GREEN BAY – Mike McCarthy wouldn’t blame the Reliant Stadium turf, but he didn’t absolve it, either. The Green Bay Packers coach also wouldn’t come right out and call Houston Texans tackle Duane Brown’s injury-causing hit on D.J. Smith dirty, but McCarthy didn’t dispute the notion, either.
The Packers lost inside linebacker D.J. Smith and backup running back Brandon Saine to season-ending knee injuries while outside linebacker Nick Perry (knee) and cornerback Sam Shields (shin) suffered less severe injuries. Clumps of the Reliant Stadium turf could easily be seen coming up from the grass field that is brought in on trays for the retractable roof domed stadium.
Asked if he thought the bad turf factored in any of his players’ injuries, McCarthy replied Monday: “Their surface is definitely different. It’s something we’ve never played on before in my time here, so just the way it’s brought into their seams just because of the design of it, for grass I thought it was hard. I’m not an expert on if that had any factor in the injuries.”
That’s not exactly a “No,” now, is it?
The good news in that department was that Perry, whose knee injury initially looked severe, apparently will be OK.
“I saw Nick today, I mean he looks good,” McCarthy said. “It’s better than we thought it would be. I had a chance to see the play on the Jumbotron. It was very awkward with the way he fell. So with that that’s usually not a good sign. I think we’re very fortunate there.”
The Packers were not so fortunate with Smith, and it will be interesting to see if Brown will face any sort of fine for the block. McCarthy skirted the issue of whether Brown’s play was dirty.
“It’s something you obviously don’t want to see happen. It’s unfortunate. It was an avoidable,” McCarthy said, hinting that he felt Brown didn’t need to hit Smith. “It probably depends on what side you’re coaching, I think the offensive lineman was trying to finish the play, the play was close to being over. They were behind the tackle. But it was an ugly play and D.J. suffered a serious injury.”
Meanwhile, McCarthy said defensive tackle B.J. Raji, who missed Sunday night’s game with a sprained ankle, was “pretty close” to playing but was inactive as a precaution.
“(Team physician) Dr. (Pat) McKenzie wasn’t real comfortable with the strength. It would have been an endurance issue and we didn’t think it would be in the best interest of B.J.,” McCarthy said. “(That) was the reason why we did not let him go.”
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