Packers ‘Better Prepared’ for Life Without Jordy Nelson

Packers coach Mike McCarthy continues to leave the door open for Jordy Nelson playing on Sunday at Dallas, and Aaron Rodgers said he's "hopeful" that his longtime friend and teammate can play.

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson was scheduled to work in the rehab group at Wednesday’s practice, coach Mike McCarthy said about an hour-and-a-half before the start of that practice.

According to an NFL Network report, Nelson sustained at least two broken ribs after getting hit in the midsection by Giants safety Leon Hall during the second quarter of Sunday’s Wild Card game. Nelson was driven several yards into the Packers’ sideline area, where he was treated for several minutes before being taken to the locker room for further examination and then a local hospital.

On Monday, McCarthy would not rule out Nelson for Sunday’s NFC Divisional playoff game at top-seeded Dallas. To do that, he’d have to practice on Saturday, McCarthy said.

Could that happen?

“I’ll talk to you Friday,” McCarthy said on Wednesday.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers said he spent Monday night and Tuesday night with his longtime friend and teammate. At Wednesday's practice, the offense began the process of moving on without a player who caught 97 passes for 1,257 yards and a league-leading 14 touchdowns during the regular season.

“He’s been a warrior all season,” Rodgers said. “I don’t think he’s missed a practice hardly all season. Different without him out there but we’re hopeful he’s going to be able to heal quickly and be able to go.”

Without Nelson last season with a torn ACL, a usually potent Packers offense slumped into mediocrity. With Nelson back in the lineup, the Packers scored 64 more points – 4.0 per game – and finished fourth with 27.0 per game.

“Compared to a year ago, a lot of things are different,” McCarthy said. “I would say we’re a different offense than we were a year ago, just the way we’ve been playing as far as some of the schemes and where we are in our season. Obviously, our production is a lot higher than where we were a year ago. The development of a number of our younger players is higher than a year ago. I would say we’re definitely better prepared than we were a year ago.”

Nonetheless, losing Nelson would be a major blow for a red-hot offense that has scored 30-plus points in five consecutive games. However, without Nelson for most of the final three quarters against New York, Green Bay piled up 38 points and demolished a secondary that features three All-Pros. So, this offense could be equipped to succeed, even without the NFL's leader in touchdown catches.

“Obviously, we have great respect for Jordy Nelson,” Dallas coach Jason Garrett said in a conference call. “He’s been such a good player for such a long time. He and Aaron Rodgers have such a good feel for each other. His production over the course of his career and this year speaks for itself. The biggest thing we try to do is focus on ourselves. Obviously, they have a lot of weapons in their receiving corps, at their skill positions, outside of Jordy Nelson. We saw that the other day in the game against the Giants. We obviously have great respect for their team, their scheme, their coaches, their players, and we understand the challenge we face on Sunday.”

Nelson was one of five players not practicing while reporters were present. The others were running back James Starks (concussion), outside linebacker Julius Peppers (rest), center J.C. Tretter (knee) and receiver Jeff Janis (quad).

Cornerback Quinten Rollins practiced for the first time following the concussion sustained at Detroit in Week 17.

WEDNESDAYTHURSDAYFRIDAYSTATUS
GREEN BAY PACKERS
Randall Cobb, WR Ankle Full
Jayrone Elliott, LB Hand Full
Jeff Janis, WR Quadricep DNP
T.J. Lang, G Foot Full
Blake Martinez, LB Knee Full
Clay Matthews, LB Shoulder Full
Jordy Nelson, WR Ribs DNP
Julius Peppers, LB Not Injury Related DNP
Nick Perry, LB Hand Full
Quinten Rollins, CB Neck/Concussion Limited
James Starks, RB Concussion DNP
JC Tretter, C/G Knee DNP
 
DALLAS COWBOYS
Morris Claiborne, CB Groin Limited
Tyrone Crawford, DE Shoulder Limited  
Justin Durant, LB Elbow Limited
DeMarcus Lawrence, DE Back Limited
Terrell McClain, DT Ankle Limited
Tyron Smith, T Knee Limited
Cedric Thornton, DT Ankle Limited

Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.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.

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