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INDIANAPOLIS – Ty Montgomery exhausted every possible avenue to return from injury last season, showing enough grit for Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy to call the rookie receiver a “pro” in how he handled the situation.

Montgomery’s first season officially ended Oct. 11 when a high-ankle sprain knocked him out of the Packers' home game against the St. Louis Rams. Through almost five games, he was ascending into a significant role on the Packers' offense. Montgomery had played 249 snaps, catching 15 passes for 136 yards and two touchdowns. He caught a 31-yard touchdown against the Rams.

McCarthy said surgery should be a “last resort,” and Montgomery followed that approach precisely. He tried to return “three or four different occasions” over a six- to eight-week period, McCarthy said. Each time, Montgomery reaggravated the ankle. He eventually needed surgery, and he might not be healthy until training camp.

But McCarthy was pleased with how hard Montgomery fought to return.

“Just talking with Ty after the season,” McCarthy said, “he was frustrated. He felt he had this injury, and people didn’t think he was (injured). I said, ‘No. 1, that’s not the case.’ Two, I said, ‘I appreciate that you went through every step.’ He tried to come back three or four different occasions. At the end of it, he had the operation. I said, ‘That’s the way a pro goes about.’

“Some people might have operated earlier. He did everything he could, he went through all the different types of treatments. He got to the point where there were times he thought he was going to be able to go. But based on what they saw once they went in there, it’s understandable the way they went around it.”

There were no shortage of issues with the Packers offense last season. From Jordy Nelson’s season-ending ACL, Aaron Rodgers’ subpar season and Eddie Lacy reporting to training camp overweight, most of them have been well documented.

On a smaller scale, Montgomery’s ankle certainly didn’t help matters.

Montgomery gave the offense value as a speedy receiver who could line up in multiple positions across the field. He split wide, ran routes from the slot, and even took some snaps from the backfield. McCarthy said he was impressed with Montgomery’s versatility, especially for a rookie.

“Ty Montgomery is an exceptional athlete,” McCarthy said. “I think that’s very evident the first time that he takes the field as far as with the rookies, and then even so with the veterans. The other part of it is, he’s a very bright young man. Football comes very naturally to him. His ability to move in and out of multiple positions at such a young age is very impressive.

“It’s important for him to get back and master the receiver position. That’s his primary focus. Anything from that, whether it’s the return games and so forth, he’ll compete and do a nice job.”

-rwood@gannett.com and follow him on Twitter @ByRyanWood

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