Four down, two to go.
The Green Bay Packers started training camp with six players on the physically unable to perform list. Guard T.J. Lang returned last week, and receiver Ty Montgomery, tight end Jared Cook and linebacker Sam Barrington will return for Tuesday night’s practice on Ray Nitschke Field. They’ll go through individual drills and be limited in team periods, coach Mike McCarthy said.
With their returns, only receiver Jordy Nelson (knee) and center Corey Linsley (hamstring) remain on PUP. McCarthy wouldn’t provide any updates on those two.
Barrington has been out since sustaining an injured foot early in last year’s season-opening game at Chicago. Barrington, who was the three-down inside linebacker to open last season, will have to fight to unseat the tandem of Jake Ryan and rookie Blake Martinez, who’ve taken just about every snap with the No. 1 defense since the start of organized team activities.
“It was a tough injury,” McCarthy said before practice. “A long process back. I think all these guys are champing at the bit to get out there. Sam is ready to go.”
Montgomery sustained an ankle injury in the Week 6 game vs. San Diego and was unable to return despite several comeback attempts. At the point of the injury, he had started three consecutive games and earned a featured role in the offense. He returns to arguably the best position group on the team.
“Hindsight’s 20/20,” McCarthy said. “He fought to get back on the field. He suffered a significant injury. His was a lot bigger injury than I think everybody realized. It’s like a lot of things with injury, you don’t really truly know until you go in and operate. It’s great to have him back. He’s been diligent. He’s been here the whole time. He was diligent trying to get back on the field before he went on IR and he’s been just rehabbing like crazy. He’s been here through every break, though every summer. Just visiting with him shortly, I know he’s ready to go back out there.”
Cook has been out since the first week of OTAs sustaining an injured foot. He will battle Richard Rodgers for the starting job. Rodgers has had a solid start to camp but hardly has established himself as the top player at the position.
“I feel good about where all of our players are,” McCarthy said. “It will be great to see Jared out there working. I know he’s excited about it.”
With two practices this week, it would seem highly unlikely that Barrington, Cook and Montgomery will be allowed to play vs. Cleveland on Friday night.
As for Lang, he practiced a couple times last week and feels like he’s on the right path after requiring offseason shoulder surgery.
“I had to sit out for the first week, which was against my own will,” Lang said. “I understood the whole thing. There’s always risk of playing this game and getting injured but, as far as my shoulder goes, I think everything went really well. It feels great. I’m sure as I start practicing every day, I’m sure there’ll be some soreness but it can’t be worse than I played through last year. That’s my view on it. I know I’m going to have to battle through some things but I know it’s completely healed now and I’m confident in it.”
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.