Chink in Driver's armor

Wide receiver Donald Driver will not be able to practice until further notice because of a lingering shoulder injury.'s Todd Korth explains why that is cause for concern for the Packers and their offense.

Donald Driver flashes his trademark smile and assures anyone who will listen that he will be fine. Let's hope so. The gutty veteran wide receiver has smiled throughout his career, though, everyone knows there have been times that he was less than 100 percent healthy.

Count the first day of training camp as one of those times. Driver has a sore right shoulder that dates back to last December when he was injured in a game against San Francisco. Like he normally does, he continued to play and finished out the season, though, he sustained a slight separation of the AC joint.

Driver continued to work out and practice with the team this off-season, showing no indication that he was injured … until he met with Dr. Patrick McKenzie for his physical on Friday. In a first, Driver failed his physical because he was unable to show enough resistance while holding his right arm out while McKenzie pushed down on it.

"I went into that thing, thinking I was going to win," said Driver. "I told (McKenzie), ‘I'm fine. I'm OK.' But I failed it. Now I'm hoping I can pass it."

The Packers will be extra cautious with Driver, the team's top playmaker on offense. General manager Ted Thompson said today that Driver might be able to take part in the team's first preseason game, but don't count on it. The Packers will be very, very cautious with him. Why risk further damage to a Pro Bowl player in a meaningless preseason game?

Though Driver's shoulder injury did not require surgery, he is on e solid hit away from facing the knife. At 32, he has been able to play through injuries. He hasn't missed any games in the last two seasons. Even in the season opener when he sprained his neck in the fourth quarter against Minnesota, Driver only missed one game before returning. Most other players would have been out for multiple games.

Count on Driver being out there, whether he's 100 percent or not for the season opener Sept. 9 against Philadelphia. But the Packers should be cautious with him during the first couple of weeks of training camp, and it appears they are headed in that direction.

"He will be day to day. … I'm not concerned because, like all of us, we know that Donald keeps himself in shape year-round. We're just being cautious with him." "He will be day to day," said Packers coach Mike McCarthy. "I'm not concerned because, like all of us, we know that Donald keeps himself in shape year-round. We're just being cautious with him."

The Packers need Driver more than ever. Unfortunately, his inability to pass the team physical – a first in his nine-year career – limits him to watching practices instead of participating. As of now, McKenzie is the only person in his way toward returning, but Driver plans to do something about it soon.

"I feel that I'm in the best shape that I've been in in a long time," Driver said. "I want to pass the physical so I can hang out with my receivers."

Surprised? Don't be. Alarmed? The Packers should be. Without Driver, the offense will suffer. Hold your breath, Packers fans, and hope for the best with Double D.

Todd Korth

Todd Korth is managing editor of and Packer Report magazine. E-mail him at

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