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Earl Thomas unlikely to play against Packers

Earl Thomas suffered a severe leg injury and appears highly unlikely to suit up next week in Green Bay.

Carolina Panthers v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Though the Green Bay Packers face long odds of upsetting the Seattle Seahawks next week, they appear likely to avoid one of the best playmakers in the league. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, star safety Earl Thomas suffered a broken leg, keeping him "out indefinitely," putting him in severe jeopardy of missing the rest of the season.

The injury occurred during the first half when Thomas collided with fellow defensive back Kam Chancellor during a routine tackle. After attempting to hobble off the field, Thomas returned to the ground while the Seahawks' medical staff raced out to treat him. The safety took a cart to the locker room and did not return, though he did tweet that "a lot is running through my mind including retirement." Teammate Russell Wilson dismissed the notion after the game, calling Thomas a "competitor" swept up in the moment.

Though the Seattle defense remains potent -- especially with the return of defensive lineman Michael Bennett -- Thomas remains the unit's most vital component. His range and playmaking ability allow the rest of the secondary to take more risks in front of him. In the immediate aftermath of Thomas' departure against the Carolina Panthers, Cam Newton threw a 55-yard bomb to Ted Ginn for a score.

The Packers don't haven't stretched the field much in 2016, but they should have more opportunities to go vertical without Thomas waiting on the opposite end.

Jason B. Hirschhorn is an award-winning journalist and Pro Football Writers of America member. He covers the NFL for Sports on Earth and SB Nation. He also serves as the senior writer and editor for Acme Packing Company, a Green Bay Packers blog.