GREEN BAY, Wis. — Randall Cobb walked across the Green Bay Packers locker room Wednesday afternoon not expecting to be approached by a group of reporters. It had been more than a month since the team’s then-leading wide receiver suffered an injury that was widely reported as a fractured fibula, but Cobb had yet to publicly address the specifics.
As more media members began to hover nearby hoping to get his take on the injury, Cobb agreed to the interview and did a U-turn towards his locker. What followed only served to add confusion — rather than clarity — to Cobb’s original diagnosis and to his recovery.
“I don’t know, I think that’s out of the question right now,” Cobb said when asked when he’ll be able to return to the field. “We’re trying to get back to walking and running.”
Cobb was placed on injured reserve Oct. 15 with the team’s designation to return, so the earliest he could be back in game action is Week 15. But Cobb is making no guarantees that he’ll actually be ready by then.
“It’s not a target date,” Cobb said. “It’s the earliest that I can come back, depending on where I am in my rehab.”
So, in other words, Randall, there’s a chance of not throwing on the No. 18 jersey again this season?
“I didn’t say that,” Cobb responded.
Well, OK, then you anticipate playing for sure in the regular season, Cobb was asked.
“I can’t make that call right now,” he said. “Right now today I cannot play. I’m doing everything I can. I’m working my butt off in the rehab process. This is something that it needs time. It’s getting better. There’s still no timeline on when I can come back.”
With Aaron Rodgers recovering from a broken left collarbone, perhaps Cobb felt like he’s in a similar situation with his quarterback.
“Did I break a bone?,” Cobb asked when that’s what was being implied by the reporter.
Wait, it wasn’t a broken bone?
“That’s the reports,” Cobb said. “I don’t know.”
“It doesn’t matter, does it?,” Cobb replied.
Yes, as one of the best players on the Packers’ roster, it does matter.
“It doesn’t,” he insisted. “A broken bone, I don’t know about that. But, hey, that was what the reports was, so it is what it is.”
The reports were inaccurate then?
“It wasn’t what it was, but hey,” Cobb said.
Was it at least some type of fracture or crack in the bone?
“I’m getting better,” said Cobb, tiring of the line of questioning.
Fractured fibula: Yes or no? Go.
“I’m getting better,” Cobb repeated.
Whatever the injury is, Cobb was told by Green Bay’s medical staff that it takes 6-to-8 weeks to heal. Like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson before him, Cobb believes it doesn’t matter what you think.
“As long as I know what’s wrong with me, the doctors and my family know what’s wrong with me, I don’t really care what anybody else says or thinks,” Cobb said.
Cobb had spent several weeks rolling around team facilities on a rented Segway. Now he’s back to moving without the assistance of any devices first popularized by GOB Bluth in the TV show “Arrested Development.”
“Really the only thing I’m doing is listening to the doctor and taking his opinion on everything and just trying to stick to the process that he has in line,” Cobb said. “Obviously I was on crutches for a while. Now I’m able to do some body-weight stuff and able to move around a little bit, and hopefully soon I’ll be able to do some jogging. I’m progressing that way.”
There’s nothing that Cobb can do to help stop the Packers’ current three-game losing streak. With a minimum of three more games sidelined, Cobb just has to hope that his teammates turn it around in time so that his potential comeback later this season means something.
“It is (difficult), because you’re helpless,” Cobb said. “You can’t help the team in any way whatsoever. And that’s the most frustrating part, to know that if you could do something you would, but you can’t. There’s nothing you can do about that. As soon as I can and I feel that I’m at a level where I can compete and play, I’ll be back out there with my teammates.”
It was only two months ago that wide receiver James Jones was talking about the possibility of Green Bay having three — or even maybe four — players finish with more than 1,000 yards receiving. But with Rodgers out, Cobb’s serious injury, tight end Jermichael Finley on injured reserve with a spinal contusion and even Jones himself missing two games with a knee injury, the Packers are down to just Jordy Nelson being on pace to hit that mark.
“It’s tough,” Cobb said. “We really did have those goals in mind, we had those goals set for our group. We said in the beginning hopefully none of us have to face what me and JJ (Jones) are going through this season. But that’s part of playing the game, that’s part of football, so it’s just tough whenever you can’t be out there, you can’t help your teammates.”
No thanks to Cobb, any determination or conclusion as to whether he can help his teammates again this season remains a mystery.