Woodson is ‘just not ready yet’ to return

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Packers veteran defensive back Charles Woodson is still not sure when he’ll be able to return.

More than eight weeks after breaking his collarbone, Woodson, an eight-time Pro Bowler who tied for the NFL lead with seven interceptions last season, has not been cleared by the team’s medical staff.

“I’m just not ready yet,” Woodson said Sunday. “Not ready yet.”

The original projection was for Woodson to miss six weeks.

“I’m (upset), because I want to play, but it’s a mutual decision,” Woodson said. “You know, if there was any other way, I’d be playing. But I understand the doctors’ expert opinion, and we’re in agreement 100 percent. So we just want to give it time.”

Woodson was nearing a return for Green Bay’s matchup in Chicago this past Sunday, but four days before the game, coach Mike McCarthy announced that it wasn’t going to happen.

“Charles was ready to play, he’s ready to go,” McCarthy said on Dec. 12. “But the doctors are still, based on the information over the last two days, we’re going to hold him out of the game. This is in the best interest of Charles. I know it’s disappointing, frustrating for him.

“We’re very close. It’s the judgement of our medical staff, in particular Dr. (Pat) McKenzie, he does not feel it’s in Charles’ best interest to play. Trust me, that’s not easy. (Woodson) has been preparing himself. I know he’s extremely frustrated.”

McCarthy insisted that Woodson didn’t suffer any setback, but rather that the collarbone injury just hadn’t healed properly yet.

“Oh, I’m coming back,” Woodson said. “I’m coming back. I’m coming back — so don’t worry about that.”

However, Woodson only responded “We’ll see, we’ll see” when asked if his return would be this upcoming Sunday at home against the Tennessee Titans.

“Charles Woodson’s situation is, we’re going to play him as soon as we’re ready,” McCarthy said at his Monday press conference. “What happened yesterday (winning the NFC North) will not factor into his medical decision, just from the fact that he’s been out about eight weeks and it’s important for him to play.

“He wants to play, get some momentum and be ready for the playoffs. I’ve spoken to Charles today, I’ve spoken also to Pepper (Burruss), our trainer, but I have not talked to Dr. McKenzie. As far as what we’re thinking this weekend, it hasn’t yet been decided.”

If Woodson is not able to play Sunday when the Titans are in Green Bay, then McCarthy wants to make sure that the former Heisman Trophy winner gets on the field in Week 17 for the regular-season finale. That way, Woodson has at least one game to get rid of the rust from having not played for two months.

“I think he needs to play, whether it’s the Tennessee game and Minnesota (Week 17), or just Minnesota,” McCarthy said. “It’s important for your players to play. He’s no different.”

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