was on solid footing for the No. 3 halfback position, but if the injury sidelines him for more than a couple of weeks the Packers will have to decide whether to keep him or go with rookie Brandon Burks, who carried six times for 30 yards, including a pretty 19-yard touchdown run.

Crockett was the primary target on the last play of the first half when coach Mike McCarthy decided to go for a touchdown on fourth and goal from the 5. But Crockett got tripped up by a rushing end and didn’t get in his route quick enough. Quarterback Joe Callahan had already committed to the throw when Crockett lost his balance and the ball fell incomplete.’

According to running back Eddie Lacy, Crockett was very good in pass protection.

“He definitely had a few blitz pickups and he had a chip where he knocked a guy over, a defensive end, I believe,” Lacy said. “He had a couple good runs. I think the backs as a whole had a good night.

OLB Jayrone Elliott: In the first half, Elliott, who is in a fight to make the 53-man roster, pulled his hamstring and was not able to finish the game.

“I was just running down on punt coverage and I felt it,” Elliott said.

Asked if he thought it was serious, he said, “I don’t know. I haven’t had one of these before. I’ll probably get an MRI on it and we’ll see.”

If Elliott was going to make the team, it was going to be primarily as his strength as a special teams player. He has not had the success he had in previous exhibition seasons rushing the passer and finished the game with no stats.

S Chris Banjo: Another hamstring, Banjo’s injury could complicate matters in the secondary. Practically a lock to make the 53-man roster because of his special teams play, Banjo’s prognosis will have an impact on what the Packers do at safety.

Rookie Marwin Evans, who had two tackles, helped his cause with a fourth-quarter interception while fellow undrafted free agents Kentrell Brice and Jermaine Whitehead each had two tackles on defense and Brice had one on special teams.

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Micah Hyde started at safety with Morgan Burnett still sidelined and Banjo was the third man in.

CB Makinton Dorleant: After his best week of practice, the undrafted rookie pulled a hamstring, the second time that has happened since camp began.

Dorleant missed nearly two weeks with a hamstring injury he suffered in practice on Aug. 1 and was just rounding into shape. This injury is different than the first one he suffered he said.

“My leg just got tight,” Dorleant said. “It’s something with my hammy. I’ll just let them look at it and follow whatever procedure they have.”

Along with undrafted rookie Josh Hawkins, Dorleant was making a spirited run for the 53-man roster. But if this injury knocks him out for more than a week or so, two options for the Packers would be to stash him on season-ending injured reserve or release him and hope he clears waivers so they could re-sign him to the practice squad when he’s healthy.

“Camp was going good,” Dorleant said. “The most important thing is you’ve got to be available. I tried, I was still competing, giving everything I had. All camp, I gave everything I had.”

OT Jason Spriggs: The second-round pick came into the game with a finger injury and after he aggravated it in the first half, the training staff wrapped his right hand in a club. He played the entire second half with the club on and definitely struggled with it.

“I mashed my finger up in practice,” Spriggs said. “I needed a couple of stitches. I started the game with just a smaller cast on, but I tweaked it at the beginning of the game. The smaller cast wasn’t working well, so we went with the bigger one.”

Spriggs said the finger is not broken.

“I don’t know if it impacted my play,” he said of wearing the club. “It forces you to focus on your fundamentals. You can’t overset. You have to really focus on knowing the defense wants to take advantage of that side.”

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