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Packers Hope King, Gary Can Overcome Shoulder Issues

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Packers Hope King, Gary Can Overcome Shoulder Issues

(Photo credit: Mike Roemer, Associated Press)

In 2017, the Green Bay Packers used their first draft pick on cornerback Kevin King.  Coming out of Washington, King already had a history of shoulder issues.

King's first shoulder injury came during his freshman season in 2013 when he dislocated his left shoulder making a tackle.  Since then, that shoulder has popped out of its socket several times.

That doesn't sound good, but that's probably also a lot more common in football players than we realize.  

King has finished both of his first two seasons with the Packers on injured reserve.  In his rookie season of 2017, it was because of the left shoulder, which he had surgery on after going on IR.  Last season, it was a combination of a hamstring injury and an injury to King's right shoulder that landed him there.

In a 2017 article by Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette King has said it wasn't uncommon for his shoulder to pop out regularly and that he has long and "loose limbs".  

The Packers were well aware of King's history when they drafted him and are hoping he can play productively.  They need him to.  They invested an early second round pick on King.

It's been frustrating for King, the Packers and Packers fans that the young corner has yet to play a full season.  

Last week, the Packers used the 12th overall pick on Rashan Gary, who also has a shoulder issue.  Again, the Packers were fully aware when they made the pick.

No doubt, the Packers medical team has done a thorough examination and they feel that the risk is minimal that Gary will miss time because of the injury.  That's a projection, of course, and there's risk with any football player as it's a violent game, but many eyes will be on how Gary deals with it through this season.

Gary's injury was initially reported as a torn labrum.  He denied the tear in his conference calls with Wisconsin media and said his shoulder was fine.  At Packers mini camp this past week, Gary was seen in a shoulder harness.  The harness was described as precautionary by head coach Matt LaFleur.

Gary can likely play through the injury and evaluate whether or not to have surgery after this season.  Only the Packers know how much they'll be counting on Gary this season and they surely have a game plan to minimize as much risk as they can.

Best-case scenario is that King's surgery helps him stay on the field and Gary isn't hampered by his shoulder this season.  Worst case is that one or both end up on injured reserve.  Hopefully the Packers come out on the better end of that equation.


Jason is a freelance writer on staff since 2012 and also co-hosts Pulse of the Pack podcast.  You can follow him on Twitter here

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (62) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

4thand1's picture

This will not look good if 2 high draft picks miss time, King has already missed too much.

zeroluv's picture

Hopefully the surgeries helped King now and he can finally play full go! He has had enough time to heal on the surgically repaired shoulder. If he is lifting weights and strengthening the muscle around it now he should be fine. If King can’t stay sucks but it doesn’t hurt as much now...we really never had him contribute the least 2 years so it’s not like we are missing anything, plus with Alexander and Jackson drafted last year and this year Hollman and FS Savage...King won’t be missed. It would be nice to have him so don’t get me wrong and if he does play 16 games he can be a stud and worth an incentive laden extension but if he doesn’ hard loss with the weapons we have now.

I’m not worried about Gary because his position doesn’t require him to lift his arms over his head as much which is how his injury can become worse. If he gets surgery in the 2020 off season....he will have plenty of time to heal and he will be 100% by 2020 training camp. He seems like a workout horse so him getting back into playing form won’t take long. Had Gary not had this injury....we would have never gotten him at 12 so I consider ourselves fortunate! Remember...he is still only 21 years old too.

jlc1's picture

A torn labrum is a problem for almost anyone. It is really painful when the ball moves out of the joint and beyond the labrum. 300+ pound linemen could probably make Gary feel some real pain with just normal effort. Let's hope it is torn that it is healed.

Tundraboy's picture

Seeing who we're talking about, it won'be good period. If one is out, bad,both would be horrible.

TheVOR's picture

Ya, and a torn labrum, is a far different injury than a Lose Shoulder joint. That said, both are serious enough to cost both players the ability to stay available. Man I had such high hopes for King, I watched him in college and knew we drafted a good one, but the injuries.. It's also a bummer to know he had te surgery to fix the left shoulder, and then the right one started doing the same thing, yet he didn't have that one worked on. All I can conclude is more of the same for the right shoulder? You see this every once in a while, these players with extraordinary talent, that just don't have the body that allows them to stay on the field. I strongly suspect King is one of those, and we'll see with Gary. A torn labrum is a horrible injury.

zeroluv's picture

Go pout on the Chicago Bears board. With medical advancements now even ACL tears are not as bad as they once were. Give it a rest....none of your comments are constructive or based in fact.

The doctor said Gary can play at a high level at his position with the tear. Read the reports from the medical staff before you post doom and gloom nonsense here.

flackcatcher's picture

Drafting players with a injury history is always a crap shoot. When a team like the Packers with a lot of needs across the roster drafts players with long term injuries, they are upping the risk factor. That's not pouting or whining. It stating a simple fact. Hopefully things will work out with IAMGUTE. But it's a risk that should not be washed away.

RCPackerFan's picture

These are 2 key pieces to the defense. We NEED them to be on the field.

Now in Gary's case he is a rookie we have no clue what is true potential is. He is also playing a position in which they went out and brought in 2 key free agents to play. That being said they have a huge plan in how they want to use him. Even if its in a specific role he will be a vital piece to the defense.

With King its different. He is entering his 3rd year. He has went on IR in both his years in the league. He has proven that he can be really good when on the field. While they have talent at CB, he is the tallest CB they have and they need him to go against the bigger WR's in the league. Our CB room looks much, much better with King in it. Time for him to be available for all 16 games.

zeroluv's picture

I agree and disagree with you on this. King is a plus but I don’t think we “need” him. Alexander and Jackson are the future for sure. Both played well as rookies and will get better. We just drafted Hollman and he can be a stud too. Secondly, King is on his third year and next year will be the end of his rookie deal. If he gets hurt again like he did the last 2 years Green Bay won’t extend him anyway. Here is to hoping he does play 16 games and shows us his skill set that we drafted him for. The surgery could have been a blessing long term for him and it just needed more time to heal.

RCPackerFan's picture

I disagree about needing him.
Yes we drafted Alexander and Jackson last year. Honestly I think Alexander may have his own island soon.. Jackson really improved as the season went on. But lets not forget that just a couple of years ago we had a pair of 1st and 2nd round CB's that showed up well their rookie years to fall apart in year 2.
We have Tramon Williams, but he is 36 years old. We have Tony Brown who had flashes, but he was still an UDFA for a reason. We have Natrell Jamerson who is on his 2nd team in his 2nd year.

Yes they draft Hollman but to expect a rookie 6th round draft pick to be a stud is a bit much. First lets hope he can make the team, 2nd lets hope he can help on special teams. Anything above that is an added bonus. Since 2010 this is the list of 6th round CB's that you could consider being a 'stud'. Byron Maxwell, Justin Lane, Demetri Goodson (JK LMAO). Out of the roughly 70 DB's selected between 2010-2018 that isn't a big list of players you may consider 'studs'.

We really do need King to be healthy and play. He has showed that he can be a really good CB. His problem is he hasn't stayed healthy.

dobber's picture

I don't think there's much doubt that the Packer defensive backfield is better with King in it. The hope is that they're less reliant on him with improvements at S that also help bolster CB depth.

RCPackerFan's picture

Also they should have an actual pass rush now too.

That should help out more then anything.

Coldworld's picture

Particularly if they can cover in the short middle field to slow down quick release options

RCPackerFan's picture

I do think that if Burks steps up and is the ILB we hope he can be, his speed could really help the short middle of the field. He was a former safety. He is a guy to really watch the preseason.

Old School's picture

We were 8th in the league in sacks last year.

jannes bjornson's picture

If King doesn't get through training camp w/out an injury, I would move on.
You have to get a group playing together into a rythym inthe secondary. Too much missed time equals missed assignments.

Cheezdik's picture

When has King problem he is "really good" on the field? When Golladay used his face as a cleat cleaner? Or is it when he constantly gets "juked" by third rate receivers? He hasn't shown anything. Guys like Richard Sherman show leadership and toughness. King has done nothing. He has one(1) int total. He is a full on bust and Gary will be next. Gute has done worse choosing defensive draft picks than even Thompson did. Thompsons whole claim to fame is that he drafted Rodgers.

RCPackerFan's picture


McFly's picture

Huh? You shouldn't be drinking so heavily at 9am on a Monday.

How can you say Gute has done a poor job choosing defensive players? The sample size is much to small and the timeframe is as well. We have no idea if anyone in this draft class can play or not, because they haven't played a down of NFL football yet. Last year's class is only one year in, obviously, but Alexander looks like a player. So what exactly are you basing this on?

fastmoving's picture

Maybe it would be a good idea if you buy a TV or maybe some glasses, Cheezdik. you need both more than you know.
But at least you sound like an ex pro on his way to an GM job.

And when TT only thing was the AR draft, what did you do to impress us or anybody else in your life?

with all this negativity and complaining all the time together with that "I knew before" stuff, you sound like the strange wig guy to me.

Nick Perry's picture

This coming from someone named "Cheesdik".

I'm sure you think of yourself as funny but just based on the name you're probably some little snot nosed 15 year old kid (any older and you should REALLY be ashamed and check yourself) who thinks he knows his stuff.

Are you a Lions fan? Seattle? Maybe the Vikings or Bears? With the exception of Seattle any of those others mentioned would LOVE to accomplish even half of what Thompson did. This is coming from a guy who really couldn't stand Thompson but at least I give him his due.

Jut move along littledik and leave the football to the big boys.

Bearmeat's picture

Picking where the Packers have picked, you don't get high RAS guys unless:

A: Underachieved or didn't play much in NFL position during college and is, therefore, a huge projection.

B: Have an extensive injury history

C. Went to a tiny school and therefore played against poor competition.

King's problem was B. Gary is A/B. Clark was A. Nick Collins was C. CM3 was A. Perry was A.

That's just off of the top of my head. There are more. When you pick in the top 10, you can get the coveted combo of production, injury-free, and played vs. top NCAA competition. Not outside of it.

zeroluv's picture

Agreed and maybe King needed surgery in college and just never got it which is why he is having issues now. Hopefully with the extra year to heal after his first surgery he is finally in good shape with the left shoulder.

Again, as I have stated before...without the injuries these guys don’t slip that far down but if they can recover from them (which many players have) they are steals.

Coldworld's picture

Like Gary, if the injury is deemed one one can play through, a lot of college players chose not to undergo surgery in draft year. Given the realities of the draft impact, I can’t say I blame them.

RCPackerFan's picture

I get what you're saying. I disagree about the assessment of Clark though.

He wasn't an underachiever and he did play an nfl position. Perhaps the scheme he played in didn't highlight his ability but if you go back and watch his college tape he was really good.

One of the reasons why in that draft he lasted until the 27th pick was simply that teams had other players rated higher. Also teams went more for needs too. Before Clark was taken there was 3 QB's, 4 WR's, 4 OT's, 7 DB's taken. When runs start at positions teams panic and feel the pressure to take a certain position. As far as the DL in that draft the other guys were more flashy. These are the DL selected ahead of Clark in the draft, Joey Bosa, DeForest Buckner, Shaq Lawson. After Clark Robert Nkemdiche and Vernon Butler were in the 1st round.

Lets not forget that it took many Packer fans a year to year and a half to really appreciate what Clark does. He isn't always going to be the guy creating highlight plays but he is the guy that blows up the play so someone else can make the highlight play.

Coldworld's picture

If I recall correctly Clark was criticized for coming out early at such a young age without a large body of work. That raised the risk perception and led to us being able to get him.

RCPackerFan's picture

I do think you are right. He was young. Hell he is 23 years old entering his 4th season. He is younger then some of the rookies this year and 2nd year players as well.

LambeauPlain's picture

I don't recall that he was criticized for entering the draft as a Junior....almost half of all draft prospects are Juniors

He had a great body of work in college. He was just a young for his Junior class age wise.

He played several productive games as a true college freshman and was outstanding as a Sophomore and Junior making all Pac 12 first team both years.

Bearmeat's picture

Clark was unproven without a huge body of work. He lasted until the 20's because his HWS measurements and some college tape suggested he could play NT well in the NFL.

If you do a redraft of the 2016 1st round today, Clark would go top 10 for sure and maybe top 5.

Doc's picture

King has a thin ectomorph body type which is not conducive to taking the big hits in the NFL.

Coldworld's picture

Not a doctor but I’m not sure that shoulder injuries would be the most logical symptom of that.

I’m a little puzzled at all the comments on his physique. He is 2 to 3 inches taller than most CBS on our roster, but he was also heavier than most coming out at 200 lbs, although Alexander is a thicker body type.

He want thought to be an unusual body type by Scouts, for example PFF: “[h]e has prototype NFL size, speed and measurables. At 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds ...”

dobber's picture

Early on, I'd read other scouting reports questioning whether or not he could stand up to the beating of being a press corner (and saying he's really a zone CB as a result). Could be true. Could be that he's just not using his body effectively and that his technique is exposing him to injury, too.

Coldworld's picture

I think we need to see how Gary’s injury really affects him. Others have played through the condition with great success and it is routinely reparable through off season surgery with recovery by the next season.

King is a talent. I really hope that he can get on the field consistently. Again though, his injury to the other shoulder doesn’t signify a pattern in one joint. If surgery has rectified the original issue, I don’t see that we should be assuming reinjury will occur.

Handsback's picture

These tears aren't a muscle thing as much as they are a tendon and ligament issue. You can build the muscle structure as much as you like but the tendons and ligaments need to be tighten as well and only surgery will do that. Mine were folded and stabled. I see where some drill holes into bone and tighten through the bone. I'm sure there must be a hundred ways to do this on the human body, but to keep the arm in place...those ligaments and tendons are the key.

BoCallahan's picture

If King keeps his ectomorph body in good kilter, we’ll be cooking with kerosene!

Packer Dave's picture

Gary did put up 26 reps on the bench. Barring a weird play he should make it through the season, especially because the DL should have two full units to cycle through.

The less King has to do as far as run support the better.

Razzmatazz's picture

Any body remember Justin herrill probably didn't spell that correct but we drafted him first really high pick injury history call the way back to highschool never hardly played

Coldworld's picture

Justin Harrell turned up to OTAs and training camp in his second year overweight and out of condition and then suffered back injuries. These two facts may have been a coincidence, but it is also highly possible that they were related as weight, muscle condition and back issues often are.

The injury he came in with was a torn bicep. That was not a related. Finally he had a very nasty ACL injury that effectively ended his career. I doubt whether we will ever know if another person could have returned after that. From all accounts it was bad enough that potentially not, particularly in a big man.

I think it’s a bit of a jump from King/Gary to Justin Harrell.

LambeauPlain's picture

I agree...Harrell had great athletic traits but he didn't work very hard and coasted on that great talent. If you are that large and don't take care of your body something is going to give. Harrell "gave way" in his muscles, back and joints.

I have read Gary works very hard and keeps himself in shape.

However, I concerned the shoulder injury will prevent him from developing his pass rush moves...right now all he has is a bull rush and NFL tackles know how to stop that.

dobber's picture

I think that during this rookie year, Gary's greatest impact will be in taking a lesser OLB player off the roster (Gilbert, as an example) and improving the quality of the rotation. He's going to allow Pettine to move the Smiths and Fackrell around and create mismatches. Others might get sacks as a result of his being on the field, but Gary might not. We'll need to be cautious not to judge Gary's 2019 based solely on one aggregate stat.

Packerpasty's picture

I think sometimes Ted picked these injured guys because they slip in the draft and they would come cheaper...Ted liked cheaper...its a crapshoot picking oft injured player...can an NFL team afford to take chances like that? Hope it works out.

Coldworld's picture

High upside picks with any serious injury or history are a luxury risk. That’s why they drop. If the team can handle it, it may make sense to get a player out of your draft position league for the future, but that assumes that he will recover fully from that injury and that your team can wait. If you are picking later in round 1, I would imagine it’s a tempting prospect. For what it’s worth, I don’t think Ted was being cheap in this situation, just looking for ability otherwise unreachable.

John Galt's picture

Doesn't give me a lot of confidence in the Packer Medical Staff.

sonomaca's picture

If Gary needs surgery, send him now. No point in having him gimp his way through the season.

dobber's picture

It could be that a Gary with an arm-and-a-half is a better player than a full-strength Gilbert or Donnerson.

Coldworld's picture

The good news is we just signed a returner and slot receiver, Shepherd, from the try out crew. Davis now has at least some competition.

LambeauPlain's picture

I dug into this injury a bit. It seems the torn labrum is a big deal.

It doesn't require surgery to heal and get rid of the pain...but you need to change your physical activity to avoid tearing it again or causing an even worse tear (IE take great care to minimize the range of motion of your shoulder).

If you want to keep on with your physical routine, it does require surgery or you risk greater damage. It can be done via arthroscopic surgery (smooth the torn cartilage as in miniscus knee surgery) but some times it needs full surgery to re-attach the labrum to the shoulder joint.

Think of the labrum like a golf tee. The concave top of the tee keeps the ball on it. If part of the top is broken off, the ball rolls off.

It will be hard for Gary to learn new pass rush moves besides his bull rush using the arm with the bad moves, swim moves, punch and pull moves etc will be risky for the shoulder with the torn cartilage.

Tackling will also expose him to further damage.

If Gary was to have surgery now, he'd miss all of training camp....and would likely be on PUP. But he is on a 5 year deal. Don't be surprised to see him having surgery this year.

zeroluv's picture

He will after the 2019 season. You aren’t telling us anything we don’t know. The only way he will have surgery during this season if he hurts something else and he can’t play for the year. Then they will schedule it. Outside of that....get ready to see gary play and dominate!

The golf tee argument was off a article I read as well. The issue is you missed is the point where the doctor said that the position Gary plays won’t effect his Shoulder as much. Swim moves, rip moves, punch and pulls don’t require your arms to be over your head. He will be fine this year unless he transitions to playing corner back.

Bure9620's picture

He was have more difficulty playing with his hands above his eyes

Lphill's picture

I think its hopeless for King unless he has surgery, Gary can probably play through it but I don t expect to see King out there much, I may be wrong but didn't the Packers take King over Watt?

dobber's picture

Watt who?

zeroluv's picture

TJ Watt from Pittsburg.

dobber's picture

Understood. They passed on a crap-ton of other pretty good players, too, but somehow we keep hanging up on Watt. I tend to focus on Packers, and he's not a Packer, never was a Packer.

My point is that we need to quit redrafting 2017 and move on.

AgrippaLII's picture

If King can't stay on the field this year and show some real progress and consistency he'll be gone. Gutekunst wants to be back in the mix now and after three years of waiting on King the honeymoon is over. That fifth year option won't save him.

zeroluv's picture

He was a second round pick...there is no 5th year option

sonomaca's picture

If King struggles with the shoulder or can’t play at all, then your corner group is staring to look a bit thin, again. Truman is then your second outside corner.

Qoojo's picture

Not being sarcastic or pessimistic, genuinely interested when the packers took a shot on a draft pick with an injury history, and it worked out?

zeroluv's picture

The right question should be how many players can still pay after injuring themselves with injuries considered bad.

That list is long now and’s medical science gets these players back quickly. Jordy tore his ACL and had a career year. AP led the league in rushing the following year if his ACL tear. The Jaguars drafted Miles Jack who was a top 10 player who slipped to the second because of his knee injury and has been a stud for issues at all. Jaylen Smith was drafted by the Dallas cowboys and he slipped because of his knee and he has played at a high level. Even Jeffrey Simmons was drafted #19 this year and he just tore his ACL. Like I said...the surgeries now are high tech and players are recovering faster and in some cases come back stronger.

How many players drafted has no injuries and then get one in the NFL....does that mean it was a bad pick? It’s real life and if a player wants to comeback from it they will. Many players have proved that already. Just saying...

dobber's picture

You'd be surprised by the number of players who have an ACL in their history. My bet is that most players have a history of concussion, whether they've been documented or not.

ILPackerBacker's picture


Year after year of drafting and signing injured players AFTER medical staff clears them.

At what point does the medical staff get asked about their job performance?

The answer is never, they point fingers at the player and staff and nobody ever asks

WHY IS THAT GUY IN THE JOB? because it may not be skill but stock related

croatpackfan's picture

I understand all your worry.

But, I believe Packers' experts (physicians, Strength & Conditioning coaches, team coaches and personal department evaluators - scouts) knows better. So I tend to think they might be right, because of their collective knowledge.

Injury bug is something that can struck any player at every moment, there is to many variables that noone can't predict with certainty what will happen on that front.

When "injury prone" player become injured, many of you are claiming that you were warning about that. When injury happen to player with no previous record of injuries, then you claim it is bad luck...

My opinion is that it is always bad luck...

Mark S's picture

Ok let me give you all an insiders perspective. I played 10 years of football, including starting at defensive end on my conference championship team in college. I tore the all the ligaments in my right shoulder in 7th grade football & missed a month. I tore them in my left in 8th grade and didn't even tell anyone. I'd learned to play with it. I played another 8 y

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