Josh Sitton was suited up for the Green Bay Packers’ first padded practice of training camp on Saturday, but again sat out when it came time for team periods and one-on-one drills.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy is adamant the team is "just being smart" with the all-pro left guard, who also was limited on Thursday. Still, it raised the question of whether his absence is related at all to the ligament damage he suffered in his big toe last season, which healed without surgery this offseason.
Sitton danced around the topic when asked about it after practice before finally saying “my toe feels great right now” with a straight face.
So what exactly ails the eight-year veteran? McCarthy equated it to "bumps and bruises" and Sitton echoed those remarks. What the veteran guard seems certain about is it's nothing anything he expects to hamper him long-term like the toe injury did over the final 10 games of the season.
Sitton has missed only two games since becoming a starter in 2009, but occasionally has sat out of in-season practices because of various knee and back injuries. The Packers watched his reps last year during training camp with reserve guard Lane Taylor often spelling him at left guard.
"We're just being smart right now," Sitton said. "We're not concerned with anything in the long run. I'll be just fine. There's nothing to really worry about. We're just being smart. I'm getting older. I've played a long time, I don't need as many as reps as maybe I did in the past. We're just being smart."
Sitton turned 29 in June, but still finds value in training-camp reps. Unlike receivers and many skill positions, camp is where offensive linemen can condition their bodies for the upcoming grind of the season. He says it usually takes him like "a week or two" to get accustom to those collisions.
"Traditionally I've been a guy, I need my practice and I've always wanted to practice," Sitton said. "This is new, and it's not easy to sit and watch especially when the offense is out there kicking ass like they were today. You want to be out there and be a part of that and be with your guys and make your team better."
With Sitton sitting out of team periods, Taylor once again is taking a lion's share of the reps with the starting offense. He's held his own so far and appeared to win all four of his matchups during the one-on-one portion of practice.
"I tell you what, he started out camp really strong," Sitton said. "I think he's a good football player, a hell of run-blocker and he's gotten better in the past. I get a chance to work with him a lot and talk with him a lot. He's really taken a lot of things and put it on the field. It's been very impressive to watch. He's somebody I would feel extremely comfortable with out there on the field."
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