Green Bay Packers receiver and special-teams ace Jeff Janis said he will miss the next four to six weeks with a broken hand.
Janis sustained the injury at Wednesday’s practice. He didn’t think the injury was significant until he woke up in pain on Thursday and had X-rays. Screws were inserted into his index finger.
“They had to go in and put a couple of screws in and make sure everything’s all back together,” Janis said. “Everything went well, now we’ll just wait for the bones to heal back together and be back out there.”
Fortunately for Janis, the regular-season opener at Jacksonville is almost four weeks away. If Janis’ timeline is accurate, he could be back on the practice field after that game. On the longer end, he could be back after Week 3.
The Packers could simply keep Janis on the regular-season roster and make him a game-day inactive for the first few weeks of the season. Doing that, however, is at least partially dependent on the health of the rest of the team entering the season. Or, they could put him on injured reserve but bring him back at midseason. Under the NFL's new injured-reserve rules, teams can bring one player back to the roster, though he must sit out at least six weeks of practices and at least eight weeks of games.
“I’ve always prided myself on being one of the guys who’s always available and ready to play,” Janis said. “But this is just something that happens and I can’t really control it. Just got to stay in the book, keep going to meetings, keep paying attention and keep up with the game plans and everything and when it is healed be ready to play.”
At receiver, despite essentially filling Jordy Nelson’s spot with the No. 1 offense, Janis failed to use last year’s playoff performance at Arizona as a springboard into this season. However, he’s a standout on special teams, finishing second on the team with 15 tackles and fourth in the NFL with a 29.0-yard average on kickoff returns (minimum 10 returns). His work as a gunner on the punt team played a key role in Tim Masthay setting the franchise record for net punting average last year.
Janis and Demetri Goodson were the gunners for most of last year. They won’t be available to start this season, though, with Goodson facing a four-game suspension to start the season. At Monday’s practice, cornerbacks Robertson Daniel and Quinten Rollins took the first-team reps.
“We’ve got guys,” special teams coordinator Ron Zook said on Sunday. “You can’t lose too many guys there, but we’ve got guys that can (do it). We hate to lose guys early who are pretty good. That was one of the things we did a pretty good job of last year was covering punts.”
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.