The Green Bay Packers have been hit hard by injuries so far this season with many of their former All Pros and best players missing playing time. But the Packers now have a chance to get healthier with a mini bye this week after playing last Thursday and then a bye coming after Monday night’s game in Las Vegas. Here’s a look at the latest Packers injury news.
A Long-Term Injured Packers Player Returns to Practice
Packers cornerback Eric Stokes returned to practice on Tuesday for the first time since suffering knee and foot injuries during the Packers Week 9 loss to the Lions in 2022.
The former first-round pick from Georgia remains on the physically unable to perform list. However, the clock starts ticking now for the Packers to decide on Stokes’ future for this season. The team has 21 days to either activate Stokes from the PUP list or place him on injured reserve for the rest of the season.
“It’s been a long time,” Stokes said after practice. “It’s been almost like a year, so it felt good being back out there today. It felt great.”
It remains unclear what role Stokes will have upon his return. Stokes’ skill set is best suited to playing on the perimeter but Jaire Alexander and Rasul Douglas are well-established as starters there while Keisean Nixon is the starter in the slot.
Stokes had a strong rookie season before struggling in 2022 before his injury.
As of now, the team is happy to have Stokes back at practice as he continues his road back from these difficult injuries.
The Packers Offensive Line Has Mixed Injury Results
Starting left guard Elgton Jenkins has been out of the lineup with a sprained MCL since the second quarter of the Packers Week 2 loss to Atlanta. But the two-time former Pro Bowler returned to practice on Tuesday while wearing a brace on his injured knee.
“Get out there, see how I feel, move it around a little bit to see where I’m at on the field,” Jenkins told reporters on Tuesday. “Kind of took me back to my college days. [I] really don’t like the brace, but I mean if it’s best for me to be out there and be [functional], we can do it.”
Backup left guard Royce Newman struggled mightily since being inserted into the lineup in Jenkins’ absence. Jenkins’ status for Monday’s game remains uncertain but getting him back on the practice field is the first step towards his eventual return.
While the news about Jenkins was good, starting right guard Jon Runyan, Jr. did not practice on Tuesday. Runyan suffered an ankle injury against the Lions last week.
The Packers Injured Rookie Tight End Returns to the Field
Tight end Luke Musgrave also returned to the practice field Tuesday after exiting last Thursday’s game early due to a concussion.
Musgrave’ availability for Monday’s game remains uncertain but having him back on the practice field is a positive sign.
The young tight end gives the Packers offense a downfield dimension they’ve lacked at the position for about a decade and can help the team stretch the field.
Packers Recently Returned Players Continue to Practice
Both running back Aaron Jones and wide receiver Christian Watson returned to action last Thursday. Both were on play counts and played sparingly. Watson was making his season debut and caught a touchdown pass. Jones had been out of the lineup since Week 1 but had only six touches all game.
Both Watson and Jones practiced on Tuesday. They are both important parts of the Packers offense and are hoping to have larger roles Monday night against the Raiders.
An Injured Player Returns to Practice to Potentially Set Up a Key Matchup
Pro Bowl cornerback Jaire Alexander, who missed the Lions game due to a back injury, was also practicing on Tuesday.
The Packers need Alexander healthy against the Raider to match up against former Packers wide receiver Davante Adams. That meeting between one of the best wide receivers and one of the best cover corners would be a spectacular battle to watch.
Having Alexander ready would help the Green Bay defense in their effort to slow down Adams.
Some Injured Packers Remain Sidelined
Inside linebacker De’Vondre Campbell, who suffered an ankle injury, did not practice on Tuesday. The Packers felt Campbell’s absence against Detroit especially as they struggled to stop the run.
The Packers truly need to be healthier to improve their chances of winning consistently. Getting players back in the lineup will certainly help the team against the Raiders.
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