GREEN BAY — Ty Montgomery is very open about his faith — his Twitter timeline is filled with Biblical references — but the Green Bay Packers running back’s prayers lately hadn’t been to get healthy after the latest in myriad injuries this season.
Rather, Montgomery — having missed last week’s loss to Baltimore after aggravating a rib injury at Chicago on Nov. 12 — merely asked for perspective. And now that he has it, he’s hoping being in a better place spiritually leads to him being back on the field physically.
“I’m not about to have a ‘poor-me’ mentality — why me, why this, why that. I know what I’m capable of, I know what I can do, I’ve done it. It’s just unfortunate circumstances throughout the season,” Montgomery said as the Packers prepped for Sunday night’s game at Pittsburgh. “I know I’m a talented individual.
“It’s all about perspective. This is a blip on the radar. Once this storm is over, there’s going to be some daylight. That’s how I’m looking at it.”
Montgomery shifted from wide receiver to running back full-time last season when injuries befell starter Eddie Lacy (ankle) and veteran backup James Starks (concussion) and went on to lead the team in rushing. Having seen the injury bug infect the running backs room last season, Montgomery said he understands it comes with the position — something that’s been proven again this year.
Montgomery was the Packers’ opening-day starter ahead of rookies Jamaal Williams, Aaron Jones and Devante Mays before suffering multiple broken ribs against Chicago on Sept. 28. He missed the following week’s game at Dallas, where Jones had the team’s first 100-yard rushing game of the season. When Montgomery returned to the lineup, he was behind Jones on the depth chart.
In the rematch with the Bears at Soldier Field two weeks ago, Jones suffered a knee injury that sidelined him against the Ravens and is expected to keep him out several more weeks. Back as the lead back, Montgomery broke a 37-yard touchdown run and had six carries for 54 yards — until reinjuring his ribs and opening the door for Williams, who ran for 67 yards as the Packers salted away their only victory since quarterback Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone at Minnesota on Oct. 15.
Montgomery, who said he was still wearing additional protection for his ribs but reinjured them when two Bears defensive linemen unintentionally landed on top of him in the same spot, did not participate in practice Wednesday and appears unlikely to play against the Steelers.
“(It was a) whole ordeal with the offensive line missing at the beginning of the season and we’re playing top defenses, then I get injured,” Montgomery said when asked to assess his season. “I feel like, we get everybody back (up front), I feel like I’m rolling and I get injured. Aaron does his job, so why wouldn’t you play him? I want to win football games. I don’t care how we win football games. And then he ends up going down in the same game I go down in and then what I went through last year is exactly what happened to Jamaal – you lose both backs in the same game and now he’s got to step up.”
It appears the Packers will at least have their full complement of cornerbacks to battle Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and his wide receiving corps, led by Antonio Brown.
Rookie cornerback Kevin King, who has been battling a shoulder injury dating back to his college days at Washington, missed last week’s game against Baltimore but was back at practice Wednesday afternoon and would give the secondary a big boost if he’s ready to go. King would likely see a lot of snaps against Brown, who leads the NFL in receptions (70) and receiving yards (1,026) this season.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy acknowledged that King’s shoulder, for which he wears a protective harness, has been an issue all season.
“It's definitely impacted his play and his preparation. It's something he's been dealing with all year,” McCarthy said. “He's fighting through it.”
Safety Morgan Burnett (groin) also returned to practice, while right tackle Justin McCray, who left Sunday’s game with a knee injury, was going through drill work during the portion of practice open to reporters.
Not practicing for the Packers were Montgomery, outside linebacker Clay Matthews (groin), defensive tackle Kenny Clark (ankle), running back Aaron Jones (knee) and guard Lucas Patrick (hand).
The Packers were practicing outside on Clarke Hinkle Field, so if Rodgers was going through his rehabilitation work during practice, he did so inside the Don Hutson Center.