Surgery for Randall; Abbrederis, Banjo to IR
GREEN BAY - The wounds of the Green Bay Packers are deepest at running back and cornerback, where three players who did not begin the season on the active roster contributed against the Chicago Bears last week: Demetri Goodson (suspended), Don Jackson (practice squad) and Knile Davis (acquired via trade).
Of the remaining players at those positions, one was a wide receiver-turned-running back who enjoyed the best game of his career. That would be Ty Montgomery.
The other was a former undrafted free agent who hardly played last season. That would be cornerback LaDarius Gunter.
Despite all that, despite the absence of two draft picks at running back and two more at corner, the situation managed to become even gloomier Monday, when multiple sources told PackersNews that cornerback Damarious Randall underwent surgery over the weekend. Randall, the team’s No. 1 corner with Sam Shields on injured reserve, traveled to Philadelphia to have the surgery performed by noted core muscle surgeon Dr. William Meyers, according to an ESPN report.
Meyers is the nation’s premier sports hernia surgeon. He has operated on several Packers players over the years, including receiver Greg Jennings, outside linebacker Mike Neal and center Mike Flanagan.
Typical recovery time for this type of procedure ranges from four to six weeks, though it varies depending on the individual. Sources close to Randall said he is doing well and should be ready to play in December, which comes at the end of the six-week window.
“I just felt like I can’t keep on playing like this," Randall said after loss to Dallas, “because I don’t want to reinjure it.”
With his roster deeply wounded, general manager Ted Thompson made a flurry of moves Monday to reinforce the Packers’ ranks. He began by placing wide receiver Jared Abbrederis (thigh contusion) and safety Chris Banjo (hamstring) on injured reserve, effectively ending their seasons. He continued by looking inward for their replacements, and the Packers promoted wide receiver Geronimo Allison and safety Jermaine Whitehead from the practice squad in two like-for-like changes.
Thompson’s day finished when he filled Allison’s spot on the practice squad by signing wide receiver Dez Stewart, a rookie from Ohio Dominican. Stewart, who is 6 feet, weighs 200 pounds and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.42 seconds, signed briefly with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in May before spending training camp with the Washington Redskins. He caught one pass for 9 yards during the exhibition season.
The shakeup at wide receiver comes four days after Abbrederis missed Thursday's game against the Chicago Bears due to injury, and a league source told PackersNews a thigh contusion ended his season.
Abbrederis, now in his third year, had enjoyed a terrific training camp that drew positive feedback from quarterback Aaron Rodgers, coach Mike McCarthy and others, but the momentum quickly faded when the regular season arrived.
He was the odd man out in a receivers room with seven options, four of whom were fighting for minimal reps behind Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Davante Adams. The former Wisconsin star, who has battled injuries since being drafted by the Packers in 2014, played 14 snaps in the opener against Jacksonville due in part to injuries to Jeff Janis (broken hand) and Trevor Davis (shoulder).He caught one pass for 8 yards.
It was his only contribution of the season.
Abbrederis’ playing time faded in recent weeks. His snap counts dissipated from six against the Minnesota Vikings to zero against the Detroit Lions and zero against the New York Giants. It was the nadir of his time on the active roster. He received four snaps in the loss to the Dallas Cowboys but was a non-factor.
“(McCarthy) does a great job of laying out everyone’s role during the week,” wide receivers coach Luke Getsy said on Oct. 13. “So sometimes it’s no-huddle and a tempo thing we want to attack, and sometimes it’s get the right guy for the right play or it’s rolling the personnel. I think having the ability to do all of those things is a really good weapon for us. I don’t see anything changing as far as Mike’s approach and just making sure that we feel like we’re doing what we feel is best to win that week.”
When asked about Abbrederis’ role after two games without a snap, Getsy’s answer was fairly vague.
"Every week it’s different, there’s no doubt about that," he said. "Every week is different. Sometimes, he’s on the brink of being a big part of the game plan and sometimes it’s just not.
"But he’s been awesome. He’s been awesome. He attacks every day. You guys see him at the beginning of practice, at least, but that guy is ready to play. There’s no question that he’ll be ready as soon as that opportunity presents itself."
RELATED: Randall has surgery; Banjo goes on IR
RELATED: Eddie Lacy goes on injured reserve
The Packers can bring one player back from injured reserve provided that player has missed at least eight weeks of the season. But with key contributors like cornerback Sam Shields and running back Eddie Lacy already on IR, it’s extremely unlikely Thompson would use the designation on Abbrederis.
His season, in effect, is over.
With Montgomery functioning more like a running back than a receiver, the promotion of Allison once again gives the Packers six wideouts. Allison, an undrafted free agent from Illinois, was the surprise of training camp with his steady play and reliable hands. He caught nearly every pass thrown in his direction and developed a nice chemistry with Rodgers.
Allison caught six passes for 119 yards during the exhibition season, including an impressive grab on a 51-yard gain.
Whitehead, who was also in training camp with the Packers, joins a secondary that resembles a bare cupboard. Shields was placed on injured reserve last week after missing four games with his fifth documented concussion. He won't be eligible to return until Week 15 at the earliest but may also be done for the season now that Lacy joined him on IR. (The Packers likely would activate Lacy over Shields if both players were healthy.)
Banjo, meanwhile, has been bothered by hamstring injuries all season. The initial injury took place in an exhibition game against the San Francisco 49ers and kept him out for the first two weeks of the regular season. He debuted against the Detroit Lions in Week 3 and returned to his role as a core special teams player and backup safety.
But two weeks later — after the Week 4 bye — Banjo injured his hamstring in the win over the New York Giants. He has not played or practiced since.
Quinten Rollins, another damaged corner, has missed the Packers’ last two games with a groin injury. Ideally, the Packers would like Rollins to return Sunday in Atlanta, when they face ultra-talented wide receiver Julio Jones. But next week's game against the Indianapolis Colts might be more likely, and the cupboard might remain bare for one more week.
Until then, Gunter and Goodson will be the top cover men on the perimeter.
— Tom Silverstein of the Journal Sentinel contributed to this report
Packers on the injured reserve list
WR Jared Abbrederis
S Chris Banjo
RB John Crockett
CB Makinton Dorleant
DT Tyler Kuder
RB Eddie Lacy
CB Sam Shields.