Injuries hinder Pack’s chances at winning streak
On a roll – at last
GREEN BAY, Wis. — Now that the Green Bay Packers have won back-to-back games, coach Mike McCarthy would hate to see the momentum of their first winning streak this season disrupted.
But McCarthy acknowledged Friday a break from playing football would be welcomed by a team that has endured one injury after another less than 2 months into the season.
“I think everybody agrees we’re kind of at that spot you’re happy our bye comes when it does,” said McCarthy, pointing to the open date on the schedule in 2 weeks.
In a week when they learned star players Charles Woodson and Greg Jennings are sidelined indefinitely, the Packers will be without at least three more starters Sunday. The team ruled out fullback John Kuhn (hamstring), along with linebacker Nick Perry (knee) and cornerback Sam Shields (ankle), for the game against Jacksonville at Lambeau Field. Perry and Shields also missed Green Bay’s last game.
Fellow starter Jordy Nelson, who has been the team’s top receiver in Jennings’ absence, is questionable to play. Nelson suffered a hamstring injury in practice Wednesday and was held out the last 2 days.
“It’s important for us to win this football game and, God willing, hopefully we’ll be healthy,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy said after practice Friday the plan is put Nelson through some on-field testing prior to the game Sunday before a final decision is made on his status.
The Packers (4-3) have played the last three games without Jennings after he aggravated a groin injury Sept. 30.
Jennings said Thursday he would undergo surgery next week for an abdominal tear and is hopeful about playing again this season. Woodson, the team’s veteran defensive back, sustained a broken collarbone toward the end of Green Bay’s win at St. Louis last Sunday. He is expected to be out 6 weeks.
Green Bay’s injury-depleted defense may have nose tackle B.J. Raji on the field Sunday. Raji didn’t practice Friday but is probable after missing the last two games with an ankle injury.
“The plan coming off Monday was to practice him on Thursday in pads (and) give him Friday to recover,” McCarthy said. “Everything looks good. So if nothing changes here in the next 48 hours, I feel very confident with B.J.”
Defensive coordinator Dom Capers sounded more optimistic about having Raji back as the anchor of the defensive line.
“I don’t know that he’s back totally, but he was healthy enough to practice yesterday,” Capers said Friday. “Hopefully he’s ready to go. I think he’s going to be available. So we’ll see how he does in the game, and that will determine probably how many reps he plays.”