GREEN BAY, Wis. — Quinten Rollins surely jammed a finger or two during his four-year college basketball career. It comes with the game, especially when you leave with the second-most steals in Miami (Ohio) University hoops history.
But it took playing football for Rollins to suffer a much nastier injury: a dislocated finger on his right hand that resulted in a bone perforating his skin and sidelining the Green Bay Packers‘ promising second-year cornerback for much of the offseason program.
Rollins suffered the injury on the first day of organized team activity practices on May 23. He had the stitches removed last Friday and was able to do some conditioning work afterward; on Monday, he did stretching and footwork drills but probably won’t risk catching a ball until training camp.
Rollins said he thought he dislocated the finger trying to break up a pass and whacking it against another player’s helmet.
“I don’t know. It happened so fast. Just a reaction thing,” Rollins explained Monday. “I looked down at my hand, and I knew it was dislocated. But then I didn’t see the skin was broken until I got to the sideline.”
Rollins said he didn’t fracture any bones in his finger, and the medical staff was able to pop it back into place, but the gash that resulted from the dislocation is likely enough to sideline him until training camp opens July 24.
“We just want to take it slow,” Rollins said. “We don’t want it to bust back open and then be out even longer.”
The Packers are expecting big things from Rollins this season after he saw action in 16 games with five starts (including playoffs) as a rookie last year and registered 36 tackles, a sack and two interceptions, one of which he returned 45 yards for a touchdown against St. Louis last October.
When the Packers went to their No. 1 dime unit during Monday’s OTA practice, their top four cornerbacks were Sam Shields and LaDarius Gunter outside and 2015 first-round pick Damarious Randall and Micah Hyde inside. Rollins, whom the Packers believe can play inside or outside, likely would have been somewhere in that foursome if healthy, though the Packers are fortunate that corner is their deepest position on defense.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy has long extolled the value of offseason practices for players looking to make a jump from their rookie year to their second NFL season, and while the injury has limited Rollins’ on-field work, he believes he has made significant strides in his understanding of the defensive scheme. Rollins played only one season of football at Miami (Ohio), earning MAC defensive player of the year honors before Green Bay picked him in the second round of the 2015 draft.
“I definitely feel different. The game has slowed down a bunch for me, so hopefully as the years keep going by, it’s going to slow down even more,” Rollins said. “I’m seeing things better. … Just knowing route combinations. I was raw last year. Just knowing different things, and knowing the spots where guys like to run routes, the certain routes that they like to run, the certain splits and stuff like that.”