Torn Achilles won't slow Packers coach LaFleur

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Matt LaFleur's basketball days might be over, but he has no plans to let it impact the start of his head coaching career.

Two days after the Green Bay Packers' rookie coach underwent surgery to repair the torn Achilles tendon that he ruptured playing basketball last week in the gym at Lambeau Field, LaFleur rolled onto the practice field in a souped-up golf cart. He spent the entire practice seated and then used a scooter to roll over to the sideline for his post-practice session with reporters.

The silver lining in it might be that the 39-year-old was injured at this time of the year instead of during the season and that one of the top foot/ankle surgeons, Dr. Robert Anderson, is on the team's medical staff.

"I know I'm supposed to be off it for the next four weeks or so," LaFleur said Tuesday. "Hopefully I'll be back at least in a walking boot by training camp. ... I know a few years back, I remember when Sean Payton broke his leg on the sideline. I don't anticipate coaching from the press box or anything like that. I think as long as I handle my business and follow the doctors' orders, I don't foresee it being an issue come Week 1. As far as limitations during the preseason, there might be some, you might see me in a boot on the sideline. But like I said, I'm going to take it one day at a time right now."

It was just last week when several players commented about LaFleur's hands-on approach to practice. That was evident from as early as the rookie minicamp, when the former Division II quarterback actually threw some passes during a drill.

"Today was not what I'd like to be doing," LaFleur said. "I'd like to be hands on in the drills, but again, I've just got to adjust to it, make the best of it and make sure that our communication is spot on in terms of the expectations of what we want to get done each and every day. From a competition standpoint, in terms of not being able to go down there and play basketball a little bit, that's brutal. I don't know how I'm going to stay in shape."

LaFleur said the coaches had been hitting the basketball court after work to blow off steam and get in workouts. While he acknowledged that the injury could have happened anywhere, he said: "Hopefully this will be a lesson to [players] not to play basketball."

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who tore his ACL playing basketball in high school, said he only shoots hoops now but does not play. Linebacker Preston Smith said he never participated in any games in the Lambeau gym and isn't about to start now.

Rodgers jokingly read a prepared statement about LaFleur's injury: "I actually have a script here I was supposed to read about him because Jimmy [Graham] kind of ripped him about his athletic ability. 'I want to say that Matt LaFleur is a highly athletic former athlete who had an unfortunate accident in the gym. But because of his exceptional diet and work ethic, he'll be back sooner rather than later.'"

Like LaFleur, Rodgers said it shouldn't compromise their ability to install the new offense that LaFleur brought to the Packers.

"All I know is he had surgery on Sunday and he was in the meeting on Monday," Rodgers said. "He's been around. It hasn't changed anything. It's probably a little more frustrating for him but he's on the headset calling plays in. Not today but he was doing it a lot yesterday. He's in all the conversations. It's not going to change anything. Like I said, I think his superior diet and attention to his body is going to allow him to get back a lot quicker than most guys his age."