Jordy Nelson started last season coming back from a torn ACL. He ended the season coming back from broken ribs.
The Green Bay Packers’ veteran receiver is healthy and ready to roll for the start of offseason workouts.
“We had some withdrawals from the trainers, which was awesome,” Nelson said on Tuesday. “It was about a month or two of not coming into this building. That was the first time in a couple years that that happened, which was great for me, physically and mentally, to get away, spend time with the family and let the body re-heal from everything — just a long season and a lot of rehab the last two seasons. It’s great to come in healthy. It’s great to not have to worry about anything or even think about anything and go back and start working toward another season.”
After missing all of 2015 with a preseason knee injury, Nelson was named the Comeback Player of the Year after catching 97 passes for 1,257 yards and a league-high 14 touchdowns. During the six-game winning streak to end the regular season, Nelson dominated with 44 catches, 594 yards and five touchdowns.
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If a player returning from a torn ACL is better in the second year following the injury, then big things should be in store for Nelson in 2017.
“I’m a guy who needs practice, I truly believe that,” Nelson said. “I need to practice. I want to practice. That was one of the most exciting things for me last year during the season, I didn’t miss a practice. It allowed me to continue to fine-tune throughout the season. I think we saw how that progressed. It’s fun, because I don’t have to worry about anything. When we go work out these next couple weeks, I’ll be doing everything. When we go to IPWs and OTAs, there won’t be anything to hold me back. That’s an exciting part, which will allow me to fine-tune for Week 1 and progress from there.”
Nelson’s rampaging finish to the season was derailed by broken ribs, sustained early in the second quarter of the Wild Card game against the Giants. Nelson missed the playoff win at Dallas but returned for the NFC Championship Game against Atlanta. Remarkably, Nelson caught six passes for 67 yards and one touchdown.
Nelson said he “didn’t do anything” for about a month after the season and “everything is great” about three-and-a-half months since the injury.
“It’s hard to get people to believe that I was not in that much pain,” Nelson said in downplaying his performance. “Our equipment staff did a great job of putting something together to protect myself. A lot of wrong information was put out there on what I was wearing. They did a great job of creating something similar to the flak jackets that quarterbacks wear to protect me. And then Doc did a great job of making sure I was prepared to be able to handle anything as I was getting hit out there. And then by having that preparation and experiencing that throughout the week before, it allowed me to go out and play with confidence. The first hit was the unknown. After that, I was very thankful that it happened right away and I was good to go from there. Honestly, I don’t think anything I did was that crazy.”
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.