As noted in Thursday morning’s one-liners, injured cornerback Al Harris made a surprise appearance at Packers Organized Team Activities on Wednesday.
The visit can be called a “surprise” because Harris has stayed away from offseason workouts to this point while rehabbing a knee injury. Since Harris went down in Week Eleven of last year, we’ve been under the impression that he’s been recovering from a run-of-the-mill torn ACL.
“It is a very rare injury,” revealed Harris’ physical therapist, Joe Caroccio. “He had a torn anterior cruciate ligament, torn lateral collateral ligament, torn iliotibial band, fibular collateral ligament, and torn lateral hamstring.”
We’ve never heard of an iliotibial band or a fibular collateral ligament, but this sounds especially severe, particularly when the patient is entering his age-36 season.
“Guys don’t normally come back from injuries such as this,” Harris admitted. “So … you read that and take it for exactly what it is.”
Harris recently began jogging, but admits there’s no timetable for his return. He promised Wednesday that he isn’t ready to retire.
Caroccio remains optimistic, probably in part because the Packers are paying him serious coin to make sure their two-time Pro Bowl corner returns.
“Will he be back? Definitely,” said Caroccio. “The training we put him through has been very intense. Al’s level of intensity and persistence with the goals he set are very high, and they’re something he wants to achieve.”
Worth keeping in mind are coach Mike McCarthy’s comments on the injury in late April, before we knee the complexity of Harris’ surgery. At the time, McCarthy termed it “a real serious injury” and hinted that two separate operations were performed on Harris’ knee. McCarthy also compared Harris’ recovery timetable to Mark Tauscher’s in 2008. Tauscher blew out his knee in early December and didn’t resume playing until the following November.
With Harris coming off a career-threatening injury at age 35, Charles Woodson going on 34, and Tramon Williams entering a contract year, we’re left wondering why Packers G.M. Ted Thompson didn’t invest more into the cornerback position this offseason.