Mercilus surprisingly returns to the Pack exercise

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GREEN BAY, Wis. – Add Whitney Mercilus to the growing list of players that the top-seeded Green Bay Packers could get back to their playoffs.

The veteran pass-rusher, who was thought to be lost for the season after tearing his left biceps on Nov. 14 against the Seattle Seahawks, was named to return from injury reserve. I trained on Thursday, only 60 days after the injury.

The Packers signed the first-round pick in 2012 on October 21, just days after the Houston Texans released him. He was injured in his fourth game with the Packers and had one sack and two quarterback hits with his new team.

He was placed on injured reserve on November 16, and even coach Matt LaFleur reckoned at the time that Mercilus was finished for the season.

“It’s a tough one,” LaFleur said at the time. “Man, I feel sorry for him. Shoot, he would potentially have gotten a new sack right there [on the play on which he was injured]. Just the stability he brings to that space, and this guy is a pro. He has been doing this at a very high level for a long time. That’s just one of the unfortunate things that is happening. “

Mercilus, 31, said he signed with the Packers for one reason.

“Trying to get a championship,” he said upon his arrival in Green Bay. “So the best option, I thought, was to come here with the winning mentality.”

Mercilus is among several players who did not finish the regular season but who could return to the Packers’ first playoff game on January 22 or 23 in the NFC Division Round. This list also includes outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith, who has not played since the season opener due to back surgery; cornerback Jaire Alexander, who has not played since his shoulder injury in Week 4; receives Randall Cobb, who underwent core muscle surgery in late November; and right tackle Billy Turner, who missed the last four games due to a knee injury. All of these players trained in some capacity this week.

The Packers also got two players who had missed significant time left in last week’s regular season finale: left tackle David Bakhtiari and center Josh Myers.

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