For the past several years, Mike Daniels has been a mainstay on the Green Bay Packers’ defensive line. Daniels finally earned his first Pro Bowl appearance a year ago — which was long overdue — and up until 2018 he had missed just four games in his six-year NFL career.
Unfortunately, it appears that Daniels will miss more than that number of games in 2018 alone. A foot injury that Daniels suffered last Thursday night in Seattle put his immediate availability in question for the upcoming game against the Minnesota Vikings, but it could keep him out well longer than that. In fact, there’s a chance that Daniels may not return at all over the final six weeks of the regular season.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Daniels revealed a bit more about the injury, which had him visibly frustrated. “I’ve never had a serious injury before outside of getting surgery in college,” Daniels said. He added regarding a potential return that “everything’s up to what the doctors say and I don’t have an exact timetable.”
However, when asked specifically about whether he felt he could get back on the field this season, Daniels sounded like someone who was hopeful but not optimistic: “I always keep the hope alive; you never know what can happen,” he said. “You just never know, so I can’t make any predictions. I’m just taking it day after day and taking my rehab very seriously.”
Head coach Mike McCarthy already confirmed that Daniels would likely be out for a few weeks, but had not given any indication that he might be shut down for the season. Still, the Packers have little depth on the defensive line, particularly with Muhammad Wilkerson already suffering a season-ending injury earlier this year. Kenny Clark is the only healthy week-one starter remaining, as Dean Lowry has filled in for Wilkerson while Montravius Adams is expected to be the primary replacement for Daniels.
The Packers are still expected to add a lineman to the active roster sometime before Sunday’s game, but they would need to open up a roster spot to do so. Placing Daniels on injured reserve would be a worst-case scenario, but if the medical staff feels bearish on his chances of playing again in 2018, that could very well be a possibility.