Packers’ Jermichael Finley Suffers Bruised Spinal Cord
By Martin Mihaly
In the middle of Green Bay’s victory over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, Jermichael Finley caught a pass over the middle. That one play may affect his future in the NFL.
With just over 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter, Finley caught a pass from Quarterback Aaron Rodgers. As Finley was being tackled, Browns’ Safety Tashaun Gibson came in with a hit on the Tight End. The safety put a clean hit on Finley by coming in with his shoulder. As Finley was going down, his head was lowered. When Gibson hit Finley, his shoulder went into the helmet of Finley.
It was a scary play. Finley was immobilized and had to be carted off the field. He was immediately sent to a hospital and was in the Intensive Care Unit until Monday. He tweeted that he was “able to walk to and from the shower”.
Finley has suffered a multiple injuries throughout his career. In 2010, he suffered a season ending knee injury after having played just three games. This season, he suffered a concussion in Week 3 against the Cincinnati Bengals. Following his concussion, his five-year old son reportedly told him to quit football.
It’s doubtful that Finley will actually retire, but there may be a couple more people close to him that may push the idea. It would not be a complete surprise, as many players in the past have retired after suffering neck and spine injuries. It’s simply not an injury to take lightly.
The more likely question for Finley and the Packers is when he will return. Baltimore Ravens’ linebacker Jameel McClain suffered a similar injury just last year. McClain did not return to the playing field until just recently, ten months after suffering the injury. If Finley were to return at the same rate, he would not be ready until August of next year.
The exact severity of Finley’s injury has not been revealed, either. Green Bay has not yet ruled out a return this year for Finley. Given the possible seriousness of the injury, do not expect Green Bay to push Finley for any answers anytime soon.
Now as to what this means for the Packers. The team has been decimated with injuries this season, and more recently have offensive targets for Aaron Rodgers. Receiver Randall Cobb is out until Week 15. James Jones has a knee injury, but is questionable to play this week as Green Bay travels to Minnesota to face the Vikings on Sunday night.
What Green Bay has done this year offensively, is change from the all-out air attack of recent seasons. Rookie running back Eddie Lacy has been a force in the last three weeks, as he leads the league in rushing yards during that span. Green Bay, as a team, is ranked in the top 10 in rushing yards per game.
The change in the offensive scheme, along with having Aaron Rodgers, has allowed Green Bay to get by despite some of their injuries on the offensive side. However, losing Finley could be costly. He is big, athletic, and cause matchup problems across the field.
Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy, though, will be the first to tell you, it is important for Finley to make the decision that is best for him. No one will question him no matter what he decides to do.