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Packers’ 60-second rant: Injuries remain major pain

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Dan Arkush

darkush@pfwmedia.com
Executive editor

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Posted Dec. 07, 2010 @ 5:10 p.m. ET
By Dan Arkush

Cullen Jenkins, come on down!

Another game ... another injury to a key Packers player worth worrying about.

So it has gone in a season in which no team in the NFL has been battered where it hurts most more than the Packers — a conclusion further enhanced by the exclusive team-by-team injury breakdown in the latest print edition of Pro Football Weekly.

In a ranking that assesses each team's injuries through 12 games, Green Bay finished No. 1 in terms of being the most affected by the injury bug, which is no surprise, considering that it has six starters among its 13 players on injured reserve, including the player who was projected to be the team's primary receiving weapon this season (TE Jermichael Finley), the offense's previously rock-solid No. 1 running back (Ryan Grant) and the defense's top tackler in five of the previous seven seasons (MLB Nick Barnett).

But it's not just season-ending injuries that have been such a pain in the butt in 2010. It's lingering injuries like Jenkins' current calf ailment, which comes just when it appears that linemate Ryan Pickett might be over the nagging ankle injury that forced him to miss a couple of games.

And let's not forget Clay Matthews' shin, which has replaced his hamstring as the ball-of-fire outside linebacker's most fragile body part and has been perhaps partly responsible for his lack of sacks the last couple of weeks.

What's really tough to take is that Jenkins, who until recently was forced to operate with a bulky club cast to protect an injured hand, was looking friskier against the Niners than at any point this season, registering a pair of sacks that enabled him to surpass his previous season high of 6½ (he now has seven).

I'd like to say Jenkins' injury is nothing to get too carried away over, considering how successfully the Packers have been able to persevere in spite of all their injuries.

But at a time when downright giddiness would be understandable with rookie RB James Starks looking like an exciting new weapon for the offense, veteran WR Donald Driver returning from the dead with a brilliant tackle-breaking catch-and-run TD that might have been the best play I've seen so far this season, and Aaron Rodgers and Greg Jennings remaining as hot as humanly possible, the Packers' nonstop injury situation remains a major downer that refuses to be denied.

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