However he still isn’t saying whether he expects to be ready for the season opener.
“We’ll see,” Gary said Tuesday. “Right now we’re taking it day by day.”
Tuesday marked the first time Gary had joined his teammates in 11-on-11 drills, a major step forward in his recovery. Gary's 2022 season ended when he tore the ACL in his right knee Nov. 6 during a 15-9 loss at Detroit. Gary had been participating in individual drills since getting activated from the physically unable to perform list on Aug. 7.
“It’s big,” Gary said of his return to team drills. “That’s getting back to playing real football, getting back to moving without thinking. So just being back out there with the defense, feeling that energy, flying around with my guys, it’s no other feeling like it and I’m happy to be back.”
The Packers open the season Sept. 10 at Chicago. Gary said his availability for that game would depend on "being consistent and feeling what I need to feel" over the next few weeks.
Gary played only nine games last season, but his six sacks still ranked second on the team, behind Preston Smith’s 8½. Gary had at least one sack in each of Green Bay’s first four games.
If Gary is unable to play against the Bears, the Packers likely would have Kingsley Enagbare start in his place, with Smith at the other outside linebacker spot. Enagbare, a 2022 fifth-round pick from South Carolina, had two sacks and forced and recovered a fumble Saturday in the Packers’ 21-17 preseason loss to the New England Patriots.
“His confidence, his understanding of schemes, his understanding of the offensive linemen sets, how they want to block him and what he wants the offensive linemen to do is completely next level compared to where he came in,” Gary said. “I’m just happy for his progression and his growth.”
NOTE: The Packers signed cornerback Elijah Hamilton and waived injured guard/center Jake Hanson on Tuesday. Hanson was a 2020 sixth-round pick from Oregon. Hanson had left the Patriots game with a shin injury.
AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl