Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Jerel Worthy Hopes To Play For Packers This Season

Jerel Worthy Packers
Despite a torn ACL late last season, Packers defensive end Jerel Worthy says he will play in 2013. Taking a cue from Adrian Peterson who suffered from the same injury, the second-year rookie says that he plans to return to his position in better shape than when he left. But, critics warn against too much optimism, pointing to the 2011 case of tight end Andrew Quarless who wound-up on injured reserve that season with comparable injuries and recovery.

Nearly five months into his own recovery, and Worthy may be on track to prove the doubters wrong. An initial surgery to repair the damage went smoothly, and the twenty-three year old says he spends every day with various trainers and doctors who supervise and advise his workouts. The extent of those workouts so far has been centered on mobility and speed, though he still has tenderness when making quick direction changes.

Worhty's nonchalance about his physical recovery is somewhat overshadowed by concerns regarding Green Bay's first round draft pick in April. Chosen 26th overall, Datone Jones will likely replace Worthy in the rotation at defensive end. The rookie out of UCLA will also be Worhty's main competition should he become fit enough to return this season, and the few months that Jones has control over the position could be crucial.
Jones has already become the Packers premier draft pick of 2013. Head coach Mike McCarthy has made no secret of his expectation that the 22 year-old become the team's primary weapon in combating dynamic quarterbacks like San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick, who decimated Dom Caper's defense with his running ability. If Jones proves to be successful in that endeavor, and especially if he pairs well with defensive cornerstone Clay Matthews, Worthy's prospects for a starting position are slim.
Still, the All-American Michigan State graduate says he is taking it slow. Standing on the sidelines during the team's most recent practice, Worthy addressed his situation with reporters, telling them that he is willing to help the Packers in any capacity that he can right now. He avoided talks about the impact Jones had on his eagerness to return, though he admitted some newly-formed anxiety.

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