Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Green Bay Packers D.J. Smith might not be ready for season

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Green Bay Packers inside linebacker D.J. Smith missed most of the 2012 season after tearing his ACL (and reportedly more) in mid-October after recording three tackles against the Houston Texans. Smith had an excellent year in 2012 up to that point and is a key member of the Packers defense. The 24-year-old Appalachian State product morphed himself into an every-down player last season and is a linebacker poised for a potential breakout season in 2013 with good health.

Unfortunately, it sounds like D.J. Smith might not be ready for Week 1 of the 2013 season. According to the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Smith will be “pressed” to return in time for training camp and “possibly” won’t be ready for the Packers season opener. The injury he suffered in October was a devastating knee injury that was significantly worse than just an ACL tear, and the fact that he might not even be ready for the start of next season underscores how severe of an injury it is.

Hopefully Smith hasn’t lost much effectiveness due to the injury, because he showed up big last season through the six games he played in. Both adept in pass coverage and strong against the run, the Green Bay Packers need this guy to continue to do a nice job manning the inside linebacker slot and being solid all-around. An underrated player, Smith recorded 39 tackles and two sacks with four passes defended in just six games- those are terrific numbers for a linebacker. As a rookie in 2011, he had 43 tackles and one pick whilst playing in all 16 games.

A sign of Smith’s doubt for  the start of next season were the quick re-signings of linebackers Rob Francois and Brad Jones, with Jones staying on board after visiting the Tennessee Titans.

You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter for more NFL updates and analysis @SorianoJoe.

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Tags: D.J. Smith Green Bay Packers

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