Neal Out 'Significant' Period After Surgery

DE Mike Neal (Jeff Hanisch/USP)

Starting defensive end Mike Neal, who was hurt during practice on Aug. 16, was unable to get back into action through rehab so he had surgery on Tuesday. The news is better with Tramon Williams. That and more in this updated story from Wednesday.

The Green Bay Packers received a major dose of bad news when defensive end Mike Neal wound up having surgery on his injured left knee on Tuesday.

Coach Mike McCarthy, speaking after Wednesday's practice, said Neal would miss a "significant number of weeks" but season-ending injured reserve is not a consideration at this point.

"It's something that going through the process of rehab and gathering information, it got to a point where they finally felt they needed to have the procedure," McCarthy said of the injury, which occurred during a noncontact drill at practice on Aug. 16. "And Dr. McKenzie feels very good about what he saw, (but) it'll take Mike some time to rehab."

Neal, a second-round pick who played in just two games last season, practiced last week but didn't play against the Saints. The injury, however, did not respond to rehab rapidly enough.

"He's taking it hard," defensive end Ryan Pickett said. "He wanted to be out there. This is the second season (he's been injured), coming off the season-ending shoulder last year. Coming in this year with his expectations and being hurt in camp, he's definitely eager to get out there. It hurts him that he can't. At the same time, we remind him that it's a long season and we need him to get healthy as soon as possible."

Jarius Wynn will replace Neal in the base defense, like he did against New Orleans last week, though it's possible the Packers will mitigate Neal's loss by playing more nickel than usual. Against the Saints, the Packers lined up in their base 3-4 alignment on just one snap, choosing the two-lineman nickel more than 90 percent of time, by Packer Report's count.

Wynn had four tackles and a sack against the Saints.

"Jarius, he's on this team for a reason, and the coaches and the players are confident that he can get the job done," nose tackle B.J. Raji said.

Meanwhile, Tramon Williams' injured shoulder "made a lot of progress" and could play on Sunday. McCarthy, with increased optimism with the extra three days between games, said the team's doctors will decide if Williams will practice on Thursday, the only padded workout of the week. Even if he doesn't practice this week, Williams could line up against the Panthers.

Player of the week

Aaron Rodgers was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week after completing 27-of-35 passes for 312 yards and three touchdowns against the Saints on Thursday. With three touchdown passes in the first quarter, he became the second player in NFL history to accomplish that feat in a Week 1 game. Buffalo's Jack Kemp was the other, in 1964.

"I enjoy that, I really do," Rodgers said. "It's a great honor. There were a lot of big numbers. Some people were thinking that the play might be a little sloppy starting the season out, but I think the NFL's right where it needs to be and the offense has really put up some numbers."

Chicago's Brian Urlacher (10 tackles, 12-yard touchdown on fumble return vs. Atlanta) and San Francisco's Ted Ginn Jr. (12th player in NFL history with touchdowns on a kickoff return and punt return – within a record 59 seconds) won on defense and special teams.

Jones wants more playing time

Receiver James Jones said he wasn't upset about getting only one catch against New Orleans. Of more concern was his lack of playing time. Unofficially, Jones got 20 snaps compared to seven for Randall Cobb, 27 for Jordy Nelson, 46 for Donald Driver and 56 for Greg Jennings.

"It bothered me a little bit because I want to be involved," Jones said. "I'm a competitor. I want to be involved, I want to be able to help my team win. But at the end of the day, we've got a lot of weapons, the ball just didn't come my way. Hopefully, that changes. That's all I can say. Practice hard and hopefully it changes."

Packers injury report

Out: DE Mike Neal (knee); LB Frank Zombo (shoulder). Did not participate: CB Tramon Williams (shoulder). Limited: T Chad Clifton (knee); TE Jermichael Finley (ankle); CB Davon House (ankle); LB Vic So'oto (back). Full: TE Ryan Taylor (hip).

Panthers injury report

Did not participate: T Jeff Otah (head). Limited: LB Thomas Davis (groin). Full: WR Kealoha Pilares (ankle); CB Josh Thomas (thigh).

Four-point stance

Some interesting numbers provided by the league:

— The 752 total points scored last week was the second-most in Week 1 in NFL history and the ninth-most in any week. In Week 12 of 2008, teams combined for 837 points. Week 1 of 2002 was tied for second-most points with 788. The 89 touchdowns tied for sixth-most in a week, five off the 94 touchdowns scored in Week 12 in 2008.

Randall Cobb's 108-yard kickoff return for a touchdown was part of three records. The eight touchdowns on kickoff and punt returns last week set a record, and the three kickoff return touchdowns of at least 100 yards tied a mark set in Week 5 of 1958. Cobb's 108-yard dash tied the individual record set by Ellis Hobbs with New England on Sept. 9, 2007.

— There were all sorts of records set through the air, including 7,842 net passing yards. There was a record five games in which both quarterbacks topped 300 yards and 14 individual 300-yard performances, including Rodgers and Drew Brees. In fact, Rodgers and Brees (419 yards, three touchdowns) became the first duo to top 300 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions on Kickoff Weekend.

— On Monday night, Tom Brady hit Wes Welker for a 99-yard touchdown pass. That's the 12th 99-yard connection in NFL history. One of the others came in 1995, when hit Brett Favre hit Robert Brooks in a 27-24 win at Chicago on Monday, Sept. 11.


Agree or disagree?: Discuss hot Packers topics in our, free forums. Leave Bill a question in the subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum.


Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.


Agree or disagree?: Discuss hot Packers topics in our, free forums. Leave Bill a question in the subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum.


Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.

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