J.C. Tretter was most likely lost for 2013 with a broken ankle on the first day of OTAs in Green Bay. Packers.com photograph

J.C. Tretter: Inaugural offseason Green Bay Packers Casualty

J.C. Tretter, the first to be shelved because of injury, isn’t a trend-setter because last season the Green Bay Packers were faced with a cruel hat trick of season-ending injuries to several key players – linebacker Desmond Bishop, offensive tackle Derek Sherrod and defensive back Davon House – before a down of regular season football was played.

Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson have become well-versed in dealing with the repercussions of the injury bug that has been infiltrating Green Bay for the better part of the last three years.

In 2010, the Packers famously endured a litany of season-ending injuries to more than a baker’s dozen of starters and role players on their way – against seemingly long odds – to winning the Super Bowl XLV championship. The ability of a professional football team to avoid the consequences of injuries is a never-ending challenge for general managers, coaches and training staff.

After just one Organized Team Activities (OTA) practice it appears that the issue of health – and Green Bay’s ability to persevere – is going to continue to be tested.

The latest injury came when rookie offensive lineman J.C. Tretter was hurt while sliding on the field turf trying to recover a loose football during a fumble drill. Tretter, selected in the fourth round in April’s NFL draft, was a candidate to fill a reserve role on the Green Bay offensive line this upcoming season. For a unit that has endured a lion’s share of injuries of late, it’s just another blip on the radar.

Bryan Bulaga during the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Lambeau Field in 2012. Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports photograph

McCarthy and Thompson are hoping the switch of Bryan Bulaga and Josh Sitton from the right side to the left (at tackle and guard, respectively) will shore up things along the offensive line and help improve a running game that has mostly struggled in recent years to find space in their zone blocking scheme. Injuries and inconsistency have hounded the group incessantly. McCarthy, famously non-descript when speaking about injuries sustained by his players, wouldn’t elaborate on a possible timetable for the ex-Cornell tackle to return to the team.

Some speculated that Tretter could miss up to six months of action, putting him in the same class as Derek Sherrod, who has been trying to battle back from a devastating ankle/lower leg injury that sapped his entire 2012 campaign.

The news of the inaugural casualty in Green Bay this season hopefully won’t greatly affect the ability of the line to become cohesive since Tretter wasn’t penciled in as a starter at this early stage, but one would think Thompson may sign another big road grader to bring into camp.

Perhaps 2012 practice squad member Andrew Datko may be ready to escalate to the 53-man roster this season. With a strong showing in OTA’s and training camp later this summer, perhaps the Tretter injury is something the Packers can overcome.

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