Monday update: The Green Bay Packers announced the inevitable on Monday afternoon: Pro Bowl wide receiver Jordy Nelson will miss the entire 2015 season due to a knee injury sustained in Sunday's preseason game at Pittsburgh.
"It was determined that WR Jordy Nelson sustained a significant right knee injury in yesterday's game at Pittsburgh. He will miss the remainder of the season," read the two-sentence release from the team.
On WNFL Radio's "The Fifth Quarter," general manager Ted Thompson said: "It’s a big-boy world out there. Things happen. There’s no rationale behind it. You can’t understand how something like that can happen on a play as simple as it was, but that’s life in the NFL sometimes. Life in the NFL sometimes is who’s the next man up. That’s what we’ll start focusing on. Certainly, we’re not in any position where we think we can necessarily replace Jordy. Jordy is a wonderful player, wonderful person in the community and everything else. He’ll continue to do that, but maybe we find two or three guys who can fill the role that he played."
Nelson has not been placed on injured reserve; that move might wait until Sept. 1, when the team must get down to 75 players. The roster stands at 87 so the Packers do not have to make a move to open up a roster spot.
Sunday story: The score of the Green Bay Packers’ preseason game at Pittsburgh on Sunday was irrelevant. The Packers lost — badly — with Pro Bowl receiver Jordy Nelson reportedly sustaining a season-ending knee injury.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Nelson sustained a torn ACL. A source wouldn’t confirm the report but feared the worst, and coach Mike McCarthy was "hoping and praying" for better news following the team's arrival back in Green Bay. While McCarthy said he wanted to wait to get "all the information" upon arriving back in Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers' dejection following a 24-19 loss spoke volumes to what looks like a season-changing development.
"It’s difficult to lose a guy like that in a meaningless game," Rodgers said.
On the opening possession, Nelson caught a short pass and tried to spin to the sideline. He fell immediately to the turf and walked off the field under his own power. When the Packers scored on that drive, Nelson was on the sideline to congratulate the rest of the offense. Shortly thereafter, Nelson walked to the locker room with two trainers.
"I think that it’s disappointing that you have injuries like this preseason," Rodgers said.
To say Nelson is a key cog in Green Bay’s prolific attack would be an understatement. With 98 catches for 1,519 yards and 13 touchdowns last season, Nelson is one of only seven players with at least those numbers in all three categories in a season. The yardage figure set a franchise record.
If there’s one position where the Packers could at least partially absorb a major injury to a big-time player, it’s wide receiver. Randall Cobb had a Pro Bowl season, as well, with 91 receptions for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns. Davante Adams had four big games during a rookie season of 38 receptions for 446 yards and three touchdowns. Jeff Janis, Ty Montgomery and Myles White have flashed during training camp. However, Adams, Janis and White haven’t proven they can consistently deliver over a 16-game season and Montgomery is a rookie. Until they show they’re ready, the pressure will fall on Aaron Rodgers, Eddie Lacy and the offensive line. More will be asked of tight end Richard Rodgers, as well.
"This is a sport where we’re all going to be injured at some point," Rodgers said. "It’s 100 percent injury rate for every player. You’re going to deal with things. You just hate to see it in the preseason because it doesn’t count for anything. We’ll figure out what the status is on some of our guys who are hurt and move forward. We’ve got a lot of guys right now fighting for spots and we’re still trying to figure out who’s going to be the impact players for us on our team. That could change after this week or that could not. We’ll see what happens."
McCarthy hopes tests in Green Bay will provide at least a glimmer of good news.
"Jordy Nelson is a key member of our football program both on the field and off the field, probably more so off the field," he said. "Jordy’s a great player. He’s tremendous in the locker room, he’s a tremendous family man. He’s a key member of our program, and we’re looking for good news tomorrow. That’s my mind-set."
Rodgers played two series, with the first ending in the touchdown and the other in a safety. A dejected Rodgers took nothing from the 80-yard scoring march. Rather, a sense of uneasiness is ahead.
"This game doesn’t mean anything. It’s just try to find a rhythm. We’ve got two more of these like this and we’ll get ready to play the games that matter."
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.