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McCarthy Remaining Cautious With Injured S Nick Collins

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McCarthy Remaining Cautious With Injured S Nick Collins

Speaking from the NFL owners meetings in Palm Beach, Florida, Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy insisted his medical staff will remain cautious with safety Nick Collins, who missed all but two games last season after suffering a career-threatening neck injury.

ESPN Milwaukee's Jason Wilde spoke with McCarthy briefly.

"Dr. Pat McKenzie and our medical staff, they're conservative by nature," McCarthy told Wilde, who then tweeted the comments. "We're not going to put [Nick Collins] in harm's way. If he's on the field, he'll be cleared, he'll be 100 percent, everyone will be comfortable."

Collins, who went to three straight Pro Bowls from 2008-10, injured his neck during the Packers' Week 2 win over the Carolina Panthers while attempting to make a tackle on running back Jonathan Stewart. He was stretchered off the field but had movement in all his extremities. Days later, the Packers announced Collins would miss the rest of the 2011 season.

He later underwent cervical fusion surgery on his neck to repair a bulging disc between his C3 and C4 vertebrae, which was the only option for Collins if he planned on giving himself a chance to play football again. The surgery is also the same one that Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning underwent that caused him to miss the 2011 season.

According to McCarthy, "If Nick was my son, I would not let him play."

While not exactly a ringing endorsement for Collins, the burden first lies with Dr. McKenzie and his staff, who will either clear or not clear the 28-year-old safety, and if Collins does receive said clearance, it will be on him to ultimately decide if he wants to risk playing in the NFL again.

That will likely be a difficult decision for Collins, especially if you consider the difficulty defensive backs have had coming back from cervical fusion surgery.

According to Dr. Wellington K. Hsu, who released a study in 2010 on cervical disk herniations (CDHs), nearly three out of four NFL players who undergo the surgery return to play football. Among defensive backs, however, just six of the 12 treated with surgery returned to play, and their football lifespan upon returning was significantly shorter than other positions.

“The defensive back is a unique position on the field,” Dr. Hsu said about the difficulties for defensive backs, including safeties. “They’re tackling players who are 60 pounds to 70 pounds heavier than they are; they may be more sensitive to subtleties in range of motion in the neck than other positions. They’re among the most athletic players on the field and could be more attuned to changes after surgery than other positions.”

Collins has said all along that he wants to have a decision made in time for the Packers to react, which means the wheels should start spinning on the process somewhat soon. A doctor's visit, which Collins has said will be in the next week or two, is the first step in a long line of choices and decisions that will determine whether or not Collins plays again in the NFL.

McCarthy ultimately said, via Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, that it will be a black and white issue on whether or not Collins does in fact play again.

"I'll tell you what (team physician) Dr. Pat McKenzie told me: It's something that they feel very good about based on the last exam, and if he has a good chance just based on the way he's progressing, but you don't know," McCarthy said. "He said it's either yes or no."

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (13) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

PkrNboro's picture

I think I beat you to the punch on this... ~ hour and a half???


PkrNboro says:
March 25, 2012 at 12:49 pm

With regard to Collins…

el handro's picture

Good job no ones cares

cow42's picture

shea mcclellin.

Bearmeat's picture

Agreed Cow, but what does that have to do with Nick?

pkrNboro's picture

Jonathan Massaquoi

(if he can do it, I can too)

Rocky70's picture

Jeremy Thompson, Sterling Sharpe, Terrance Murphy, Robert Brooks, Tim Lewis. NC's case is related to all because the team will make a thumb's up or down decision.

Drafting another safety early may be wise for the Pack.

pkrNboro's picture

I'm pretty sure all of these players had congenital cervical stenosis, which I've not heard mentioned with regard to Collin's injury.

But it does seem that with spinal injuries these guys don't return to GB.

I wouldn't be surprised by two things:
(1) Collins gets cleared to play again
(2) but he won't play to his previous level

Rocky70's picture

I wasn't even thinking of the kind of injury. I was referring to the fact that all of them failed their physical by the Packer Medical Team. As a result, the Pack were done with them.

Knowing what NC does for a living, I really can't see any doctor anywhere who can sign off on Nick Collins & say that there is no risk of further & more tramatic injury.

pkrNboro's picture

I really liked what I saw of MD Jennings last pre-season.

But, he's listed at 187 and Collins is shown to be 207.

I wonder how much weight could MD could put on and still be effective?

pkrNboro's picture

sorry, not sure why this posted as a reply -- I went to the top of the page, and clicked on comments -- so it would be "new."

Bearmeat's picture

Hope he comes back. The success rate and the reactions so far of the medical people involved seem positive.

But we still should draft a safety with 'upside' in the later rounds.

Jeremy's picture

I posted this link once before but i don't think many got to see it. It's a pretty interesting read on the subject.

Walty's picture

Nick just seems like a great guy. I'd love to have him back, but he has young kids and his entire life ahead of him.

He's a 3-time Pro Bowler and a Super Bowl champion. The icing on the cake was his pick 6 in that Super Bowl appearance.

I hope he makes a safe decision.

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