SATURDAY'S UPDATE: The Green Bay Packers added cornerback Damarious Randall to the injury report on Saturday, listing him as questionable with an injured foot.
Randall missed six games with a groin injury that required surgery. He's also been limited at times by an injured knee and shoulder.
Randall played one of his best games of the season against the Giants on Sunday. The next day, he said: "I feel great. I mean, the greatest I’ve felt after a game this whole entire year."
FRIDAY'S STORY: Green Bay Packers receiver Jordy Nelson has been ruled out for Sunday’s NFC Divisional playoff game at Dallas.
Nelson took a wicked shot to the ribs in last weekend’s Wild Card victory against the Giants. He reportedly suffered at least two broken ribs as a result of the hit by the Giants’ Leon Hall.
On Monday, coach Mike McCarthy said Nelson would have to practice on Saturday to have a chance to play on Sunday. The medical staff, however, would not clear Nelson to practice.
“They just would not medically clear him for Sunday,” McCarthy said on Friday morning.
The Packers play at top-seeded Dallas on Sunday, with Nelson in street clothes rather than in uniform. The winner will advance to the NFC Championship Game. Could Nelson have a chance to play in a potential game at Atlanta or Seattle?
“We’ll re-evaluate Monday,” McCarthy said. “He’s actually in the training room now going through a workout and he’ll continue to progress. He says he feels better every day. We’ll have to answer that question Monday.”
Running back James Starks and center J.C. Tretter also are out. Outside linebacker Jayrone Elliott, receiver Jeff Janis and cornerback Quinten Rollins are questionable. Rollins practiced on Wednesday and Thursday but remains in the concussion protocol, McCarthy said.
Losing Nelson, who caught 97 passes for 1,257 yards and a league-high 14 touchdowns, is a big loss heading into a matchup against the Cowboys, who beat the Packers 30-16 in Week 6.
“It’s tough,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said on Wednesday. “We’ve played a lot of football together. You realize how important these opportunities are, how they don’t come around every single year. We feel great about our team. Obviously, we feel better with 87 in the lineup. He’s a classy guy and a great teammate. I was with him last night and the night before. He’s staying positive and he’s hopeful. We’re going to try to get this one and hopefully get him back.”
How tough to replace? According noted by Sports Info Solutions, Nelson accounted for 38 percent of targets, 28 percent of passing yards and 35 percent of touchdowns by Rodgers. But Davante Adams and Randall Cobb had big games in place of Nelson against the Giants, rookie Geronimo Allison had eight catches for 157 yards and one touchdown in Weeks 16 and 17 vs. Minnesota and Detroit, and tight end Jared Cook has 19 catches over his past four games.
“It gives us one less receiver, but obviously (an) extremely productive player,” McCarthy said. “You just go by the way the game plan was set, the importance and really the emphasis on Jordy Nelson. So, with that, that’s gone. You just tilt opportunities the other way. That’s the way you always have to approach these types of situations, anytime you have a player of his magnitude that’s not available. That’s all part of developing a game plan. You have to do that in the early stages of the week. We anticipated potentially not having him this week. So, we’ll be prepared for that.”
It will take a team effort to make up for the loss of the prolific and reliable receiver.
"We’ve got a lot of guys in the receiver room that have played this year," right tackle Bryan Bulaga said. "Guys just need to step up. Just not the receiver room but everybody else has to pick up their game. Jordy’s a very important piece. It’s hard to replace that production. As an offense, we all need to step our game up, whether that’s us blocking for as long as we need to to get guys open or the receivers being crisp with all their details in their routes and guys just stepping up and making plays."
Dallas listed seven players as questionable but it should have all 53 players available.
"As we look at it right now, it seems like everybody who's been out is healthy," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said before practice.
|GREEN BAY PACKERS|
|Randall Cobb, WR||Ankle||Full||Full||Full||--|
|Jayrone Elliott, LB||Hand/Not inj.related||Full||DNP||Full||Questionable|
|Jeff Janis, WR||Quadricep||DNP||Limited||Limited||Questionable|
|T.J. Lang, G||Foot||Full||Limited||Limited||--|
|Blake Martinez, LB||Knee||Full||Full||Full||--|
|Clay Matthews, LB||Shoulder||Full||Full||Full||--|
|Jordy Nelson, WR||Ribs||DNP||DNP||DNP||Out|
|Julius Peppers, LB||Not Injury Related||DNP||Full||Full||--|
|Nick Perry, LB||Hand||Full||Full||Full||--|
|Quinten Rollins, CB||Neck/Concussion||Limited||Limited||Limited||Questionable|
|James Starks, RB||Concussion||DNP||DNP||DNP||Out|
|JC Tretter, C/G||Knee||DNP||DNP||DNP||Out|
|Morris Claiborne, CB||Groin||Limited||Full||Full||Questionable|
|Tyrone Crawford, DE||Shoulder||Limited||Limited||Limited||Questionable|
|Justin Durant, LB||Elbow||Limited||Limited||Limited||Questionable|
|DeMarcus Lawrence, DE||Back||Limited||Limited||Limited||Questionable|
|Terrell McClain, DT||Ankle||Limited||Limited||Limited||Questionable|
|Tyron Smith, T||Knee||Limited||Limited||Limited||Questionable|
|Cedric Thornton, DT||Ankle||Limited||Limited||Limited||Questionable|
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.