Packers set to battle bumps, bruises, and Bengals come Sunday

GREEN BAY, Wis. - The chilling sound of a bone saw.  Hamstrings hanging off bodies, crawling around like slugs on the ground.  Shoulders out of socket, phalanges facing in frightening directions, and a whole team of doctors shouting in hurried and harsh tones "SUCTION!!! SUCTION!!!"  "Hand me that scalpel!" "I need six units of saline stat!."

This is what I imagine it sounds like in the Packers training room right now.  It's a slightly mad and heavily hyperbolic view, but it's what my overactive mind conjured this morning when I read the news that outside linebacker Nick Perry needs surgery on his hand for a second straight year.  

An unwelcome blow to a team that really doesn't need one right now.  Currently there are thirteen players on the Packers injury report.  In fact, there's enough talent on that injury list that, at least for a couple of downs, it could substitute as a reasonable NFL roster.  Nelson, Cobb, Daniels, Bakhtiari, Bulaga, Perry, make up just a few of the high-value players suffering through one malady or another.

The medical ward that is currently being disguised as Lambeau Field is a terrific example of why skill alone isn't enough to win a championship.  You also need health, you need luck, and sometimes those are the same thing.

The best version of this Green Bay Packers team has a 53-man roster that can go toe-to-toe with anyone in the league.  The version that the green and gold will put out on the field Sunday does not.  To be clear, I am not saying they can't beat the Bengals, I am saying they are not as good injured as they are healthy. You can confer with Captain Obvious if you need further explanation.

Now here is the good news: it's early in the season.  The Packers have time to get healthy.  On top of that they have their next two games at home, against opponents that are beatable, even when the team's injury report rates somewhere between "less than 100 percent" and "a late night emergency room on a full moon."

The Bengals have yet to score a touchdown, the Bears are... well... the Bears, so it is not a stretch to think that Green Bay could win both these games.  It's not even that far-fetched to believe that they could pick up two wins while actually getting something closer to what the NFL would consider healthy along the way.  

What they can't afford is more key guys going down, and that's not a thing you can really protect against.  Football is a brilliant but brutal game.  You can't half step it and hope to win.  You can't play to protect yourself and expect not to get hurt.  The Packers are in desperate need of something these next two weeks that has alluded them the first two: they need injury luck.  

So if you are a face-painting, tailgating, flag-waving Packers fan, I encourage you to cross your fingers, hold your breath, sit in your favorite seat, and perform fully whatever sporting ritual you perform when you need to give the team a little extra love. 

If the Packers can get through this early medical misfortune you may start to see the tide turn.  Those big bodies and famous faces will begin to emerge from the deep, dark, depths of the training room back out onto a well lit Lambeau Field, ready to wreak havoc and make plays for a team that, when healthy (or even close) is capable of doing both.

 

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