Harrell will miss valuable time following minor back surgery

2007 Statistics
Experience: 2

G/GS: 7/2

Tckls: 16

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Defensive tackle Justin Harrell, the Packers' No. 1 draft pick in 2007, will miss all of the organized team activities while he recovers from minor back surgery.

Harrell said Wednesday after the team's third OTA and second practice that he hurt himself lifting weights and had outpatient surgery to correct a disk problem a little over a month ago.

He hopes to be ready for training camp.

"I was walking three miles a day the day after the surgery," he said. "The only thing is you've just got to stay active and keep doing things that you can do and just make sure you keep everything intact and when it's time to go, it's time to go."

Harrell also missed OTAs last season while recovering from a torn biceps muscle he hurt in the second game of his senior season at Tennessee. The injury made him a surprise pick when the Packers selected him at No. 16 overall.

He said he realizes he may get the label as being injury-prone.

"I can't worry about that," said Harrell, who also missed five games with an injured ankle last year after he started the season on the inactive list. "I'm just trying to stay positive, I'm just trying to do what I can to make sure when training camp comes I'm ready to roll."

Harrell said he hurt the disk in April, but he's not sure about the details on what the surgery corrected. He said he realizes he's missing valuable time.

It's supposed to be a big year for Harrell, part of a group being relied on to replace defensive tackle Corey Williams, who was traded to Cleveland in the offseason.

"It's a big challenge," Harrell said. "He was a good player and he's gone now, so that means us younger guys that didn't play a lot last year and the older guys have got to pick it up."

The Packers also said on their team Web site that cornerback Will Blackmon (foot) and defensive tackle Johnny Jolly (shoulder) would not participate in any of the OTAs, but would be cleared in time for training camp.

"Any time, particularly a young player, misses time it's not to his benefit," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "I have also in my career seen players, young or old, go through stages in their career where injuries happen one after another."

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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