Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley remains hospitalized but is making progress in recuperating from a significant neck injury sustained on Sunday against Cleveland.
“Jermichael Finley is still seeking the opinions from specialists,” coach Mike McCarthy said after Wednesday’s practice. “Doing better each and every day. Just communicating with someone who just came from the hospital right before practice said he's doing well. He's making progress, but I really don't have anything to report.”
Among the players who have visited Finley is quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
“I visited him a couple times at the hospital,” Rodgers said. “Monday, I went over there and saw him, it was good to see the improvement yesterday when I went back. He looked like himself and he was moving around good. Other than that, I don’t have any diagnosis or anything I’m going to throw out. I don’t think anybody does, regardless of what’s been put out there. I was encouraged by his spirits yesterday and look forward to seeing him back in the locker room at some point.”
Finley reportedly sustained a bruised spinal cord, though nothing has been confirmed. If that’s the case, surgery probably would be necessary. At this early stage, though, it’s too early to determine Finley’s football-playing future.
Finley posted Tuesday night on Twitter a brief video of him walking down a hospital hall accompanied by three others. His neck appeared to be in a brace.
According to ESPN’s Ed Werder, Finley could be released from the hospital on Thursday.
“We're going to wait until everything comes in,” McCarthy said. “Pat McKenzie is collecting all the information and, once again, we'll do our due diligence. Obviously, we will not be premature on anything. We'll do what's in the best interests of Jermichael.”
Meanwhile, there was some good injury news, with Casey Hayward, Brad Jones and James Starks all returning to practice at full participation. Hayward (hamstring) hasn’t played all season, Starks hasn’t played since sustaining a knee injury in Week 3 and Jones (hamstring) went down in Week 5.
“He looked good today,” McCarthy said of Hayward. “I watched Casey a lot today just to see how he's moving. Frankly, if push came to shove, he was close last week. It's good just for him to get his confidence back. I think he'll be ready to go with a full week of work.”
Packers injury report
Out: TE Jermichael Finley (neck), OLB Clay Matthews (thumb). Did not participate: WR James Jones (knee), LB Nick Perry (foot), TE Ryan Taylor (knee). Full: CB Jarrett Bush (hamstring), CB Casey Hayward (hamstring), LB Brad Jones (hamstring), RB James Starks (knee).
Asked about Starks, McCarthy said: “He looks to be back. We didn't do a whole lot of team today. We were in helmets. We did a lot of jog-through and a lot of teaching periods today. But based on the workload, I thought he looked fine.”
Vikings injury report
Did not participate: RB Matt Asiata (shoulder), TE Rhett Ellison (ankle), QB Josh Freeman (concussion), RB Adrian Peterson (hamstring), WR Rodney Smith (hip). Limited: LB Chad Greenway (wrist), CB A.J. Jefferson (ankle), T Matt Kalil (low back), K Blair Walsh (left hamstring). Full: DE Jared Allen (ankle), DT Kevin Williams (knee).
Injury took Christian Ponder out of the starting lineup and his ineffectiveness didn’t allow him back in when healthy. Now, Ponder is expected to be the Vikings’ starter against Green Bay because of concussion-like symptoms for Josh Freeman.
“Looking at the history of guys that have concussions on a short week that are able to at least get cleared for Sunday, we’ll have to proceed as if he’s not going to make it,” Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said.
— A fast start is important every week, but especially so at the Metrodome: “You watch that game last year and I think the edge that's created in that building, particularly not only when you're playing offense, you really want to start the game the right way,” McCarthy said. “There's always a ton of energy, particularly for the home team, and there's a surge. Our fans are phenomenal over there, which I think makes their fans even louder. It's a unique environment to play in.”
— McCarthy’s preference is to keep the team outside on grass for as long as he can to keep the players’ legs fresh, but it did spend the last hour-hour on the Hutson Center’s FieldTurf surface.
— James Jones, on Jarrett Boykin’s big day against the Browns: “We knew that was going to happen. though. I mean, Boink’s a great player. He showed it in training camp, showed it last year. I told him before the game that, no offense to the guys that were guarding him, but I said, ‘Dude, be ready. You’re going to have a big day.’ And he went out there and made the most of his opportunities like we all have and made plays. I’m happy for him.”
— Whoever lines up at quarterback for the Vikings, the Packers will be ready. “You’ve got to stay true to the film,” McCarthy said. “Obviously, the way they played with Christian’s a little different than just the one game they played with Josh. I don’t think they’ll be throwing it 53 times on Sunday. We have a pretty good understanding of what they want to do, and how they’re going to do it is really why you play the game. Their offense starts with Adrian Peterson, and I think that will become evident on Sunday.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.