Green Bay Packers guard Cole Madison suffered a “significant” knee injury at practice on Thursday. A torn ACL, as reported by NFL Network, spelled the end of Madison’s season and could throw his NFL future into peril.
(Update: On Saturday, the Packers placed Madison on injured reserve. With an otherwise healthy roster, the team did not immediately fill the 53rd spot on the roster.)
A fifth-round pick by the Packers in 2018, Madison sat out his rookie season due to personal issues and hadn’t been active for a game this season. The timing of the injury likely means Madison will miss training camp next summer and the start to the 2020 season. That raises the possibility that Madison’s first three seasons will result in no on-the-field contributions and far more time off the practice field than on it.
“It’s an unfortunate deal,” coach Matt LaFleur said after Friday’s practice. “It’s a pretty significant injury. So, my heart breaks for him man, because he comes to work every day. He works hard and he’s getting better, and it’s just one of those bad injuries.”
Madison was a surprise inclusion on the roster established by general manager Brian Gutekunst at the end of the preseason. However, Gutekunst liked Madison’s trajectory and kept him on the roster as a ninth offensive lineman.
“I’ve got nothing but thanks for the Green Bay Packers and Gutey for their support during this time away and all the resources they gave me,” Madison said after making the roster. “And my family, too, and them being there for me. And all my friends, I wouldn’t be here without them. I wouldn’t have made it here without them. It was a group effort. It took everything – my ability to get where I am mentally off the field and physically on the field. I can’t begin to describe how thankful I am for everybody who was with me during the past year. It means the world.”
Other than Madison, the Packers are healthy for Sunday night’s NFC clash at San Francisco. Tight end Robert Tonyan and fullback Danny Vitale are questionable but should be ready to roll.
The 49ers, on the other hand, will be hoping for significant healing between the end of Friday and Sunday evening.
Pro Bowl tight end George Kittle and receivers Deebo Samuel and Emmanuel Sanders were limited participation on Friday. As was the case on Thursday, all three wore noncontact jerseys. Left tackle Joe Staley, who recently had finger surgery, and pass rusher Dee Ford, who suffered a hamstring injury against Arizona last week, are out. Matt Breida, the team's leading rusher, and veteran kicker Robbie Gould did not practice all week and are doubtful.
“We need George for the long haul, but it certainly would be nice to have him this week,” 49ers GM John Lynch said on San Francisco radio station KNBR. "I can't say 'hopeful,' but it was an encouraging sign that he was out on the field yesterday.”
PACKERS INJURY REPORT
Out: G Cole Madison (knee).
Questionable: TE Robert Tonyan (hip), FB Danny Vitale (knee).
49ERS INJURY REPORT
Out: DE Dee Ford (hamstring/quad), LT Joe Staley (finger).
Doubtful: RB Matt Breida (ankle), K Robbie Gould (quad).
Questionable: TE George Kittle (knee/ankle), WR Deebo Samuel (shoulder), WR Emmanuel Sanders (ribs).