Packers will wait and see with Chad Clifton

Chad Clifton underwent back surgery and the Green Bay Packers are going to wait to make a decision on the future of the veteran left tackle until after the club’s medical personnel have been able to evaluate where the player is.

That means there is a chance Clifton, who turns 36 in June, will return in 2012 after an injury-filled season in which he battled a torn hamstring and the back issue. Packers coach Mike McCarthy told Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Clifton experienced “instant relief” from the surgery.

I want to see how he comes out of that," McCarthy said, per the report. “That will be a benefit. I saw him right after surgery. He said it was weird . . . that he had instant relief.”

Clifton has one year remaining on his contract and is due to earn $5.25 million in 2012 with another $250,000 in a roster bonus.

While no decision has been made on Clifton, McCarthy says there are no plans for the team to shed veteran inside linebacker A.J. Hawk. Speculation has been Hawk could be cut loose but McCarthy says he has “no reason to think” the player will not return. Hawk is due $4.4 million this coming season.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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