I really thought that this year was going to be different. I thought that after all the bad luck with injuries that the Green Bay Packers had over the past few years (and in 2012 in particular), this was going to be the year when the breaks evened out and the team stayed unusually healthy for a full season. Well, if the first practice of the year is any indication, that may not be the case.
Several of the Packers' beat reporters noticed on Twitter that rookie offensive lineman and fourth-round draft pick JC Tretter was not seen at all during the Packers' open OTA practice on Tuesday. Head coach Mike McCarthy was extremely vague when characterizing the injury in his post-practice press conference, only saying that Tretter was injured in Monday's closed practice and was "going through the medical process".
After doing some digging around the locker room, Jason Wilde of ESPN Wisconsin broke the news first that the injury was serious, learning from another Packers player that the injury was serious and required an ambulance. He then was able to speak to Tretter's agent, and found out the full extent of the injury:
JC Tretter's agent, Alan Herman, says Tretter broke his ankle yesterday during fumble recovery drill. Herman expects him to miss six months.— Jason Wilde (@jasonjwilde) May 21, 2013
This is a brutal start to the year for Tretter, and it very well could cost him his entire rookie season. Since the injury took place in OTAs and before training camp, however, he will be eligible for the Physically Unable to Perform list which would give him the chance to play again in 2013.
Tretter played tackle at Cornell University, but it was widely assumed that he would move inside to center or guard for the Packers. His injury will likely rob the team of a backup option at one of those interior line spots, where Tretter was expected to compete with the likes of Greg Van Roten, Don Barclay, and possibly fellow rookie David Bakhtiari.
As Wilde notes in his post, Ryan Grant went through a similar injury in September of 2010 and was placed on injured reserve. However, he reportedly felt late in the playoffs that he could have played if he were eligible, which would put the recovery estimate at about four months. If Tretter's recovery would get him back in playing shape after a full six months, that would be somewhere around weeks 11 or 12 in mid-November. Considering the PUP list rules, that could work out for Tretter, as he would be eligible to start practicing between weeks 8 and 10 (because of the Packers' early bye week) and could be activated anywhere between weeks 11 and 13.
In any case, we with Tretter the best of luck in his recovery and hope that he will be able to make it back on the field sometime this football season.