Eddie Lacy’s Fabulous Disappearing Act

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Eddie Lacy vs. Dallas

The Green Bay Packers have gone to great lengths to keep almost all details about Eddie Lacy’s season-ending injury and surgery from becoming known to the public? The question is: why?

We know Lacy suffered an ankle or foot injury against the Giants on October 9. After the game, his status was said to be “unclear.” Just a couple days before the next game versus Dallas, coach Mike McCarthy said “He’s going to have to have a wonderful, great 24 hours to play in the game.”

Apparently those 24 hours were indeed wonderful, because Lacy carried the ball 17 times for 65 yards in the loss to the Cowboys on October 16.

Two days after the game with Dallas, the report was that “Lacy is expected to miss a few weeks – and perhaps longer.” Two days after that, on October 20, we learned that Lacy went for a second opinion earlier in the week. That same day, the Packers placed Lacy on injured reserve for an ankle injury that “will require surgery.”

Several news outlets, both local and national, immediately speculated that Lacy’s career with the Packers was likely over.

We next learned that Lacy saw Dr. Robert Anderson, a foot specialist, in Charlotte, North Carolina. It’s the same doctor Ty Montgomery, Lacy’s replacement, went to in 2015 for his own second opinion.

If the nature of Lacy’s injury was kept secret, his rehab has been even more of a mystery. Despite lots of searching, I can’t tell you when he had surgery, where, who performed it, what it consisted of, whether it was considered a success, how long rehab was expected to be, what the medical prognosis was, or what the current update or status is.

On October 20, an ESPN reporter noted that the earliest return date was week 15, but that was just based on the earliest time Lacy was permitted to come off IR.

On November 16, Lacy posted on his website: “I am hoping I can come back late in the season, but we’ll see how my rehab goes.”

Then, on November 23, Big Mike told reporters that Lacy would not be returning from IR this season. This was hardly a revelation because Makinton Dorleant was just named as the team’s IR player designated to return, which meant that both Lacy and cornerback Sam Shields were prohibited by league rules from returning for the remainder of the season.

We know next to nothing about Lacy’s rehabilitation program. Did you see him on the sidelines during Packers’ home games? Did he travel with the team to away games? Was he back in Louisiana or did he remain with the team?

Here’s all I can find. As of early December, Lacy was still in a walking boot and using a scooter to get around. Then Lacy surfaced on December 13, during a promotional appearance for Campbell’s Chunky Soup. He even spoke: “I would love to be [back with the Packers]… I’ll just sit back, talk to my agent and we’ll see where it goes.”

At McCarthy’s season-ending news conference on January 26, the coach was still not sharing any info: “Eddie Lacy. I’d love to see back. Eddie’s going through a medical situation.”

Thanks, coach.

Dare We Speculate?

The mystery surrounding Lacy’s 2016 season is highly unusual. In most cases, the team physician acts as a medical spokesman – even if another physician does the surgery – and describes the extent of the surgery, the rehabilitation plan and timeframe, and the prospects for success and a full recovery and return to previous level of ability. Why didn’t we hear from Dr. Patrick McKenzie?

It’s not wild speculation to connect the dots concerning what we do know. It is reasonable to surmise that Eddie Lacy is not happy with being cleared by the team’s medical staff to play the entire Cowboys’ game. The fact he resorted to a second opinion right after that game suggests that he was upset about having injuries become more severe due to playing injured, rather than allowing injuries to properly heal. The Packers were arguably guilty of doing this many times over the past two seasons.

It also fits the scenario that the Packers don’t want to discuss any details and especially what was found in the course of the surgery, due to potential legal liability. If Lacy’s career and future earnings might have been drastically affected by dubious medical diagnosis and advice by the team, this would explain why the Packers don’t want to make any statements that might later be used against them in court.

In any event, few are predicting that Eddie Lacy will be on the Packers’ 2017 roster. If that’s the case, the Packers will have largely squandered their second-round draft pick of 2013. They’ll have parted ways with a player who was just entering his prime years – and whose bruising running style had transformed the entire image of the team.

The Packers appear to be about to lose a guy who as a rookie was named AP-Second Team All-Pro and made the Pro Bowl. Lacy was also selected as the Offensive Rookie of the Year – the first time that’s happened to a Packer since John Brockington in 1971.

If… if the reason Lacy required surgery was due to the team unwisely or negligently clearing him to play with a bad ankle injury, how did that affect the 2016 season? Had he been allowed to rest and recover for four weeks, he’d have missed games against the Cowboys, Bears, and Falcons, but he might have been ready for games against the Colts, Titans and Redskins. Had those three losses, all to mediocre teams, instead been two or three wins, the Packers would have finished the regular season with a 13-3 or 12-4 record.

The Falcons finished the regular season at 11-5. Might the NFC conference championship have been played at Lambeau Field – and with a healthy Eddie Lacy running wild over the tundra? Might the Packers have had a healthy Ty Montgomery at receiver, instead of injured players (Nelson, Adams, Allison) again spending so much time on the field? The loss of Lacy set a lot of wheels in motion.

Does all this explain why the Packers have been mum about providing any detailed medical information about Lacy’s ankle injury, surgery, or recuperation? The media, local and national, sure dropped the ball on this one.

About The Author

Rob is currently twiddling his thumbs on Whidbey Island in Washington. He likes to do research, although he has no shortage of opinions. He saw his first live Packers game in 1958, the only win of the year.

9 Comments on "Eddie Lacy’s Fabulous Disappearing Act"

  1. MMTTDCSUCK

    Impressive. If true, this continues to quantify an extremely inept Packers brain trust . . . does this surprise anyone?

  2. Lacy probably entered the Dallas game with an ankle injury and left with a foot injury. Maybe linfranc injury. Lacy hurdled at least two and maybe three opponents in that game. That heavy landing brings a lot of pressure on the foot when the ankle is already damaged. When you are trying to compensate for an injury a player puts more stress on other joints, ligaments or bones compensating for the injury. Lacy’s weight does not help the stress on his ankles and feet. Pain killers, and injections of such, for the ankle, may have also lead to a foot situation during the game not being diagnosed early.

  3. PF4L

    First of all….excellent article and fact compilation Rob.

    Now i don’t think that the Packers being secretive about Lacy’s injury should be a shock to anyone. This has been how they operate for years and years concerning anyone. What i call McCarthy’s gag order, that players have substantiated to back that assertion up.

    I don’t believe the Packers keep this information secretive for “gamesmanship reasons. They try to keep it secret to reduce more future embarrassment concerning their own medical malpractice. Which has happened often in the past.

    As so often happens, this teams various failures can be found in the pompous, arrogant, lack of accountability that this team seems to just consider as, doing business as usual.

    As i’ve stated many times the last 3 years, this team is regressing. They’ve been clearly inept and unsuccessful in following their own philosophies on how to sustain a winning franchise. Mostly rooted from the draft room, if you fail in the draft room under a draft and develop plan. Each mistake is like a disease and spreads creating more disease. If you miss too many times on draft picks, they create holes on your team that may not show up for 1-3 years. But that is where exactly this team is at. Paying the price for past failure.

    Let me give you an example strictly in that philosophy…….
    Under draft and develop……you draft according to a plan, you draft for the future, 1,2,3 or more years down the road. You are ideally, not drafting for immediate need. because the whole concept of draft and develop is not having immediate need, it’s about anticipating needs down the road. that’s why you use to hear Ted preach about drafting BPA. That is how you draft when the system is working.

    This season, the Packers will be drafting for immediate need, the Packers draft and develop theory is history.

    This draft will be a reactionary draft, reactionary to the secondary and pass rush.

    Ted’s Draft and develop strategy started crumbling after the 2011 season when the defense was ranked 32nd.
    Drafting five defensive players in the 1st 5 picks of the 2012 draft wasn’t a coincidence. They were reactionary draft picks.

    We are now heading into our 7th season post Super Bowl without real tangible success. Each year the team should be stronger than the year before. Are we stronger this off season than we were last off season? Or have we regressed?

    Sorry for the Novel.

    • MMTTDCSUCK

      No novel . . . sound assessment though. I have believed the same way regarding TT’s draft debacle. It is not a sound vehicle if the draftees do not live up to, or are not coached up to (or a combination of both), their capabilities and potential. Personally, I believe that TT “The Frugal GM” has vastly underperformed in his capacity as GM. Our defense is pedestrian at best and suffers from a serious nucleus of good play makers. It has been like this since the other “draftees” from the prior administration started to leave the roster. We have not chosen well for a number of years and have not “supplemented” enough talent through free agency . . . and it definitely shows.

  4. PF4L

    Besides being able to pass a physical. I think just seeing a picture of Lacy with his shirt off in April, will tell us everything we need to know. Which i’m fairly certain that’s also what the teams interested in him are thinking.

    Btw…the odds of us seeing a shirtless Lacy, and winning powerball, are pretty close.

  5. Bleedsgreen

    Yes yes yes. Huge story is McCarthy running his star back into the ground and then the press ignoring it. From a labor perspective, this is utter bullshit. From a fan perspective also bullshit.

  6. Ted Hawthorne

    Exactly. Remember TT is also mean, along being cheap. So is Fat Mike, especially when challenged he has
    a very thin skin. When Lacy showed up fat last spring both Ted and Mike were pissed; Lacy has defied them.
    When the first ankle injury occurred Ted decided, goddammit, he was gonna get his money’s worth out
    of Lacy THIS season, cause he knew he wasn’t going to sign him again. Run him into the ground, and then
    throw him away. That’s what’s happening. These guys are some bad dudes.

  7. knucklehead

    Are you guys really going to do this the entire offseason? Post the same complaints I’ve heard from you for two years. Constantly saying basically the same sentences over and over? Churning negativity in your person and your surroundings. This is nothing but a negativity loop for several of you.

    The Packers are supposed to be enjoyable, not a source of impending doom. When it starts becoming obsessive you got to step back.

    Listen, I’m not taking a piss out of you. This is unhealthy. Walk away from everything Packers for a few months. Come back during the draft. Don’t worry, there will be plenty to bitch about then.

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