Whitney Mercilus surprises by returning to Packers workouts

In addition to Mercilus, the Packers could have other players back for the divisional round

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Add Whitney Mercilus to the growing list of players the top-seeded Green Bay Packers would bring back for the playoffs.

The veteran pass-rusher, thought to be out for the season after tearing his left bicep on Nov. 14 against the Seattle Seahawks, has been designated to return from injured reserve. He practiced Thursday, just 60 days after the injury.

“Throughout the night after the injury he said, ‘I’m coming back. I’ll come back. I promise you, I’m going to come back,'” he recalled on Thursday andl Packers defensive coordinator, Joe Barry. “He’s worked hard to get to where he is., [pero] yes, I was completely surprised that it was as early as today. It was great to have him.”

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

It was placed on injured reserve list on November 16, and even the coach Matt LaFleur thought then that Mercilus would not return this season.

“That’s tough,” LaFleur said at the time. “I feel bad for him. He potentially would have had a second catch right there [en la jugada en la que se lesionó]. Just the stability it brings in the room; this guy is a pro. He has done this at a very high level for a long time. It’s just one of those unfortunate things that happen.”

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

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

Mercilus is among several players who didn’t finish the regular season but could return for the Packers’ playoff opener on Jan. 22 or 23. in the NFC divisional round. That list also includes outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith, who hasn’t played since the start of the season due to back surgery; cornerback Jaire Alexander, who hasn’t played since his shoulder injury in Week 4; receiver Randall Cobb, who had core muscle surgery in late November; and right tackle Billy Turner, who has missed the past four games with a knee injury. All of those players practiced in some way this week.

The Packers also got two players back for the final game of the regular season last week: left tackle David Bakhtiari and center Josh Myers.