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Jermichael Finley to have spinal fusion surgery, will try to return

By Josh Katzowitz | NFL Writer

Jermichael Finley will try to return to the NFL after spinal fusion surgery. (USATSI)
Jermichael Finley will try to return to the NFL after spinal fusion surgery. (USATSI)

About three weeks ago, the career trajectory for Packers tight end Jermichael Finley was shifted, perhaps permanently, when he suffered a spinal contusion after taking a hit from Cleveland safety Tashaun Gipson.

The Packers last week placed him on the season-ending IR list, and earlier this week, former Packers tight end Mark Chmura weighed in, saying he had talked to Finley and that Chmura believed Finley's career was over.

That's not necessarily true, according to Finley's agent. According to a statement, via PFT, Blake Baratz said Finley will undergo a spinal fusion with Dr. Joseph Maroon, the Steelers team neurosurgeon, and that Finley "has every intention of resuming his football career." Furthermore, Maroon "is confident that Jermichael will fully recover following the procedure."

As for Chmura's diagnosis, Baratz said this:

Since Mr. Chmura decided to speak out publicly and inaccurately regarding this situation, we felt that it would be best to clarify the facts on Jermichael's behalf. First and foremost, Jermichael's long-term health is our primary concern. While his return to professional football is a hot topic of conversation, his ability to live a long and fulfilling life with his loved ones is by far and away our main objective.

Regarding Jermichael's specific injury, it is important to note that expert opinions differ across the board, from surgical procedures to rehabilitation methods to returning to contact sports. Working alongside the Packers organization, we have discussed and analyzed all of these opinions, as well as all of the potential scenarios moving forward. We have collectively determined that while surgery may not be 100% necessary, it is a proactive measure that should alleviate future risks with regards to a similar episode or re-injury.

At this point, there's no indication when Finley would undergo surgery. But if you're going by Chmura's schedule, it's supposed to happen Thursday. Take that for what it's worth.

As for how Finley is feeling, apparently he's optimistic.

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