Safety Sean Richardson sustained a spinal injury against the New York Giants on Nov. 25, 2012, that required fusion surgery at the C-5 and C-6 vertebrae. It was almost exactly 50 weeks later when Richardson was cleared to practice by the Packers last season.
Finley sustained his injury against Cleveland on Oct. 20. That injury required fusion at C-3 and C-4, a more touchy area. Sunday marked 22 weeks after the injury.
Nick Collins, who also had fusion surgery at C-3 and C-4, never was cleared to play.
"(Maybe) was starting to believe he was ready, the way everybody else was talking about him," Packers coach Mike McCarthy told reporters at the owners meetings in Orlando, Fla., on Tuesday.
Finley's surgery was performed by the Steelers' surgeon, Dr. Joseph Maroon. According to reports, Finley was due to be examined by Maroon on March 11. During Super Bowl week, Finley said he was 99 percent certain he'd be cleared to play in time for the start of free agency.
"I was excited about him. (But) he had neck surgery. It takes time," McCarthy said. "(It was a) serious injury. I think we all have to go back to that day. I know I have. It's great to hear he's training and feels great and that's a big part of the rehab. You feel good and everything, but you have to trust the information that's available to the doctors. I think you have to really be smart with those types of injuries.
"I know people think we may be cautious with those types of injuries, but if there's one type of injury you better be cautious with, that better be one of them. So, yeah, I'm optimistic everything works out with Jermichael. Just knowing him, being around him now and watching him grow as a player and a person, I guarantee he's doing everything he can. The guy loves to workout. He loves the whole process of football. The guy is all football. But you have to listen to your medical staff."
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.