Is time running out for Wells?

Injuries to center may reduce his role to a reserve instead of starter this season, says Packer Report's Todd Korth

Scott Wells has showed in the past three seasons that he can be a valuable part of the offensive line. However, last year and in training camp this year, injuries have limited the fifth-year pro.

If the Packers were concerned a little bit by Wells' ability to stay healthy enough to play week after week, they probably are a little more concerned now. Unless a miracle occurs, Wells will miss the season opener against the Minnesota Vikings and possibly more games. He re-injured his truck (torso) in practice this week, so his availability is uncertain.

Last week prior to Green Bay's preseason finale, former Packers center Larry McCarren mentioned on a radio pregame show the importance of a durable center, a guy that the other linemen can depend on week after week. McCarren, also known as "The Rock," should know. He is 10th on the Packers' all-time list for games played with 162 from 1973-84 and probably played through some injuries that would have kept many others in the training room.

Besides McCarren, the Packers have been blessed with other durable centers that have played at a high level. Hall of Fame center Jim Ringo played in 126 straight games from 1954-63. More recently, Frank Winters snapped the ball for 156 games between 1992-2002. Wells has played in 51 regular season games with 41 starts since he was drafted in the seventh round by the Packers in 2004.

Knowing the general manager Ted Thompson won't hesitate to pull the trigger on a move in order to make the team better, it wouldn't be too surprising if Wells, once healthy, came back as a backup to Jason Spitz. The offensive line is thirsting for some continuity, something it hasn't had in a few years. Last year the line was constantly shuffling players around due to injuries and the same has happened thus far in the preseason and into Week 1.

Wells has proven that he can be a very good center. He also can play guard, but unless he can avoid the injury bug soon, like for the rest of the season, his days as a starter may be numbered. Durability wasn't an issue in 2006 when Wells became a full-time starter for the first time, playing a team-high 99.8 percent of the snaps (1,115 of 1,117). But last year he missed three starts because of injuries and this year he will miss at least one game, maybe more.

The clock is ticking.

Todd Korth writes for PackerReport.com and Packer Report magazine. E-mail him at packrepted@aol.com.


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