No, the Green Bay Packers haven’t re-signed former first-round bust [intlink id=”100″ type=”category”]Justin Harrell[/intlink], but the plight of defensive end [intlink id=”1033″ type=”category”]Mike Neal[/intlink] is becoming eerily reminiscent of Harrell’s.
That’s not a good thing, considering Harrell was an injury waiting to happen.
Neal underwent knee surgery this week and is expected to miss a significant amount of time, according to [intlink id=”67″ type=”category”]Mike McCarthy[/intlink]. Although McCarthy said the Packers won’t put Neal on injured reserve, this will be the second of Neal’s two seasons in which he’s missed significant time due to injury.
Neal played only two games in 2010 before going on injured reserve with a shoulder ailment.
“We’re just used to it,” defensive end Ryan Pickett said when asked about Neal’s injury. “We’re used to that adversity. We have to have guys picking up the slack. They’ll have to pick up the slack until he comes back.”
Unfortunately, it’s something we’re getting used to too — Neal not playing.
It’s too early to label Neal injury-prone, but Harrell, who had constant back injuries among other ailments, played more in his rookie season than Neal did.
Harrell was on the field for 13 total games in 2007 and 2008. He missed the entire 2009 season before playing in one game in 2010 before going on injured reserve.
We’d be surprised if “significant time” meant Neal plays in more than eight games this season. That will give him 10 games in his first two NFL seasons, three less than The Walking Wound, himself played in his first two seasons.