Sherrod's Comeback Generates Optimism

OT Derek Sherrod (Benny Sieu/USP)

UPDATED: Derek Sherrod, who hasn't played since breaking his leg on December 2011, is getting close to returning. Plus, cornerback Casey Hayward and Mike Neal are out for at least a couple weeks, Mike McCarthy announced after the first day of training camp.

For the first time since breaking his leg in December 2011, it appears Derek Sherrod is close to getting back on the field.

Sherrod, the Green Bay Packers' first-round pick in 2011, failed his pre-training camp physical and was one of several players placed on the active-PUP list. However, after Friday's first practice of training camp, coach Mike McCarthy said Sherrod looked good in a post-practice workout and is "definitely much further along" than he was in OTAs, when he did some individual drills.

"I'm interested in getting the feedback from the trainers and really see how he feels tomorrow," McCarthy said.

Sherrod broke his leg at Kansas City on Dec. 18, 2011, and needed a second round of surgery to get the injury to heal properly.

"I hope so, yeah," McCarthy said when asked if Sherrod was getting close. "He looked very good in the conditioning work yesterday. He's now to the point where he has to be able to (use) torque and lean on people and drive people. Those things are very hard to emulate in a rehab process."

For his part, Sherrod sounded a cautiously optimistic approach.

"I can't really put a timetable on it or anything like that," Sherrod said. "Just taking it a day at a time. Could be today, could be whenever. I'm working very hard to make sure that I am doing everything that I can to get out there as soon as possible to be out there with my teammates."

Sherrod is barred from doing any on-field work until he is activated from the PUP list but has been working on flexibility and strength exercises.

The offensive line has an opening at right tackle, where Marshall Newhouse has been taking the bulk of the No. 1 reps. Don Barclay, who ended the year as the starter, worked a little with the No. 1 unit on Friday. Sherrod, however, is focused only on himself.

"Go back out there and just be the best offensive lineman that I can be. You know, whatever (position) that is, whether it's right tackle, left tackle, whatever, I'm going to go out there and wherever coach puts me, that's what I'm going to do and do it to the best of my ability."

Nine other players were out of practice, including running back DuJuan Harris (knee), safety Sean Richardson (neck), cornerback Casey Hayward (hamstring), cornerback Davon House (illness), safety Chaz Powell (foot), linebacker Jamari Lattimore (illness), offensive lineman J.C. Tretter (broken ankle), defensive end Mike Neal (abdomen) and defensive end Jerel Worthy (ACL).

Harris might be out a week or two, and it could be a "couple of weeks … a number of weeks" for Hayward and Neal. Hayward and Neal were injured during training following the conclusion of the Packers' offseason program.

"He'll be fine. He's doing really good," McCarthy said about Neal. "I'm not concerned about it."

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