Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Harrell to have surgery

Following on the heels of yesterday's announcement that last year's first round draft pick, Justin Harrell, was being placed on the reserve/physically unable to perform list, word came that Harrell would be having arthroscopic back surgery to hopefully repair the damage from the weightlifting injury he incurred this Spring. He had surgery in April, but apparently aggravated the injury in July, requiring this second surgery. This situation continues Harrell's history of injuries while an undergrad at Tennessee, a situation which many fans and pundits alike believed should have been a red flag to anyone considering drafting him...especially in the first round (a-hem...Ted, are you listening???)

An article in the Green Bay Press-Gazette relates the following:
Harrell said last week there had been no recent discussions about further surgery, but that apparently changed in the past day or two after he received a second opinion.

“He’s gotten himself in remarkable shape. I think our guys have done a great job in the rehab,” General Manager Ted Thompson said of Harrell. “But we've reached a point where we’ve sort of plateaued, and looking out over the timeline, we felt like it was going to take a few weeks without doing anything, but maybe doing a little extra procedure might hurry things along.”

Any player placed on the PUP list is barred from practicing or playing for a minimum of six weeks, after which the team has three weeks to evaluate the player and decide whether to restore him to the active roster.

Putting Harrell on the list buys the Packers as much as 2½ months to make a decision on whether he’ll play this season. He won’t count against the 53-man limit, which teams must reach by 3 p.m. Saturday. He’ll become eligible to practice on Oct. 14, two days after the Packers’ sixth game, and could be reinstated as late as Nov. 11, two days after the ninth game.

Without getting into specifics, Thompson said the latest surgery would be a little different than the one Harrell underwent in April and would be done soon.

“The quicker the better, obviously, because then you can kind of start back on the whole recovery thing,” Thompson said.

“It’s too bad. He’s worked very hard, and I know being a high-profile pick, a No. 1 pick, there’s a lot of pressure put on that and expectations of fans. It’s not his fault, and he’s trying his best to get back, and we’re still counting on him to help us this year.”

You can read the entire article here.

When the announcement broke yesterday, several local media outlets started to toss out the word "bust" in reference to Harrell. While it still might be too early to come to that conclusion, pending the results of the surgery and Harrell's ability to rehab, it appears that things are headed in that direction. One can only hope that the young man is able to get healthy, whether or not he plays for the Packers. But we'd also like to see what he could do on the playing field. Particularly given the current depleted situation on the defensive line, a healthy and productive Harrell would be a plus. Wishful thinking? Perhaps. But at least as concerns Harrell in year number two, that's all we've got.