Jones returns, Martin practices with cast

No. 3 receiver James Jones practices for the first time since injuring his knee on Aug. 16.

There were two major changes in the Green Bay Packers' receiving corps on Wednesday: James Jones was back and Ruvell Martin was wearing what looked to be an oven mitt.

Jones, who sprained a knee during the second preseason game at San Francisco on Aug. 16, said he felt great after going through the entire practice with no limitations. He looked smooth in his routes, though he didn't need to make any hard cuts during the jog-through portion of practice the media was allowed to attend.

"It feels good," Jones said. "I'm just trying to open up a little bit, plant on it, see how it's feeling. I thought it would feel a little worse, but I actually feel good. We'll see how it feels tomorrow and if it's sore or what not."

Martin, meanwhile, was wearing a bulky cast on his right hand. Coach Mike McCarthy said Martin has a fractured hand, though Martin is listed on the injury report with a finger and had a wrap on his ring finger in the locker room.

Martin said he sustained the injury against Denver on Aug. 22 — successfully hiding the splint from the media thereafter — but aggravated the injury last week during practice. He said it's been "down hill" from there, even though he made a nice catch on Monday against Minnesota.

"It was like, ‘Man, I pulled one past them, but then they had to cast me up today, and I'm like, ‘Man, you're giving away my secrets.' I guess it's out of the bag now," Martin joked.

With Jones back, Martin and the team believe there's time to be cautious with the injury to insure it doesn't become a lingering issue.

"It was one of those things that, you've kind of got two choices," Martin said of playing through the injury last week in Jones' absence. "You either take some time off, which wouldn't be good, especially with the situation at wideout, or you just push through."

"Now, with James coming back," Martin added, "I think there's some time now where I can try and get better. We'll see how that works. I think that's their thinking upstairs, that there's a little room to try and get this better."

On Sunday, Martin would go back to the splint. He said it would be "pointless" to play with "that thing," as evidenced by an uncharacteristic drop during practice. By exposing the fracture only on game days, the hope is the injury will heal.

Meanwhile, the three workouts leading to Sunday's game at Detroit are critical for Jones to get comfortable after missing three weeks of practices. Being injured is something new for Jones, who said he hadn't missed a game in his life, including Pop Warner.

"I definitely can't forget about it yet," he said. "I keep thinking, ‘If I make this move' or ‘I make that move,' that it's going to hurt. I've definitely got to just play and forget about it and see how it goes. If it hurts, it hurts."

And forget about wearing a brace. If he needs one, he said that means he's not healthy and shouldn't be playing.

"I'll be out there Sunday," Jones said. "Don't worry about it."

Bill Huber is editor of Packer Report and E-mail him at

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