The PackersNews.com crew gives their predictions for the Week 4 Packers vs. Bears showdown in Lambeau Field. (Sept. 27, 2017) USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin
GREEN BAY - If outside linebacker Nick Perry receives clearance from the medical staff to play Thursday against the Chicago Bears, it will be the 21st time in 70 career games with the Green Bay Packers — counting playoffs — that he dons a club to protect an injured hand.
“It is what it is,” Perry said Wednesday. “Things happen, football happens. Each and every week we put our bodies on the line. Just another tough break.
“Still in the day-to-day operation right now. If I can get through the pain and all of that stuff and feel good about putting my hand out there, I’ll be considering it tomorrow.”
Perry and defensive end Mike Daniels (hamstring) were officially listed as questionable for Thursday's game. Cornerback Davon House (quadricep) was the only defensive player ruled out.
Perry broke a bone in his right hand during the first quarter of a loss to the Atlanta Falcons. He underwent surgery on a finger several days later and did not play against the Cincinnati Bengals. Perry returned to practice this week with a club on his injured hand and was a full participant by Tuesday.
His status for Thursday’s game remains uncertain, and pain tolerance will be a significant factor in tandem with input from the medical staff. While protective, the club does little to quell Perry’s discomfort one week after surgery.
“It just protects me from further damage as much as possible,” Perry said. “There’s obviously trauma going on in there. You’ve got to use it ultimately. You can’t play with one arm. I don’t want to go out there and give a half job out there. Just making sure that I can play with both hands and it be manageable throughout the game.
“We’ve all had our share of history of injuries. We’ve been getting hit with a bug over the past couple of weeks, hasn’t been good. But if you can play, you can play. I take pride in being available and accountable. If it’s something that I can get through, it’s something that I can get through. For guys that can’t, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do and get better to get back on the field.”
The injury is very similar to what Perry endured last season, when broken bones in his left hand resulted in surgery late in the year. He missed two weeks of the regular season following the procedure and returned without a hitch. Perry registered four sacks in five games with a club.
“I got something bigger than them,” Perry said with a laugh. “I think some guys know and some guys may look at it as a weapon, you know? And that may be intimidating for them. But that’s not to say I’m gonna go out there and just go swinging.
“I think it comes down to making those adjustments and finding your weak points and finding what’s going to be your strong points. You have to accomplish that for that injury. You have to make sure you pick up on something else that you normally wouldn’t do. So just forming new habits over the course of the week to prepare yourself on game day helps.”
Perry plays with “violent” hands at the line of scrimmage, according to coach Mike McCarthy, and that may have contributed to his history of injuries.
In 2012, Perry wore a cast on his left wrist in Week 2 and later wound up on injured reserve for the same issue. In 2015, Perry injured his right hand in the fifth game and returned with a cast two weeks later. In 2016, Perry broke his left hand in the 12th game and wore a club for the remainder of the season.
Still, he doesn't want to change the approach that has gotten him this far.
“The one thing I don’t want to do is play soft or play relaxed and more laid back,” Perry said. “I think if I play conscious about an injury, something always tends to happen. I kind of go into practice, I go into games with the mentality of just playing ball and letting loose. I think if I play hard and just give it all I’ve got, I don’t worry about that thing.
“Going in on tackles and stuff like that, you don’t know what you might hit. You may hit a helmet or something like that. Things can happen. I’m sure I’ve hit a couple helmets and didn’t really know what I hit, things like that. You just get into the game where, you know, things happen and your adrenaline is rushing. You may feel something, but you don’t notice what it is until after the fact when you try to play it back.”