Rookie defensive end Jerel Worthy underwent major knee surgery last week
Fans don’t seem overly concerned about the news that Jerel Worthy could miss the 2013 season after undergoing ACL surgery a few weeks ago. There are two reasons why. One is that the Packers don’t play meaningful games for another seven and a half months, and it’s human nature not to worry about events so far in the future. The other, quite frankly, is that the rookie defensive end wasn’t very good in 2012.
But I’m a worrier. Heck, I’m already worried about how the weather will be when I go to the Bahamas in late June. I can’t help but think the defense will miss Worthy if he’s forced to sit out part or all of next season. Despite unimpressive stats (14 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble), I saw flashes from the former Michigan State star. He wasn’t big enough or explosive enough to blow by centers and guards and he wasn’t experienced enough to beat them with technique, but he did show a quick first step and surprising tenacity. That’s often enough to make a defensive lineman reasonably successful at this level.
Even if Worthy is able to return at some point next season, the odds of him being effective are slim. That’s because the 23-year-old was going to use the next six months to rebuild his body. He weighed over 300 pounds at his Pro Day, but played in the 280s. The goal was to get Worthy back closer to his former weight, but to do it in a way that wouldn’t sacrifice athletic ability. Now that rebuilding project will have to be put on hold. And in all likelihood, so will any chance of his making a significant contribution in 2013.