I'm hesitant to write anything about Green Bay Packers DE Mike Neal's knee injury because if he returns to practice on Wednesday morning, then it's nothing at all. Vic Ketchman wrote about a possible MRI scan, but Neal himself seemed to say it wasn't necessary. From JS Online:
At practice Tuesday, the defensive end appeared to suffer a potentially serious knee injury. During an individual drill, his left knee buckled and Neal was in pain. He left practice with trainers under his own power. Neal says he'll get a MRI sometime on Wednesday, but that the outcome could be a formality.
After going through tests with trainers today after practice, Neal believes he sustained no injury whatsoever.
"It’s nothing," Neal said. "I just fell down. Nothing’s torn at all. I just have a little inflammation. Everybody’s tripping out for no reason. I’m not on crutches or anything. I’m walking perfectly fine."
If there is something wrong, here's the potential problem. It looks like the Packers intend to use Neal and DE B.J. Raji as their top two interior rushers on passing downs, so his absence might create a problem with their defensive scheme. Neal has more potential as a pass rusher than either C.J. Wilson or Jarius Wynn. And it's doubtful the Packers could find a quality replacement now.
But I don't want to make a big deal out of him either. He would barely make it onto my Top 10 most important defensive players list, if I had one. He could make the defense better this season, but he isn't the key to it either.