Packers RB Harris out after surgery to remove cyst

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — DuJuan Harris had a very good reason for missing the Green Bay Packers minicamp.

A team physical Monday revealed that the running back had a fist-sized cyst on his lung. The cyst was drained and removed Tuesday morning, and Harris was already back home Wednesday when he announced the news in a series of tweets.

“Thank God for team physicals!!!” Harris said in the first tweet, posting a picture of himself hooked up to a monitor, a large bandage covering the 1-inch incision on the right side of his chest.

The cyst was not cancerous, agent Dave Lee said, and should not return. Harris needs to let the incision heal, but he should be fully recovered by the time training camp opens next month.

“EVERYTHING IS FINE, (doctors) found a fist sized cyst on my lung next to my heart. Shows the importance of getting routine check-ups, GET YOURS!” Harris tweeted. “It’s a (hash)blessing!!! Should be 110 percent very soon and back to work. Thanks for the prayers and keeping me lifted!!! MUCH LOVE.”

Harris was the feel-good story of Green Bay’s season last year. The journeyman was cut by Jacksonville at the end of training camp, then spent all of four days in Pittsburgh before the Steelers let him go. He went back to Jacksonville and was working at a car dealership when the Packers signed him to the practice squad Oct. 24. Coaches were impressed right away with what they saw from the pint-sized running back — he plays much bigger than his 5-foot-8, 208 pounds — and when injuries decimated Green Bay’s running game, Harris was promoted to the active roster Dec. 1.

His speed, elusiveness and surprising power gave the Packers the consistent run game they’d been searching for all season, and he’d cemented his role as a starter by the end of the season. He rushed for 157 yards and two touchdowns in four games, and caught a team-high five passes in the NFC wild-card win over Minnesota.

“It definitely was a big deal for him last year, and I expect for him to find a way to get back out there again,” wide receiver Randall Cobb said.

He might be even better now, too.

The cyst, which doctors believe Harris has had his entire life, was pressing on his lung, reducing its capacity, Lee said. After doctors discovered it, Harris told them he’d occasionally felt pressure in his chest, but assumed it was indigestion.

Now that it’s been removed, Harris will have full lung capacity.

“The good news is, it might help him in the long run,” said Lee, Harris’ agent. “He should be able to have more endurance. I’m not going to say he’ll be quicker, but he could last a few more plays. That’s the silver lining of it: He’s actually going to come out physically in better shape than when he went into the surgery.”

Notes: With WR Randall Cobb expected to be one of Aaron Rodgers’ primary targets, along with Jordy Nelson and James Jones, his time on special teams would seem to be over. But that depends on his teammates, and whether any one of them can step up and take the job from him, coach Mike McCarthy said. “There’s an opportunity there for others to compete and perform,” McCarthy said. “We won’t know that until training camp.” Cobb said he doesn’t care what role he plays, as long as he’s playing. “It doesn’t matter to me as long as we’re getting wins,” he said. “Whatever it’s going to take … is what I’m down to do.” … McCarthy said the “real football evaluation” of DL Johnny Jolly, who is trying to make the team after being suspended the past three seasons, will come in training camp. … With Greg Jennings now with the Minnesota Vikings, James Jones joked that “I don’t like Greg no more. He left us.”… The Packers won’t practice Thursday, opting for a team activity instead. What’s the activity? “I really don’t know what it is yet. We’re waiting on the weather,” McCarthy said. Steady rain forced the Packers to practice inside both Tuesday and Wednesday.

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