Aaron Rodgers' top weapon is out indefinitely


Aaron Rodgers' top weapon is out indefinitely

From Comcast SportsNetGREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- Rest and rehab weren't enough to get Greg Jennings back on the field.The Green Bay Packers' No. 1 receiver will have surgery next Tuesday to repair a torn abdominal muscle that has kept him out for most of the season. He would not put a timetable on his return, but said recovery from the 20- to 25-minute outpatient procedure is not season-ending."Honestly, I'm over being bummed about it. That took place three, four weeks ago," Jennings said Thursday. "It is what it is. I need to take care of it to 100 percent, and that's the process I'm taking."The two-time Pro Bowler was initially hurt in the closing minutes of the Sept. 9 opener against San Francisco. He sat out the next week's game against Chicago, and returned to play at Seattle on Sept. 24. But he aggravated the injury against New Orleans, and came out of the Sept. 30 game in the second quarter after a 9-yard touchdown catch, his first of the season.Jennings had hoped the injury would heal with treatment and strength work. But he continued to feel pain when he was in the weight room or tried to run, and feared the injury wasn't improving as he'd hoped. When he felt his groin tighten up as he ran off the field after last weekend's game in St. Louis, Jennings knew more aggressive treatment was needed."The trainers have done a great job in the rehabilitation stages to get me to where I am right now," he said. "But now we have to take it a step further."He traveled Wednesday to Philadelphia to see Dr. William Meyers, who specializes in abdominal and groin injuries."The way he described it to me was simply two people pulling on the end of a rope and it starts to fray. The more tugging, the more fraying, which means the more tearing occurs," Jennings said. "That's what I have going on."Meyers told Jennings he could have either an injection or surgery. But it would take a few days to see if the injection worked.If it didn't, Jennings would need surgery anyway."The injection would've masked most of the pain, but there was still no guarantee I could go out there and hit that last gear," Jennings said. "That's the one thing I have to have ... to create more separation. So, there's no sense to me in taking a shot that may or may not work, may take three-days-to-a-week to actually start to work. I could have spent the week rehabbing on a surgery that's going to get me back perfect."Jennings said he'll be able to walk out of the procedure, which will be done in Philadelphia. He joked that he'll be back in the locker room Wednesday and "you guys will never know."The injury has come at the most inopportune time for Jennings, who is in the last year of his contract.Though he's had 1,000-yard seasons in three of the last four years and is seventh on Green Bay's career list with 401 receptions, some believe the Packers will let Jennings go as an unrestricted free. The 29-year-old figures to command a contract averaging more than 10 million per season and, with quarterback Aaron Rodgers, outside linebacker Clay Matthews and defensive tackle B.J. Raji needing extensions, there might not be enough money to go around.The Packers are probably deeper at receiver than any other position, too, and Jordy Nelson, James Jones and Randall Cobb have all had big performances in Jennings' absence. Nelson had three touchdown catches against Houston, and has had back-to-back 100-yard receiving games. Jones caught two TD passes in three straight games, tying a franchise record. Cobb followed his first 100-yard receiving game, against Houston, with a pair of touchdown receptions against St. Louis."Free agency will take care of itself," Jennings said. "Hopefully, I've put on film certain plays that I'm able to make and showcase my talents. ... Right now, I have to take care of myself and do what's best for me."And that is to have surgery.Asked if he wishes he'd made this decision earlier, Jennings said it's pointless to think about."You always wish you'd done things differently once it didn't work," he said. "But the past is the past. You can't live in the past, you can't change the past. Time keeps on ticking. So right now, the decision and the choice that we're going with is going to get me back to 100 percent."Notes: DT B.J. Raji, who has missed the last two games with a bad ankle, was able to practice on a limited basis Thursday. "I thought he looked good," coach Mike McCarthy said. "He was jumping around there, looked like old self." ... McCarthy said he thinks backup DE Mike Neal, who injured his knee against the Rams, will be able to play in Sunday's game against Jacksonville. ... With so many players banged up -- the Packers had 13 players on Thursday's injury report -- McCarthy is cutting practices short this week. "You don't want to stress your team while getting ready for a game," he said.

Haggerty: Subban looking more like a 1st-round bust than NHL goalie

Haggerty: Subban looking more like a 1st-round bust than NHL goalie

BOSTON, Mass – Malcolm Subban says that he believes that he can still be a No. 1 goaltender in the NHL.

While that’s admirable on some level for the sheer, brazen self-confidence involved in saying this after getting yanked from a 5-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild at TD Garden, pretty much all of the evidence points out the contrary. Nearly two years after getting pulled from his NHL debut in against the St. Louis Blues after giving up three goals on six shots, Subban was pulled from Tuesday night’s appearance after giving up three goals on eight second period shots with the Bruins desperately in need of a quality start in goal.

He maintained a defiantly confident tone after another humbling NHL effort against Minnesota, and that’s a testament to the maturity and mental toughness of the person behind the goalie mask.

“It sucks. Obviously, I’m just trying to finish the game, let alone win one. Obviously it sucks, but what can you do now, right?” said Subban, who has now allowed six goals on 22 career shots faced in two starts. “Obviously I want to be a number one goaltender in the league. I was a high pick for a reason. I have the potential, and I just have to show it. Obviously I haven’t done that so far yet, but I think I’m getting closer to it. Honestly, I think I can do it right now. I just got to show it. Obviously, I didn’t [do it] today, but tomorrow’s a new day.”

Given the stunningly bad quality of his two NHL starts combined with a thoroughly pedestrian body of work at the AHL level over the last three years, there is literally zero tangible evidence Subban is tracking to be a franchise goaltender. Instead he’s the emergency goaltender called on by the Bruins only after Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin have both been shelved by injuries, and he’s now flunked the two pop quizzes when the NHL team needed him to come through.

Meanwhile, a sizeable selection of goaltenders taken after him in the 2012 NHL Draft class have already proven their NHL worth and broken through at the elite level: Matt Murray, Frederik Anderson, Connor Hellebuyck and Joonas Korpisalo.

Subban was hoping all along to break through this season in Boston, but things went south on him quickly with a Bruins team not playing well in front of him. The first goal was a fluttering Charlie Coyle shot that trickled between his glove hand and the top of his leg pad. The third goal was a softie low and to the glove side, power play strike authored by Ryan Suter. It added up to poor goaltending and shoddy defense, but it also added up to a Bruins goaltender that didn’t even give his hockey club a chance to win.

“It could be a combination of both. There are some goals – I’m not going to lie – there are some goals that we thought our goaltenders should have had. But I’m not here to talk about a goaltender who’s in one of his first few games because he let in a couple of bad goals,” said Julien. “We were terrible in front of him and we weren’t any better, and that’s the big picture. That’s more important.

“I don’t care who’s in net. I think when you have some injuries you need to be better in those situations and we weren’t good enough tonight. It doesn’t matter if Tuukka [Rask] is in net and we had injuries up front, or we’re lacking players here or there. You’ve got to let the system take care of the game. If you play it the right way, you have a chance to win. When you don’t, you don’t. That’s what happened [against Minnesota].”

There’s no question the defense in front of Subban wasn’t nearly good enough, and Adam McQuaid and Torey Krug in particular struggled to lock things down in the defensive zone. The wide open shots from the slot - like the Chris Stewart score in the second period that arrived 12 seconds after Minnesota’s opening goal - are indicative of a hockey club that’s not sticking to the game plan once things start to get a little wonky.

But this is about a player in Subban that should be entering the NHL stage of his career after being a first round pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, and anybody would be hard-pressed to see him as an NHL goalie after failing in each of his first two NHL starts. Combine that with the lack of dominance at the AHL level over the last three years, and there’s a better chance that Subban will be a major first round bust for the Bruins rather than suddenly develop into a late-blooming No. 1 goaltender in Boston.

The scary part is that Subban and fellow young netminder Zane McIntyre are all the Bruins have for Wednesday night’s game at Madison Square Garden, and perhaps longer than that if Rask can’t make rapid progress with his lower body injury.

Maybe Subban can be a bit better than he’s shown thus far, and the four goals allowed to Minnesota were not all his fault. The bottom line, however, is that Subban should be up for doing this job right now. Tuesday was a big chance for the young goalie to make a statement that he was ready for it.

Instead he looked like the same goalie that’s been pulled from two of his first four AHL starts this season, and plays like a goaltender that’s never going to truly be ready for the call in Boston.