The Green Bay Packers could have up to four game-time decisions for Sunday’s NFC Championship Game, including receivers Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams and safety Morgan Burnett.
That creates a lot of uncertainty, especially on offense, where the Packers may not know whether they will have Nelson (broken ribs), Adams (ankle) or fellow receiver Geronimo Allison (hamstring) until the inactives list is filed an hour-and-a-half before the 2:05 p.m. kickoff.
“They will be given every chance to play in the game,” coach Mike McCarthy said on Friday morning. “If we know tomorrow, we’ll know tomorrow. If we know Sunday, we’ll know Sunday. I’m going to give these guys the open timeframe to do everything they can today. One or two of those guys may have to work Sunday before the game.”
Burnett (thigh) is in a similar situation in having something to prove after not practicing on Wednesday or Thursday. Adams, Burnett and Allison didn’t practice on Wednesday or Thursday while Nelson was limited both days.
“Tomorrow’s practice, we’ll have a pretty good idea of where Morgan is,” McCarthy said.
All four players were listed as questionable, as was cornerback Quinten Rollins, who has missed the past two games with a concussion.
Nelson sustained broken ribs in the playoff game against the Giants on Jan. 8. At Thursday’s practice, he took a lot of reps with the offense and went through individual drills. However, it’s important to note that Nelson, unlike the rest of his teammates, wasn’t in pads.
“I think he looked good. It was good to have him out there,” McCarthy said. “Really today (is) the most important day for those three (receivers), so really the information that comes out of the training room today will give us a better idea where we are.”
The Packers don’t practice on Fridays. None of the four would have practiced, with Nelson kept home due to illness.
Also under the weather was quarterback Aaron Rodgers, though not to much as to prevent him from putting in a full day at the office.
"Rest. Fluids. All that stuff," Rodgers said. "We’ll be OK. It’s kind of going around. I know Jordy had it. Mason (Crosby) had it. I got it. We’re going to be OK and deal with it."
The challenge for McCarthy between Friday’s press conference and Sunday’s kickoff about 52 hours later will be determining which of the injured players not only can play but are capable of playing well. Nelson, Adams and Burnett have shown they can play well with minimal or no practice time. Allison, a rookie, hasn’t shown that because he doesn’t have an injury history. Moreover, due to the restraints of a 46-player gameday roster, McCarthy might not be able to gamble on too many injured players for fear of them dropping out of the game and leaving the team short-handed.
“They want to play. Obviously, the coaching staff wants them to play,” McCarthy said. “But medically, there’s thresholds they have to get over. We’re never going to put a player out there that can’t move properly or put himself in higher risk for further injury. That’s why we go through the process. There’s a plan set for everyone, every injury’s different, the process to get them back is a little different. That’s what we’re going to need the full week for a couple of these guys.”
With the injuries at receiver, the Packers might have to promote Max McCaffrey or Antwan Goodley from the practice squad. With center J.C. Tretter having knee surgery on Thursday, the Packers could create a roster spot if necessary.
The Falcons are a picture of health. None of the four players on their report were given an injury designation, including receiver Julio Jones. He was limited on Friday after not practicing the past two days because of an injured toe.
|GREEN BAY PACKERS|
|Davante Adams, WR||Ankle||DNP||DNP||DNP||Questionable|
|Geronimo Allison, WR||Hamstring||DNP||DNP||DNP||Questionable|
|Morgan Burnett, S||Quadricep||DNP||DNP||DNP||Questionable|
|Mason Crosby, K||Illness||DNP||Full||Full||--|
|Jayrone Elliott, LB||Hand||Full||Full||Full||--|
|Jeff Janis, WR||Quadricep||Limited||Full||Full||--|
|T.J. Lang, G||Foot||Limited||Limited||Limited||--|
|Clay Matthews, LB||Shoulder||Full||Full||Full||--|
|Jordy Nelson, WR||Ribs/Illness||Limited||Limited||DNP||Questionable|
|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|
|Jonathan Babineaux, DT||Shoulder||Limited||Limited||Full||--|
|Taylor Gabriel, WR||Foot||Limited||Limited||Full||--|
|Julio Jones, WR||Toe||DNP||DNP||Limited||--|
|Keanu Neal, S||Foot||Limited||Full||Full||--|
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.null