GREEN BAY, Wis. — Unlike last year, the Green Bay Packers appeared to have made it through their Family Night event Saturday without a major loss to their roster.
But the Packers still had a significant setback early in training camp.
Rookie receiver Jared Abbrederis confirmed after the 90-minute practice held before a big crowd of 67,336 that he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee earlier in the week.
The injury is expected to keep Abbrederis out the entire season.
”It’s unfortunate,” said Abbrederis, who was off to a good start in the first week of camp.
”Obviously these things happen. You just look to the positives, try to find positives. (I’m) just ready to get to work – get surgery, get it fixed up and get ready for next year.”
A fifth-round draft pick, Abbrederis grew up a Packers fan 90 miles from Green Bay and had an excellent college career at Wisconsin. Abbrederis said he sustained the injury in practice Wednesday and continued to practice Thursday before being held out Friday.
Abbrederis said he underwent tests on the knee after Thursday’s practice and received word about the ACL injury Saturday morning.
”Very unfortunate,” coach Mike McCarthy said. ”He’s a young man that has a phenomenal attitude, and he’ll take this as another challenge.”
The torn ACL is the same injury Bryan Bulaga sustained on Family Night last year, when Green Bay had an intrasquad scrimmage. Bulaga, a starting offensive tackle, missed the 2013 season.
McCarthy changed the format for Family Night this year to a practice, the seventh of camp for the Packers.
Green Bay still had two players get hurt on the field Saturday with little live tackling in the practice. Veteran nose tackle B.J. Raji and undrafted rookie tight end Colt Lyerla had leg injuries.
Raji, a part of the Packers lineup since his rookie year in 2009, said an offensive lineman stepped on his right ankle during a pass rush drill about an hour into the practice. Raji was held out the rest of the practice.
”After the initial shock of it, I was able to walk it off and I felt like I’ll be OK,” said Raji, who is hopeful of being ready for Green Bay’s next practice Monday night.
Shortly before Raji went out, Lyerla had to be taken to the locker room by cart.
The newcomer was injured after he hurdled over Jumal Rolle and took a hit from fellow cornerback Jarrett Bush on a pass play in a non-tackling drill.
McCarthy later expressed disapproval of Lyerla’s decision to jump over a defensive player.
”There’s a time for the opportunity to hurdle the defender, and I think that was probably not the right time,” McCarthy said.
Lyerla didn’t know how serious his injury is, but didn’t regret his decision to try to make a play in that situation.
”I kind of had a little bit of an adrenaline rush, and I was just trying to show a little bit of my athleticism,” he said.
The Packers play their first of four preseason games Aug. 9 on the road against the Tennessee Titans.
All of the tickets for the unusual practice under the Lambeau lights Saturday were gobbled up by Green Bay’s fans within a week back in June. The team announced at the time about 73,000 tickets were distributed, marking the eighth sellout for the Family Night event in its 14-year history.
Capacity at Lambeau Field for a game is 80,735.
Saturday’s record crowd, which topped last year’s turnout of 63,047, included thousands of excited kids with their parents.
”I guess it always amazes me how big it is,” Raji said.
The festive event featured music throughout the practice, a giveaway of jerseys worn by some of the players during practice, and a culminating laser and fireworks show.