GREEN BAY, Wis. — Packers running back DuJuan Harris went in for the standard pre-minicamp physical Monday and had no idea that anything was wrong.
After missing the first couple days of Green Bay’s minicamp practices, Harris revealed Wednesday the reason for his absence.
“Thank God for team physicals!!!!,” Harris tweeted, while including a picture of himself in a hospital with a bandage on the right side of his chest.
While the rest of Harris’ teammates practiced inside the Don Hutson Center, word of Harris’ tweet began to spread. However, there were no specifics about what was actually wrong with Harris.
That’s when Harris, 24, clarified.
“EVERYTHING IS FINE,” Harris wrote. “(Doctors) found a fist sized cyst on my lung next to my heart. Shows the importance of getting routine check-ups, GET YOURS!”
Minutes later, Harris added another tweet.
“It’s a #blessing!!!,” he posted. “Should be 110% very soon and back to work. Thanks for the prayers and keeping me lifted!!! MUCH LOVE”
By the time that the Packers’ practice was over, coach Mike McCarthy was informed by the team’s public relations staff that Harris had made his medical situation public.
“DuJuan Harris will not be available for the remainder of the offseason program,” McCarthy said. “As we stated, we have a policy in place where we don’t go into the specifics of injuries at this time.
“I’m confident that he’ll be ready for training camp.”
Harris remained in Green Bay this week while undergoing a procedure to drain and remove the cyst.
“It wasn’t cancerous,” Harris’ agent, Dave Lee, told FOXSportsWisconsin.com. “It’s one of those abnormalities that some people have. It was really large and it was brushing against his chest.”
Lee added that the cyst had actually been restricting the full use of Harris’ lungs.
“The running joke we had yesterday in the recovery room was that he thinks he can be on the field for three or four more plays now before getting winded,” Lee said.
Doctors made a one-inch incision in Harris’ chest during the operation. The recovery time for Harris, according to Lee, is two weeks.
“It gives him plenty of time to relax and get better before training camp (in late July),” Lee said.
The good news for Harris is that the fist-sized cyst on his lung next to his heart was detected now. There were several months last year when Harris would not have had an NFL physical to catch something like this. That’s because after being released by the Pittsburgh Steelers in August 2012 he spent several months selling used cars before being picked up by the Packers in October.
“I knew I had heard that (Harris) had an issue, but I didn’t know exactly what it was,” teammate Randall Cobb said after practice. “I’ll really be praying for him. You never want to see your teammate, or really anybody, because we know how fortunate we are to have these jobs, to go through different things.
“I really hope he has a fast recovery and hope I can be around and help him with anything he needs.”
Despite being added to Green Bay’s roster late in the season, Harris emerged as the Packers’ starting running back in their two playoff games. He rushed for a total of 100 yards on 28 carries in a win over the Minnesota Vikings and a loss in San Francisco against the 49ers and scored a touchdown in both games.
Green Bay drafted Eddie Lacy in the second round and Johnathan Franklin in the fourth round of this year’s draft, but Harris was still expected to compete with them for the starting running back job. McCarthy’s statement that Harris is expected back in time for training camp means that could still happen.