GREEN BAY — Vince Biegel won’t play in Saturday’s third preseason game at Denver, and given the former University of Wisconsin standout won’t be activated from the physically unable to perform list this week, his odds of being ready for the Green Bay Packers’ Sept. 10 regular-season opener against Seattle appear slim.
Biegel, a fourth-round pick who was expected to bolster a somewhat thin outside linebacker corps and contribute as a pass rusher and special teams player, underwent surgery on his right foot in May and missed all of the team’s offseason organized team activity/minicamp practices.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy said he spoke with team physician Dr. Pat McKenzie on Monday. The medical staff decided Biegel was not yet ready to be cleared.
At the time of Biegel’s surgery, McCarthy had expressed hope that Biegel would be ready to go at some point during training camp, but after Saturday night’s game against the Broncos, the Packers will have just one full-fledged practice remaining before their Aug. 31 preseason finale against the Los Angeles Rams at Lambeau Field.
Given that Biegel hasn’t taken part in any sort of practice since the post-draft rookie orientation camp in early May and hasn’t worn pads since his senior year at UW, there’s a strong possibility that he’ll be transferred to the in-season PUP list at the final Sept. 2 final cutdown.
If that happens, Biegel won’t be able to play in the first six games of the regular season, but could begin practicing in advance of his return. Last year, center Corey Linsley opened on the PUP list after missing all of the offseason and training camp with a hamstring injury, returned to practice in mid-October and debuted on Nov. 6.
Biegel could follow a similar timeline, or, if the Packers think Biegel could be cleared a few weeks into the regular season, they could decide to carry him on the 53-man roster to start the year but deactivate him on game days until they deem him ready to play.
“That’s such an individual-specific question. Every player’s different, but most importantly, every injury is different,” McCarthy said before Tuesday’s practice. “(With) the history of the injury, the re-occurrence, there’s probably a threshold or two more that the medical staff (wants) to really make sure he’s clear of. Because a setback is always something that you want to avoid. And we haven’t had any setbacks. It’s just a matter of where he is in the progress of rehab.”
Biegel initially injured his foot last yearand underwent surgery that sidelined him for three weeks, forcing him to miss UW’s losses to Michigan and Ohio State, both Badgers losses. He insisted last week that his foot is “100 percent structurally healed,” but the issue is “getting my spring back, getting that ‘pop’ back in the foot.”
“I think football players, we’re not patient people — especially when it comes to injuries,” Biegel said. “We want to be out there as soon as we can. Every week and every day, the foot continues to get better, which is extremely encouraging. I know a lot of fans want to get me out here as soon as we can, but we’ve got to be patient not just for this season but for many seasons to come.
“We’ll be out there shortly.”
From the infirmary
It looked bad at the time, but second-year defensive end Dean Lowry escaped last week’s game at Washington without a major injury after hurting his knee. Lowry did not practice Tuesday but is not expected to be sidelined long.
“(It’s) not a long-term concern, but he will not go today,” McCarthy said.
• Running back Ty Montgomery, who didn’t practice last week and sat out Saturday’s game against the Redskins with a lower leg issue he called a “soft-tissue” injury, returned to practice, as did wide receivers Colby Pearson (ankle) and Malachi Dupre (concussion).
It marked the first time Dupre has been on the field since a scary hit during the team’s Aug. 10 preseason opener against Philadelphia, a collision with safety Tre Sullivan that landed Dupre in a hospital overnight.
• Dupre left the field on a gurney but fans a thumbs-up before leaving Lambeau Field in an ambulance that night.
Cornerback Damarious Randall (concussion) also returned to practice following a blind-side block he absorbed against Philadelphia. Eagles wide receiver Bryce Treggs said on Twitter Monday that he had been fined $25,000 for that hit.
McCarthy said after the hits on Dupre and Randall that he was sending them to the league office for review because he believed both were illegal.
“It’s about improving if you thought this should’ve been called, versus that should’ve been called,” McCarthy said Tuesday. “Obviously, you’re not going to talk about publicly, but there’s a weekly process that you’ve always gone through.”