Players from both teams gather around Collins. Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
The Green Bay Packers flew back home following their victory over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday but Nick Collins remained in a hospital in Charlotte, N.C.
"Nick Collins has normal feeling and complete movement in his extremities,” the team said in a release sent about 2 hours after the game. “As is standard protocol, he will be kept in the hospital overnight for observation. When he returns to Green Bay, he will undergo further testing and evaluation.”
On third-and-9 early in the fourth quarter, Cam Newton threw underneath to running back Jonathan Stewart. To get the first down, Stewart hurdled Collins, with the bottom of his leg colliding with the top of Collins’ helmet. After a lengthy delay, Collins was carted off the field. He waved to the crowd while being driven to the locker room for further examination.
After the game, coach Mike McCarthy said “all the feedback has been positive.”
Collins finished with two tackles and had a chance to make a diving interception in the end zone on the first play of the second quarter.
“One of my best friends on the team, just a great guy,” said cornerback Charles Woodson, who had two interceptions and a fumble recovery to spearhead the 30-23 victory. “He gave us a thumbs-up, so we were happy about that. Eager to try and talk to him and just see how everything’s going. From what I hear, he’s doing OK. Whatever the tests were were negative.”
“He was moving, so that was a good sign,” cornerback Tramon Williams added. “There’s nothing scarier than that. That’s the fear that you have when you play this game. Hopefully, it doesn’t happen to anybody else this year.”
Collins was the second big loss to the Packers’ secondary, with Pro Bowler Williams deactivated before the game because of a shoulder injury sustained in the fourth quarter last week.
“Getting on the plane there Saturday, I thought he had a chance,” McCarthy said of Williams. “Just meeting with the doctors this morning, Pat (McKenzie) didn’t feel good about a certain aspect of it. You’ve got to get your strength levels and so forth ... We played the high side of caution. If it was the Super Bowl, maybe it would have been different. He was close.”
Williams said he’s “confident” that he’ll be ready for next week’s game at Chicago, which is a rematch of last year’s NFC Championship Game.
The Packers obviously could use Williams’ presence, especially if Collins can’t play. In two games, the Packers have allowed 419 passing yards to Drew Brees and 432 yards to Newton. That’s a stunning development considering the Packers ranked fifth in the NFL in pass defense last season with just 194.2 yards allowed per game.
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.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.