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Green Bay Packers center Josh Myers is willing to sacrifice some mobility for a greater chance at availability during his second NFL season.
Myers, who missed 10 games as a rookie with a significant knee injury, told Packers.com that he’ll wear braces on both knees in 2022.
There’s a trade off: While protective, the bulky braces are heavy and can limit flexibility in the lower body. But Myers is willing to “work around” the issues to safeguard his knees against another major injury.
“They really don’t bother me that much. So I felt like it was a small sacrifice to make to protect my knees,” Myers said, via Mike Spofford of the team’s official site.
Although common in the college game, NFL offensive linemen don’t often wear braces because of the mobility restrictions. The underlying idea is that the brace can stabilize the knee joint and help prevent the most common (and most serious) injuries faced by offensive linemen.
The Packers’ young center just wants to stay on the field.
Myers, a second-round pick of the Packers in 2021, won the Week 1 starting job at center. He played in the first four games, injured his finger and missed a game, returned in Chicago for Week 6 but then injured his knee early in the first quarter. He tore his MCL and suffered a tibial plateau fracture, a similar injury to what Aaron Rodgers suffered in Week 1 of the 2018 season.
“What happened in the Bears game was, I tore my MCL, and I also had a tibial plateau fracture,” Myers said back in January. “They ended up doing surgery on both. They did a scope on my MCL, and then they did a plate and six screws in my tibia. That was the process, so I was non-weight bearing for six weeks and just rehabbing it and trying to get motion back in my knee.”
It was a long and mentally draining recovery process. After sitting out 10 games, Myers returned for Week 18 and played in both the season finale and the division round playoff loss to the 49ers.
By wearing braces on both knees, Myers is hoping to avoid another significant lower-body injury and be available for the Packers offensive line throughout the 2022 season.
A healthy season for Myers could mean a big jump in performance as a second-year player. And the Packers need him on the field. With both David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins coming back from major injuries and uncertain starters at several spots entering the season, Myers’ availability in the middle of the offensive line is even more important and valuable.