Statement from the team
Packers linebacker Jeremy Thompson suffered a neck sprain near the end of Friday’s practice. There was no loss of consciousness and no paralysis at any time.
Packers medical staff took customary precaution in treating the injury, including transport of Thompson to St. Vincent Hospital for a full battery of tests.
He will be kept overnight at Bellin Hospital for rest and further evaluation.
The Green Bay Packers’ locker room was a quiet place on Friday. There was no music and relatively few players inside.
The somber tone was because outside linebacker Jeremy Thompson left practice in an ambulance because of what coach Mike McCarthy termed a serious “neck stinger.” McCarthy wouldn’t elaborate on what happened, though he added the team and medical personnel were exercising “the high side of caution” and that Thompson was conscious when he left.
“He has been taken to the hospital for testing,” McCarthy said. “It literally happened right near the end of practice, and that's all the information I have for you right now.”
Thompson, whose chances of beating out rookie Clay Matthews were shot down because of a problem with stingers in training camp, was injured when practice squad running back Kregg Lumpkin tried to cut back through a hole during a running play.
“I didn’t lower my head or anything but it was kind of like his head hit my (left) shoulder pad,” a shaken Lumpkin said. “When it happened, he just said, ‘Oh no,’ and just fell on the ground. After that, I was just standing there like, ‘What really just happened?’ All I could do was sit there and hope that he’d get back up.”
Lumpkin and a few other players said they saw Thompson moving his feet, so hopefully, the injury isn’t too severe. Lumpkin and Thompson have become close during their time together. Both entered the league as rookies last season.
“It’s hard to describe,” Lumpkin said after a long pause, “somebody that you talk to on a regular basis and you see him go down like that. It’s hard to explain, hard to talk about.”
Matthews’ locker is next to Thompson’s and they became friends while battling for the starting job. He had heard it was a stinger from a few people but didn’t see what happened.
“Hopefully it’s not as serious as we thought. We’re all praying for him and hoping he has a speedy recovery,” Matthews said. “He’s an outstanding, not only a player, but a guy, too. He’s real quiet and humble. At the same time, he’s very smart and very intellectual. ... Anytime you have an injury like that where a player stays down, it really takes a toll.”
Linebacker Brady Poppinga also said he saw Thompson moving his arms and legs.
“I’ve been through a situation, in college, where one of our offensive linemen broke his leg — compound fracture, where you see the bone and blood and such — so you had this experience where pretty much you couldn’t focus on practicing. As we moved the drill away from the injured player, you start glancing over. ‘How’s our guy doing?’ Everybody’s like, ‘Man, that could happen to me.’ So all of practice gets muddled. Not to say that happened today, but those things can happen to a team. You hate to see a guy like that go down.”
Rookie lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith called it scary but thought being hospitalized was precautionary.
“He didn’t just go instantly to the ground. He was able to respond to the guys trying to help him up,” he said.
Thompson’s agent, Bill Johnson, was not immediately available for comment.
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