The Green Bay Packers got some disappointing news on the injury this week. Head coach Matt LaFleur alluded to some injuries on Monday during his press availability, noting that there were a few players who were banged up and whose statuses could affect the makeup of the 53-man roster. Indeed, it appears that the team will be without a promising young player for at least the first several weeks of the 2020 regular season.
That player is linebacker Kamal Martin, the Packers’ fifth-round draft pick in April. According to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky, Martin will be having knee surgery that will keep him out for an extended period of time. The injury is to Martin’s meniscus, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, who notes that it is not expected to be season-ending. It would therefore appears that Martin may be a candidate to start the regular season on injured reserve. He injured a knee last season while playing for the University of Minnesota, though it is unclear if the injuries are related.
The Packers can maintain Martin’s eligibility to return this season from injured reserve if they keep him on the active roster through the 53-man roster deadline on Saturday and place him on IR afterwards. However, if they send him there before the cut-down deadline, he would be lost for the entire season.
Martin has impressed heavily in training camp this summer and was reportedly taking snaps with the starting defense early in camp before the team cracked down on the detail that media members could report about the depth chart in practice. This is just the latest injury at a position that continues to be a problem for the Packers; Oren Burks missed a few days of practice late in camp and Curtis Bolton remains on the Physically Unable to Perform list in his attempt to return from a torn ACL he suffered last preseason. That leaves the Packers with just presumed starter Christian Kirksey plus youngsters Ty Summers, Krys Barnes and potentially Tipa Galeai (who seems to be a better physical fit on the inside than on the edge) at the position.
Martin and Burks appeared to be the front-runners to start this season next to Kirksey, but if both of them are unavailable or unready to play, this could drive defensive coordinator Mike Pettine back to using a safety like Raven Greene at the second linebacker spot.
Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.