GREEN BAY – While no one can say at this point whether Jermichael Finley will ever play football at Lambeau Field again, this was as good a first step as any Friday: The Green Bay Packers tight end was back in the building, visiting the team after being released from the hospital a day earlier.
Finley, who suffered a bruised spinal cord in a collision against Cleveland last Sunday, spent Sunday night in the intensive care unit and remained hospitalized Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. He went home Thursday and came by the facility Friday, where
“I saw Jermichael this morning; he looks good," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said after practice Friday. “(He) looked like a dang movie star walking in there with sunglasses. It was good to see him. Big smile on his face. It's great to have him back in the building.
“Just seeing him walk in here today I think is what everybody needed to see.”
Finley has been ruled out for Sunday night’s game at Minnesota – it’s unclear whether he will make the trip with the team – but remains on the 53-man roster. While he could still be placed on season-ending injured reserve, it appears the Packers are willing to wait until they get further information on his injury before making that call.
“My understanding is (even with) the tests that have been done, they will continue to do more tests,” McCarthy said. “That information is being sent to the specialist and then we’ll have to make a decision … at a certain time.
Meanwhile, an NFL spokesperson confirmed that Browns safety Tashaun Gipson, who delivered the hit that resulted in Finley’s injury, was not fined, despite being flagged by referee Jeff Triplette’s crew on the play. The Packers didn’t expect Gipson to be fined and tight ends coach Jerry Fontenot didn’t have any problem with the hit when asked about it earlier this week.
“I thought it was clean,” Fontenot said. “It looked like the safety that was coming in to make the hit really did his best to keep his head out of it and it almost looked like, I couldn't tell what happened right there at that moment, but looking back at the tape, it looked like he almost turned his back to Jermichael and Jermichael's crown on his helmet hit the safety on the back of the shoulder. To me, it wasn't maliciously intended. He was just trying to make a play.”
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There are no games scheduled for today.