Packers coach Matt LaFleur suffers torn Achilles tendon playing basketball

Jim Owczarski
Packers News
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GREEN BAY – Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur will be confined to a cart for the remaining organized team activity sessions and mandatory minicamp after rupturing an Achilles tendon playing basketball at Lambeau Field on Wednesday night, confirmed.

The head coach will have surgery to repair the tendon on Sunday.

“He can probably be back working in a day or two as long as his leg is elevated,” said Dr. Michael D. Gordon of Milwaukee Orthopaedic Group, a surgeon who has performed that procedure. “A full recovery, walking without any protective aids, usually it’s about six months for recovery.

“What you look for is for people to do what is called a single-leg toe raise (exercise), where you can actually lift yourself off the ground with that one leg, it’s at that point when people are pretty much cleared to go back and do most activities. That can take a minimum of four months but realistically six to nine months in a lot of people.”

LaFleur wouldn’t need to be walking a sideline until the Packers’ Family Night practice Aug. 2. The preseason opener against Houston is six days later.

The Packers open the NFL regular season Sept. 5 at Chicago. There is a chance he will be wearing a protective device depending on how his recovery is going and his sideline movement style.

LaFleur, 39, has been an active participant in every practice open to the public since taking over as the head coach, be it throwing passes to running backs, rushing the passer or dropping into coverage.

“I’m just kind of going out there, doing what I think is necessary,” LaFleur said this week. “I think the key for all our guys is just trying to get them to learn the details of the play, because that’s where the beauty lies. That’s where I think you can take your game to a new level if you understand exactly what needs to be done and how it needs to be done. So I’m just focused kind of in the guys’ ears and just challenging them to dig into the details.”

Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur during practice at Clarke Hinkle Field on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 in Ashwaubenon, Wis.

Now, he’ll have to rely on his assistant coaches to coordinate the on-field work for the foreseeable future.

Dr. Gordon noted LaFleur has access to the organization’s renowned group of doctors headed up by team physician Dr. Pat McKenzie, but the head coach will likely have to amend that on-field style for the rest of 2019.

The Packers open training camp on July 25.

“He’ll have to modify it this year, at least early on in the summer part,” Dr. Gordon said. “As the season progresses and he gets farther into his recovery, maybe he’ll be able to more.”

Interestingly, Packers wide receiver Davante Adams appeared on the Jim Rome Show this week and was asked about playing basketball in the offseason. He said LaFleur wasn’t a fan of the activity for players due to the injury risk.

Adams was asked about the Kansas City Chiefs expressing concerns in February about quarterback Patrick Mahomes playing basketball.

“I mean, you understand, I guess, you gotta understand that side of it, that that’s their franchise player,” Adams began. “I’m sure if it was the practice squad left tackle they wouldn’t be worried about it quite as much. Being who he is, you gotta understand. But, I mean, you gotta let guys do what they do in the offseason. They take motorcycles and stuff like that away from us, but it’s good cardio.”

In late March, on another show, Adams showed off his dunking prowess and has posted videos of his leaping ability on the court.

“I love playing basketball,” Adams told Rome. “That’s another thing that Matt has talked about, too, he’s not a big fan of guys playing basketball in the offseason. He knows that’s my first love right there. I didn’t play football until my junior year in high school. So it was always basketball. Early on in my career any time, any chance I got I was out there playing some pickup and messing around. Being safe, obviously. I used that as a good source of cardio. I feel if you’re in good basketball shape, you’re going to be in great football shape. I definitely understand where they’re coming from, but you’ve got to let the guy live.”

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