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Packers Training Camp 2014: The Fallout from Jared Abbrederis' ACL Tear

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How does Jared Abbrederis' ACL tear affect the Packers this season?

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Mike McGinnis

It took only a week of training camp for the first malady to befall the Packers. Rookie wide receiver Jared Abbrederis reportedly tore the ACL in his right knee, though the team has not confirmed the injury. If true, Abbrederis' knee would require season-ending reconstructive surgery.

The fallout from the apparent loss of Abbrederis is manifold. Though the former Badger was expected to play a minimal role on offense, opportunities existed for him to contribute elsewhere. As the Packers look for ways to limit the exposure for Randall Cobb and Micah Hyde on special teams, Abbrederis was considered a prime candidate to handle punt and perhaps kickoff return duties. While the team will try out other reserves on returns, but the possibility exists that either Cobb or Hyde will be forced into action there again this season.

The injury also shakes up the back end of the Packers' receiving corps. A near lock to make the final roster -- Green Bay hasn't released a fifth-round rookie since Jamon Meredith in 2009 -- Abbrederis vacates the presumed fifth wide receiver spot on the depth chart. The Packers will keep at least five and potentially as many as six players at the position. Wideouts Chris Harper, Jeff Janis, and Myles White were expected to duke it out for a potential sixth receiver spot, but now at least one is going to make the 53 with Kevin Dorsey and Alex Gillett becoming dark horses for roster spots of their own.

Abbrederis' ACL tear also affects Randall Cobb's leverage in his contract discussions with the Packers. A lightly discussed factor in those negotiations was Abbrederis' perceived ability to handle slot duties in 2015 and beyond. While the injury may not prevent him from eventually becoming a competent slot receiver, Abbrederis won't have the opportunity to prove himself this season, thus providing the Packers cover if Cobb's asking price becomes too steep.

On paper, the loss of Abbrederis doesn't appear to be season altering. The Packers have a number of talented receiver and return options that should prevent a drop off in production. But any injury chips away at a team's depth, and as the past five seasons have demonstrated, the body count rarely stops at one.

Jason Hirschhorn covers the Green Bay Packers for Acme Packing Company. He also serves as a contributor at various publications. His work has previously appeared on Hook’em Headlines, Beats Per Minute, and Lombardi Ave.