Green Bay Packers' Jared Abbrederis likely has torn ACL
The Green Bay Packers were hoping for the best but fearing the worst Friday on the knee injury suffered by wide receiver Jared Abbrederis in practice Thursday.
A source told the Journal Sentinel that the diagnosis of the team's medical staff early Friday morning was that Abbrederis had suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.
The team was awaiting results of more tests to confirm their original finding.
The Packers made no announcement regarding the injury to Abbrederis, their fifth-round draft choice from Wisconsin.
"I haven't had time to sit down with the medical staff," coach Mike McCarthy said about 11 a.m. "Right now, he has a knee. He completed practice yesterday."
It's likely the team will have no further comment on Abbrederis until McCarthy answers questions after a practice Saturday night at Lambeau Field.
Abbrederis attended practice Friday morning with a sizable sleeve covering his right knee. He was able to jog from the field to the sideline, but then he mostly stood around.
At times, players with torn ACLs have required help getting off the field. In some of those instances, there was damage to cartilage or other ligaments as well.
Other times, players experienced little or no immediate discomfort before having the torn ACL discovered within the next 24 hours.
Last year, tackle Bryan Bulaga completed the intrasquad scrimmage at Lambeau Field with a knee injury that the next day was found to be a torn ACL.
Abbrederis, the Packers' first draft pick from UW since 2001, immediately became one of the most popular players on the roster. His locker-room interviews were considered must-use by TV and radio stations across the state.
But Abbrederis had proved to be more than just a familiar face.
In the first five practices of training camp, Abbrederis had played bigger and stronger than advertised and might rank No. 5 at the position behind Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Jarrett Boykin and Davante Adams.
Green Bay is expected to keep five or six wide receivers on its 53-man roster.
"He understands what to do and how to get open," offensive coordinator Tom Clements said Friday afternoon. "He has good hands and good speed. We're happy with his progress."
Abbrederis also appeared to be a leading candidate to return punts. He averaged 10.7 yards for the Badgers in 55 runbacks and already had displayed a knack for it on the Packers' practice field.
"He's got good ball skills and catches the ball well," Shawn Slocum, the special teams coach, said Friday. "He has good quickness and makes good decisions. Right now, I like him in the punt-return position first, but he's got good skill as a kickoff returner, too."
Abbrederis, 6 feet 1 inch and 195 pounds, slipped to the fifth round in a draft rich with wide receivers largely because of widespread concern among teams regarding his long injury history.
As a high school sophomore at Wautoma, Abbrederis suffered a broken right femur.
At UW, he suffered foot and rib injuries and what personnel men for two teams said were three or four concussions. Abbrederis insisted he suffered just one concussion.
Abbrederis added 10 pounds between his junior and senior seasons but still was able to bench-press 225 pounds just four times, tying for the lowest amount by more than 300 combine participants.
On July 25, a personnel man for an NFC team said of Abbrederis, "I'd be scared to death of him. All the concussions and everything like that."
Abbrederis signed a four-year, $2.365 million contract in mid-May. If he lands on injured reserve, his base salary of $420,000 would be reduced to $303,000.
After Abbrederis, the Packers have Myles White, Kevin Dorsey, Chris Harper, Alex Gillett and Gerrard Sheppard at wide receiver. Rookie Jeff Janis, drafted two rounds after Abbrederis, has yet to practice because of illness.
"It's a very, very solid, competitive group," said Clements. "One of the better groups overall that we've had.
"(Dorsey) has caught the ball well. Has a good burst to him. We're excited about him.
"(White) has put on some weight, which is good. He needs it. He also has retained his speed.
"(Gillett) has been very solid. He does what he's supposed to do all the time."