I don’t know about the rest of Packers Nation, but I for one was sweating bullets when first-round pick Datone Jones went down during last Friday’s preseason exhibition game against the Arizona Cardinals.
Think about it: Two years in a row, the Packers have lost first-round picks to injury, starting with Derrek Sherrod’s broken leg in 2011 and then Nick Perry’s wrist and knee injuries last year. So when coach Mike McCarthy didn’t have any updates during his presser on Saturday, I began chewing my fingernails and sweating through my T-shirt.
Yesterday, however, McCarthy revealed that Jones’ injury would likely only sideline the defensive end for a few days, and possibly will keep him out of this weekend’s exhibition tilt against the St. Louis Rams.
Still, what an inauspicious beginning to Jones’ NFL career. Just last week, after having had an impressive camp by all accounts, Jones was seeing red and looking forward to getting his first quarterback sack.
“I’m waiting for it,” Jones told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “I’m waiting for that kill shot.”
And then on Friday, about a second after the ball was hiked during his first snap as a pro, he went down in a heap after getting around Arizona rookie guard Jonathan Cooper. Luckily, it looked a lot worse than it actually was. Packers Nation held its collective breath, waiting for more bad news from a training camp that has already seen starter Bryan Bulaga lost for the season due to a torn ACL and lost wide receiver Jordy Nelson for multiple weeks due to knee surgery.
In addition, running back DuJuan Harris just returned to practice after having a cyst removed from his lung and having a knee “tweak;” Randall Cobb missed Friday’s game due to a bicep injury; second-round pick Eddie Lacy is out with a sore hamstring; and cornerbacks Casey Hayward and Tramon Williams are both hurt.
And that’s just the short list.
At this point, the players themselves must feel like they are in a twisted football version of “Final Destination,” waiting for injury to inevitably catch up with them.
What’s next? Will muscle pulls somehow become contagious? Will the team dormitory be hit by the Black Plague? Will Dom Capers step in a bucket and sprain his ankle?
Luckily, there is still nearly a month of healing time left before the regular season begins. Perhaps the coaching staff should issue lucky rabbit’s feet and four-leaf clovers to all players, at least through the final preseason game. Meantime, Packers Nation will cross its collective fingers and hope for the best.