Johnny Jolly's season is over. The Green Bay Packers defensive lineman may have to undergo surgery due to a neck injury he suffered last week against the Dallas Cowboys, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Jolly reportedly has a bulging disc at the C-5 vertebra, and medical staff are waiting for swelling to subside before determining whether a procedure is necessary.
At 30 years old and heading into free agency, Jolly could take a significant career blow as a result of the injury. Before the bad news, his play with the Packers would have earned serious consideration for a renewed contract. Jolly returned to the Packers after a three-year absence from the league due to several drug-related run-ins with the law, and made the 53-man roster out of training camp before earning a starting spot at defensive end. This season, he recorded a sack among his 21 tackles, and even had an interception during the preseason.
Clearly, Jolly has suffered bigger setbacks before, but it's still disappointing to see him shelved with the Packers looking to win out in hopes of making the playoffs. If fellow defensive lineman Ryan Pickett is any indication, his teammates will deeply miss him. Via the Journal Sentinel:
"It hurts that he's not being able to play, but he'll bounce back," end Ryan Pickett said. "We believe he'll bounce back. If anyone can fight through anything, it's Jolly. His spirits are good.
"He's been a leader out there. He's been playing great. He's been a whole lot. We're going to miss him out there for sure."