The Packers have once again been bitten by the injury bug. For the past two weeks, the Packers game day inactive list has been nearly all starters. With contributors like Bishop, Saine and D.J. Smith already lost for the season, the Packers “next man up” philosophy has been tested since day one of the season. Yet as the injuries pile up and the number of players on the injury report and number of games missed increases, the situation becomes an increasing concern.
As the Packers have proven year in and year out, the front office is committed to their guys and their plan. The Packers don’t make flashy trades or rash free agent pickups after injuries. Next man up.
But when you live and die by next man up and every week and every game matters as much as it does in the NFL, there are two crucial components to making the philosophy work. First you need depth. Which the Packers, so far, have proven they have. Second, you need the ability to get guys healthy. And so far this year, the Packers have struggled at that.
Yesterday it was announced that Nick Perry is seeking a second opinion on his injured knee. This is the second time this season that a Packers player has done so.
After injuring his groin in the first game of the season, and trying and failing to come back in week four, Greg Jennings sat out three more games and it was decided that he needed a second opinion. The injury wasn’t healing like they thought it would; it was taking longer.
Days before it was determined that Jennings should get a second opinion, the Packers actually hoped to get him on the practice field. In the end, Jennings needed abdominal surgery and after a delay from super storm Sandy, he’s now healing and is on the road to heading back to playing instead of just waiting.
Jennings and the Packers waited three games between when Jennings re-aggravated his groin and when he went for a second opinion. Had Jennings and the Packers decided that surgery was the best option after week four, it’s reasonable to assume that Jennings could come back after the bye week.
Nick Perry’s situation is similar. He injured his knee against Houston and has sat out three games. Like Jennings injury, recovery is different for every person. According to Weston Hodkiewicz of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Perry was given a window of three to eight weeks recovery time. Perry is seeking the second opinion now and the Packers hope to have more information within the next two days.
While second opinions in the NFL might not be uncommon, a quick glance at other teams, the Packers do seem to be doing something different. The Jets had two players seek second opinions this year: Darrelle Revis and Santonio Holmes. However, in both situations the second opinion was used to confirm the severity of the injury and both players were placed on season ending injured reserve.
Blaine Gabbert also sought out a second opinion this year. The Jaguars used the second opinion to verify that Gabbert could play the following week. In all three cases, the players got their second opinion within days of their injury. Holmes went for his the day after he got hurt.
Why do the Packers and their players wait so long to get a second opinion? Why, in an age when every game matters more and more and when technology and travel accommodations allow for seemingly easy second opinions, do the Packers seem content to wait injuries out?
If it turns out that Nick Perry requires even a simple knee scope or any number of other procedures, why wait to find out? Why not do it immediately and start the rehab process as soon as possible?
A three week later second opinions shouldn’t be common practice. Here’s hoping no other Packers player needs one.
Jayme Joers is a writer at CheeseheadTV’s Eat More Cheese and co-host of CheeseheadRadio. She also contributes to Pocketdoppler.com. You can contact her via twitter at @jaymelee1 or email at Jaymelee1@gmail.com.