Monday afternoon supplied plenty of mixed signals regarding the health of Packers tight end Jermichael Finley. First was the news that Finley had been released from the ICU and was able to perform normal daily activities like walking and showering. Mike McCarthy then described the neck injury as "significant" which our McCarthy-to-English dictionary informs us means very troubling. That was followed by two reports: one saying Finley received good news about his condition and another claiming he suffered a bruised spinal cord.
As expected, more information has trickled out today. ESPN's Ed Werder brings us another mixed bag of Finley updates.
Packers TE Jermichael Finley should be released from hospital in next 24 hrs. Doctors believe he can play again but when remains unknown— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) October 22, 2013
Even though Jermichael Finley should be able to play NFL again, it would not be surprising if Packers consider IR sometime this week— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) October 22, 2013
Overall, this is certainly good news for Finley and the Packers. If playing again is on the table, it means that the injury to his neck wasn't life-altering. Whenever an athlete loses the ability to move their arms and legs, it's justifiable to fear the worst, and thankfully that hasn't transpired here.
The downside of Werder's report is that Finley is an IR candidate. Given the Packers play the high side of caution with any injury, this is probably a safe bet.
And it makes sense. It's the responsibility of the team and its medical staff to shield players from unreasonable danger when it's foreseeable, and certainly this qualifies as a foreseeable risk. While the offense will surely miss Finley's contributions, both the Packers and the player are better off long term if they take the cautious approach.
Surely, this is not the end of the Finley saga. Keep your internet machines tuned to Acme Packing Company for the latest Packers news and developments.
[UPDATE 1:53] In his full story at ESPN.com, Werder adds that "indications are that he likely will miss at least four to six weeks, sources said." The plot thickens.