Time Ticking on Sherrod's Season

The medical staff must determine by Wednesday if the reward outweighs the risk and if a possible short-term need is more important than a first-round pick's long-term future.

Will Derek Sherrod have a chance to contribute this season? Will his second year in the NFL be a total washout?

Sherrod will get that answer by Wednesday, when the Packers have to decide whether to activate last year's first-round pick from the physically unable to perform list or put him on season-ending injured reserve.

Sherrod broke his right leg at Kansas City on Dec. 18. The Packers put him on PUP at the start of training camp, where he stayed until the Packers were forced to open his three-week practice window after the Nov. 4 game against Arizona. Sherrod lost out on a week of practice because of the bye, so he's had only two weeks to make his case for a spot on the 53-man roster.

"I feel real good," Sherrod said on Friday. "I feel a lot better than, obviously, the last couple of months."

Sherrod said he's taken part only in individual drills during his two weeks and not any 11-on-11 work. That indicates he's not close to being able to contribute to the team. However, given the lack of depth on the offensive line — the only two backups are undrafted rookies Don Barclay and Greg Van Roten — the Packers have to consider activating Sherrod even at the risk of wasting a roster spot until he's ready to play.

"That's on the team and they're going to let me know whatever they decide," Sherrod said.

For what it's worth, Sherrod didn't seem like a man confident that he's ready to play. He was asked three times if he thought he could play this season. He never answered the question.

"That's really a timetable for Doc and for the coaches and myself to decide and see where I'm at and just keep working hard and preparing," Sherrod said.

An All-American and Academic All-American at Mississippi State, Sherrod was drafted to be the eventual replacement for Chad Clifton. Instead, Marshall Newhouse earned the right to be Clifton's replacement last year. While Newhouse struggled at times last season, he's more than stated his case this season to be the team's long-term answer at left tackle. Meanwhile, Bryan Bulaga is the team's established right tackle.

So, long term, Sherrod appears to be a man without a starting position for which to compete. Short term, however, is a different story. With Bulaga out, Sherrod — if healthy and free of rust, of course — would seem to be a better No. 3 tackle than Barclay.

Ultimately, the decision lies in the hands of the medical staff. Doctors, not coaches or Sherrod, will determine if the reward outweighs the risk and if a possible short-term need is more important than a first-round pick's long-term future.

"I'm just keeping my head up," Sherrod said. "It's nothing to be disappointed about. Obviously, I want to play, but whenever that is, it is."

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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 packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.

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